It has been a year already since a new venue opened its doors to visitors at the Walt Disney Studios Park. To this day, the Place de Rémy continues to combine cutting-edge technological innovations and life-size animation, fine dining at the Bistro chez Rémy, a high-end shopping experience at the Chez Marianne store, and a larger-than-life world inspired by the movie Ratatouille. Now that the attraction has just crossed the significant 4-million visitor threshold, Disneyland Paris News headed off to meet the teams that have made the attraction such a success since July 10, 2014!
7:30am: The first Cast Members are already at work as they begin opening up the venue for Ratatouille The Adventure. There are only five of them here right now, but more of the morning crew will arrive shortly. In fact, this attraction requires no less than 19 individuals to man it!
In the control tower, operational staff take the place of maintenance personnel who have worked all night on the vehicles and the show’s technical elements so that it can open safely in the morning. With a checklist in hand, each of the show’s features is verified by a staff member, who makes the rounds on foot, wearing 3D glasses. The show has to be perfect for the Guests and if there are any issues, they must be reported to maintenance immediately in order to be remedied.
9:30 am: Visitors begin to flock to the Place de Rémy. The attraction won’t open until 10:00 am, but Rémy’s adventures are so popular that a line starts to form outside. Having expected that, Emilie is already in position to greet them, guiding visitors and telling them about the various ways they can access the ride. Behind her, three greeters take up positions in front of the standby, single-rider, and FASTPASS lines. Now, they are just waiting for the Parc to officially open so that they in turn can open the attraction’s doors and notify the control center of the wait times. Inside, their colleagues finish “cycling through” the vehicles. Similar to warm-up runs, this procedure allows them to prepare the cars and test the quality of the overall experience prior to opening.
Finally, the doors open! Visitors enter the Parisian theatre that serves as the entrance to the attraction. In the queue, they run into Baptiste, who gives them their 3D glasses. Even though he is also responsible for regularly restocking his supply of glasses (he needs more than 12,000 of them over the course of a day), he takes advantage of the opportunity to provide a little entertainment of his own, saying, “Our visitors have stepped into the story, and we have a chance to interact with them and to say a few pleasant words to the kids. Our boxes look like tubs of French fries, so a lot of the adults laugh about that. We play up to it too because the attraction has a restaurant theme.” Medhi on the other hand was assigned to the FASTPASS machines. Visitors are already rushing over to get a reservation so that they can come back later without having to wait in line. Going from machine to machine, Medhi continually interacts with the visitors, helping them with the process, and offering help right away if there are any technical problems. He is quickly replaced by a colleague. “We have rotation systems and we move to a certain number of positions throughout the day. There are many things to oversee and to tend to with the visitors or in the background from a technical perspective. You never get bored seeing as the rotations change from one day to the next!” That applies especially to Svetlana’s job. She is one of the Team Leaders of the Ratatouille attraction and manages the operations teams that sometimes include up to 50 people per day!
The reason so many staff are necessary is that the attraction has a high capacity. For an optimized experience, there are two loading and unloading platforms. The self-driving vehicles that move without the need for rails link up in groups of three for departures and arrivals. The task of filling them with passengers and managing the flow of visitors within a short amount of time falls to two groupers at the loading platform. Antoine tells us why he likes this position, saying, “We try to fill up the vehicles to hold the maximum amount of people while also overseeing the loading process. We also notify visitors when there are technical problems. But it’s also an ideal place to entertain! For example, visitors are often surprised when we say ‘Good evening’ to them. But that makes sense because here, it’s night time and we’re on the roofs of Paris!” Then the loading stations staff members send the vehicles on their way after having checked that each passenger is safely buckled in. Together with the control tower and the maintenance group, they have to stay on top of technical problems and vehicles leaving the maintenance shop. One person also works at the docking station for vehicles reserved for people with disabilities. As if by magic, these vehicles, which are discretely accessed, can smoothly filter into groups of moving vehicles autonomously without the ride having to stop.
Lastly, the unloading platform is also manned by 3 staff members, plus one person who is responsible for collecting the 3D glasses upon visitors leaving the vehicles. These glasses are then sorted by hand, put in bins, and taken to a high-tech cleaning station located behind the last attraction. Out of sight, Alexandre keeps an eye on the entire attraction from his control tower. Besides keeping an eye on his monitors, he is the main communications link who keeps the entire team informed of what is happening and who sorts out any unexpected behavior from the vehicles.
However, the whole experience extends way beyond the attraction itself. Prior to opening the restaurant at 11:30am, teams (covering 18 staff positions) of the Bistro chez Rémy will have arrived two hours beforehand to set tables in a space that can accommodate more than 1,000 covers a day! The host’s podium will be in place at 10:30am. Things start even earlier in the kitchen, with preparations for the home-made ratatouille, sauces, and other dishes beginning at 7:00 am. The merchandise teams take delivery of stock, get the Chez Marianne boutique ready, arrange the displays, and take inventory. Attention to detail and excellent teamwork ensure that the entire attraction is a success.
So it has now been a year already that the Place de Rémy has been a beehive of activity, full of talented, motivated individuals working night and day so that visitors can experience a few magical moments, oblivious to all the work being carried out behind the scenes. The success of this new attraction is exemplified on a daily basis in the feedback from Guests, but also in the enthusiasm of the Cast Members on site and working backstage, from Maintenance to Safety, Food & Beverage to Merchandise, Attraction Hosts to Imagineering and more. Happy birthday and a big thank-you to all the teams that made – and continue to make – Ratatouille come to life!