Photo TR: The Brit Crew in Paris!

Part 4 - DISNEYLAND PARIS HALLOWEEN
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Re: Photo TR: The Brit Crew in Paris!

Postby JK » Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:51 am

Great trip report Divv.

It was a real shame that I missed this trip. :cry:

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Part 3 - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

Postby Divv3k » Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:28 am

We spent the next two and a half days park hopping at Disneyland Paris Resort but I’ll split the updates between the parks so I can get straight into Ratatouille in this one and then finish with the Disneyland update.

Ratatouille was the reason we even put this trip together in the first place. When DLP indicated that they were gonna use the “Pooh’s Hunny Hunt” technology from Tokyo which got anyone who has ever been on that ride into a frenzy of excitement. It’s such an exciting and innovative ride system that it utilising it for a ride based on Pixar’s (very awesome) Ratatouille movie seemed like a no-brainer, especially in a park based in the same city that the film is set. Situating this ride in the Walt Disney Studios park seemed like even more of a no-brainer – the park has been crying out for E-ticket attractions since it was opened in 2002 with a paltry lineup of rides and shows (mostly shows).

I avoided all videos and photos of the ride before visiting in order to go in fresh and be surprised. So how was it?

It’s probably the best ride in the park but it’s no Pooh. It’s not even in the same league as Pooh. As a matter of fact if I wasn’t more well informed I might not have even realised that these rides utilised the same ride system. Ratatouille shares more in common with a Spider-Man or Transformers than it does with Pooh. After an elaborate (by WDS standards) queue which takes you through parts of Paris you pick up your 3D glasses and enter your ride vehicle. The ride vehicle is a rat but it’s stylised very different from how the rats in the movie look. I can only imagine that they tried a few versions of these vehicles and couldn’t get them to look right using the styling from the movie. It’s not a huge deal, the vehicles still look pretty good.

The vehicles leave a loading a area through some Parisian style buildings and then you enter what is essentially a labyrinth of video screens. There’s the pantry room which is a built from physical props and meshes a 3D screen in very well but the rest of the ride is essentially moving from one 3D screen to the next. Totally different from Pooh. It lacks the spontaneity and laugh out loud awesomeness of that ride too. Don’t get me wrong, the ride is good but don’t go expecting the grandiose sequel to a ride that opened in Tokyo 14 years ago. This isn’t it. Maybe Mystic Manor in Hong Kong is that ride (I haven’t watched any videos from that one either but I expect that one will have less video and more physical. We’ll see). So all in all, I like the ride. It’s certainly much needed in the park but it’s not something I would say you have to rush out and ride any time soon.

The area they’ve built around the ride is really fantastic looking. It’s not quite on the scale of Carsland but they’ve done a similar job in catching the feel of the movie and making something that feels authentic. It’s a hell of a lot more effort than they’ve put in to the other attractions in this park combined.

Of course, you can’t build a miniland based on Ratatouille and not have a decent restaurant in the mix too and Bistrot Chez Remy really ticks that box in fantastic fashion. Aesthetically the restaurant is brilliant, shrinking you down to the size of a rat and producing a restaurant similar in style to the one that the rats dine in at the end of the movie. There’s loads of incredible details inside and it seems that they really didn’t spare any expense in theming it. The food was very good too. When it arrived. Which just brings me to the biggest problem in this entire resort. Service. It’s just awful. We made our dinner reservations in advance of our visit, arrived early and it still took over two hours for us to have a meal. We waited thirty minutes from being seated to have our drinks and then even longer to receive our food. It wasn’t as if the restaurant was super busy either, it was maybe a third full. On top of that it’s not as if the menu was complicated – you can only eat from set menus in the place so there really is no excuse for a theme park meal to take over two hours. Anyway... The food was good, and of course ratatouille was served as s ide no matter what you ordered which is a nice touch.

Onto the rest of the park.... It’s still pretty terrible compared to every other Disney park in the world. It’s certainly a lot better than it was a few years ago but it still is utterly incapable of handling the crowds that it gets and the operations in the park doesn’t do itself any favours at all. Just a few examples of the frustrations on this visit, which was on a Monday in early October... The Fast Pass system was down the entire morning, Crush didn’t open with the park due to technical issues (sound familiar to anyone on the 2008 TPR trip?), the Toy Story parachute drop was closed all day, the Backlot tour had a line over an hour but every tram had at least two cars that were closed and there was a whole tram just sitting there not being used. On top of all this Ratatouille was closed for technical reasons almost the entire day. Luckily we anticipated the suckiness of the place and visited the night before to get a ride on Ratatouille and managed to get on quickly when the ride did eventually open. But really, after this visit if I hear anyone complain about a broken power outlet in Florida again I’ll punch them in the face.

I don’t want to sound totally negative on the place, they have Tower which is good, their Rock’n’Roller Coaster is great and I actually quite like the Cinemagique show. We certainly had a fun day despite all the frustrations too. I think it helps to be mentally prepared before visiting this park in order ot have a good day and we certainly were!

Here’s some photos...
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Well hello, Walt Disney Studios! Of course there's a very special reason that we're visiting this park in 2014...
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Woo! It's Ratatouille!
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3D glasses are on. We are good to go!
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They might not look like the movie rats but they're still pretty cute! Like I said above, the ride is a lot of fun but it uses too many video screens for my liking.
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Disney really did a fantastic job at theming the Ratatouille area, it really does look like it's straight out of the movie!
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Just check out all the little details they've added to the fountain!
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Here's the ride entrance. There are three lines - one for Fast Pas, one for single riders and then there's a standby line. Fast Pass gets a loading station all of it's own which seemed to work pretty well.
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Of course you can't have a a Ratatouille area in a park without a restaurant!
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If you've seen the movie this little sign might look familiar!
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The waiting room at the restaurant was somehow completely empty when we arrived so we took the opportunity to have a cast member get a group photo. Man, that floor looks good.
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The walls in the waiting room are covered in all sorts of cool props for fans of the movie.
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There are loads of items like this all over the walls of the waiting room.
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Then as you enter the restaurant the cast member tells you that we have all been shrunk down to the size of Remy. So really, no need to be alarmed by this gihugic plates towering over you.
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Well doesn't this menu look lovely?
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Surprisingly, there's no à la carte menu just a range of set menus to choose from. You'd think this would help table service speed up. You would be wrong.
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The chairs look they're made out of bottle tops. Very cool!
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There are giant forks all around the place if you need to impale any members of your group. Quite handy.
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Love the cocktail umbrellas over the smaller tables!
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These wine cork stools were maybe my favourite thing in the restaurant. I kind of wanted to steal one!
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An oversized version of Remy's cook book welcomes you into the restaurant.
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Even the condiments and cutlery section is themed.
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The huge Christmas lights on the ceiling aren't just a gimmick - they're the actual lights for the restaurant!
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The pudding station looks pretty awesome.
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Here's the wing of the restaurant with the windows that you can see out to the ride entrance. The big wine bottles are Anton Ego's. Another nice touch!
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On to the food. You have to start with salad. If you don't eat it they won't serve you anything else.
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A really nice touch is that with every main you get a side of ratatouille! Here's AJ's "Premium" ratatouille.
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Here's my steak (it was good!) with the pleb ratatouille on the side.
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Russ has clearly been spending too much time with Southern Steve...
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We booked our table for 2pm and by the time we got out our fast pass was good to go. Yeah, it took a while in there. Unfortunately the ride was still down as it had been since the morning...
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By 5pm though, it was up and running. TPDave demonstrates how the Paris version of the MagicBand works.
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The Gusteau's logo inside the queue is animated. It works really well!
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3D glasses are on. We're good to ride! Just don't forget your 3D glasses because there isn't much to see without them!
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All in all the ride is really good. Just don't go expecting another "Pooh's Hunny Hunt". It's good but it's not that good!
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Alright, onto the rest of what was quite a stressful visit to the Studios... Of course Tower of Terror is always a good place to start!
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There seemed to be a lot less dust and cobwebs in the Tower lobby compared to the others. Weird.
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Rock'n'Roller Coaster! The truncated pre-show that ends up makes no sense always amuses me.
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I guess this must be our Super Stretch.
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Right across from RRC is the Spider-Man meet and greet. It's still weird seeing this kind of Marvel presence in a Disney park. There were Avengers banners all around the RRC area too. Will we see more Marvel in this park in the future? It seems likely!
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Andrew shows AJ how you pose in the rain.
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We made sure to check out Armageddon, y'know because you don't want to miss a thing.
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The Armageddon show is strange. You basically stand in a room and the ceiling shakes a bit. Then some fire blows around. I mean, it has fire so it's good but is it really relevant in 2014?
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Toy Story Playland was crazy busy.
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The parachute drop ride being closed doesn't help either. I've still never been on one of these!
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This is how Ratatouille looked for the majority of our visit. Closed.
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AJ prays that we might actually be able to get on a ride.
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We did Stitch. I actually like this attraction more than I ever thought I would. I mean, it's no MILF but it's been quite funny both times I've done it here and in Hong Kong.
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Florida people, are you jealous?! No??? Fair enough.
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The line is only an hour so keeping random cars closed seems like a great idea.
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No, really there were at least two cars closed on every tram. And then there was a tram not being used at all. The line was over an hour. Operations in this park are just awful.
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At least that hour wait is worthwhile. I mean you do get to see the exquisite sets from Dinotopia. You all remember that smash hit production, right?
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Oh look, it's a tram sitting doing nothing while every ride in the park that happens to be open has an hour plus line!
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Fire is always the highlight of a backlot tour.
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And this one has plenty of it. London never looked so good.
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Yeah, the sign actually does say that the single rider line is longer than the standby. No, I don't understand it either.
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But hey, some people count this as a credit (I don't) so we rode it. I like it. Mostly because it doesn't spin.
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After being closed for the whole morning and having a ridiculous line all day we finally sucked it up and finished our visit to the Studios with Crush's Coaster. The station and pre-lift hill section are really great.
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The coaster itself is pretty standard but those Maurer Sohne spinners are always a lot of fun. (Even to me!)
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Yay, we've done everything. Now we can leave!
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It took us longer than expected, but the Studios were finally conquered. Thankfully there's still a much superior Disney park to visit right next door...

Disneyland Park is up next!

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Re: Photo TR: The Brit Crew in Paris!

Postby cfc » Sun Oct 26, 2014 5:52 am

Although the Studios park has a way to go yet, it's good to see more improvement since my last visit in 2008. Even back then, it was a bit better than I'd expected it to be.

The steak looked excellent.
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Re: Photo TR: The Brit Crew in Paris!

Postby Garet » Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:19 am

Without spoiling too much, Mystic Manor had very little in terms of screens until the end and even then there was a good reason for them being there. Kind of like with winnie the pooh and the bouncing tigger section, the ride was mostly physical sets and if projections were used it was cleverly hidden.

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Re: Photo TR: The Brit Crew in Paris!

Postby TPDave » Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:46 am

Aah Ratatouille, sooooooo.....

Like Divv said this isn't pooh. I like how they've squeezed an extra seat in the vehicles and the cars themselves are more slender and compact, I just feel the system was really under utilised given the amount of money spent on this thing.

It reminded me a lot of the penguin thing at SeaWorld. They made this great trackless dark ride system and then proceed to use it to move guests between a series of motion simulator screens, it just seems a shame and a bit of a waste. There was no interplay between the cars which I thought would have been a great use of the technology. I kind of imagined you being part of a group of rats running away from stuff together and darting around between each other but that wasn't really the case.

It's still a fun ride, the area looks amazing and it's all very well presented, but it certainly isn't the western worlds version of Poohs Hunny Hunt unfortunately.
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Re: Photo TR: The Brit Crew in Paris!

Postby cfc » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:00 am

Yes, it's too bad that they didn't take full advantage of this technology. Personally, I prefer physical effects to 3D screens.
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Re: Photo TR: The Brit Crew in Paris!

Postby ernierocker » Sun Oct 26, 2014 1:08 pm

The new area look fantastic. Like it has already been said, its disappointing they fell flat on utilizing the technology.
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Re: Photo TR: The Brit Crew in Paris!

Postby WFChris » Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:17 pm

TPDave wrote: I kind of imagined you being part of a group of rats running away from stuff together and darting around between each other but that wasn't really the case.


Yeah, I feel that not having a moment like this is a complete missed opportunity considering the setting!
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Re: Photo TR: The Brit Crew in Paris!

Postby AJMouse » Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:11 am

I had that "running away" feeling a bit when they ran under the furnace, with the wind blowing as you got swiped under actually.

This was my first Tower ever btw!

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Re: Photo TR: The Brit Crew in Paris!

Postby TPDave » Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:47 am

Yeah the furnace bit was cool, the use of projections and actual heat was great!!

I'm glad you liked tower, they only get better from here ;)
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