It’s a glorious, sunny day in our corner of Europe today, with the feeling that Spring has truly sprung. The same could finally be the case for Disneyland Paris’ much-rumoured Spring Festival season, with new logos and creative text published this week.
The three designs, shared by Dlrp Express, take the standard Disneyland Paris logo in a fresh shade of green and apply colourful flowers, climbing plant shoots, a bright pink butterfly and musical notes floating in the air.
Both this rather over-the-top design, and a more discreet, flatter version have been released.
Alongside those is a new graphic to complete the set: a green petalled flower with Mickey Mouse-shaped centre, plus the same pink butterfly and musical notes.
The first piece of text describing the season also appears to have been unearthed. Although we don’t have this directly from an official source, it’s unlikely even a fan could write something so typically Disney, let alone produce the logos above:
“Swing into a Disney Spring, blooming with magic at Disneyland® Paris. Color and music blossom throughout Disneyland® Park. And with the smell of flowers and fun in the air, it’s sure to be magnifiScent.”
Rumours point towards the new season beginning around 5th April and running until 22nd June 2014. Not only would this fill a gap in the schedule where Disneyland Paris has previously launched a year-long festival, it’d fit remarkably well with speculation of Ratatouille press and soft opening dates, which could perhaps start taking place around 21st June.
So, Disneyland Paris has a brand new season of entertainment and decorations beginning in less than a month — why on earth isn’t it advertising it? Besides the fact that the resort often leaves promoting things quite late, there are clues in the rumours so far.
• Read our previous article to learn more about what the new season could include: New “Spring Festival” season set to fill April – June months at Disneyland Paris
If the “main event” of the season’s first year is only going to use the Casey Jr parade train, repurposed for the millionth time, and some borrowed cars from Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars, it definitely hints at something that will be more a trial concept rather than a fully-fleshed season from the outset.
Disneyland Paris has grown, improved and redefined its Christmas and particularly its Halloween seasons over several years recently, and likely wouldn’t want to create too much hype over something that is such a completely new idea. Will the theme, decorations and events work? Will guests actually buy into a “Spring” season, as a reason to revisit?
If the season’s a success, we can surely expect it to return next year, bigger and better, with a full promotional push as a third “pillar” season of the year in official brochures. It’s a perfect way for Disneyland Park to feel “fresh” each spring even when the resort doesn’t have a genuine new attraction to offer. But for this, the first year we might “Swing Into Spring” (it’s still not confirmed!), it’ll probably be more a pleasant bonus. Just like today’s weather.
Posting a picture of the orchestra playing away behind a Chef Rémy plush toy and a Linguini PEZ dispenser, the Incredibles mastermind said:
— Brad Bird (@BradBirdA113) March 4, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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…
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.
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.
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 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?
Such surprise, relief and excitement when, for the first time in forever, Disneyland Paris was right on the Disney movie schedule ball in featuring Frozen so heavily during the last Disney’s Enchanted Christmas, a perfect match for the season.
A landmark spot in Disney Dreams! of Christmas and a new redecorated float with Anna and Elsa in Disney Magic on Parade! were the talk of the season, appearing even before the film’s release. It felt like the old days of the ’90s, when Disney’s latest animation releases from Aladdin to Hunchback and beyond were always featured in the park through their year of release.
Fast forward to the thawing days of March, Frozen has just achieved an incredible double: two Academy Awards, for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song, and — no doubt even better to Disney’s eyes — passing the heralded $1bn worldwide box office total.
Anna and Elsa still appear on their Disney Magic on Parade! float, shared with similar Walt Disney Animation Studios successes Rapunzel and Flynn, but they’ve still yet to step down from that float to actually meet and greet their increasingly adoring public.
That means, for all the hundreds of thousands of guests visiting the park during Frozen‘s finest hour, their one and only chance of getting a glimpse or even a photo of these new heroines is a blink-and-you’ll miss it appearance during the parade.
And would anyone thinking about visiting even know they’re there? The parade’s page on the official website, for example, doesn’t feature any photos of them or, err, any actual text whatsoever. There’s nothing official anywhere to actually tell people they’re there.
In classic style, they’ve seized an opportunity yet completely missed it at the same time.
Disneyland Paris is constantly trying to create a pressing, immediate intent for people to visit. A reason why people, who’ve often thought about visiting but hesitated — until their kids are older, until *ahem* a new attraction date is announced — would finally get up and go.
Given the astounding success of Frozen and “Let It Go”, the sheer number of people who must have seen and loved this brand new Disney tale, could this not be a good enough reason?
Doesn’t that parade appearance deserve promoting? Don’t Anna and Elsa deserve an actual meet ‘n’ greet? Wouldn’t it be a fantastic draw to bring the Christmas “Let It Go” scene (or a new scene) to the regular Disney Dreams! show, if only for this year?
When there’s an opportunity like this, don’t let it go…
This month’s Pin Trading releases include two more Disney Dreams! pins, two Eiffel Tower pins and another art nouveau Paris pin. Meanwhile in March 2014, Scrooge McDuck finds a pot of gold at the end of the St Patrick’s Day rainbow, Rapunzel represents Printemps (Spring) 2014 and Minnie Mouse gets a touch of Parisian avant-garde with a new “Oh La La” set.
Which ones would you like to add to your collection?
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