Five years, five months ago, Disneyland Paris began preparing for its Summer 2014 headline attraction, the follow up act if you will to the 20th anniversary – Ratatouille: The Adventure. It began behind closed doors and would be the final major addition in the former CEO Philippe Gas legacy in Disneyland Paris.
Over the years the fan community watched from afar and from above – thanks to the helpful placement of the Toy Story Parachute drop. It emerged from the ground in an expansion pad in the corner of the Walt Disney Studios. Originally we fathomed it would just be a ride, but as it grew it became clear from the foundations and from the slowly leaking details it would be a world of its own.
We take a look now, nearly six months from its opening at its story.
Designed to fill a family need in the park, Ratatouille was positioned to become a “E-Ticket” (top tier ride) for the park, using the very latest in projection, trackless car design and integrated oversized reality – it was to be one of the most immersive rides and environments to be deployed by Disneyland Paris – showing off a unique skill set of Paris to deliver some of Disney’s best attractions.
It was bold, especially as competitor Universal Studios (across the pond in Florida) opened its new Harry Potter London/Diagon Alley on the same timetable. While Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts went on to win the 2014 award for Best Ride, Paris held its own with Best Restaurant. You can see our thoughts on having ridden and seen both: Harry Potter and the Parisian Rat
Taking in the absolute pleasure of being hosted by Disneyland Paris for the opening and fan press event for Ratatouille, I had the time to get to know the history of the ride, learn the inner thinking of the imagineers and understand the concept and goals. Lofty goals to mark the starting of a park revamp and rebrand to something less garish and less bland – it achieved that for sure.
I could recall details and feature highlights from the hour long presentation, but you’re far better reading the full story from our friends; such as the excellent transcript by @CafeFantasia – The Making of Ratatouille (Presentation), Ratatouille: The Adventure – The fantastic new addition to Disneyland Paris by @DLPTownSqaure, or listen in to Dedicated to DLP Episode #40 (@DedicatedToDLP) which discusses the fan event in detail.
Six months on, and the proof is well and truly in the pudding. Disneyland Paris proudly mentions the attraction at every press event they hold. Wait times sky rocket and the guests love it. We’ve included a varying selection of commentary from some of our twitter followers, hopefully showcasing the variety of opinion and discussion.
@DLRPWonders: I loved it! The theming, the “ratmobile”, the 3D element..I really had the feeling to be in the film. However they could’ve made a better use with certain elements like the fire, which isn’t noticable at all until you’re already on to the next scene.
@IamAJuicyGirl: If I had to choose between that ugly Backlot or La Place de Rémy, I’d wait 3 hours in line too.
@NI_DLP_Geek: Very poor. The change from props to projector is too immersion breaking with the latter giving no actual sensation of movement.
@basatwork: It’s amazing!!! You don’t know what happens.. Even the 2nd time..You are part of the show….
@emmahibbs: just amazing! You notice different details each time, my family’s new favourite ride. You feel part of the movie.
@RamshackleMac: I’m a huge ratatouille fan, and the ride really gave me a feeling of being in the film. Not just great ride technically, but also animation/soundtrack/restaurant theming adding so much. Ride itself very immersive, especially the huge screens! Maybe some of the effects could be enhanced (spray from champagne was great first time, next time barely felt it).
This week (November 28th) marks the opening of the Chez Marianne boutique. The final crowing piece on the Ratatouille chess board. Early photo’s and leaked information tells us that it will be a lovely addition, eloquently themed and perfect for increasing the profitability of the area.
Crushing Crush is the best way to describe the success and demand of Ratatouille, not only does it beat the long standing holder of the perennial longest wait, it does so with a much higher capacity with all the modern tricks of Fastpass, EMH and Single Rider. By all rights, it is now the longest wait in Disneyland Paris, and after six months, still holding this crown is a testament to its build quality and story telling ability across the age ranges.
Ratatouille has delivered for Disneyland Paris, and it will be interesting to see the crowd demand fluctuate over the yearly announced theme park admissions statistics. The area and ride being so successful that now Disneyland Paris offer EMH to two parks during certain months of 2014 – a strategy rarely seen before, even in the states.