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Disneyland Paris pulls back the veil on Ratatouille dark ride

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In perhaps the worst-kept secret in theme park history, the Disneyland Paris resort has finally admitted that the long-rumored Ratatouille trackless dark ride will open in 2014.

Photos: Ratatouille dark ride at Disneyland Paris

Conspicuously under construction for more than a year and rumored since 2009 or earlier, the new attraction will be based on the Oscar-winning Disney/Pixar film that tells the tale of a rat named Remy who dreams of becoming a renowned French chef.

With an estimated budget of  $150 million, the new attraction at the Walt Disney Studios theme park in France is expected to feature trackless ride vehicles with 3-D projections and special effects.

Officially, Disney has said little about the Ratatouille attraction beyond dropping the occasional hint or offering a knowing wink. Unofficially, the theme park community has been tracking down details about the rumored ride for years.

With a working title of Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity (or Ratatouille: Désastre en Cuisine in French), the new ride is currently under construction at the Walt Disney Studios theme park between Toy Story Playland and an existing costuming building.

An adjacent table service restaurant is expected to be called La Ratatouille after the bistro opened by Remy and his friends at the end of the animated film.

Construction plans filed at government offices and discovered by the Disney Central Plaza fan website show a Parisian courtyard with Gusteau's restaurant from the movie and "Haussmannian" architecture unique to the French capital.

While waiting in the queue, riders are expected to be "shrunk" to the size of a rat before being chased around Paris and through Gusteau's kitchen by the villainous Chef Skinner.

Using local positioning technology developed for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland, the rat-shaped ride vehicles are expected to follow a trackless course and be capable of 360-degree rotation. Along the way, riders will likely encounter audio-animatronic figures, special effects and 3-D imagery projected on 30-foot-wide domed screens.

Remy, the rodent hero of "Ratatouille," has already been making appearances at Walt Disney Studios' Rendez-vous des Stars restaurant in the form of a tiny tableside animatronic figure that is part of Walt Disney Imagineering's Living Character initiative.

A similar Remy character at Epcot's Chefs De France restaurant has already sparked rumors (more like desperate pleas, really) of a Ratatouille ride clone coming someday soon to the Walt Disney World resort in Florida.

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