Ratatouille: The Adventure

Ratatouille: The Adventure Celebrates 10 Years at Disneyland Paris

Ratatouille: The Adventure opened ten years ago today at Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris. This attraction shrinks guests down the size of Remy to go on a culinary adventure in Paris as seen in the Pixar film Ratatouille. As seen on today’s DISNEY THIS DAY, this attraction is found in La Place de Rémy. On this milestone day, Disneyland Paris shared some fun information about this attraction. The information is accompanied by some fun photos as well. Check it all out here:

A Size-Shrinking Experience Alongside an Adorable Little Chef

Dreaming up an attraction inspired by Ratatouille wasn’t a piece of cake! However, Imagineers love taking on challenges! “They don’t just imagine; they discover; they create…” Just look at what they’ve done over the past few years at Walt Disney Studios Park! The beloved park has become an awe-inspiring place where the worlds of Disney, Pixar and Marvel come to life, giving guests the opportunity to be fully immersed in their favorite stories! And what better way to take guests on a journey through the iconic scenes of Ratatouille than shrinking them to the size of rats?

The idea of shrinking guests in Disney Parks’ rides dates back to 1967 with the opening of Adventure Through Inner Space, a Disneyland’s attraction that gave guests the feeling that they had become smaller than an atom. In 1990, Imagineers took the fun to the next level by “transforming” guests into tiny bugs that wandered through the Szalinskis’ garden in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: Movie Set Adventure at Walt Disney World. Besides, Walt Disney World was not the only place that used to house an attraction themed around the popular movie that came out in the 90s. Guests who visited Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris between 1999 and 2010 also had the opportunity to take part in a size-shrinking experience by setting foot into the Imagination Institute inside the attraction Honey, I Shrunk the Audience.

In 2008, Imagineers found different ways to extend this concept to Walt Disney Studios Park! In addition to creating a larger-than-life experience dedicated to the world of Toy Story, they had their hearts set on bringing to life an attraction in which guests would “step into rats’ paws.” Besides, not only was the fan-favorite attraction originally set to be located at the spot where Andy’s garden is now located, but it was also supposed to feature oversized décors complete with Audio-Animatronics® characters and mechanical elements. However, the initially imagined setting wouldn’t have allowed guests to experience chase scenes in the same heart-pounding way as in the movie. To faithfully recreate the frantic atmosphere happening inside Gusteau’s restaurant, Imagineers designed rat-shaped vehicles that travel in every direction in a trackless ride that seamlessly blends gigantic décors with animated images projected onto giant screens. Speaking of animated images, they were brought to life by some of the original artists who worked on the movie, including director Brad Bird, animation supervisor Andy Schmidt and Kristophe Vergne, the French animator behind the character of Linguini. Incorporating animated images into an attraction like this is quite different from animating images for a movie, since shots in Ratatouille: The Adventure can last up to one minute, while they are much shorter in the feature film. By leveraging their unique expertise, artists from Pixar Animation Studios managed to make this immersive experience in the world of Ratatouille a real success!

The Taste of Adventure

When viewers watch the movie, they can’t smell the aromas of the delicious dishes cooked by the chefs of Gusteau’s restaurant. Therefore, artists from Pixar Animation Studios had to come up with a different plan to make the food look tasty. As Gusteau said, “anyone can cook!” That includes the movie’s technical team members, who spent countless hours in kitchens preparing more than 270 dishes that were represented in the movie through computer-generated images! Supervised by art director Harley Jessup, illustrator Dominique Louis and lighting manager Sharon Calahan worked closely to find a wide range of colors, reflections, and shadows that would elevate the mouthwatering aspect of the dishes.

On his end, director Brad Bird wanted the images and music to evoke the notion of taste. To turn this idea into reality, he called upon the services of Michael Gagné, a special effects artist who made use of his incredible talent to create two iconic scenes, including a scene in which Remy mixes strawberry with cheese in the old lady’s kitchen, and another scene on Paris streets, in which Remy teaches his brother Emile to be more sensitive to the delicious taste of food. Brad couldn’t have found a better artist to bring his vision to life! As an artist living with synesthesia (a neurological condition that causes people to experience more than one sense simultaneously,) Michael associates flavors with colors and moving abstract shapes in a groundbreaking way. He also collaborated with composer Michael Giacchino who brilliantly “spiced up” his instrumental arrangements to deliver a catchy and unexpected soundtrack. Besides, it’s no coincidence that one of the key songs of the attraction is taken from the overwhelming scene in which Remy fixes the soup that was inadvertently ruined by Linguini by adding unique ingredients that end up delighting the taste buds of the restaurant’s patrons. 

Unlike moviemakers, Imagineers can leverage all five senses to design unique experiences. Ratatouille: The Adventure was an amazing playground that allowed them to give free rein to their creativity! To create a multi-sensory experience for guests, Imagineers not only paid close attention to the texture of the various ingredients featured in the pantry, including fish, ham, fruits, and vegetables, but they also ensured that delicious smells would be released in some areas of the attraction. The icing on the cake was the addition of cold air inside the refrigerated room and hot air inside the oven, not to mention the waterdrops and the air that are projected towards guests when rats uncork a bottle of champagne!

And no immersive experience in the world of Ratatouille would be complete without tasting the Little Chef’s cuisine! The attraction is also home to a table-service restaurant that allows guests to take part in a culinary experience inspired by the movie. This larger-than-life setting features marmalade jar-shaped tables, seats that are reminiscent of wire cages for champagne corks, cocktail umbrella-shaped parasols, plate-shaped walls, and giant cook books! Speaking of cooking, there is no doubt that the restaurant’s menu came out of Gusteau’s team’s imagination, as it features traditional French fare such as ratatouille! To accompany the delicious dishes prepared by the restaurant’s chefs, the wine menu even includes a wine bottle exclusively available at “Bistrot Chez Remy!”

Pixar’s Depiction of Paris

Just like the beloved movie, the whole Place de Remy area is a love letter to the capital city of France.

As soon as guests step into the themed area, they are brought on a journey through the magical streets of Paris thanks to the background music. Inspired by the movie soundtrack, it combines several genres, including jazz – which was introduced in France in the 1930s thanks to Django Reinhardt (who turns out to be the artist after whom Remy’s dad was named!) and his famous Quintette du Hot Club de France band – as well as accordion, which is a staple instrument of French culture!

Another thing that makes Paris so special is the breathtaking Haussmann architecture! Place de Remy gives many nods to the City of Love, as it features buildings that look like those that can be seen in the iconic Grands Boulevards district, as well as traditional street furniture, such as lamp posts and benches. This neighborhood is not only famous for its Art Nouveau design – which is elegantly reflected through the wooden details and the stained-glass windows that adorn the shop Chez Marianne – Souvenirs de Paris – but it’s also home to a host of theaters (including Théâtre de la Renaissance, Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin, Opéra-Comique…) It is no coincidence that the attraction entrance looks like a theater entrance, with its ticket booths, its marquee, and its posters!

Imagineers went above and beyond to ensure that every inch of this beautiful square would be filled with details aimed at immersing guests into the magic of Paris! As such, the outdoor queue that extends along Allée des Marchands is also reminiscent of old Parisian covered marketplaces such as Pavillon Baltard, which used to be the go-to spot for all chefs looking to purchase fresh eggs and chicken meat. 

Inspired by the famous Place Dauphine located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, Place de Remy was envisioned as a unique space celebrating the Parisian way of life. The design of the fountain that stands in the middle of the square also gives nods to the magnificent Place des Vosges’ fountains, with their large bowls featuring lion head sculptures. However, since Ratatouille invites the viewers to embark on an adventure alongside an adorable Little Chef, the lion heads adorning the fountain were replaced with rat sculptures! This masterpiece was dreamed up and designed by none other than the movie’s art director himself, Harley Jessup, who was also involved in the development of several scenes in the attraction.

Although the themed area pays a vibrant homage to Paris, it does not offer a fully faithful representation of the capital city of France. Imagineers actually drew their inspiration from the vision of Paris that Pixar artists delivered in the movie to create a unique and incredibly immersive environment. With its pure colors, reimagined architecture and reduced scale, the version of the City of Lights that comes to life at Walt Disney Studios Park looks straight out of an animated movie. To top it all off, guests who visit Place de Remy also get to see real-life versions of iconic elements featured in the movie, like Colette’s motorbike and Chef Skinner’s scooter. Thanks to Imagineers, guests « peuvent enfin se régaler » !

In 2017, Daps Magic team member Murray visited Disneyland Paris and filmed this attraction in 360. Check out the video of it here:

What do you think of this attraction and this milestone anniversary of it? Have you experienced it before? What do you find most interesting about it? What do you like best about it? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!