Wednesday, 19th March 2014

Ratatouille rebranded: The Ride becomes “Ratatouille: The Adventure”

Ratatouille The Adventure Disneyland Paris ride logo

What stuck in the throat more than Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy? For many fans, it was a four letter word: ride. The word that many, and most of all Disney themselves, tend to discourage when talking about an “attraction” was surprisingly plumped for in finding a suitably snappy English title for Ratatouille. Had Disney lost their morals?

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”.

Not only does this elevate the attraction somewhat, making it sound less like a fairground “ride” and perhaps more like a €150 million state-of-the-art dark ride, it also matches the start of the French “L’Aventure” title and perhaps helps to hint that there’s more than just a ride: a restaurant, a shop and a whole area development, too.

“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.

Ratatouille: The Ride Disneyland Paris English trailer logoRatatouille: L'Attraction Disneyland Paris Français trailer logo

This is now the latest in a series of names to be associated with the project, starting with the working titles “Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity!” and “Ratatouille: Désastre en Cuisine”, then the final official title, and then the first video trailers announcing “Ratatouille: The Ride” and “Ratatouille: L’Attraction”.

Well, there’s nothing Disneyland Paris loves more than a good name change, but what do you think of this latest one, an improvement?

Read previous Ratatouille: The Adventure news here!

Saturday, 8th March 2014

Director Brad Bird tweets from Michael Giacchino’s Ratatouille ride scoring session

Disneyland Paris Ratatouille ride scoring sessions © Brad Bird

Michael Giacchino’s recent Instagram insights into his Ratatouille ride soundtrack scoring sessions have been joined by a tweet from Ratatouille director himself Brad Bird.

Posting a picture of the orchestra playing away behind a Chef Rémy plush toy and a Linguini PEZ dispenser, the Incredibles mastermind said:

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.

Last month, the film’s original composer, Michael Giacchino, began sharing a number of video clips from a whole week of scoring sessions, featuring soundbites of the attraction’s new soundtrack which he has composed himself.

Should Bird’s tweet be “live” and the scoring sessions have resumed, it really shows how much work is going in to provide music for the ride, restaurant and La Place de Rémy exterior.

This isn’t Brad Bird’s first mention of Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy on his Twitter account. In March 2012, long before Disneyland Paris officially acknowledged the attraction, he gave a short response to a fan stating he was very excited about the project and that “It’s going to be really cool.”

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.

Friday, 7th March 2014

Ratatouille ride opening dates: what’s rumoured, what’s reported, what’s realistic?

Ratatouille Disneyland Paris ride opening date

Ratatouille: The Ride will 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.

Because though the text — date aside — sticks quite closely to the resort’s official copy, the images do anything but. The map of Walt Disney Studios Park which appears to show the attraction is a widely circulated, fan-created image superimposing Epcot’s France pavilion map onto the back of Toon Studio.

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.

Ratatouille Disneyland Paris ride opening date

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?

SudPresse is apparently well known for such questionable reporting — a search even brings up an “exclusive” from June 2012, recirculating the fansite rumour of the time that a Spider-Man theme would replace Armageddon: Les Effets Speciaux.

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 only take place over a Friday, Saturday, Sunday weekend.

Ratatouille: The Ride - Disneyland Paris - Concept Art Models Construction

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.

Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy

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.

Disneyland Paris always separates its press grand openings from its public inaugurations. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, for example, opened to the public on 22nd December 2007 but didn’t have its big grand opening event until 5th April 2008.

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?

Thursday, 6th March 2014

Ratatouille text hints at smells and senses of the ride, plus a chase from Chef Skinner

Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy

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.

Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy

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).

Skinner as the villain of the story is confirmed again, the bad-tempered chef likely the reason why our Ratmobiles will be so desperate to scurry from location to location.

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.

Labelled “Ratatouille – Family”, this version shows only four riders despite the Ratmobiles having a capacity of six — presumably, the other 0.4 children can’t be seen. A previous version pictured six riders of an older age group, so hopefully the €150 million state-of-the-art dark ride won’t just be marketed as something exclusively for six year olds.

Update

Here’s one of the likely scents to be smelled inside Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy: oranges! This was confirmed to us by Jay Espindola, who’s involved with ITV’s This Morning programme on British TV, which often runs competitions promoting Disneyland Paris.

VIA Disneyland Paris Press

Tuesday, 25th February 2014

Daisy & Goofy join the drawing board at Art of Disney’s Animation Academy

Art of Disney Animation, Animation Academy, Disneyland Paris

Two new character illustrations have been added to the Animation Academy drawing classes at Art of Disney Animation in Walt Disney Studios Park.

Along with old favourites such as Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh, guests will now be able to draw Daisy Duck and Goofy throughout the day at the Toon Studio attraction.

Disneyland Paris announced the additions on its official Twitter account, which it says are thanks to a collaboration between the artists and Walt Disney Imagineering creatives.

Art of Disney Animation, Animation Academy, Disneyland Paris

It’s a minor plussing, but we’re glad of anything which sees the Studios freshened up outside of La Place de Rémy. In fact, Disney — why not see if the rat himself can be added, too?

VIA @Disney_ParisEN (Twitter)

Tuesday, 25th February 2014

Daisy & Goofy join the drawing board at Art of Disney’s Animation Academy

Art of Disney Animation, Animation Academy, Disneyland Paris

Two new character illustrations have been added to the Animation Academy drawing classes at Art of Disney Animation in Walt Disney Studios Park.

Along with old favourites such as Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh, guests will now be able to draw Daisy Duck and Goofy throughout the day at the Toon Studio attraction.

Disneyland Paris announced the additions on its official Twitter account, which it says are thanks to a collaboration between the artists and Walt Disney Imagineering creatives.

Art of Disney Animation, Animation Academy, Disneyland Paris

It’s a minor plussing, but we’re glad of anything which sees the Studios freshened up outside of La Place de Rémy. In fact, Disney — why not see if the rat himself can be added, too?

VIA @Disney_ParisEN (Twitter)

Friday, 21st February 2014

Crush’s Coaster in line for permanent Single Rider, more queue improvements

Crush's Coaster - Walt Disney Studios Park - Disneyland Paris

Remember when Crush’s Coaster opened in 2007 and immediately couldn’t cope with demand? Well dudes, almost seven years later something permanent is finally going to be done about the capacity-starved Toon Studio coaster’s popularity.

During its four week closure from 17th March to 11th April, Crush’s Coaster will reportedly see the addition of a permanent Single Rider line, as well as an expansion of the regular queue line itself, something fans including ourselves have requested since opening.

Cast Member sources Pretty Wyatt, AnonyMouse and DynastyGo on Disney Central Plaza forum report that two options were presented to improve the standard queue line: making permanent the temporary ropes which wind their way in front of Flying Carpets Over Agrabah, and/or a genuine enlargement of the exterior queue area into what is currently “backstage”.

Thankfully, the second option has apparently been green-lit, leaving the installation of more permanent barriers around the Flying Carpets “oasis” area as an added possibility.

This is great news for visitors joining the queue and the area as a whole. The temporary ropes constantly clog up what is already a cramped portion of the land, especially now guests are also heading through to Toy Story Playland and soon to La Place de Rémy. Making the outside queue area at the side of Studio 5 bigger would be a long-overdue decision.

Crush's Coaster queue - Walt Disney Studios Park - Disneyland Paris

Single Rider is also absolutely the right choice to maximise capacity of the ride. We reported in-depth on the Crush’s Coaster Fastpass tests in 2008, quickly proven unworkable for a ride with such low capacity. Fastpass can obviously never add capacity to a finite ride, whereas Single Rider can at least maximise capacity to as close to 100% as possible, filling every empty seat in groups of odd numbers. Both Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop and RC Racer now work successful, permanent Single Rider lines, and one is planned for Ratatouille right from the start.

In fact, it’s probably Rémy we have to thank for this long-awaited improvement. With all the new guests expected to flock to Walt Disney Studios Park for the E-Ticket dark ride, some will inevitably also help to make the Crush’s Coaster queue longer. Leaving things as they are, with even longer queues spilling out into the street, would not present a good image.

Flying Carpets Over Agrabah - Walt Disney Studios Park - Disneyland Paris

In similar fashion, we’ve suddenly seen the front of Animagique get some paint work (if not enough work). And, from 14th April right through the whole of May at least, Flying Carpets Over Agrabah will be closed for a thorough top-to-bottom refurbishment that will reportedly see the aerial carousel completely dismantled and rebuilt, just as its cousin Orbitron – Machines Volantes has enjoyed at least twice in recent memory.

That’s a lot of very welcome spit and polish ahead of the land’s newest ride opening. (Let’s just pretend the un-themed pathway behind Art of Disney Animation doesn’t exist, shall we?)

Wednesday, 19th February 2014

Linguini face character coming to Disneyland Paris for Ratatouille ride opening?

Linguini, Ratatouille © Disney

Could Alfredo Linguini, Rémy’s human accomplice, be on his way to La Place de Rémy this year, too? Disneyland Paris recently posted an audition notice (below) on its official Casting website calling for actors to interpret the Ratatouille role “as part of a new project”.

Auditionees are required to have a “strong artistic presence” and “lots of energy”, as well as measuring a precise 1.73m to 1.85m tall. A good level of English is required as well as French, plus a definite ability to improvise in the role, son of the late Auguste Gusteau.

Disneyland Paris Ratatouille Linguini face character casting notice

Applications were to be received by 16th February, but the casting notice doesn’t give any other dates. Often these notices will give a rough idea of employment dates for the roles being cast. So, as well as not giving any clues as to the attraction‘s definite opening, this can’t tell us whether the role of a live Linguini could be a regular feature around the new attraction or perhaps just a one-off for the grand opening ceremonies.

Nevertheless, a Linguini “face character” would be another first for Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park in the world of Disney parks. Up until now, only Rémy and Emile have become park characters, being regular favourites of Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars in particular.

Meanwhile, in other online Ratatouille: The Ride news, the first mention of the attraction recently slipped onto the official Disneyland Paris website, on the main Walt Disney Studios Park page:

Disneyland Paris website - Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy

Helpfully, the small feature box states: “The exact opening date is not confirmed. Please contact us.” It also surprisingly lists the name of the attraction as its full L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy moniker, no doubt infuriating for those Disney marketeers who probably spent fifty board meetings deciding on just calling it “The Ride” for all English advertising.

• Catch up on all our Ratatouille ride news and rumours here!

Monday, 17th February 2014

Michael Giacchino shares more Ratatouille ride soundtrack previews, first audio

Michael GIacchino Ratatouille ride soundtrack

Ratatouille composer Michael Giacchino has continued to share photos and even videos from his recording sessions for Ratatouille: The Ride at Capitol Records in Hollywood, California.

While we’ve been enjoying some of the first true sneak peeks inside the ride, the film’s original composer has been hard at work from Tuesday through to Friday to provide its soundtrack, sharing some of the results on his own Instagram account. Day one brought us a lone shot of the ride’s song book, but by day two Giacchino was sharing exciting videos from the sessions, perhaps our first audio peek at the finished score.

Other images included a look at the music notes for “Colette Shows Him the Ropes” and a photo of drummer Harvey Mason and bass player Abe Laboriel.

Michael GIacchino Ratatouille ride soundtrackMichael GIacchino Ratatouille ride soundtrack

We mustn’t forget that as well as L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, there’s a queue line, exterior street (La Place de Rémy) and the restaurant (Le Bistrot Chez Rémy) to score, which will require some rather more mellow sounds than Rémy’s dash through the ride itself.

Below, we’ve gathered together all the videos — take a listen! Read More…

Thursday, 13th February 2014

Tom Fitzgerald presents first Ratatouille ride sneak peek – concepts, models, construction!

Ratatouille: The Ride - Tom Fitzgerland Walt Disney Imagineering - Disneyland Paris

Besides the numbers, questions and voting, yesterday’s Euro Disney S.C.A. Annual General Meeting had just one thing on the agenda: finally lifting the curtain — if only a smidgen — on the making of Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy from a Walt Disney Imagineering perspective.

Doing the honours was Tom Fitzgerald, the Senior Creative Executive who has been closely involved with the expansion of Walt Disney Studios Park in the past ten years, particularly Toon Studio and Toy Story Playland. Brand new, previously unseen concept art, scale models and behind-the-scenes photos from the making of the attraction were all revealed for the first time in Tom’s exciting five-minute presentation, finally satisfying the fevered desire for more information and visuals from the ride and restaurant amongst us fans.

Ratatouille: The Ride - Disneyland Paris - Concept Art Models ConstructionRatatouille: The Ride - Disneyland Paris - Concept Art Models Construction

Continues with video, 24 stills and full transcript… Read More…

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