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Ratatouille dark ride is GO! Construction permit appears for “Toon Studio D” attraction

Thursday, 12th January 2012 at 14:43

It turns out, a construction permit really can be this exciting to see. A mere two days after The Walt Disney Company agreed to loan Euro Disney S.C.A. funding of €150m for park expansion, a fresh “permis de construire” has appeared at the rear of Walt Disney Studios Park for a project ostensibly titled “Toon Studio D”. This can only mean one thing: the Ratatouille dark ride is ready to go!

From the first rumours back in 2008 to the first planning application in 2009, apparent special effects testing in 2010, then final confirmation from Disney, concept art and planning permission and a visit from John Lasseter in 2011, this has been one long project. With today’s new permit signalling that construction is imminent at the Studios, it could be around another two years until the attraction opens, such is the average construction period for a large Disney attraction. All hopes are now set on 2014 for a grand opening, providing the perfect pick-up from what might be expected to be a two-year 20th Anniversary celebration, as the previous 15th, to maximise the “anniversary” draw.

Ratatouille dark ride
Ratatouille dark ride

The permit also reveals that the new showbuilding will stand 17.8 m tall with the surface area of construction totalling 5719 m2. For comparison, RC Racer reaches a height of 24.8 m, while the vast “it’s a small world” showbuilding covers around 4000m2. The date of 13th April 2011 coincides well with the publication of concept art and planning documents last May (above), which gave a very detailed look at the exterior of this new “Parisian quarter” but very little clues as to the attraction which will lie inside its walls. Rumours continue to point to a primarily projection-based experience, likely in 3D, likely utilising a “trackless” ride system first used at Pooh’s Hunny Hunt in Tokyo in 2000 and conveniently due to be used for Hong Kong Disneyland’s new Mystic Manor dark ride, due to open late 2013.

Almost more important than the dark ride, for a park so starved of facilities as Walt Disney Studios, will be the restaurant incorporated into the showbuilding itself. As we’ve hinted in the past, this probably won’t be the stuffy Gusteau’s dining experience you might have expected, but a rather more informal and fun “rat-sized” restaurant as imagined at the end of the film itself. Despite much investment in attractions, a short-sighted lack of dining provision is one of the key reasons why the Studios’ opening hours remain cut short even in peak seasons.

Euro Disney S.C.A.’s first quarter revenues announcement on 7th February could be a good moment for the company to confirm the project. Though given past experience, don’t expect anything more than a black and white footnote to trumpet what may well be the most exciting development for the Studios in all its beleaguered ten years. Something unique to the park, technologically advanced, classically Disney and inclusive to all ages. Come on Rémy, surprise us!

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  • Well they didn’t waste their time. As soon as the grant was given, off they go. Well done DLRP. look forward to seein gte new attraction in the future

  • *seeing the new attraction (sorry my computer had a mad moment

  • I cant wait to see the new ride.

  • Psst maybe it’s just me but the construction teams seem to be living in the past, last I checked we were in 2012 not 2011 – but if they’ve imagineered time travel to get the ride done faster then I’m all for it!

  • This made my day ! :D

  • @Jennytablina — The date presumably refers to the date it was granted planning permission, which shows how long they’ve been waiting for adequate funds to begin!

  • They still are not providing exciting dinning experiences in WDS Park and merchandise exclusive to the park which would encorage more purchases while in the park.

  • Fantastic news. WDS can only get better.

  • Don’t get too carried away.
    french regulations require that the license (permis de construire) be displayed as soon as it is granted. And this was granted in april 2011. The fact that the signpost appeared yesterday does not mean anything.

    Not displaying the license may incur in heavy fines. So the display of the “permis de construire” may only mean that somebody complained that it was not displayed since april 2011.

    So far there is no connection with the opening of the line of credit by TDWC, which is not a gift at all as was earlier said on DLRP today, opening that line of credit will allow Euro Disney SCA to borrow more money if needed, but so far nothing’s been announced.
    We’ll at least need to wait for the next general assembly in february for the announcement. And there is little chance construction starts before that. So there is nothing imminent about construction, and the signpost should have been displayed as soon as april 2011 in the first place

  • That may depend how you read “imminent”. I’m sure no-one expects the construction equipment to start rolling in today or tomorrow, but more like some time in the first half of this year. For a project we’ve waited over 3 years to begin, that would be considered imminent.

    I don’t know the intricacies of the French planning system, but those more familiar with regulations on Disney Central Plaza (particularly mick77 and Mouetto, just now) have suggested Disney must now wait two months from the posting of this construction permit for any appeals. In the mean time they could further clear the area, ready for construction to begin in March or April. Perfect timing to slip an announcement into the next revenues announcement and/or AGM.

  • just enough time to learn french and apply for a costumier job before it opens =D

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