Disney’s biennial fan convention D23 Expo brought plenty of food news for Walt Disney World over the weekend. New experiences coming to the Orlando theme parks will allow guests to cook like a rat, eat like a princess, dine like an astronaut — and drink in the Force at yet another Star Wars bar.
When You’ll Ride Ratatouille, Plus Even More French Food
Though Epcot is home to nearly year-round culinary extravaganzas, including massive Food & Wine and Flower & Garden festivals, the nostalgia-filled park finally gets its first ride honoring traditional French cooking with Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, officially opening next summer. Modeled after the version at Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris, the ride will seemingly shrink riders down to the size of a tiny chef with trackless vehicles whizzing them through a walk-in fridge, underneath a stove, and yes, past BIG FOOD (!), providing the miniature sous chef perspective you never knew you needed.
While Walt Disney World’s take on the ride won’t end in a gleefully themed restaurant with seating fashioned from oversized Champagne corks and bottle caps and tables that repurpose large jam jar lids, a new restaurant will still debut at Epcot’s France pavilion in tandem with the Pixar attraction.
La Crêperie de Paris will offer table-service and quick-service dining within the France pavilion — which is Disney-speak for this being a proper sit-down eatery with table service in addition to grab-and-go items. Opening at World Showcase’s France Pavilion (one of 11 country-themed mini-lands within Epcot) in summer 2020, its menu will be crafted by Jérôme Bocuse, son of famed chef Paul Bocuse, in a nice torch-passing touch — Paul Bocuse’s restaurant Monsieur Paul, currently helmed by Jérôme, still stands as one of Epcot’s best fine dining options (we recommend the iconic red snapper in potato scales).
Launch Details for Epcot’s Space Restaurant
Further information about Epcot’s forthcoming “space restaurant,” first announced two years ago, was revealed as well. Located on the Future World side of Epcot — which will soon be split into newly themed “neighborhoods” — Space 220 is named for the miles it (hypothetically) sits above Epcot. Diners will board an “elevator” near the Mission: SPACE ride that will replicate being shot up all the way into orbit, just for a cocktail or dinner for two. Space 220 will be operated by Patina Restaurant Group, which operates 13 dining establishments at or near Disney parks, including Morimoto Asia, a Floridian offshoot of Los Angeles nightclub/bar the Edison, and Epcot’s popular Via Napoli pizzeria. Just don’t hit Space 220 immediately before riding Mission: SPACE. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s the only Disney attraction with on-vehicle barf bags.
It’s not a restaurant, necessarily, but Epcot has one more spot on the way: the forthcoming World Celebration area, which will repurpose the fountain-filled passageway between Spaceship Earth and World Showcase as a landing pad for food festival events within a three-floor structure.
NOLA-Style Dining With The Princess and the Frog
It was announced that Reflections — A Disney Lakeside Lodge, set to open near the Magic Kingdom resort area in 2022, will feature a new waterfront restaurant paying homage to Disney’s New Orleans-set The Princess and the Frog. Renderings look more like your average contemporary American restaurant than a fully themed Disney debut, but it’s easy to infer this may be Disney’s second swing at a newly proven concept — the upscale hotel character meal. (Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge was overhauled last year to make way for a nightly higher-end Snow White dinner.) No word on if Tiana will grace patrons with her presence or famed beignets, but it could mark a move toward elevating character meals beyond self-serve Mickey waffles and strawberry soup.
Star Wars Does the Hotel Restaurant
And, for those jonesing for a Star Wars dining experience beyond the horizontally butchered ribs and arrowroot noodles currently offered at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland (and, once it opens Thursday, Walt Disney World), there’s always Star Wars Hotel. Specifics were finally dropped at yesterday’s D23 Expo, revealing that the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will resemble more of an extended cruise vacation than a traditional hotel stay, with immersive dining and the Silver C Lounge, which should fulfill any cantina needs and then some.