Not thinking about it, not wrapped and done, but recording it right now on Tuesday, 11th February 2014 in Capitol Records Studio ‘A’, Hollywood, California, as evidenced in the above photo.
The front of the music booklet simply reads “Ratatouille Ride – Orchestra (Score includes Combo) – Composed by Michael Giacchino”. Clever positioning of a blur filter means the only words legible on the tabs at the side, likely denoting scenes of the ride, are “Rat Brigade” and “The Rodent”.
After 2004’s The Incredibles brought his talent into the spotlight, Giacchino has consistently returned to Disney and Pixer, composing the scores of Up, Cars 2 and John Carter amongst many more short films. Also known for both recent Star Trek movies and two Mission: Impossible movies, he will be reunited again with director Brad Bird on the currently in-production Tomorrowland.
His best work though, is perhaps genuinely Ratatouille. Racing and sprinting where it wants to be, sweet and soul-lifting when it needs to be; oh-so-French but not so French to be cliché. Giacchino’s involvement in L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy is a seriously exciting seal of movie authenticity for the first dark ride of Walt Disney Studios Park.
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.
Covering the period from 1st October to 31st December 2013, the first quarter saw overall Resort revenues fall by 5% to €304.9 million, from €320.7 million in the same period the previous year. For the Theme Parks segment it was less severe, with a drop of just over 3%, while the Hotels and Disney Village saw the worst results with an almost 6% drop in revenues.
With a 9.6 percentage point decrease in hotel occupancy, equating to 51,000 fewer room nights old compared to the previous year, an increase of 6% in average spending per room might look like the only good news here. But even this rise was due only to higher daily room rates, and actually offset by lower spending on food and beverage.
In the parks, attendance decreased by 7%. Though this quarter marks the first results since the end of the 20th Anniversary on 30th September 2013, this figure must still be disappointing given the extra investments made to the Halloween and Christmas seasons, arguably now at their strongest for years. Average spending per guest increased by 4%, however, with Euro Disney S.C.A. pointing to not just higher admissions prices but (at long last) higher spending on merchandise, too.
In his standard statement, Philippe Gas, Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney S.A.S., said:
“In a still challenging economic environment, we realized lower attendance and occupancy as compared to last year, which resulted in a 5% decrease in resort revenues. However our strategy aimed at increasing guest contribution helped us offset some of the attendance and occupancy weakness as we achieved record guest spending in both our parks and hotels for a first quarter.
Even though we remain prudent given the current economic environment, we believe the fundamentals of our business are strong and we are confident in our long-term strategy focused on investing in the guest experience. The opening of our new Ratatouille-themed attraction this summer fully reflects this growth strategy.”
What appears evident, from the hotel results in particular, is that visitors are more careful than ever about how they spend their money and whether they actually get value back. For an experience like Disneyland Paris, visitors are probably more willing to splash out on a luxury like a Disney Hotel stay, even though they know the value-for-money is questionable. But only up to a point.
And after such a large initial outlay, most will inevitably then reign in spending on extras — meals, shows, merchandise — and scrutinise every Euro spent. Getting greedy with that initial booking price could mean a loss in spending throughout the entire trip. Or it could, more and more often it seems, mean that the initial hotel booking never takes place at all — another company gets the revenue and the room night — or, worst case, the visitor decides not to visit Disneyland Paris at all.
We have, at least, seen a slight shift in hotel package promotions away from huge discounts of up to 40%, which surely only eroded the perceived brand value, and towards “added value” offers like free Half Board Meal Plans or extra nights. More like this would be welcome — rather than taking Euros off a booking, why not offer that as “free” spending money in the parks on a gift card?
Could Ratatouille: The Ride be the saving grace of 2014? Intriguingly, this press release suddenly changes the wording to an opening date of “early Summer”. With results like these, the sooner they can get something of that “growth strategy” on the table, the better.
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?
Happy New Year! It’s officially 2014 at Disneyland Paris and we’ve got the perfect reason to celebrate. This is the year Walt Disney Studios Park welcomes a brand new, world-exclusive dark ride, Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, and today is the day — midnight precisely — our embargo is lifted on a new official press release for this eagerly-awaited attraction.
Disneyland Paris published a press release finally announcing the attraction back in February, but since then we’ve been given an official name and an exciting marketing visual. Today’s press release for “l’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy” therefore is the first to really get the attraction’s concept (much-discussed and well-known in fan circles) into official print… along with the all-important final names for its adjoining restaurant and shop.
The world of Ratatouille comes to Disneyland Paris in 2014
Next summer, Disneyland Paris will unveil a major new attraction and mini-land inspired by the Oscar-winning Disney•Pixar film Ratatouille. The film, directed by Brad Bird, tells the tale of Rémy, a young rat who has amazing talents in the kitchen and dreams of one day becoming a great chef.
This leads to a fun but perilous journey that eventually lands him as the head chef of one of the most famous restaurants in Paris. Now Rémy has arrived at Walt Disney Studios Park to share his culinary delights and crazy adventures with the entire family.
On the attraction Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, guests will shrink down to the size of a rat and join Rémy and his friends as they scurry through the kitchen, dining room, and walls of Gusteau’s famous Parisian restaurant, all the while trying to avoid the nemesis from the film, Chef Skinner. This first of its kind Disney attraction will immerse guests into an animated world like never before as they experience what it’s like to be a rat in a human sized world.
The attraction is located in a new corner of Toon Studio that’s been transformed into a Ratatouille-inspired version of the City of Light. In addition to the attraction, this mini-land also features a shop, Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris, and a rat-scale themed table service restaurant, Bistrot Chez Rémy. The restaurant, which is the only one of its kind across Disney Parks worldwide, is directly adjacent to the attraction and serves the “little chef’s” famous dish, ratatouille.
After Crush’s Coaster, Cars Race Rally and Toy Story Playland, Ratatouille will be the fourth attraction at the Walt Disney Studios Park inspired by a Disney•Pixar film. Disneyland Paris will once again combine its narration skills with state-of-the-art technology to offer the best possible experience.
Next summer, join us for Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, only at Walt Disney Studios Park, Disneyland Paris.
So that’s “Bistrot Chez Rémy” for the restaurant, located in the same building as the ride, and “Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris” for the boutique, located next door in part of the former costuming workshops. The whole Parisian quarter at the back of Toon Studio has come along remarkably in recent months, its finely detailed façades now rich in colour and life.
If only we could take a peek inside those walls…
The attraction and restaurant open Summer 2014, with the boutique following in Autumn 2014.
Picturing Rémy, the lead rat in the Brad Bird-directed 2007 Pixar animation, jumping forward holding a cork, it depicts a rounded, flattened, rat-shaped ride vehicle capable of transporting six guests. Behind, the fiery chef Skinner looms over with a rolling pin — no doubt an example of the huge video projection effects expected to be demonstrated within the vast new showbuilding at the back of the park’s Toon Studio, next to the existing Toy Story Playland, to be augmented with larger-than-life physical props.
As for that long-winded title, don’t despair — it may yet prove to be a moniker only seen in French promotions, or right at the entrance of the attraction. Disneyland Paris has past form with the rambling “La Tour de la Terreur: Un Saut dans la Quatrième Diménsion” (The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror) and even the nearby tongue twister Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, which was always promoted to English-speaking markets as “Cars Race Rally”.
One final piece of information: 2014. That’s still as specific as Disney will be with the projected opening date — though many would expect it not to be early in the year, despite the rapidly-materialising Parisian street scene, given the technical complexity of the world-exclusive ride experience within.
Each year, late February brings the Shareholders’ Annual General Meeting for Disneyland Paris operating group Euro Disney SCA. And each year, without fail, an optimistic few anticipate the next big attraction will be announced there on spot. This year, that actually came true.
Little fanfare, even fewer hard facts and absolutely no Walt Disney Imagineering concept art accompanied the brief announcement by Philippe Gas on 28th February, now shared online in this video by Disney Central Plaza. Accompanied only by a promotional still from the Disney-Pixar film itself, the CEO of Euro Disney S.A.S. stated that “Ratatouille”, as it was simply referred to, would open next year and “mark a new generation of attractions.”
“Vous serez acteurs dans une nouvelle dimension. Servies par les technologies numériques de pointe, nos réalisations vous donneront des sensations inédites en vous immergeant dans l’univers de Ratatouille. L’immersion dans le Paris : des restaurants, des cuisines, de la gastronomie; l’interactivité, l’innovation, l’émotion. Ratatouille ouvrira ses portes l’an prochain. Nous serons donc très bientôt en mesure de vous dévoiler la primeur de cette réalisation qui marquera une nouvelle génération d’attractions.”
“You will be taken into a new dimension. Thanks to advanced digital technology, our advances will give you brand new sensations to immersing you in the world of Ratatouille. Immersed in Paris: restaurants, kitchens, gastronomy; interactivity, innovation, emotion. Ratatouille will open its doors next year. We will be able to unveil more soon about this development, which marks a new generation of attractions.” (loosely translated)
Concept art and exterior plans for the Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity (working title) dark ride showbuilding have previously been sourced from the local town planning department, still viewable here, but Disney has yet to officially release any artwork for the attraction itself.
Here’s the full press release, released to coincide with today’s Shareholders annual general meeting:
Marne-la-Vallée, 28 February 2013. During the group’s annual shareholder meeting on 28 February, Euro Disney Chairman Philippe Gas announced plans for the continued development of Disneyland Paris, with the addition of a new attraction based on the hit Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille.
‘Our new family-focused Ratatouille attraction, which is scheduled to open in 2014, symbolises all of the creativity, innovation and emotion that guests associate with a Disneyland Paris experience,’ Gas said.
Set to open in Walt Disney Studios Park, the attraction is part of the group’s long-term commitment to investing in high-quality guest experiences. That strategy has been fundamental to strengthening the appeal of the multi-day destination, which achieved record-breaking attendance of 16 million visits in 2012.
This unique attraction will take guests into the world of the Oscar-winning Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille which tells the tale of Remy – a talented young rat who dreams of becoming a renowned French chef. Disney storytelling and state-of-the-art technology will come together in this romantic, larger-than-life, Parisian experience.
‘By developing this new Ratatouille attraction, we continue to ensure our guests can experience their favourite Disney stories in memorable ways that only Disney can provide,’ Gas said. ‘The theme, which is very français, is a tribute to our capital and the unforgettable characters that make Ratatouille the ideal choice for an attraction that fits perfectly at Disneyland Paris.’
These magical Mickey ears will change colour in time with the show, making ‘Disney Dreams!’ an even more spectacular experience for the whole family.
From today’s annual general meeting, the operating group’s strategy for the resort is now more firmly fixed on expanding Walt Disney Studios Park into a viable partner for Disneyland Park, though no detail was apparently given beyond this already-under construction development.
The press release naturally fails to give many details away about the new attraction — there’s plenty of time ahead for that. Hopefully this is just the start of a well-organised promotional campaign to maximise this €150 million investment. Disneyland Paris has been notoriously poor at “hyping” its new attraction openings, compared to other theme parks and the American Disney resorts — notably California — which build interest with updates and teasers well in advance of the opening date.
However, as we return from an all-too-long hiatus, let’s first jump back to share some photos from our trip in December 2012. Keen-eyed Rémy fans will be able to spot many further changes in the past eight weeks, but for those who haven’t been watching and for the sake of history it seems a shame not to pin these onto the construction timeline before moving onto current developments, so here we go…
Rumoured to have the working title Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity, this major new “dark ride” is due to open in 2014 at the back of Toon Studio in Walt Disney Studios Park, next to Toy Story Playland and the backstage ‘Imaginations’ Cast Member building. Construction has required felling a large number of trees and moving the resort’s costuming workshop.
Since the first crane rose over the Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity (working title) construction site in April, a second crane has joined the effort to realise this much-anticipated dark ride and restaurant in time for 2014. With the second crane shorter, wider and less colourful than its cousin, it seems only fitting we call the pair, who now tower over both parks from several viewpoints: Rémy and Emile!
Their work so far has remained steadfastly at ground level, preparing the foundations for the vast future showbuilding. Piledriving, which steadies the ground and provides a solid foundation for the actual concrete base to rest on, has now been complete for several weeks. The latest work allows us to see the footprint of the new building at its clearest yet; each portion of the building marked out with solid concrete edges ready for the concrete base to be poured in sections.
Already in the first photo above, taken a couple of weeks ago by DLRP Today.com reader Maarten, you can see how the outline of the new building(s) will match the side of the Cast Member building opposite, creating a “Parisian” square around the future centrepiece fountain. This existing ImagiNations building, currently crudely themed as “Studio 4”, is expected to be dressed in new Parisian façades along its length, as well as possibly hosting the toilets or shop for the area.
Our last update included a video walkthrough of the construction site and pre-existing Ratatouille-themed road, which it turns out we caught just in time: days later, it was closed completely to guests. Wooden boards have been laid over the street cobbles and temporary fences and gates moved outwards to give construction crews more room inside the site itself.
This means Toy Story Playland is currently a dead-end for guests, the Barrel of Monkeys tunnel leading to nothing but an unthemed gate with no hint or tease whatsoever at what’s next.
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