Disneyland Paris is the perfect home for the new 3D-motion ride based on the 2007 Oscar winning Pixar movie Ratatouille. When it opened on July 10th 2014, the ride proved to be an instant hit. But is it as good as critics say? Is it worth the trip to Euro Disney?
Since arriving I had already visited the Michael Jackson movie experience Captain EO, which had updated its 3D but not its in-theater effects, and the simulation space journey Star Tours. Both excellent but both dated. And so, jumping from these 80s Disneyland attractions to Ratatouille: The Adventure, I had almost forgotten what modern technology could accomplish.
I was lucky enough to arrive at the ride as soon as the park opened, although the queue was already bustling with families and fanatics. Fortunately, there are two other queuing options. You can get a free Fastpass – which you receive at a terminal situated near the ride – and this gives you a specific time in which you return to the ride with minimum wait. Or you can determine if the single-riders queue is faster at the time you arrive. I did the latter.
There are 36 ‘ratmobiles’, each able to hold six people. Three at the front and three at the back. From the moment you queue to the moment you sit in the ratmobile, Michael Giacchino’s beautiful film score plays in the background to settle you into the Parisian mood. Once the ride starts and you’ve popped on your 3D glasses, a floating Chef Gusteau greets you in both French and English. The ride is smart enough to blend both French and English into the dialogue without it feeling like a forced translation. The beginning of the five minute journey was actually my favourite moment. You first stop at a large 3D screen showing the glass roof above Gusteau’s kitchen, but you’re not aware of the screen and the technology once you begin. You believe you’re there, on that roof with Remy and Gusteau.
When Remy falls and plunges into the kitchen then the fun really begins. Now you are completely immersed in Remy’s world. The little rat’s point-of-view takes you across the kitchen floor, dodging danger at every step. The ratmobile then pulls away from the first big screen and moves through corridors filled with enlarged food to another big screen. This time, you find yourself in the dining area running from a giant Skinner and being helped by an even bigger Linguini. But things get better for Remy’s rat race. When the ratmobile travels again to one of the last screens, we see Remy cooking with all his buddies and you’re hit with an aroma of incredibly realistic cooking smells. Again, you forget you’re watching a projection. You’re there in that kitchen taking in all the lively and colorful surroundings.
When the ride was finished, I found myself with two cravings. One, a desperate need to watch the movie Ratatouille again. And two, to dine where the food looked and smelt as good as it did on the ride. This is where the park shows its smarts. The exit leads right outside to Bistrot Chez Remy. A place that describes itself as ‘Typical French dining with a rat’s eye view’. Basically, you eat excellent food while surrounded by large pots and pans that make you feel rodent-sized. If the animated film is one of your ultimate favourites – or if you have a hankering for ratatouille stew – then booking a table at Remy’s is worthy of your Euros. Just trust me on this one.
When people say it’s a ride ‘the whole family can enjoy’, they’re definitely on the money. And not just because there are no height limits or age restrictions but, like the film itself, you feel it wasn’t just to entertain small children or to pass the time. This may sound strange, but the ride has heart. It’s a gimmick, sure, but the characters are exactly as you remember them. It is a perfect extension to the movie. And, if you find yourself in Disneyland Paris, this must be your first port of call. I had experienced a lot in my four days at the park but no speedy rollercoaster or Mickey Mouse meet-and-greet quite compared with the Ratatouille ride. It’s truly a satisfying experience.