Should Disney Open Ratatouille This Year?
In 2014, the least popular Disney park in the world suddenly mattered. Then, Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris opened Ratatouille the Ride.
This attraction instantly transformed the park into a dream destination. For years, fans clamored for Disney to bring the attraction to one of its American parks.
During the summer of 2020, we all expected EPCOT to bring this dream into reality. Then, Coronavirus became a devastating problem for humanity.
Now, park officials face an unexpected wrinkle with their plans. Should Disney open Ratatouille this year? The answer’s not as simple as you might think.
Ratatouille the ride recreates one of the most memorable moments from the movie on which it’s based.
Guests enter a Ratmobile and ride around a kitchen. The catch involves your perspective.
The moment you board the Ratmobile, you get shrunk down to the size of Remy. So, the kitchen appears massive, with tables and ovens that seem like skyscrapers.
The ride begins on top of the iconic Gusteau’s Restaurant before the action spills onto the kitchen floor.
From there, the goal is to create a delicious Ratatouille dish without attracting the attention of suspicious Chef Skinner.
Of course, plans go awry as the Ratmobile accidentally enters the dining room. Skinner gets upset and tries to fricassee everyone in the ride cart.
This madcap adventure features 4D elements, including the heat of a kitchen fire and aromatic scents from the Ratatouille and its ingredients.
Audiences adore Ratatouille for its tight five minutes of entertainment value. Once the ride opens at EPCOT, it will immediately become the park’s most popular attraction.
Reasons to Open Ratatouille
The previous sentence represents the best reason to open the ride asap. Disney has spent a considerable chunk of money duplicating this attraction at EPCOT.
In fact, the Ratatouille sign is intentionally a focal point of the Disney Skyliner’s EPCOT loop. Park officials want guests excited about the prospects of trying the new attraction.
Walt Disney called the most popular attractions E-ticket rides. He did so because Disneyland wasn’t always a park where admission provided access to all attractions.
Instead, guests bought tickets for each ride. The most expensive ones came in 1959, four years after the park opened.
Attractions like 20,000 Leagues under the Sea and the monorail cost the most. They were the original E-ticket rides.
Park officials have largely shied away from this terminology over the years. Disney doesn’t want its lesser attractions perceived as such.
Something like Alien Swirling Saucers or Na’Vi River Journey is excellent for what it is. The park management team wouldn’t describe them as admission ticket-selling attractions, though.
Ratatouille the ride is very much an E-ticket attraction. People have clamored for it for more than five years now.
Since the Disney Skyliner opened, guests have received tantalizing glimpses of what’s in store at the attraction. And they’re hungry for more.
This aspect leads to the second reason why Disney should open Ratatouille this year. That’s the timeframe that park officials had announced.
Delaying the opening date could cause a black eye for the company at a time when Disney needs all the positive media attention it can get.
Given those two reasons, opening Ratatouille this year seems like a slam dunk, right? Not so fast…
Reasons to Delay Ratatouille
As MickeyBlog has reported, Walt Disney World will open with capacity limitations. Those limits could be as low as 15,000 daily guests per park.
The most recent admission data we have comes from 2018. At the time, Disney’s Hollywood Studios was the least trafficked of Disney’s four Orlando theme parks.
Hollywood Studios averaged more than 30,000 daily visits that year. And that’s the lowest average admission total at Walt Disney World!
So, 15,000 would be an almost draconian limitation on park traffic. However, it’s a necessary one during the earliest days of the pandemic.
When Disney reopens the parks, parts of it will work backward. The management team won’t want massive crowds. That could cause social distancing issues.
Instead, park officials would prefer a low-key return that allows for accurate testing of the newly implemented safety protocols.
By all accounts, Ratatouille was only weeks away from debuting when COVID-19 swept across the country. It’ll be ready soon after Walt Disney World reopens.
Since Ratatouille is the proverbial E-ticket ride, it’ll drive more people to visit EPCOT. That’s the entire point of building an attraction like this.
Popular attractions sell more tickets while giving guests a reason to spend more time at the park.
When Ratatouille arrives, its lines would have been massive anyway. With social distancing line markers in place, the lines could spread beyond the France pavilion.
Disney may utilize virtual queuing for the attraction to negate that issue, but you get the point.
Driving attendance isn’t a short-term positive at the moment. Disney will sell out all its allotted tickets each day due to the small capacity limits.
EPCOT doesn’t need anything else to boost attendance.
What Should Disney Do?
Therein lies the rub. One source I trust has indicated that Disney may delay Ratatouille the ride until 2021.
In doing so, Disney could trumpet an additional ride opening as part of its 50th-anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World.
Also, delaying Ratatouille would give guests more time to enjoy Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. That attraction was open for less than two weeks before Walt Disney World closed.
Disney doesn’t really need a second new attraction so soon afterward. It’s overkill in the current marketplace.
However, one of my favorite Disney writers, Ken Storey at Orlando Weekly, indicates that Ratatouille should still open in 2020.
Based on scheduling and marketing, this decision makes sense, too.
Disney said they would do something. It’s good business for a company to meet its deadlines, especially the publicly announced ones.
Even so, pandemic concerns have at least forced park officials to reconsider.
I’ve gone back and forth on what Disney should do here. In fact, I got feedback from others since I’m so conflicted on the topic.
Most people I asked have agreed that Ratatouille should still debut in 2020. My answer is that Disney should keep all its options open.
If the curve remains flat, EPCOT can host more guests and thereby justify adding an E-ticket attraction.
If Disney remains at limited capacity in the fall, I believe that it should save Ratatouille until next year.
There’s just not an easy answer here.