The little people and I have just returned from a half term trip to Disneyland Paris. Confession time: I am not generally a big Disney fan. I just don’t get it. I quite like some of the vintage Disney animations and imagery, but I certainly didn’t get Frozen fever, find Toy Story quite irritating …well, you get the picture. My views on this were not helped by a disastrous 2012 visit to DLP on the day the Cast Members went on strike. The rumour went that Mickey Mouse had been a bit inappropriate with fellow Cast Members. I’ve no idea if that’s the truth. We wandered the park, autograph books in hand, for two hours before we realised something was amiss. No characters, no parades, no love for Disney. Except for Ratatouille.
Yep, one Disney character has managed to charm my heart, capture the imagination of my children and sprinkle us with a touch of the fabled Disney magic. Rémy, the ambitious rat with a passion for cooking from Ratatouille, is a firm favourite in our house. The best thing to come out of our last attempt at DLP was that my daughter found a cuddly Rémy Rat to bring home. Six years later, she still has him, still loves him. So when we were looking for something to do at half term and DLP was suggested, it was really the fact that I knew there had been some Ratatouille themed additions to the park since our last visit. Flights, hotel, park tickets …Action!
Ratatouille has been part of our lives for a long time. My twins were born in 2006, the movie was released in 2007. They’ve grown up with it, it was one of the first feature-length animations they managed to watch all the way through. One of them still has the afore-mentioned cuddly Rémy on her bed, a framed movie poster on the wall and had Rémy Rat birthday cake a few years back. The cake topper from that cake , a little Rémy, has been kept and cared for, and came to DLP with us, tucked carefully into the pocket of her backpack. As time went on, the girls introduced their little brother to the world of Ratatouille; to Gusteaus restaurant, to the ups and downs of Linguini and the fierce yet feminine Collette. Ratatouille charmed him as much as it did the rest of us. No surprise that the Ratatouille Experience was destination number one when we got to the park.
There was a forty minute wait for the ride, not a barrel of laughs in temperatures below zero but actually not to bad a wait time by Disney standards either. And we had a tiny Rémy to keep us company…this being the Rémy that once-upon-a-time graced the top of a Birthday cake .
Luckily the time in line passed quickly and the ride did not disappoint . The entrance of the ride is the rooftops of Paris, presided over by a talking animation of the great chef, Gusteau. You are now the size of a rat, and entering the Paris of Ratatouille. I’m not going to lie, when I heard the animated Gusteau say the famous line ‘ anyone can cook’, I got as excited as the kids. And then some.
4D glasses on, we climbed into the rat shaped cars that transport you from real life to the world of Ratatouille. It all begins calmly enough, with a cute greeting from Remy…until you are discovered by Skinner and so begins a whirl wind chase through the sights, sounds and smells of Gusteau’s restaurant. There are some great effects…when you move under the cooker, you feel a blast of heat. When food is flying, you feel a bit of water landing on you. And when Rémy and Emile meet you with their family of rats at towards the end of the ride, you really feel welcome. It feels like they are talking to you. Such was the look of sheer delight on my sons face at that point, every penny of the two hundred pounds plus I’d laid out on park tickets was worth it, for that one moment on that ride. Find a glance into the ride and the Bistro here
Post ride and back in the full size, real world we pottered around the area outside for a little while; this little corner of the park has embraced Ratatouille as much as we have. You can visit Bistrot Chez Rémy or shop all manner of Rémy themed merchandise at the Chez Marianne souvenir shop. We did, of course, pick up a few bits. If I’d had the budget and luggage allowance, I’d have picked up a lot more.
The little guy decided he wanted to offer a home to a plush Emile and so we brought one home to Germany. In the movie Emile is a loyal brother, happy soul and lover of lots and lots of food…so, a fitting choice. Poor Emile has already been much-loved, dropped a few times, swung by the tail and lovingly taken to bed every night. Cute.
In 2012 we made our first visit to Disneyland Paris and it didn’t quite live up to the magical, pixie dust experience we’d hoped for. In 2018 , we gave it another go. And despite freezing temperatures, half term crowds and a deployed husband unable to join us, it was a fun and exciting and …dare I say it…a little bit magical. There is a lot written about DLP, about the princesses and the parades and favourite rides and so on. I’m not sure I’ll ever be a full on Disney convert, but I’m glad we gave it a another go. We definitely found a little bit of Disney magic with Rémy and Emile.
Have you been to Disneyland Paris…how was it for you?