Beyond the all-important date (10th July if you haven’t managed to catch it yet), Disneyland Paris more than exceeded anticipation for yesterday’s rumoured Ratatouille: The Adventure announcement by including a little video teaser alongside. Well, perhaps “little” isn’t the word.
Because despite running to just 1 minute 3 seconds, for the first time ever the video reveals a number of glimpses inside the huge new Ratatouille showbuilding, allowing a look at the attraction’s physical scenery, giant props and even trackless ride vehicles. The emphasis being on giant: everything is giant.
Tom Fitzgerald, Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, and Roger Gould, Creative Director Theme Parks at Pixar Animation Studios, lead the commentary to enthuse about Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, as Tom names it, with a smile.
After seeing the huge Gusteau’s restaurant sign being lifted into place atop the building, we get a series of blink-and-you’ll-miss-em peeks inside the ride’s actual show scenes. There’s the rooftops of Paris load unload area with giant chimney pots, the cold storage with a giant fish, and the dining room with giant trolly wheels.
Towards the end, we even see a real, finished “Ratmobile” ride vehicle for the first time ever. And just to add extra intrigue, perhaps, it’s brown, not grey/blue.
There’s spoilers aplenty, of course — but don’t forget that the physical scenery and props we see here are just the “base layer” of this trackless, 3D projection-filled dark ride. It won’t look like this when you’re riding through it, with 3D glasses plus finished lighting and animation, so there’s a lot left unseen and a lot that will only ever be possible to see in person.
Watch the video now, then scroll down for 23 screencaps and extra commentary… Read More…
Sensibly, the resort has chosen a date just slightly in advance of the official French national day — Bastille Day on Monday 14th July — to officially inaugurate the huge new dark ride and restaurant in Walt Disney Studios Park.
From 10th July, guests will officially be able to enjoy the attraction and its adjoining restaurant, Le Bistrot Chez Rémy, in Toon Studio at the second park.
However, this will likely follow a traditional period of “soft opening” lasting as long as a few weeks, during which time Disney’s newest E-Ticket attraction will be opened to guests for limited trials to test and adjust any operational or technical bugs.
The date of 10th July has only recently been associated with the development, which up until now has steadfastly been promoted only as opening vaguely in “Summer 2014”.
Most rumours pointed to 14th July being the most appropriate date, but it’s likely Disneyland Paris decided the Thursday before what will be an incredibly busy Monday, with the parks already at saturation, is a more sensible operational choice.
The announcement was made with a brand new teaser video, below… Read More…
La Place de Rémy has officially joined the Walt Disney Studios Park map. Pre-empting the expected guide map changeover on 3rd April, Disneyland Paris has released an early peek at the new, updated map for its second gate featuring the brand new mini-land.
The map’s designers have chosen to end the façades immediately behind their rooftops, similar to several attractions such as Pirates of Caribbean on the Disneyland Park map, and not depict the massive showbuilding in any way. This makes the attraction the first to have a “hidden” or backstage showbuilding on the Walt Disney Studios Park map (even if in reality there’s no hiding it from within the park).
While Catastrophe Canyon and the Dinotopia set of Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic have been moved to the right in order to fit the latest expansion on, the rest of the park map remains completely unchanged:
In fact, so much so that the version sent out today still features the Playhouse Disney Live on Stage! logo — the attraction has been rebranded to Disney Junior. The full map also inexplicably features Disney Village in the bottom-left corner, seen from the same viewpoint.
Besides the park, Ratatouille will also be featured on the general Disneyland Paris resort map, with a few of its façades pictured above Buzz Lightyear:
Looking back through the park’s previous maps, it is now relatively impressive to see the changes and expansions since opening day — though they have certainly been somewhat lop-sided, with Toon Studio getting much of the attention.
In 2001, perhaps the barest Disney Park map in history was released for pre-opening brochures:
This was thankfully soon updated with more of the park’s finer details (if not any of the numerous expansion rumours of the time, which would take five years to materialise):
As with 2007, the early addition of Ratatouille will give the ride some much-needed advance publicity for guests visiting in the months before its opening.
While teasers have been shared online, the expansion must be one of the first in Disneyland Paris history not to see its construction walls decorated with even a modest teaser of what is being built within. With so many missed promotional opportunities already, it’s a relief to see this one seized, if only thanks to the traditional bi-annual guide map changeover…
But now, Disney have made a sudden rebrand, removing the offending word and renaming the attraction, for English marketing purposes, as Ratatouille: The Adventure. This change is confirmed by the new logo, above, and also a change to the name applied to the key visual and press release already published for the British market, swapping “Ratatouille: The Ride” for “Ratatouille The Adventure”.
“The Adventure” will likely only be used in British (and perhaps other English language) publicity for the attraction, and at most inside the English guide maps, with the full Totalement Toquée French title definitely set to appear above the actual entrance.
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.
Yet no longer, as white sheets covering the scaffolding along this side of the park’s Parisian street were gradually removed bit by bit yesterday, revealing the first glimpse at the remarkably complete façade of this future Ratatouille shop.
Later in the day, @1929Mickey on Twitter captured these photos of the unveiled finish, which seeks to cover up the corner of the “ImagiNations” Cast Member building as much as provide an exterior for the boutique.
Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris will be located actually inside this corner of the Cast Member building, in former backstage space, with a square corner frontage that will have entrance doors both onto the street, above, and facing out towards the attraction itself (to the left).
The colonnaded exterior seen on the plans matches the cream section still partially covered yesterday, with many finishing touches still to be done.
It’s odd to notice that the modern pitched section on the right of the existing building has been somewhat incorporated into the façade, but beyond this point the rest of the building remains uncovered, leaving an unthemed corner facing toward the Toy Story Playland entrance.
To put the location into context, and to show just what a transformation this development presents, let’s go back to 2010…
The corner above is where the colonnaded façade is now taking shape, with doors on both sides leading into the boutique slotted into the building’s ground floor.
The boutique itself remains scheduled to open a little later than the attraction and restaurant, in “Autumn 2014”. This does indeed seem absurd, especially for a merchandise might like Disney, but construction did begin later and fitting a new boutique into the corner of an existing building is probably not as easy as building from scratch. And still, you never know, a store on Disneyland Paris property could open ahead of schedule for once.
Add to this the very welcome toilets just next door, the desperately needed restaurant across the courtyard, and you see why Ratatouille will be the best step yet to make Walt Disney Studios both feel and work like a real Disney park, in this corner at least.
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?
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