Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Preview!

We had a chance to ride EPCOT’s newest attraction a little bit early at a Passholder Preview for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, which opens to the public on October 1, 2021. It was a lot of fun! Here’s a largely spoiler-free (no ride pics, but a few helpful bits of information) review.

After being lucky enough to get a spot at the preview (Passholders, always check your emails!), we headed to EPCOT last week. The new Remy ride is on the right-hand side of the France pavilion, towards the back. The entire area is Remy-themed and full of delightful details.

ratatouille gusteau sign
Visitors to the France Pavilion feel like they’re in the world of Ratatouille.
ratatouille sculpture
The Little Chef himself!

Also in this section of the France Pavilion you’ll find La Crêperie de Paris, a new restaurant that offers both sweet and savory crêpes. There is a sit-down section as well as a to go window. If you want to check out the menu, visit the Disney Parks Blog for all the details. Lines at all of the previews were long, so this new dining offering is sure to be a hit.

la Crêperie de Paris restaurant

After a short wait in line, we were able to ride!

The ride car and indeed much of the experience of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is very similar to another relatively new ride, this one in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Minnie & Mickey’s Runaway Railway. Both feature trackless cars and digital screens. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is suitable for guests of any height.

Remy ratatouille ride vehicle
Ride car for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, from the Disney Parks Blog.

The ride car, which looks like a friendly rat, has two rows with three seats each in a bench with small dividers. I am tall and not small, and I fit comfortably in the middle seat of the back row (a Cast Member told me the back row has a little more legroom than the front). The door to get into the vehicle is a bit small and up a step; it helps to turn a bit sideways and shimmy in. Once seated, you lower a lap bar yourself to a comfortable point and then you’re off!

In Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, your point of view is that of a rat scampering around Remy’s kitchen. A combination of force perspective and 3D screens (yes, there are glasses) create an immersive illusion, with a few surprises I won’t ruin for you here. I will say, though, for those concerned about motion sickness: while I was fine for 90% of the ride, there was one particular segment that had me feeling a little too dizzy. I closed my eyes for maybe ten seconds until the scene calmed down and then was fine.

A spoiler-free review of Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at Walt Disney World. Click To Tweet

Overall, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is a delightful ride that is a terrific addition to the World Showcase. Remy has long been the Food & Wine Festival’s mascot and he deserves a little love! What this ride isn’t is a game-changer or a thrill ride of any kind. Anyone expecting the an awe-inspiring experience like Flight of Passage is going to be disappointed; anyone looking for a fun update on the much-loved dark rides of Fantasyland (Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh) will enjoy it a great deal.

Having said that, be prepared: when the ride opens on October 1, Disney plans to use a virtual queue similar to that being used on Rise of the Resistance. From the Disney World site:

“When Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure initially opens, in order to experience the attraction, Guests will be required to join the virtual queue. A standby queue will not be available at opening. The virtual queue will be limited and subject to availability. Each Guest can enter the virtual queue no more than once per day.”

Of course, when the new Genie+ and Lightning Lane system comes online this fall, there may be other options for securing a spot on this new attraction. Stay tuned for more details!

ratatouille us
We had a terrific time and look forward to riding Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure again!

Disneyland replaces annual passes with a new Magic Key program

Disneyland has announced today a new program to replace annual passes, called Magic Key.

“When you’re a Magic Key holder, Disneyland is your land—you’re a townsperson on Main Street, U.S.A., a galactic citizen of Batuu, a hero at Avengers Campus, a local at Pixar Pier and beyond. You belong to the community of core Disneyland fans who all share a passion and love for the parks.”

The Dream Key has no blockout dates. Blockout calendars for the other Keys can be seen here:

Believe Key blockout calendar

Imagine Key blockout calendar

Enchant Key Blockout calendar

Disney World Drops Face Mask Requirement for Outdoors

Breaking news today, May 15, 2021: Disney World is no longer requiring the use of a face mask outdoors on property. Masks are still required indoors, however, including on rides.

disney mask policy
Disney World Drops Face Mask Requirement for Outdoors Click To Tweet

Disney’s policy clarifies that masks must still be worn indorrs in all common areas, including rides and attractions and their entrances. For more information, visit:

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/experience-updates/#drawer-card-faceCoverings

Back to Disney!

After 408 days away (our last visit was February 29, 2020), we finally went back to Walt Disney World yesterday.

Dave and Toni in front of the castle at Walt Disney World
A great castle pic! (WDW allowed visitors to take their masks off for outdoor photos as of 4/8/2021).

We live a few hours south of Orlando, and as Passholders who usually visit once a month or so, the year and change away was hard on us. And while we have a lot of friends who went back once the Parks reopened in July, for us the right decision was to wait until we were fully vaccinated. That’s a personal decision for each person to make, and just what fit our specific situation. We missed Disney a LOT, though, so when we hit our fully inoculated date at the end of March, and we planned a one-day trip back to the Magic Kingdom as soon as we could. (We adhered to ALL safety protocols the entire time we were there, and wouldn’t dream of doing otherwise.)

So many things different, and so many the same. It’s still Disney. I still loved being on Main Street. I still got to ride two of my favorite rides, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Haunted Mansion. I still shopped (we call our Disney haul our “loot”), coming home with a very cool Haunted Mansion blanket and a celebratory new Pandora charm. But I will say, it was harder than I thought it would be to not be able to see people’s faces. To not be able to smile at Cast Members and see them smile back. More practically speaking, it was also hard to wear a mask in the humidity all day.

On Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
My score was pathetic, a measly 241,000. I am SO out of practice.

The worst thing for me, though, was the lack of Fast Passes. I can’t express to you how much I miss being able to plan out my three favorite rides of the day. Lines are long and despite what some will tell you, it’s not just because they’re socially distanced. (I actually saw zero social distancing going on in lines. The markers are there on the floor, and Disney reminds you to stand on them. No one was doing so on the rides we were on. I don’t know whether this was an unusual occurrence or not, but it shocked me.) The line for Winnie the Pooh was wrapped around to Cosmic Ray’s. If you’re familiar with the layout of Magic Kingdom, you know that’s pretty far. Some people say they’re glad that Fast Passes are gone for now, but I can’t imagine why. Spending that much of my Park day in a line is a waste to me. I can’t wait until FP+ comes back.

One change I do love are the Character Cavalcades. While under COVID safety protocols, Disney has suspended regular parades and fireworks. Instead, randomly throughout the day and in different locations in the Park, you’ll see a Character Cavalcade instead. These are such fun. Short, just a couple floats maybe, unannounced, but all the more fun for that. We saw three in the time we were there, plus a performance from the Dapper Dans up on the train platform.

Character Cavalcade at Walt Disney World
Character Cavalcades are fun!

These, I hope are here to stay. I love the longer parades, of course. Festival of Fantasy is beautiful. But it does sort of jam up Magic Kingdom for a big part of the day, every day, what with people staking out viewing spots sometimes hours in advance. I wouldn’t want to see it go away, but maybe it should just be once a week or something like that, with the smaller Cavalcades every day? Just a thought.

We weren’t at the Magic Kingdom very late, because of the long drive home. We probably spent more time in the car than in the Park. But it was worth it just to be back. Yes, the masks are hard, mobile ordering can be a bit hectic, and it’s harder to get dining reservations right now because not everything is open. You still need to be careful, even with a vaccine, by washing your hands, wearing your mask, using sanitizer, and trying to keep a little distance. But on the other hand, I got to see Mickey. I got lots of compliments on my Dole Whip dress. And when a Princess Cavalcade went by, the Fairy Godmother saw me waving at her and blew me a kiss. If that doesn’t make your day, I don’t know what will.

Walt Disney World’s Magical Express Discontinued in 2022

magical express

There’ve been rumors it was coming for some time, but now it’s official: according to the Disney Parks Blog, the much-beloved Magical Express transportation system is being discontinued at the end of this year.

“Vacationers have more options to choose from than ever for transportation, including ride-share services that save time and offer more flexibility to go where they want, when they want. In light of this shift, when Disney Resort hotel bookings open for stays in 2022, we will no longer offer Disney’s Magical Express service for airport transportation, starting with arrivals Jan. 1, 2022. We will continue to operate the service for new and existing reservations made at Disney Resort hotels for arrivals throughout 2021.”

Disney's Magical Express to discontinue in 2022. #wdw #magicalexpress #disney Click To Tweet

Disney went on to reassure guests that other complimentary transportation options such as buses, monorails and Disney Skyliner will continue to be available within Walt Disney World Resort for Disney Resort hotel guests, including to and from all four theme parks.

As locals to the area, the Magical Express wasn’t something that we used, but I know it’s a huge favorite service for many guests. While expected, this news is probably a disappointment for many.

“Luca” is Pixar’s next film

Opening in 2021, Luca promises to be a delight.

luca pixar

Pixar Animation Studios announced today that its next feature film release will be “Luca.” Directed by Academy Award® nominee Enrico Casarosa (“La Luna”) and produced by Andrea Warren (“Lava,” “Cars 3”), “Luca” is set to open in U.S. theaters June 18, 2021. The voice cast has yet to be announced.

Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, the original animated feature is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta, and endless scooter rides.  Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: he is a sea monster from another world just below the water’s surface. 

This movie sounds like a beautiful love story to Italy, friendship, and growing up. I can’t wait to see it.

Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” releasing early on digital download, Disney+

BURBANK, Calif. (March 20, 2020) –The Walt Disney Studios announced today that Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” will be available to buy digitally and on Movies Anywhere beginning today at 5:00PM PST/ 8:00PM EST and on Disney+ on April 3 in the U.S.

onward

The film premiered in theaters on March 6 and earned rave reviews from audiences, including a 95% Verified Audience Score on RottenTomatoes. With cinemas currently impacted by closures due to the global health crisis, Disney will offer the film ahead of schedule to purchase on digital platforms in the U.S. beginning today at 5:00PM PST /8:00PM EST for $19.99.

“While we’re looking forward to audiences enjoying our films on the big screen again soon, given the current circumstances, we are pleased to release this fun, adventurous film to digital platforms early for audiences to enjoy from the comfort of their homes,” said Dan Scanlon (Director, “Onward”) and Kori Rae (Producer, “Onward”).

In “Onward,” teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot (voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) get an unexpected opportunity to spend one more day with their late dad, embarking on an extraordinary quest aboard Barley’s epic van Guinevere. Like any good quest, their journey is filled with magic spells, cryptic maps, impossible obstacles and unimaginable discoveries. But when the boys’ fearless mom Laurel (voice of Julia Louis-Dreyfus) realizes her sons are missing, she teams up with a part-lion, part-bat, part-scorpion, former warrior – aka The Manticore (voice of Octavia Spencer) – and heads off to find them. Perilous curses aside, this one magical day could mean more than any of them ever dreamed.

Disney World issues statement regarding Hurricane Dorian

disney weather statement

Disney Parks has released a statement regarding Hurricane Dorian:

The Walt Disney World Resort is operating under normal conditions. We are closely monitoring the path of the projected weather, as nothing is more important than the safety of our Guests and Cast Members. 

We are taking precautions, including cancelling weekend sporting events and closing Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park on Sunday. We are also contacting Guests with current and upcoming reservations at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to plan for anticipated weather impacts.

from disneyworld.disney.go.com
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