Originally set to open during Summer 2020, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is finally opening its doors – to Annual Passholders, anyway. Although the Ratatouille ride Epcot opening date isn’t officially set until October 1, 2021, helping to kick off Disney World’s 50th anniversary and “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” we were able to get a sneak peek during one of the Annual Passholder Preview days. So, grab your chef’s hat and hold onto your whiskers as we dig into this immersive new ride.
But First, Some Context
Epcot has been in need of some TLC for quite some time now. So, when the park’s planned transformation was announced, people were, understandingly, thrilled – if a little apprehensive. Why? To put it bluntly, people get a little overprotective when it comes to Disney World attractions and the vision Walt had for them.
World Showcase was imagined as Disney’s take on the World’s Fair (i.e., more food, alcohol, and culture, less Disney princesses and talking rodents). Although, while many guests enjoy the more grown-up atmosphere, Disney is bound and determined to shake the stigma of Epcot not being a good theme park for kids. Take for example this quote from Bob Chapek, then-chairman of Disney Parks, during his announcement about Epcot’s expansion when he explained that the park’s planned revamp would make Epcot “more Disney, timeless, relevant, family-friendly.”
More Disney, more family-friendly. In other words, bring on the Disney characters. Walt Disney Imagineering Portfolio Creative Executive Tom Fitzgerald took things even further, explaining the updated inspiration for World Showcase:
“Our artists at Pixar and Walt Disney Feature Animation are all inspired by…cultures of the world. It’s what they look for as they look for inspirations for new stories. We have such a wealth of incredible stories that bring a diverse and inclusionary perspective – we really felt that was important to bring to World Showcase.
So, that’s the shift for World Showcase – the real countries and the fantastic stories they inspire. That means Norway can talk about Frozen… and, obviously, Ratatouille was inspired by France and Paris.”
And that brings us back to the rat and the ride of the hour: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Epcot’s new ride (a carbon copy of Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, or ‘Remy’s Totally Zany Adventure’ in Disneyland Paris), may be a bit too character-filled for some people’s tastes, but no one can say that it isn’t true to the source material – both the film and the City of Lights. Or, as Fitzgerald decreed, there is “no bigger valentine to France than Ratatouille.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure: A Rodent’s-Eye View
The new Disney Ratatouille ride takes guests on a madcap journey through Gusteau’s Paris restaurant – from the perspective of the Little Chef himself. That’s right, you take the form of a rat in this larger-than-life caper. A rat race, if you will. However, the adventure actually begins outside the attraction in the new expansion to Epcot’s France Pavilion.
The Epcot France Pavilion expansion is located behind the existing facades and extends over towards the Morocco Pavilion, with the entrance to the area running along the water facing the Disney Skyliner. Guests pass beneath an Art Deco-inspired archway styled after some of the signs that lead to the Paris metro.
As you wander through further and turn the corner, little details hint at the notion that this isn’t quite the Paris that you’re used to. No, you’ve entered “Remy’s Paris.” At first glance, the weathered iron and manhole covers, quintessential streetlamps, and quaint storefronts look like any you’d find on the streets of Old Paris. But, if you look a little closer, you’ll notice touches that could only be found in the land of Ratatouille. A rat-infested water fountain (it’s a lot more adorable than it sounds), silhouettes of the Little Chef, windows and wine bottles emblazoned with the face of Anton Ego, the scathing food critic (apparently) turned vintner from the film.
The biggest clue, however, is the iconic Gusteau’s sign gazing out over the square. That and, of course, the ubiquitous wait time sign, crowned with a Remy-themed seal just in case there was still any question about what this new neighborhood was all about. For those who want to commemorate their visit to Remy Ratatouille Adventure, a PhotoPass Photographer should also be hanging around ready to snap a photo of you standing in front of the fountain and Gusteau’s Michelin stars.
The whole area is designed to feel as if it’s a charming Parisian boulevard overlooking the Seine, and it definitely succeeds. And do you know what a relaxing stroll along the riverside calls for? A delicately crispy crêpe overflowing with tasty fillings.
Luckily, this is also where you’ll find a new Epcot French restaurant, La Crêperie de Paris. Here you’ll be treated to a tantalizing array of traditional crêpes and gluten-free galettes filled with the flavors of France’s Brittany region. There’s even one dedicated to Remy himself: The Ratatouille galette stuffed with zucchini, tomato, and eggplant. Diners can also choose from soup or salad, along with a traditional Brittany cider to wash it all down with. Best of all, if you’d rather have food on the go, just visit Crêpes À Emporter, the restaurant’s walk-up window.
Once you’ve finished fueling up on this French staple, you may want to check out the fun Ratatouille-themed merchandise on offer around this corner of Disney. Remy, Ratatouille’s Little Chef, features prominently in much of the stuff that’s available. When we walked past, there were a few really cute items on display like a glow necklace made up of wedges of cheese and a light-up chef’s hat that looks like Remy is hiding underneath it. If you look long enough, he even makes a surprise appearance.
After donning your toque and having your fill of fresh crêpes, it’s time for the main event. To enter the ride, you’ll head deep into the pavilion expansion, right under the glowing Gusteau’s sign. The entrance is styled after a theater, though there aren’t too many details to speak of aside from a few ticket booths.
In fact, if there’s anything to critique about this ride it’s the rather bland queue. Disappointingly unremarkable, in fact, aside from a couple of scenes. Outside, the line is, thankfully, covered to protect against the inevitable Central Florida rain shower. Inside, along with being air-conditioned, most of the queue is made up of winding hallways blanketed with Remy-inspired wallpapers with flowery, French flourishes and, occasionally, visual odes to some of France’s culinary passions like cheese, wine, and coffee.
Then suddenly, out of the endless wallpapered switchbacks comes one of the most delightful parts of the entire queue. You seem to have made your way out of the theater and onto the chimney-ridden rooftops of Paris. This is one of those times when you’re content to wait and appreciate what’s around you rather than have your nose in your phone. Those parts of the queue that came before? Let’s just say, get ready to fire up your Play Disney Parks app.
Overlooking the Gusteau’s sign blazing brightly in all its four-Michelin-starred glory, this rooftop scene is really where the magic begins for us. If you sit around long enough and listen closely, the Parisian streets below you come alive. Motorbikes zip past, dogs bark – you might even get a special message from Chef Gusteau himself.
Continuing on, the next scene you come to is actually exclusive to Walt Disney World. A colorful artist’s loft, this charming area is filled with delightful details. Amidst the paintings of the Eiffel Tower, empty canvases, and an artist figure, you’ll notice the painter’s current work-in-progress. But this isn’t just any painting – it’s a pre-ride screen touting safety information for your upcoming culinary adventure.
After just a few more switchbacks, you eventually reach the area to pick up your 3D glasses. Like much of the queue, there isn’t any special theming for these specs. Following the distribution area, your next stop is the loading area. Designed to look like a supersized version of the same rooftop you were on earlier, while you may spy occasional silhouettes of people and pets in the windows, you’re now officially seeing things from the perspective of a rat.
And what better way to feel like you’re a rat than to ride around in a rat? Enter the rat-mobile. With 2 rows (the back is raised so views aren’t obstructed), enough seats for 6 guests, and a single lap-bar restraint, this ride vehicle isn’t just adorable, it’s also one of the keys to your entire experience. There is also no height restriction, so kids of all ages are free to ride.
Similar to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Ratatouille Disney World ride is trackless. Rather than a traditional track, each rat-mobile rests on top of a very large magnet and moves along with the help of another magnet on the opposite side of the floor. The magnets are then programmed to create the ride vehicle’s unique path.
Not only does this help make the ride much smoother, but it actually allows the rat-mobile to move similarly to, well, a rat. It can scurry, zig and zag, cower in fear, slow down or speed up – you get the picture. The whole thing starts from the moment you scamper off for your journey with the rest of your group of rats (also known as a mischief, which just happens to be the codename given to the ride by Disney Imagineers when developing the attraction for Disneyland Paris).
The 3D glasses come into play from the moment you turn the corner in your rat-mobile in this 4D dark ride. Like Disney World’s other trackless rides and several rides at Universal Orlando including TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, massive screens are a major part of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Some (*raises hand*) may find the reliance on screens a tad bit disappointing. However, keeping in mind the small footprint where the Ratatouille Epcot ride now stands, the screens do help to maximize the action that can take place in a petite space.
To begin, you’ll meet Remy as he ponders what to make for dinner, gazing down at the bustling kitchen at Gusteau’s below. Suddenly, you plunge through the roof and into the restaurant below. From there, it’s a mad dash under ovens, past workers’ feet, through a pantry, and more in a desperate bid to escape the vengeful wrath of Skinner.
As you dart about, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the few physical set pieces that are used. The pantry scene takes riders through the restaurant’s supplies, with supersized fish, giant ham legs, enormous oranges, and other colossal ingredients next to and above you.
As this is a 4D attraction, you also get to enjoy a few surprising sensorial effects, along with accompanying reactions from your rat-mobile. Breath in the smell of baked goods, get splashed by mop water, feel the heat of an oven’s pilot light as it flames on above you. Keep in mind that while the effects are more intense than what you might experience over at Magic Kingdom on Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure sensory surprises won’t be intimidating for young children.
Another part of the ride that shines is when the mischief of rat-mobiles breaks up for a little solo romp through the walls. Again, screens play heavily into this part, but it’s so fast-paced and well-designed with occasional bumps in the road that you truly feel like a rat trying to run from some broom-wielding human.
At the end of it all, you’re rewarded with a view of Remy’s kitchen, hordes of family and friends, and the promise of a warm meal. Ratatouille, of course. Unfortunately, unlike the version of the ride at Disneyland Paris which empties out into an actual restaurant called Bistrot Chez Rémy, there is no Ratatouille restaurant, Disney World-style, for guests to dine in.
How to Ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
If you’re ready to have your own culinary caper on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, there are a few things to be aware of. First, like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the Ratatouille ride will use a virtual queue system. Guests with a valid Disney Park Pass reservation for that day will be able to start booking a spot on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure as early as 7am, with more spaces becoming available at 1pm. A standby queue won’t be used following the ride’s initial opening, so you will need to remember to fire up My Disney Experience to reserve a time.
Should you not be able to snag a seat in the virtual queue, not to worry –Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will also be available as an Individual Attraction Selection once Disney Genie launches later this year. Unlike with Disney Genie+ which will be priced at $15 per ticket, no rates have yet been released for Individual Attraction Selections; however, we imagine that Disney should be dropping them soon with the October 1stRatatouille ride Epcot opening less than a month away.
Well, that’s a wrap on this Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure review. We’re fans of this cute, kid-friendly ride. Sure, the screens can get to be a little unsightly at times where other props and set pieces weren’t used, but they help to maximize the small space the ride is in. We love that it’s a new ride – well, new-to-Epcot ride – rather than just a rethemed existing ride.
To top it all off, the expansion is beautiful and fits in perfectly with the rest of the pavilion, respecting the spirit of Paris while still working in plenty of playful, Ratatouille-inspired touches without feeling too, dare we say, cheesy. It’s the perfect mélange of French culture with a sprinkling of pixie dust and Disney characters.
Before we go, we’d be remiss not to mention that we did experience a few technical issues before we even got on the ride. The attraction was down during our passholder preview time slot and went down again just as we reached the loading zone. We also heard that the ride had to be evacuated at least one time so far during its Annual Passholder and D23 preview run. However, this is to be expected from a brand-new ride. We’re confident that they’ll continue working out the kinks the closer we get to October.