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

Wednesday, 5th March 2014

Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris façade makes first appearance on La Place de Rémy

Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris, Ratatouille Disneyland Paris © 1929Mickey

While much of the Ratatouille attraction and restaurant exterior has been constructed and finished in full view of passing guests, one developing façade of La Place de Rémy in Walt Disney Studios Park has appeared noticeably shyer: the boutique, Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris.

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, Ratatouille Disneyland Paris © 1929Mickey

The result matches well with plans published online last year, revealing the full extent of how this “Rue de Paris” leading towards Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy will look.

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).

Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris Ratatouille Disneyland Paris ride plans

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.

Luckily conifer trees have grown up to mostly cover it from view, but the area between here and Hollywood Boulevard, behind Art of Disney Animation, remains a real let-down (and a perfect spot to give us our own mini Pixar Place, surely).

To put the location into context, and to show just what a transformation this development presents, let’s go back to 2010…

Ratatouille ride attraction shop construction Disneyland Paris
Ratatouille ride attraction shop construction Disneyland Paris
Ratatouille ride attraction shop construction Disneyland Paris
Ratatouille ride attraction shop construction Disneyland Paris

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.

Though Marianne, of the boutique’s name, is of course a national emblem of the French Republic, it’s been suggested that it could also be an in-joke referring to the (now apparently former) Disneyland Paris Director of Merchandise, Marianne Sharpe, who spearheaded many welcome improvements to the resort’s merchandise offer in recent years.

Inside, we no doubt expect to find the resort’s recently revamped range of “Paris” merchandise, along with items relating to the film and perhaps even culinary homewares or foodstuffs. Alongside Tower Hotel Gifts, it’ll be only the second adequately-sized boutique outside of the Studios’ Front Lot entrance area and the first in the character-filled Toon Studio, ignoring the miniscule Disney Animation Gallery and disappointing Barrel of Monkeys.

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.

LATEST PHOTOS @1929Mickey (Twitter)

Tuesday, 4th March 2014

Belgian sand sculpture festival returns to Disneyland Paris “Sand Magic” theme

Disneyland Paris Sand Magic - Sand Sculpture Festival Belgium 2014

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.

Disneyland Paris Sand Magic - Sand Sculpture Festival Belgium 2014

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.

Disney provided the theme for the show in 2011 and 2012, with countless landmarks from both parks painstakingly recreated in nothing more than golden sand — from Sleeping Beauty Castle to Main Street Motors, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and much more.

Disneyland Paris Sand Sculpture Festival 2011
Disneyland Paris Sand Sculpture Festival 2011 Disneyland Paris Sand Sculpture Festival 2011

• Read our report on the first Disneyland Paris sand sculpture festival here

• See Photos Magiques’ pictures of the 2011 festival here

Disneyland Paris went big on the sculptures in 2011: a huge Sleeping Beauty “sand” castle was crafted on the banks of Seine in August, while November saw the resort become the theme of the Bruges Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival.

Which landmarks would you like to see recreated this time around?

VIA Sand Sculpture Festival Belgium, Mickeyland.be

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)

Monday, 24th February 2014

Spider-Man photo location rumoured for Backlot in Walt Disney Studios Park

Marvel Ultimate Spider-Man

We really hope you like your Disney character rumours, because here’s another. Fellow fansite DlrpExpress.fr reports today that a Spider-Man photo location could be on its way to Backlot in Walt Disney Studios Park, occupying empty space next to Disney Blockbuster Café.

According to the rumour, the Marvel-themed “photo location” would take up space at one side of the counter service restaurant, in the corner of Backlot opposite Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Disney Blockbuster Café

This room was originally an outdoor terrace in 2002, before being enclosed soon after opening in order to add more capacity to the dining venue.

Despite this, it has rarely been regularly used and was most recently turned into a short-lived second Bureau Passport Annuel, Annual Passport sales office. Currently, it sits empty with just a few display cases and lonely High School Musical 3 posters.

Marvel Spider-Man Disney Blockbuster Cafe

Not just a welcome use for this wasted space, a Spider-Man location here in Backlot would be the first step in the long-awaited addition of Marvel characters to Walt Disney Studios Park.

Rumours have grown since Disney’s 2009 acquisition of the comic book company that this corner of the park could see a full superhero makeover. At one point, there was even speculation that Armageddon: Les Effets Speciaux  in particular could be rethemed to Spider-Man.

Yet to date, the most the park has seen is the former “High School Musical room” of Disney Blockbuster Café replaced by an “Iron Man room” — a generous way to describe putting a few new posters up, detailed in Photos Magiques’ recent report.

Iron Man room at Disney Blockbuster Cafe

Around the world, only Hong Kong Disneyland has officially announced the first Marvel-themed attraction, a 3D motion simulator dubbed Iron Man Experience. Meanwhile California, as usual, has been at the forefront with the first Marvel characters taking up residence with special exhibits and meet ‘n’ greets for Iron Man, Thor and (soon) Captain America at Innoventions.

Rumour states Disneyland Paris could welcome Spider-Man as soon as mid-March, making it the first Disney park to feature the character in any form. So far, the live “Disney” character version has only appeared very briefly, at last year’s D23 Expo (see video below).

Disneyland Paris has now, for some time, sold a large range of Spider-Man comic book and cartoon merchandise, above other Marvel characters.

While Disney would base its theme park characterisation on Disney XD‘s successful Ultimate Spider-Man animated TV series (pictured top), it’s surely no coincidence that this year also sees Sony Pictures release its second “rebooted” film, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, under its ownership of the movie rights, boosting the attractiveness of such a tie-in.

For Walt Disney Studios Park, having such a name on its books would be an incredible coup, massively elevating the park’s credentials. Certainly more so than its previous movie tie-in catalogue of Armageddon, Reign of Fire and Dinotopia, don’t you agree?

Video of Spider-Man’s D23 Disney character appearance follows… Read More…

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!

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