January 13, 2017

Smelling A Rat(atouille) in Epcot

Here's an interesting tidbit of news that is sure to delight some, dismay others, and one that will certainly be met with all kinds of fan speculation: According to an insider on the great WDWMagic site, a new attraction is being planned at Epcot for the 50th anniversary celebration of Walt Disney World

The good news? It should be an incredible, people pleasing attraction. The winning Disney film property is either Beauty and the Beast or Ratatouille in the France pavilion in World Showcase. Regardless of how loyal EPCOT Center fans feel, the character invasion is taking hold of the park. But let's be honest, this park needs a facelift with new attractions, greater capacity, and a clear focus. Something it hasn't had since the 90's.

The once planned Audio-Animatronic show for Paris. 
Now turned into an exclusive Mystic Manor type attraction for Tokyo Disneyland.

The downside? Seems that the rather weak and undernourished Walt Disney Studios Paris will be losing one of its few original attractions. It's still a dismal little park. More bad news? It also seems Tokyo Disneyland will remain the only home of the greatest Beauty and the Beast attraction ever. Could they place it in the Florida Magic Kingdom and expand the New Fantasyland? Yes, they have the room. Will they do it? Probably not.

This concept art (above) shows an Audio-Animatronics show for Disneyland Paris that was never built, as that style of Disney attraction has sadly gone the way of the dinosaurs. (See article here.)  

Beauty in Tokyo: A vast improvement over Frozen Ever After!

Tokyo's super "E Ticket", perhaps even an "F Ticket" is a castle tour filled with all the best the Disney Imagineers can do. Music, mystery, adventure- and a family friendly people eater to boot. Imagine exploring Beast's Castle along the lines of an excursion through Hong Kong's Mystic Manor or the Haunted Mansion. Cool, huh? You'll just have to go overseas to do it- a disturbing trend of placing groundbreaking, breathtaking attractions in other countries, one that continues on with Shanghai Disneyland

Discarded French attraction concept.

(By the way, if you want to explore all the ways Beauty and the Beast has impacted the Disney world, check out my mega-post here.)

Anyway... Frozen Ever After is bringing in the crowds even if it is a rushed remake of the old Maelstrom attraction in Norway and uses only a slightly altered boat route adding about 30 seconds and one new show scene compared to its predecessor. But suits at Disney have taken notice. And fans that did not experience the great original park are all too happy for more characters to invade- or they are just so desperate for attractions that they have to wait for this one. 

Personally, Ratatouille is my absolute favorite Pixar flick, but I'm rooting for Beauty and the Beast, my favorite classic Disney animated film. The Rat might be a better fit, but who wouldn't love the Tokyo version-  an attraction that will be the envy of the West? Aren't we tired of getting cheaper second rate attractions at Epcot instead of those that are truly world class? I am- and at least from reviews and film I've seen, Remy's adventure in Paris is not as good as it should be. Good? Yes. Great? No.

If the Imagineers and suits expand France as they did Norway, to bring a brand new attraction, I'm ok with that. There should be room at the top right of the pavilion towards the U.K. showcase. However, if they get rid of Impression de France, I will be very angry. I'm not getting my hopes up. The track record for what the suits have done with Epcot lately is not good. That's what really stinks.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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