Walt Disney World Resort Update for September 8-13, 2021by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for September 8-13, 2021
News & Writer's Note
As I wrote at the close of the Writer's Note last week, with this past Monday being both Labor Day and, at sundown, Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish New Year and High Holy Days, our publication schedule is a bit different than usual this week. Since I attended the invited Media Preview for Remy's Ratatouille Adventure and La Crêperie de Paris on Friday, this week's Update brings you the latest News and Views as of this past weekend. Wishing you a happy and healthy whatever you celebrate.
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure Previews Underway
Imagineer Joe Vitale wrote in his Disney Parks Blog post this past week that "the design intent of World Showcase" celebrates "real countries and the fantastic stories they inspire." While that didn't seem to be true in the early days of EPCOT, in more recent years, that has been the case with the addition of characters from Frozen to the Norway pavilion, the addition of The Three Caballeros to the Mexico pavilion, and the addition of Beauty and The Beast Sing-Along to France pavilion. Temporary additions in that same spirit have taken off in recent years too, like the art added to the World Showcase pavilions during the annual EPCOT International Festival of the Arts.
Remy and his brother Emil were greeting guests at the invited media preview at the France pavilion, as they are characters from the Disney-Pixar film "Ratatouille" and are "inspired" by France. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
With the upcoming October 1 start of "The World's Most Magical Celebration" marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of Walt Disney World Resort (and coinciding with the 39th anniversary of the opening of what was then EPCOT Center), France pavilion will realize the next level of that "design intent" when its footprint nearly doubles in size with the opening of an entirely new "mini-land" that includes Remy's Ratatouille Adventure and La Crêperie de Paris. While the original part of the France pavilion pays homage to authentic regions of France, the expanded area takes its visual look from Paris as seen by Remy in the Disney-Pixar 2007 animated film Ratatouille.
Topiary Remy still stands outside the new expanded portion of the France pavilion, just outside the entrance marked by the Parisian Metro-style archway. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Guests make the transition from the inspired-by-the-real France area of the pavilion to the new area walking along what Joe Vitale describes as, "a beautiful allée along the water, designed to evoke the feeling of a Parisian park beside the river Seine." The path is "made to look like the decomposed granite often found in parks and gardens throughout Paris," and contains some "rat motifs" to "hint at the world of Chef Remy awaiting you around the corner."
The allée along the water is designed to evoke the feeling of a Parisian park beside the river Seine. Photo courtesy Disney Parks.
A Remy motif, like the detail found on this bench, runs throughout the newly expanded France pavilion at EPCOT. Photo courtesy Disney Parks.
The Allée des Marchands (Alley of the Merchants) is the formerly backstage area where both Remy's Ratatouille Adventure and La Crêperie de Paris are located. The restaurant features a traditional blue façade found throughout the Brittany region of France, which is both known for its crêpes and is the inspiration for the new table and quick service dining location. The area is filled with nods to the film Ratatouille as well and the facade of the Parisian buildings (hiding the actual show building for the ride itself) are designed following the Pixar-created principle of "Crookedology"—of a bolder color palette and exaggerated architectural details, buildings that lean a bit, pipes that are crooked, and downspouts that zig-zag just like in Remy's version of Paris in the film.
The "Ratatouille" inspired Paris area is located in a formerly backstage area at France pavilion and includes both Remy's Ratatouille Adventure and the new restaurant La Crêperie de Paris. Photo courtesy Disney Parks.
A cast-iron arcade serves as a transition from real-world France to the vision of Paris from "Ratatouille." Photo courtesy Disney Parks.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Approaching the attraction itself, Chef Remy stands atop a "Ratatouille" inspired fountain featuring rats holding bottles and flutes of champagne with water shooting out of the bottles toward the top basin. Photo courtesy Disney Parks.
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure - A Family-Friendly Ride
The new ride itself, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, is a copy of the attraction that opened at Disneyland Paris Resort back in 2007. Those who have ridden it there say it is exactly the same. Changes made to bring it to EPCOT are limited to the queue and exit area.
At its essence, the ride is World Showcase's first full-fledged, purpose-built Fantasyland-style dark ride employing some 21st century technology and effects. Families that complain that there was little to do for younger kids at World Showcase will find that this attraction fills that gap.
Guests are "shrunk down" to the size of a rat soon after entering the queue. The queue heads up to the roof, where the Gusteau sign periodically comes to life, with the famous chef speaking in either French or English. The queue also heads past an artist's loft, where the painting—as well as other art in the queue—periodically come to life. For the media preview, there were still three separate "lanes" to enter the attraction: "Single Rider," "Fastpass+" and "Stand-by." We know, however, that the attraction will be available by virtual queue when it debuts on October 1 and that "Lightning Lane" will replace Fastpass+ at somepoint too.
After grabbing 3D glasses, guests board a trackless ride car (cartoonish rat) that seats six without a minimum height restriction (three guests in each of two rows) with a single pull-down bar. There's a separate loading area for guests in wheelchairs or other mobility-assist devices. The story takes guests along with Remy and his fellow rats through Gusteau's kitchen and restaurant, much as was seen in the original film.
A good deal of the action of the ride is displayed via screens requiring guests to wear the 3D glasses, but there are also huge (human-sized) set pieces and details throughout portions of the ride. The ride vehicles themselves have some motion enhancement (they tilt forward and back, they spin) and, as trackless vehicles, their ride course will appear rather unpredictable through the attraction.
For those that experience discomfort on simulator rides or in other 3D experiences, the added motion of the ride vehicle may worsen that discomfort. As someone who doesn't usually get uncomfortable on simulators (other than Mission: Space), I can say that my multi-focal contact lenses combined with the 3D and enhanced motion of the ride vehicle was a little disorienting on my first ride (I always find the view screens in Mission: Space uncomfortable on both the Green and Orange sides of the ride). That was compounded during the media preview by the 3D lenses fogging since face coverings are required indoors at Walt Disney World. My third ride is captured, in part, by the ride cam video produced by Disney.
Mild spoilers in the video. Remy's Ratatouille Adventure and the new section of the France pavilion all open on October 1, 2021 at the start of "The World's Most Magical Celebration" and the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort. Ride Cam video courtesy Disney from the invited media preview of Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, September 3, 2021.
On the whole, in my view, it's a cute ride with a lot of detail. It is not an "E-Ticket" and probably wasn't intended to be—but rather, a family-friendly ride for a park that needed one. It certainly fits the theme of the France pavilion, and probably could even draw some of those crowds away from "Frozen Ever After" depending on how its virtual queue and Lightning Lane access gets worked out. It's not the sort of ride that I would say "do not miss," (or pay extra to see if that is an option when Disney Genie service debuts), but it is fun. It's kind of unfortunate that the pandemic has made it the centerpiece attraction debuting with "The World's Most Magical Celebration," but we know that the "historic transformation" of EPCOT continues with the E-Ticket Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind yet to come.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Learn about and see more of the details of Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT with Matt Beiler, a Producer at Walt Disney Imagineering. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.
Additional Ratatouille-Themed Merchandise At France Pavilion Too
Of course, with a new attraction opening, there will be new merchandise available as well. A kiosk stands just inside the Allée des Marchands that sells some items, while others can be found in the older shops in the France pavilion.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
La Crêperie de Paris Opens October 1
When the expanded France pavilion opens to guests on October 1, the new La Crêperie de Paris will open as well with both table- and quick-service restaurant options. All dining will be first-come, first-served, with no reservations accepted for now. As this is an operating participant rather than Disney-run restaurant, there will also be no discounts offered initially (including Tables in Wonderland). At the end of August, Disney Parks Blog shared the menu inspired by the Brittany region of France, featuring savory galettes (buckwheat crêpes) and sweet dessert crêpes, as well as Brittany's hard ciders. At the media preview, I had an opportunity to sample a savory galette, a sweet dessert crêpe, and a hard cider—and I enjoyed them all.
C’est magnifique! Here’s your first look at the menu for La Crêperie de Paris, a traditional crêperie with a menu inspired by the Brittany region of France, coming to EPCOT Oct. 1! https://t.co/zkWF4TT4sS pic.twitter.com/M2xfoyCITf— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) August 26, 2021
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
More Views of EPCOT
Since I was in EPCOT for the media preview, I took a look around at the other latest sights around the park.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
A merchandise announcement by Disney Parks on Twitter yesterday noted that Creations Shop and Club Cool officially will open September 15.
Check out this sneak peek of the “Light” line from the EPCOT Light & Color Collection, exclusive to Creations Shop! The assortment of futuristic gear was inspired by the historic transformation of EPCOT and will debut on Sept. 15 when Creations Shop & Club Cool officially opens. pic.twitter.com/JcetBn9Xfw— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) September 7, 2021
The Usual Writer's Note
As always, be sure to check the "experience updates" page of Walt Disney World for the latest information you need to know before you visit. We are still in a global pandemic, and Disney's policies remain in flux. With Annual Passes about to go on sale, it remains unlikely the Resort will shutdown again in the near-term, but Disney may very well impose guest restrictions that are stricter than those imposed by the State of Florida.
Disney Parks continue to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. At Walt Disney World Resort, everyone ages 2 and up are required to wear face coverings in all indoor locations. Outdoors, face coverings are optional in most locations for vaccinated guests; face coverings are required outdoors for unvaccinated guests. All guests continue to be required to wear face coverings on buses, monorails, and on Disney Skyliner. Walt Disney World Resort encourages guests to get vaccinated, and has mandated vaccination for new hires and existing cast members in most roles. With its most recent agreement with its unions, on-site employees must be fully vaccinated and provide proof by October 22.
Know before you go. Screenshot from My Disney Experience.
In case you missed the news, a few weeks ago, U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for full licensure. The vaccine, which is one of three approved for use in the U.S., is the first to receive full approval for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.
I got vaccinated and the best available information is that it's the best protection against serious illness and death from COVID-19. If you haven't been vaccinated and are eligible to be, I recommended you discuss with a physician the risks to both yourself and those you come into contact with as the global pandemic continues to spread in your community and those places you visit.
As always, if you're heading this way (or live in the regions impacted by storms), please stay informed of the latest weather and tropical forecast too. Be prepared. Fortunately, as of this past weekend, no tropical systems are forecast to be headed toward Central Florida at the moment. My thoughts remain with those impacted by Hurricane Ida and those in the path of its remnants, and hope you see a speedy recovery.
This & That & Reminders…
…Disney Parks Blog showed off a first look at the finisher medals for the 2022 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend featuring Mickey Mouse and friends, "all donning their shimmering EARidescent best." The post says there are still limited race positions available, so run over to runDisney.com for registration information and more if you are still looking to run at Walt Disney World when the Marathon returns in January.
Disney Parks Blog showed off a first look at the runDisney 2022 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend medals Video courtesy Disney Parks.
…On September 28, the cookbook Delicious Disney: Recipes & Stories from the Most Magical Place on Earth written by Pam Brandon, Marcy Carriker Smothers, and The Disney Chefs, will allow you to create culinary delights from Walt Disney World Resort past and present at home. It will be available on shopDisney.com and at Walt Disney World Resort.
…Steven Miller continued his series on Walt Disney World Memories on Disney Parks Blog by sharing views of the different looks of Cinderella Castle over the years.
…Patina Restaurant Group announced that, by "popular demand," the fourth annual Ramen Rumble will return this year hosted by Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs in partnership with event founders, Jason & Sue Chin of Seito Sushi (Good Salt Restaurant Group) on Tuesday, September 28 with two sessions from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. "Six of Orlando's best and brightest chefs will compete for the championship title, bragging rights, the coveted 'Broth Belt' trophy, and a sizable check to donate to charity partner, Give Kids the World. Each contestant will man their own soup station, presenting their unique style of ramen filled with creative toppings and interesting textures for guests to sample and vote on in order to crown the next Ramen King or Queen of Central Florida." The participating restaurants are Morimoto Asia, Seito Sushi, Susuru, Ichicoro Ramen, Ramen Takagi, and Yugiri Ramen Project. Tickets are $80++ per person and include six steaming bowls of tasty ramen (one from each chef's entry), one beverage, and a traditional Asian dessert. A cash bar will also be open and souvenir t-shirts will be for sale. Visit this Patina Restaurant Group webpage for information about available private dining as well as to purchase tickets to the event.
…REMINDER: Disney-owned ABC News is teaming up with Disney Parks to present "The Most Magical Story on Earth: 50 Years of Walt Disney World," hosted by Disney Legend Whoopi Goldberg, airing on Friday, October 1, from 8 to 10 p.m. Eastern on ABC-TV, and (thankfully, for those of us without an active DVR or Cable-TV subscription), the next-day on-demand and on Hulu, and later in the month on Disney+. The show will musical performances from Christina Aguilera and Halle Bailey in front of the legendary Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom accompanied by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, interviews with iconic actors, actresses, and athletes, Walt Disney World cast members, Disney Imagineers and executives past and present who have all been part of the Resort. Celebrities including Anthony Anderson, John Stamos, Marsai Martin, Gary Sinise, Melissa Joan Hart, and Candace Cameron Bure; NFL athletes Tom Brady, Phil Simms, and Doug Williams, and creative forces Kevin Feige, Pete Docter, and James Cameron; Walt Disney World Imagineers including Bob Weis, Mark Kohl, and Ann Morrow Johnson; and Disney executives past and present including Bob Chapek, Bob Iger, and Michael Eisner, are all scheduled to appear.
…REMINDER: The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic returns Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30, offering an outdoor festival featuring unlimited food tastings from the resorts' culinary team, and wine, beer and other sips from around the world. Overnight packages and event-only tickets are now available at FoodAndWineClassic.com. Overnight packages start at $580; event-only ticket options are $165 per person (including tax and service fees). Reservations are also available in the resort's new tower, Walt Disney World Swan Reserve.
…REMINDER: Give Kids The World Village announced the return of its highly popular "Night of a Million Lights Holiday Lights Spectacular" for its second annual showing, November 12, 2021 through January 2, 2022. Tickets are already available at www.gktw.org/lights for timed entry for the 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. nightly opportunity to visit the 89-acre nonprofit resort with a sparkling tree trail, larger-than-life holiday displays, one-of-a-kind step-in frames and backdrops, as well as a guided storytelling tour of 100 lit villas from the comfort of a tram. Enhancements this year will also include a 360-degree dancing lights show encompassing 21 buildings set to music with six three-minute holiday vignettes playing each hour, a holiday marketplace with upgraded food and beverage experiences, holiday merchandise, and an opportunity for children to meet Santa in an elaborately designed Florida home. VIP packages are available, as are discounts for groups of 25 or more. Proceeds support Give Kids the World Village (located at 210 South Bass Road in Kissimmee, Florida), which provides critically ill children and their families with weeklong wish vacations at no cost.
…REMINDER: Give Kids The World Village is also the beneficiary of 2021 DIS Family Reunion, a one-of-a-kind expo celebrating all facets of the wonderful world of Disney—from Disney, Marvel and Pixar animation to film, television, theme parks, music and memorabilia. If you are interested, tickets may still available for the September 9-10, 2021 event at Disney's Contemporary Resort on this page of GKTW.org. Some of the panelists scheduled include: Walt Disney World Resort President Jeff Vahle, Give Kids The World President & CEO Pamela Landwirth, Celebrity chef Art Smith, Attractions Actor Panel (with Ron Schneider, David Danipour, Kat Cressida and more), Tom Nabbe, Bill Hoelscher and Bill Sullivan, Actress Linda Larkin, John Morris, Lee Cockerell and Dan Cockerell, Pat Sajak, and more! Give Kids The World Village has invited to attend, so if you spot me there, be sure to say, "hello!"
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Resort Reservations, Ticket Advice & Special Offers
Note: MousePlanet does not edit past Updates to reflect price increases; for up-to-date prices, check the most recent Walt Disney World Resort Update.
The Summer hotel rate offer for Florida Residents ended on September 4.
Keep an eye out for Fall/Winter hotel offers which could be announced any day (but, no, we have no insider information as to when or what offers may be coming).
This page of DisneyWorld.com features all the offers the Resort has publicly announced.
Summer Florida Resident ticket options available through September 17 allow Florida residents to visit the parks for $54/day (plus tax) with the $215 (plus tax) 4-day Florida Resident Summer Fun Ticket. The ticket is one park per day and Florida proof of residency is required. Specially priced two and three-day Florida Resident Summer Fun Tickets are also available. All tickets can be used either on consecutive or non-consecutive days. Add-ons, like Park Hopper are also available. Park reservations are also required to visit a park in addition to a valid ticket.
For everyone, Walt Disney World Resort Summer Room Offer for Select Disney Resort hotels provides savings up to 25% on rooms for stays most nights through September 29, 2021.
Our travel partner Get Away Today is available to help you book rooms and packages, and include its complimentary Concierge Services. More details are here. With Get Away Today's complimentary Price Monitoring, any time a special comes out, it will automatically price check it for each of its guests. If the new special is better, it will automatically apply the new savings and let the guest know. If it's not a better deal, they will leave everything as is, and keep their eyes peeled for future promotions that could save guests more.
You can get a vacation quote from Get Away Today here. (Responses provided in 1 to 3 business days.) You can also call 855-GET-AWAY during regular business hours (Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. MT) and tell them MousePlanet sent you!
Be sure to check out Get Away Today's Universal Orlando Resort ticket offers too.
If you decide to brave the virtual queue for RRA (is that the official acronym yet? ) for another go at it once this opens for everyone, try to position the glasses more towards the tip of your nose, that can help lessen fogging. (YMMV, but in my experience as a glasses wearer throughout all of this, the fogging is caused by what breath escapes at the top of the mask near your eyes and the upper part of your nose).
Thanks for the update. Looks like the new additions came out pretty well.