Besides the PEZ, the photo also shows how the orchestra appear to be being conducted along to a plan of the ride’s layout, projected in the background, with the “Ratmobiles” shown moving through the scenes as white shapes.
Desperately lacking a platform like the Disney Parks Blog, Disneyland Paris itself has yet to truly begin providing any teasers or insights into the attraction’s creation. So here, we have the odd situation where the film’s composer and director are providing some of the best promotion of the mega-budget attraction it’s inspiring. Note to Paris: anticipation sells, silence doesn’t.
Ratatouille: The Ridewill open, that’s about as close as we can get to an official opening date right now. But today Belgian tabloid newspaper SudPresse appeared to break ranks by publishing an article (above, and in full below thanks to DlrpExpress.fr) which states quite clearly and confidently that the date will be 15th July 2014.
Upon closer inspection (or even from a great distance), it seems quite likely that this article hasn’t been anywhere near the Disneyland Paris press department for authorisation — besides the author logging on to transcribe their latest press release.
The concepts of a “Ratmobile”, unearthed as part of the ride’s planning application, have only ever been published publicly by the Disney Central Plaza forum, whose watermark can still be seen on the image. When it came to show the Ratmobiles during last month’s shareholders meeting, Tom Fitzgerland had much more final, official-looking renders.
And finally, the photo of the tunnel with a bust of Chef Gusteau comes, uncredited, directly from fansite DLP.info, circa 2010, who weren’t so lucky with their watermark — covered over by the newspapers own caption! There is no way Disneyland Paris would sign off the use of any of these images, so why would they give this publication an exclusive with a date?
What remains odd is that the paper plumped for Tuesday, 15th July 2014, when the most widely circulated rumour so far has been the 14th July — France’s national “Bastille” day.
Bastille Day looks great on paper, of course: opening an attraction based on French love letter Ratatouille, plus an adjoining restaurant, with endorsement from Chef Paul Bocuse, at Disneyland Paris, on the French national day itself; the concept of such a thing is so French the whole of France might just implode.
But is one of the busiest days of the year really the best time to open such a desperately awaited new attraction? And would the French press (not to mention all the extra technical and support staff required for a press event) really want to leave their families and traditional celebrations to cover an event happening on 14th July itself? Besides, Disneyland Paris press events usually onlytake place over a Friday, Saturday, Sunday weekend.
Elsewhere, one quite credible rumour has been that Cast Members could be given a preview of the attraction on Monday, 23rd June, followed by “Soft Opening” beginning on Saturday, 28th June. Soft Opening is the period of a few weeks where Disney opens new attractions for guests as a kind of “dress rehearsal”, giving a chance to tweak the experience and spot problems without the attraction officially being “open”.
Meanwhile June’s park opening hours were published yesterday, with a couple of clues that something might be afoot at the Studios, as reported on DLRPMagic.com. Notably, Saturday 21st June sees the park close at 6pm, rather than the usual 7pm. Indeed, this the first and only Saturday of the year so far that the park will close at this earlier time on a Saturday.
Disneyland Paris wouldn’t cut opening hours on a busy weekend lightly, so this must suggest some kind of private event — for Cast Members, for the press, for someone else? It’s usually good manners to give Cast Members first preview of an attraction, so if this were to be a press event date for the opening of the ride, it might put that 23rd June date in doubt.
Late June would make a far more sensible date to assemble the press for a showy grand opening, though: before the French summer holidays (and abandonment of Paris) begin, and giving enough time for them to draft their footage, reports and articles in time for a big media push on… 14th July? This could be particularly successful outside of France where, rather than the usual samey Eiffel Tower footage, news reports could show the implosion of French-ness on La Place de Rémy as a perfect populist tie-in to the national date.
That would leave Bastille Day itself as more a simple ribbon-cutting date for the public; indeed, the date on paper — the date that goes down as the day Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy finally, officially opened its doors. It’d be perfect. Even though, as is always the way with Disney attraction openings, it wouldn’t necessarily be true.
At this point, it’s really a shame Disneyland Paris won’t just do the sensible thing and make an announcement, if only so that us fans can stop obsessing over a date, book our summer trips with confidence and start focusing instead on what a seriously cool and spectacularly unique new addition this is shaping up to be — perhaps the best thing to come to Disneyland Paris since the hallowed date of 12th April 1992 …or should that be 11th April?
Disneyland Paris continues to maintain something of a general radio silence on development of Ratatouille: The Ride, now potentially opening in just four months or less, but a few tidbits of information at least have just trickled out in two pieces of official copy.
For travel agents in the United Kingdom, and published here for the very first time, the resort has just provided a brief snippet of standard copy for the attraction. Despite the usual fluff of these texts, it does reveal and confirm a few interesting facts:
Ratatouille: The Ride
Shrinking down to the size of a rat, you’ll be immersed in a Disney experience like no other. Rémy and his friends cook up a storm when Chef Skinner sends you scurrying through the sights, smells and senses of Gusteau’s restaurant. Duck, dive and dodge your way through a Disneylicious adventure that’s sure to leave you hungry for more.
First, that the attraction will include “sights, smells and senses” — hinting that your ride through Gusteau’s restuarant will be peppered by the scents of food and cooking along the way.
This wouldn’t be the first time Disney have used scents in one of their attractions, indeed areas ranging from Pirates of the Caribbean to Cable Car Bake Shop are “odourised” to enhance the setting or tempt you in for that doughnut.
But for Ratatouille, scents would likely be a much more overt part of the scene rather than subconscious. Indeed, if Walt Disney Imagineering are going to do a fully immersive Ratatouille ride, they really have to do cooking aromas.
There’s also now an amended French press release, which describes the scenes and storyline of the ride in a little more detail:
La 60ème attraction de Disneyland Paris se nommera donc Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy. Elle embarquera les visiteurs dans une expérience immersive… à la hauteur d’un rat ! Ils seront propulsés dans l’aventure périlleuse de Rémy, au cœur du grand restaurant parisien « Chez Gusteau », imaginé par le réalisateur Brad Bird. Des toits de Paris aux cuisines en pleine effervescence, en passant par la chambre froide et bien sûr la salle de restaurant surveillée par le redoutable Chef Skinner… L’aventure s’annonce mouvementée et pleine de saveurs.
“Pleine de saveurs” (full of flavour) says this release, which could be another hint to those aromas of the kitchens being dispersed through the ride (or a marketing pun, or both).
And finally, “la chambre froide” — the kitchen cold store, an interesting scene to mention in an official press release. Combined with the “senses” of the English release, perhaps this cold store will be truly cold to riders of the attraction… and the following oven scene truly HOT?
Separately, the release also confirms Le Bistrot Chez Rémy restaurant will include ratatouille itself on its menu (hold the front page!). Obvious of course, but there’s the confirmation.
The official publicity image (above) has also been released in higher quality.
It’s not quite a 3D trackless dark ride, but it’s still impressive: the famous Belgian Sand Sculpture Festival, which it has been announced will return to a Disneyland Paris theme again this year with an event titled “Disneyland Paris Sand Magic”.
Due to be held in Ostend (Oostende) from 28th June to 31st August 2014, the exhibition’s new flyer even hints at a well-timed Ratatouille theme.
Touting 30 artists of 12 nationalities, creating 150 statues between 2 and 12 metres high, the official website also reveals 3,000 tons of sand will be used to recreate the Disney scenes.
Part of a joint promotional commitment between Disney in Benelux and the organisers of the event, it’s also been confirmed already that next year’s festival will see the theme of Pixar’s upcoming The Good Dinosaur, while 2016 will feature Finding Dory.
From 6th to 24th February, children aged 3 to 8 years old can draw, paint or create their own imaginary castle and have their parent or guardian submit it to win a full board trip to Disneyland Paris and a chance to see the “Imagination Castle” itself brought to life. A mélange of all the winning entries, the castle will actually take shape somewhere in the centre of Paris — so don’t fear for crayon marks and paint smudges on our dear Château.
The contest is being run concurrently for residents of the United Kingdom, France (Le Château de l’Imagination), Spain (El Castillo de l’Imaginación), the Netherlands (Het Kasteel van de Verbeelding) and Belgium, with three winners from each competition.
It’s worth noting from the competition rules that Euro Disney S.C.A. will not be held responsible for “any damage caused to a Candidate’s computer”, so do make sure your child doesn’t paint directly onto the screen — and don’t forget the all-important dragon underneath.
You can browse the 2013 Annual Review now online. Surprisingly, this year breaks with tradition and abandons the usual overblown website dedicated to the report (last year complete with Philippe Gas video intro) and presents it just as a standard e-brochure. We’d love to know the figure for how much cash that decision wisely saved. But instead, here’s our quick pick of the key figures and fun facts of 2013 at Disneyland Paris…
Disneyland Paris has now been visited more than 275 million times
Between 2009 and 2013, around €510 million has been invested in the maintenance and development of the destination
There are over 14,000 Cast Members working over 500 different professions; 6,454 employees were hired in 2013
Inclusivity: Over 581 workers are disabled, an increase of over 50% since 2007, whilst 53 “seniors” aged over 50 were hired in 2013
Climbing the ladder: 80% of Managers and Senior Managers present in 2013 had been promoted internally, while the group hired 458 local residents who had experienced long-term unemployment
Val d’Europe now has 30,000 residents and provides 28,000 jobs
Hotel refurbishment programme is on-going, covering all 5,800 rooms, with all 1,100 rooms of Disney’s Newport Bay Club to be completed in 2014
14.9 million visitors in 2013 (down from 16 million in 2012 and 15.6 in 2011)
Hotel occupancy down to 79.3% in 2013, from 84% in 2012 and 87.1% in 2011
Guest spending continues to grow: the average guest spends €48.14 in the parks and €235.01 per room in the Disney Hotels
According to questionnaires, 63% of guests were “extremely” and “very” satisfied with their visits; 89% of guests would “definitely” and “probably” come back
Disney Dreams! scored a 92% guest satisfaction rating for fiscal year 2013
4 million items have been sold at World of Disney since its opening in 2012
Staffed 24 hours a day by 200 Cast Members, the “Hercules” warehouse complex is more than 15 times the size of an Olympic swimming pool; in 2013 it was refitted with dimming, sensing, low-energy lighting by partner Osram
Scheduled for completion in late 2015, the fifth Val de France hotel, to be operated by B&B Hotels, will add 400 rooms to the resort
90% of the land at Villages Nature will not be built on; the Center Parcs joint project will be developed in several phases over the next 20 years
87 milion gallons of drinking water are expected to be saved each year once the new backstage water treatment and recycling plant becomes fully operational
Ratatouille: l’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy will be “by far the most advanced and sophisticated thing we’ve ever done from a ride integration standpoint. It will offer guests a totally immersive experience into a Disney•Pixar adventure” — Joe Schott, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
“This never-before-seen family attraction will magically shrink guests to the size of the movie’s adorable star, Rémy. They will then be whisked off for a multi-sensory spin around the kitchens of Chef Gusteau”
Last, but not least, the geographical split of theme park visits, where France has broken 51% leaving all other feeder nations languishing. It’s fascinating to look back ten years to the results from the 2003 Annual Review and see how dramatically the breakdown has shifted.
Where once 22% of visitors were from the United Kingdom, now that percentage is a tiny 14%. Worse for Germany; its percentage share has halved from 6% to 3% in 2013. Italy and Spain meanwhile used to make up 9% together and have now increased to 11%, mainly thanks to a boom in visitors from Spain begun a few years ago, but which now appears to have ebbed away, in line with the country’s economy, to 8%.
Attendance figures in 2003 were 12.4 million, so 22% would give an estimated 2,728,000 British guests for the year. The same calculation for 14% of the 14.9 million guests in 2013 gives 2,086,000 guests crossing the channel. Far from a scientific, watertight calculation, obviously, but you could see it suggesting that roughly 654,720 fewer visitors from the UK went to Disneyland Paris in 2013 compared to ten years ago, a 24% drop.
Overall, with 49% of visitors now coming from outside France in 2013 versus 61% in 2003, you could estimate the resort’s entire non-domestic park attendance has actually fallen by over a quarter of a million guests in the past ten years, from 7.6 million in 2003 to 7.3 million in 2013. In the same period, meanwhile, you could estimate attendance from within France has grown by a huge 2.8 million guests, from 4.8 million to a strong 7.6 million visitors.
Clearly it is time Disneyland Paris took a few of its œufs out of its panier and worked on growing visitor numbers from other countries too, if only back to the levels they were ten years ago.
That’s not something even Rémy can do alone, or is it?
Taking its inspiration from the very first piece of concept art we saw way back in May 2011, this new, slicker visual seems to solve the problem that the more artistic concept just wasn’t considered “Ratatouille” enough. Right up front we see Linguini holding Rémy. In the background you can spot Colette, there’s the trademark Gusteau’s sign up on the rooftop, a mini Chef Rémy carved into the top of the gushing fountain and twinkling lights in the Parisian trees.
For a marketing visual it’s actually a remarkably realistic representation of everything we’ll see this summer — dazzling purple sky perhaps not included. It also reveals for the first time that a giant copper cooking pot and ladle — just like the one Rémy first meddles with — with be used for the entrance marquee, a whimsical crossover of the oversized rat-scale world encountered once you step inside the showbuilding.
Below, we’ve annotated a few of the nice details to be found:
This image was swiftly followed by new English and French versions of the “Ratatouille: The Ride” trailer first spotted in the wild last week, each with its own new take on a promotional logo for the long-winded Adventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy.
For the UK, the logo drops the three horizontal lines compared to the earlier version, while for France there’s a surprise as we get “Ratatouille: L’Attraction”, seemingly giving in to the fact that no-one, not even the French themselves, will use the full francophone title.
Each trailer ends with “Summer 2014” and, in case you were wondering, the shareholder’s meeting itself came and went without any further precision as to an official opening date.
Watch the two new English and French trailers embedded below…Read More…
As usual, it remains a closely guarded secret what exactly will be revealed at the event, beyond the usual questions and numbers. There’s a new attraction waiting just across the park, of course, and most are hoping the meeting will reveal a little more of Ratatouille: The Ride, perhaps a glimpse inside or even, the strongest rumour… an opening date.
Wait, did they finally retire the Roger Rabbit float?! The latest Disneyland Paris TV commercial to hit the internet, via a Danish travel agency, features a brief glimpse of the all-new Disney Magic on Parade aerial “flyover” footage, painstakingly shot over a whole day last summer.
Besides that well-choreographed shot, this TV spot just happens to be an all-round solid production. There’s footage of actual rides (!), real hotels (!) and of course a Disneyland Paris parade genuinely travelling down the true Parisian Main Street.
It uses a familiar concept of transporting people from the “real world” into a more magical Disney setting, but those clips last mere milliseconds. The recent “30 Yes Days” commercials for example, like far too many of the resort’s TV ads, dawdle endlessly on setting up a “concept”, when Disneyland Paris should probably just be using their precious airtime to show footage of the parks, like this.
We can even let the family off for apparently sneaking into the Newport Bay Club pool.
Watch the new Disneyland Paris commercial embedded below…
At first the video, viewable in its original form only to visitors from within Germany, looks a lot like the standard “Happy New Year” teaser floated around by Disneyland Paris last month. But then, towards the end – a patented Rémy surprise! We get a first look at some of the actual promotional branding Disneyland Paris will be using for its new €150 million dark ride this year.
This also includes, right at the end, a special version of the Disneyland Paris logo itself (above), complete with cute Ratatouille whiskers and toque (chef’s hat).
No need to translate – the trailer doesn’t reveal much of anything new besides these two logos. It is however a welcome appetiser for what will hopefully be one of the resort’s more driven and more successful attraction opening campaigns… next step, an opening date?
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