Walt Disney once said Epcot “would always be in a state of becoming” – it is a place that changes with the times. Over the next several years, the Walt Disney World Resort theme park will live up to that promise in a whole new way as it continues the biggest transformation of any Disney park in history, bringing the next generation of immersive storytelling to life through a plethora of new attractions and experiences.
The France pavilion is seeing some exciting changes and will be debuting its new offerings in 2020! During an exclusive media preview, I was able to get backstage access, and early sneak peeks of both Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along.” Learn more about these upcoming attractions below.
1 – Epcot Transformation
The updates in the France pavilion are a part of a large-scale transformation of Epcot. The park will be unified with four neighborhoods that each speak to important aspects of the world and its people: World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature, and World Discovery. These neighborhoods will be filled with new experiences rooted in authenticity and innovation that take guests to new destinations, where the real is made fantastic in a celebration of curiosity, hands-on wonder and the magic of possibility. World Showcase will continue to be a celebration of culture, cuisine, architecture, and traditions – infused with new magic.
I had a chance to speak with Michael Hundgen, Executive Producer, with Walt Disney Imagineering about the changes coming to Epcot. Watch the short video below.
2 – Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
In summer 2020, the France pavilion will offer even more for guests to discover, including the much-anticipated attraction Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, where guests will shrink to the size of Chef Remy and race through Gusteau’s restaurant on a wild adventure. Some fans might be familiar with this ride if they have visited Disneyland Paris.
3 – Remy’s Loading Zone
We had a chance to step into the attraction during an exclusive media preview. It was fascinating. Since it was backstage and a construction site, no photography or video was allowed. We were able to step into two different areas. First, we were in the area where guests will be loaded into the ride vehicles. The ride vehicle is so cute! (Click here to see close-up photos of the ride vehicle). You’re in a rat vehicle since your perspective is that of a rat. The vehicle utilizes a trackless ride system (like the new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance). It will enable you to scurry around the attraction.
In the loading area, you feel like you’re on the rooftops of Paris. You’ll see oversized gutters and smokestacks that are crooked. Mike, a Walt Disney Imagineer, described the look as “crookedology” because you are in the animated world of Remy, and the regular rules don’t apply! Because you are the size of a rat, the room itself is massive and has an extremely high ceiling.
4 – Remy’s Pantry
After that, we went into the pantry. The pantry is also very tall and oversized. Disney released a photo of the room we were in. Take a look below.
As you can see, a fish is hanging from the ceiling. There is a very large ham hanging from the ceiling as well. We were told the ham is 2.7 tons! That’s a huge ham! There are also lots of food items stacked all around. The items are all a bit cartoonish, but since you are in Remy’s world, the theming is perfect.
We are really looking forward to this new attraction. It will be a lot of fun for the whole family.
5 – Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
Also in the France pavilion, the classic Impressions de France film will be joined by the new “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along.” This new film is now open. Our group first heard from Tom Fitzgerald with Walt Disney Imagineering. As Tom shared, they wanted to create a “Beauty and the Beast” sing-along after the Frozen sing-along at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was such a hit with guests. But since Beauty and the Beast has been so present lately with the live-action film and Broadway productions, including on the Disney Cruise Line, they wanted to present the story in a new “twisted” way.
For help creating this new “twist,” they reached out to Don Hahn, producer of both the animated and live-action versions of this tale as old as time. Don Hahn also spoke to our group and shared that when he was first presented with the idea, he didn’t think it could be done. But after some time thinking about the project, he was able to come up with a fun, new way to retell the story.
Note: Before anyone grabs their pitchfork and lights their torch, no, Impressions de France is not being replaced. Both films play throughout the day in a rotating schedule.
6 – Tale as Old as Time with a New Twist
The new film is sixteen minutes and has five songs that Hahn described as “Cliff-Note” versions. They were able to use the voice tracks from the original movie. They brought back original voice actors for new parts, including Angela Lansbury reprising her role as Mrs. Potts. Hahn also shared that some of the original animators were also brought back to work on the new scenes. It was absolutely fantastic to see this classic film on the big screen again. In fact, Hahn shared that since the film debuted in 1992, many guests will have never seen Beauty and the Beast on the big screen. They were thrilled to bring this film to guests in this new and exciting way.
7 – There May Be Something There That Wasn’t There Before
I don’t want to spoil this new twisted version for you. I will say that our group was singing along and laughing. We all left smiling. The new story is a whole lot of fun. You’ll definitely want to stop by the France pavilion and check out the new film. Impression de France will still run as well. Check your Times Guide for information on when you can catch the new show.
8 – Let Them Eat Crepes
Summer 2020 will also see the debut of a delicious new restaurant in the France pavilion, La Crêperie de Paris, offering both table- and quick-service options featuring a menu from celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse. We’re looking forward to checking out these new options in the expanded France pavilion!
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