Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is a new family friendly attraction in Epcot at Walt Disney World. In this spoiler-free review, we’ll cover the trackless dark ride’s pros & cons, compare it to other recent additions, and offer commentary about what it adds to World Showcase and whether it’s a worthy centerpiece for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.
As background, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure was originally slated to debut last summer before the parks’ multi-month closure changed those plans. Since it was only a few months away from opening at that time, construction on the attraction finished long ago but the company held off on opening it, wanting to strategically debut it for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.
Prior to the closure, there were two blockbuster thrill rides–Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT and TRON Lightcycle Run at Magic Kingdom–among other things that were slated to debut “in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.” Those have since been delayed until at least 2022 as the company slowed down construction to spread capex costs over additional fiscal years. The result is that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is the new attraction (unintentionally) headlining the World’s Most Magical Celebration. (See our Guide to Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversaryfor more info on what to expect from the festivities.)
That’s one way of looking at Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. It could also be viewed as one of only a handful of rides in World Showcase, and the only one on the Canada “side” of the lagoon. While World Showcase has plenty of films, exhibits, shopping and dining, it is notoriously light on rides. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure remedies that, bringing a family-friendly attraction to an area of a park that has been historically starved of them.
As always, expectations and perspective color impressions. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure probably also hasn’t been done any favors by Walt Disney World overhyping it up for several years, and making it the centerpiece of promotional pushes during last year’s holiday season–even though it would’ve been open by then under normal circumstances.
Regardless, the operative question when evaluating Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is: do you have high hopes that it will be the flagship addition for Walt Disney World’s historic 50th Anniversary, or are you simply wanting it to provide better balance to World Showcase’s attraction lineup for future visits?
Let’s start that evaluation with a look at the Streets of Paris expansion itself. This is an addition behind the existing France pavilion, meaning it replaces nothing in World Showcase. (Although the ride’s show building does occupy an expansion pad between France and Morocco–but if the last 30+ years are indication, Epcot isn’t going to run out of those anytime soon.)
The Streets of Paris is unlike the rest of World Showcase, and is more like a mix of New Orleans Square and Fantasyland. It’s a romanticized but ostensibly authentic take on the real world, but also one where a talking rat is a chef, with some cartoony visual motifs and exaggerated architecture replacing realism.
EPCOT Center purists may scoff at that, but I think it works. The front still presents a romanticized but true-to-life version of France, and transitions to a whimsical world as you leave the pavilion proper. The expansion is still distinctly Parisian, with a mix of details that evoke both the City of Light and Ratatouille.
Beyond how it fits with a version of the park that arguably hasn’t existed for two decades, the Streets of Paris area is simply lovely and offers a tremendous sense of place. The feature fountain is gorgeous, there’s an abundance of details in an economy of space, and the lighting from the marquee bathes the area in warm light. It’s a bit fantastical, realistic, and romantic all at once.
There is also plenty of cover from the elements, offering a reprieve from the rain or sun that constitute 95% of the weather conditions in Central Florida. This is true both in the queue and via the transitional marketplace pavilion in front of the fountain, which also offers a nice “reveal” of the attraction facade itself.
Cover from the elements might seem utterly unremarkable. After all, who in their right mind would design a large scale addition for a theme park in Orlando without ample shade and rain cover?! Side eyes Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land.
Our first few rides on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure occurred during an Annual Passholder preview when the attraction used a standby line. Wait times ranged from walk-on to 20 minutes, with the line for this high-capacity trackless dark ride moving quickly even when the overflow queue was in use.
These aren’t the circumstances you’re likely to encounter. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will use a Virtual Queue in lieu of a standby line, and will also be a paid Lightning Lane attraction. We aren’t going to fixate on either of these things too much here since they don’t really pertain to a ride review. (Unlike Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, we do expect the virtual queue to be relatively short-lived for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.)
The regular (standby/virtual) queue for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure offers one highlight: the “rooftops of Paris” room with an animated Gusteau’s sign. This area is great, and will definitely make the wait pass faster.
Thereafter, an artist’s loft scene offers pre-ride safety information plus some fun details that weren’t present in the Walt Disney Studios Park version of the queue. The rest of the queue prior to these points is a mix of open-air overflow and indoor theater. Nothing particularly noteworthy unless you’re into fancy-but-ratty wallpaper.
As for the ride itself, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is an excellent attraction idea. Rather than simply being a Cliff Notes retelling of the film, you become the size of a rat and scurry through a Parisian kitchen. I love when attractions make you an active participant in the story rather than a passive observer, and that’s absolutely the case with Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
The ride has portions that are dynamic and engaging. There’s a lot of swift but smooth movement, you dart around the restaurant, and there’s even a (simulated) drop. In terms of motion, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is a really fluid and fun experience that should be suitable for guests of all ages. (With that said, Sarah had issues with motion sickness due to the on-screen action versus the movement of the ride vehicle.)
The high point is darting through and under oversized props that sell the idea that you’re a rat running around a kitchen in one segment of the attraction. There’s also some stage dressing in other areas in an attempt to suspend ride disbelief. The portions of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure that feature physical props and dimensional environments work pretty well.
Unfortunately, that does not describe most of the ride experience. There are no Audio Animatronics, and most of the attraction lacks fully dimensional sets. The bulk of it takes place in front of a series of gigantic screens–and it’s very obvious that you’re watching action unfold on a screen rather than actively participating in the shenanigans.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with screen-heavy attractions. Plenty of exceptional attractions are screen-centric; Avatar Flight of Passage is great and the entire thing is in front of one single screen. As with anything, how the attraction is executed matters. The problem with Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is the misuse of screens, and the poor balance of screens with physical sets.
At only two points in the attraction am I actually able to suspend disbelief and feel like a rat racing through a restaurant. The rest of the time, it’s painfully obvious that ride vehicles are essentially parked in a cavernous room in front of a gigantic screen. During these portions of the ride, you don’t feel like a rat racing around–or at least, I don’t. This has been a common complaint with the Disneyland Paris version of the attraction and none of that was fixed with its clone.
It’s clear you’re parked in front of a screen as no effort was made at concealing the floor from the view of guests. My gaze naturally shifts down, particularly during scenes when the on-screen floor is light in color and the ground below you is dark. (Which happens way too often.) It’s not even remotely “seamless,” as is the case with other screen-heavy attractions. Perhaps you won’t have this same issue, in which case your experience and overall impression of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will be significantly more positive.
Whereas a normal dark ride turns and directs guest attention to certain show scenes, trackless dark rides are more about satisfying the desire of freely exploring and adventuring. There’s a certain curiosity to trackless dark rides—or at least, there should be. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure delivers that while you’re moving around the fully-dimensional environments (and in the single-car “hole in the wall” screen room, which is excellent) but the main scenes mostly entail looking at screens.
As intimated above, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is a clone of a ride at Walt Disney Studios Park. That ride opened in 2014 as part of a still-ongoing effort to overhaul WDSP, and was in development for several years prior to that. It garners mixed reviews even there where, arguably, everything is graded on a curve given how terrible that park still is and how starved for new attractions Disneyland Paris is as a whole.
Since the original rat ride was developed, Imagineering has learned a lot about integrating scenes with physical sets and (to a lesser extent) leveraging trackless ride systems to their full advantage. In some ways, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure feels like a test run for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, both of which are superior to it.
It’s unfortunate Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure didn’t open first. It would’ve met the hype for most guests and garnered at least some rave reviews. Instead, it opens last at a time when there’s no longer a novelty in trackless ride technology or screens among Walt Disney World fans. Plus, despite being the newest addition of that trio, it’s the oldest and least “cutting edge” of the bunch.
While the two attractions are dramatically different, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is arguably a spiritual successor to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. It feels like Imagineering looked at where the rat ride failed, and used tech innovations to improve the experience and minimize the obviousness of the screens.
Then again, just like the movie that inspired it, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure does have a huge amount of heart. Perhaps I’m underestimating the lovability of that little rodent and all things Paris. That may be enough to win over most guests, while geeks like me fixate on things like integration of screens and sets that most regular visitors more easily overlook.
Ultimately, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is fun, even with its faults. When viewed holistically in terms of what World Showcase has needed for years, it’s a solid addition that fills a huge void–even after the addition of Frozen Ever After. Moreover, even when taking into account its shortcomings, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is superior to the majority of Fantasyland-style dark rides.
If that’s your perspective, there’s a lot to like about Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. There’s also plenty of appeal at a conceptual level, so if you’re one of the riders who can suspend disbelief during those screen segments, your overall impression of this attraction is going to be much more positive than mine.
Conversely, if you’re expecting Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure to be the next “big thing” from Imagineering for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, the likelihood of disappointment is much higher. This is an attraction that was developed roughly a decade ago, and it shows. Imagineering has learned a lot about integrating screens with physical environments and leveraging trackless technology, and those lessons have been applied in newer attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway to far greater success.
Despite the Walt Disney World incarnation of the attraction opening after both of those, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure predates those by several years. From a technology perspective, it feels like a last-generation attraction as a result, and it’s disappointing that Imagineering didn’t revisit this to make adjustments with the knowledge they’ve gained and technological strides made over the last decade. It’s still fun and has its moments, but for me, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is the least impressive of Walt Disney World’s trackless trio–and it’s not even close. At best, this is a cute and charming ride that fits fairly well into World Showcase and fills the area’s long-term need for more family-friendly rides. How you feel about Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will largely be a matter of perspective.
Have you experienced Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure? What did you think of the attraction? Any other Disney or Universal rides to which you’d compare the rat ride? Where does this rank as compared to Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance for you? Do you agree or disagree with our review? 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!