Construction walls are down around the iconic Art Nouveau Métro marquee, and the first section of the France expansion leading to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is open at EPCOT. In this post, we’ll tour the Streets of Paris area, rate the restrooms, and offer speculation about a grand opening date for Walt Disney World’s rat ride.
As a quick recap, the Streets of Paris expansion of the France pavilion was announced 5 years ago at the D23 Expo and includes several additions. Most notable to Walt Disney World fans is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, a screen-centric trackless dark ride cloned from Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris.
Additionally, there’s La Crêperie de Paris by celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse, featuring a menu inspired by France’s Brittany region. This crêperie will offer both a table service restaurant and Crêpes A Emporter quick-service window. Finally, there’s the obligatory merchandise stand, restrooms, stroller parking, and various thematic flourishes…
If you watched any of the Disney Parks holiday specials between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you’ve probably seen some sneak peeks of the expansion and inside the attraction. Walt Disney World has also leveraged social media attention around Ratatouille: the TikTok Musical to further promote the addition.
While Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure was slated to open last summer, it was delayed until 2021. As we discuss in our Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Opening & Info post, the attraction has been more or less finished since last fall, ready to open whenever advantageous.
Last week, the construction walls came down around the Paris Métro-inspired “Ratatouille” archway for recording promotional footage, and was replaced by movable planters.
This week, those planters were removed, revealing Rue Auguste Gusteau…
In keeping with the style of the World Showcase France pavilion, this promenade has lovely details, planters, fixtures, facades, and even a few murals.
Some of the art is clearly fodder for Instagram, but it looks nice apart from that. At least Imagineering didn’t go in the direction of Rue Crémieux in the real Paris.
Here’s a look at the quick-service window and queue at Crêpes A Emporter. No menu is up yet, nor are there “please wait here” physical distancing markers on the ground.
The construction wall that previously blocked the Ratatouille Métro marquee now blocks the main thoroughfare leading to the entrances of the table service La Crêperie de Paris and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
Throughout the expansion, the Skyliner is visible gliding overhead. This was obviously going to be the case, given that all of our construction photos of the area were taken from the Skyliner. Nevertheless, this is the only area inside any Walt Disney World theme park where you can see the Skyliner.
We’re not averse to this, it’s simply something we somehow hadn’t considered previously. Actually, I love seeing the Skyliner here. Disney’s theme parks have always allowed transportation to “ruin” the illusion, whether it be the monorail, boats, trains, or even the Skyway through the Matterhorn.
There’s a lot of kinetic energy along the waterfront, and a decade or so from now when crowds die down, this will be a great spot to relax and watch the boats and gondolas.
Another thing I like is dedicated stroller parking. Operations and Imagineering need to work together more often to come up with custom-built solutions like this. Some recent areas (Toy Story Land being the biggest offender) haven’t done a great job of this.
The rat restrooms are also solid. Not Top 10 Toilets at Walt Disney World material, but no slouch.
There’s nothing particularly memorable about the design; they’re probably a tad undersized given demand and location, but Imagineering was already being asked to do a lot with a relatively small parcel of land. Restroom real estate was limited.
While toilet talk is fun and important, that “Opening 2021” banner is probably why many of you are reading this. It’s far and away the most common question within the Streets of Paris expansion; we actually overheard several guests get excited that the attraction had opened upon entering the area.
In the last week, we’ve heard from several readers about “rumors” that the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is opening in the next week or two. That has accelerated now that the walls are down and this first section is open. Let’s put this to rest: there are no credible rumors that the ride is opening anytime soon. Zero. None.
The reason the first set of construction walls are down is pictured above–the Morocco restrooms went down for refurbishment. The first section of the Streets of Paris opened because World Showcase needed more restroom capacity.
Of course, as with anything Walt Disney World does, there is speculation. There’s also the reality that the attraction and Streets of Paris area around it is finished. That has further fueled speculation, as it stands to reason that Disney would debut the attraction when it’s done.
In normal times, that’s exactly what would happen. However, these are not normal times. Attendance is still limited, capacity caps are in place, travel is significantly depressed, and gala media events are unlikely right now.
When it comes to opening Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, it’s not about when the ride and area are ready. The two operative questions are: what does Walt Disney World stand to gain by opening now? When will be the optimal time for debuting the new attraction and area?
Our answer to the first question is nothing.
Opening Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure now squanders buzz and hype down the road, and does not move the needle on attendance or people booking Walt Disney World vacations. By and large, locals are going to visit regardless and tourists are going to hold off until there’s a greater sense of normalcy (among other things). Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure would just be another operating expense with little immediate payoff.
Our answer to the second question is a best-case scenario of late March for a soft opening and Memorial Day weekend for a grand opening.
The earlier date is when Easter and spring break crowds might start materializing, which means more tourists and the potential for some positive buzz and word of mouth. That coupled with the announcement of a Summer 2021 grand opening seems like a plausible scenario in terms of guest demand and marketing. Even that feels overly optimistic to us.
However, we’ll reiterate that this is entirely speculative on our part. We won’t pretend to have insider info here, because we do not. To the contrary, I suspect that the lack of credible rumors is due to Walt Disney World still being undecided on what to do about the opening date of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
It’s entirely possible Disney will end up wanting to “rip the Band Aid off” and just open earlier. Obviously, that’s what fans want, especially locals and those with upcoming visits. While we’ve been critical of some of Disney’s cost-cutting moves in the last several months, holding off here does make sense to us. Other theme parks, including Universal and Disney-owned ones elsewhere have done exactly that. That strategy has seemed pretty ineffective thus far, resulting in lackluster responses to the Bourne Stuntacular and Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, plus the postponement of Super Nintendo World.
It’s also possible that Disney has learned from those stumbles and will proactively delay Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure into Fall 2021, wanting to set an opening date for a time when there are fewer attendance or physical distancing restrictions. We really don’t know–your guess is as good as ours. If you’re visiting between now and March 2021, we’d caution against getting your hopes up too much about riding Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. If anything, it’s better to be pleasantly surprised than get your hopes up only to be disappointed.
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Have you had a chance to visit Rue Auguste Gusteau? Where do the Rat Restrooms rank on your personal list of the top toilets at Walt Disney World? Are you excited for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure? If you’ve experienced the version in the Walt Disney Studios Park, what did you think of it? When do you predict that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open? Do you agree or disagree with any of our thoughts? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!