Wednesday 8 October 2014

The Best Attraction in Disneyland Paris: Ratatouille

Besides being a traditional French vegetable stew, Ratatouille is also an Oscar-winning animated Pixar/Disney movie starring a little rat named Remy who dreams of becoming a chef in Paris.

A few months ago when I heard the Ratatouille attraction was being built in Disneyland Paris in collaboration with legendary French chef Paul Bocuse, I got very excited and began counting the days until it opened. I absolutely love the movie, it's food-related and it takes place in Paris, what's not to love? Well, yes, maybe the fact that there are rodents all over the kitchen of a restaurant is a reason to be put off but don't you think little Remy is cute? I do.

The Ratatouille attraction opened in July and since then I was following pictures of it on Instagram, I could see the queue was about two hour long during the summer months. Thankfully, Mr. FFID and I visited on a weekday in September when the summer holiday madness was over and the kids were back to school.

The Ratatouille attraction is located in the Disney studios park where the setting of the movie has been superbly recreated. When you arrive at 'Place de Remy' you are charmed straight away by all the little details: flowers, vintage bikes, balconies, the fountain... There is also the attraction's very own restaurant as well as its souvenir shops (sadly closed when I was there) around the square.

The Ratatouille attraction is located in a building that looks like a Parisian theatre and is the longest attraction in the whole park, lasting over 3 minutes. Once you have collected your 3D glasses you find yourself in a rat shaped car, supposedly shrunk down to the size of a rat.

It is brilliant!  I won't spoil it but basically you are totally immersed in the movie for a few minutes and will be surprised by a few things. My only complaint is that it is too short, I loved it so much!

At the end of the ride your little 'rat mobile' finished up by parking beside the dining room of the restaurant 'Bistrot Remy'.

About that, Mr. FFID and I were hesitant (more me than him) of trying the food there. The food in Disneyland is generally expensive and poor quality but considering this was one of my favourite movies we decided to give it a go. I booked a table in advance just in case but the place is huge, it's the largest restaurant in the park seating around 370 people.

We were warmly welcomed at the reception area where we sat for a few minutes in the lounge beside all of Remy's and Chef Gusteau's awards.

Then the waitress explained to us that we were walking from the human-size restaurant to the rat-size restaurant, I giggled... I literally felt like I was a a child on Christmas Day and I've never been that excited to enter a restaurant.

The decor is just amazing, from the champagne cap-shaped chairs to the giant Gusteau's cookbook, the attention to details is just superb!

You have lots of different sections, the private booths are divided by giant plates and the coat hangers are giant forks.

There is a giant colander on the ceiling and tables are topped with cocktail umbrellas, there are giant sardine tins and wine bottles. If you're a Ratatouille fan you'll find yourself smiling all the time, just like I did.

The two course menu is priced at €29.99 and the three course menu at €39.99. Yes I hear you, it's expensive and you can eat a fabulous lunch in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris city centre for less (without wine). It is themed-park food but nevertheless I was pleasantly surprised.

First there is a decent portion of a mixed leaf salad with a nice vinaigrette served with fresh bread, there is no alternative starter.

Then we went for the steak frites (the other option was fish) which was cooked to our liking and served with a secret sauce, a kind of a pepper sauce I believe. It was a good steak with a copious amount of delicious fries and it hit the spot. There was a little bowl of not-so-pretty ratatouille on the side, don't expect the super ratatouille (more a tian really) featured in the movie!

Strangely they have more desserts than mains on the menu, Mr. FFID's mousse au chocolat was spot on and my rum baba surprisingly divine.

Overall it is expensive for what it is but we loved the experience, the service was friendly and not rushed, it took us two hours to eat there, the proper laid-back French way. I went with low expectations and they were far exceeded, we were full and happy to have tried it.

I didn't want to leave the Ratatouille quarter in Disneyland, it is now my favourite area in the park. I left it with the theme tune of the movie in my head, along with the voice of chef Gusteau, telling me 'Anyone can cook'. Thanks chef, I'll remember than when I'll train in Ballymaloe next year!