Designed by Walt Disney’s Imagineering team, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure 4D ride experience at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla., brings the 2007 Pixar film “Ratatouille” to life. The movie and ride are based on fictional character Remy, a rat, who dreams of becoming a great chef. Remy moves to Paris to follow his dream, and with the help of a hapless garbage boy, Linguini, Remy puts his culinary skills to the test in the kitchen, but he must stay in hiding, often with hilarious consequences.
Located in the France Pavilion of Epcot, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure cost $270 million to complete. Similar in height to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in the Magic Kingdom, the architecture of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is provincial meets crookedology (components installed slightly out of plumb or contain variations different than a typical installation).
The unique project was awarded to general contractor Balfour Beatty PLC, London, that partnered with P.A. Roofing and Sheet Metal Inc., Orlando, the roofing contractor for the project.
Scope of work
In August 2018, the P.A. Roofing and Sheet Metal team began work on the project. The scope of work included:
The attraction’s exterior design includes Gusteau’s Restaurant and surrounding buildings that make up a Parisian plaza. Guests in queue for the ride walk along an artist’s loft that leads to Paris rooftops, where guests are “shrunk” to the size of rats. After guests board their “ratmobiles” on the roof of Gusteau’s Restaurant, they are taken on an adventure with Remy and the spirit of Chef Auguste Gusteau.
On the exterior roof where dormers were installed by Balfour Beatty, the P.A. Roofing and Sheet Metal crew applied GRACE ULTRA™ underlayment to the metal decks followed by DaVinci composite slate in evergreen and gray-purple. Workers topped the dormers with RHEINZINK® angled standing-seam titanium zinc roof panels.
On the attraction’s interior canopies, the P.A. Roofing and Sheet Metal team installed RHEINZINK angled standing-seam titanium zinc roof panels and PetraSlate’s Everglade Slate.
On the interior walls, workers installed RHEINZINK standing-seam titanium zinc panels and Evergreen Slate Co. Inc.’s Vermont Natural Slate along with sheet-metal flashing and trim.
To create the interior roof façades, workers mechanically fastened SOPREMA® SBS polymer-modified bitumen laminated coverboards to the metal decks and installed three plies of SOPREMA polymer-modified bitumen applied with a torch.
All the zinc panels for the attraction’s interior roof, gutters, crookedology drains, chimney and crown molding were custom-made by P.A. Roofing and Sheet Metal’s craftsmen.
In addition, on a roof over the restrooms, workers installed a combination of RHEINZINK and Englert convex and concave standing-seam titanium zinc panels roll-formed by P.A. Roofing and Sheet Metal craftsmen.
The P.A. Roofing and Sheet Metal crew held regular safety meetings and adhered to strict on-site safety protocols that included the following:
Working on a one-of-a-kind Disney project had its obstacles.
“Trying to present our ideas in a 2D format when the art directors are visualizing them in their 3D minds was a bit of a challenge,” says Robert DeVarona, president of P.A. Roofing and Sheet Metal. “We created eight to 10 mock-ups before everyone agreed on the final look for the project.”
One of the most interesting parts of the project is inside the attraction.
“As a roofing contractor, I understand our clients are not able to see all their roofs from the ground,” DeVarona says. “But for this project, we were responsible for installing roofs on the interior. We had to make sure the metal panels installed where guests could encounter them were harmless and would not cause injuries.
“Being able to have our clients and guests see our roofing work inside the ride and over the restroom entrance is satisfying. As a trained roofing contractor who has never installed a crookedology design, it was a bit of a struggle to make sure our technicians didn’t lay down a perfect roof.”
After subcontracting work was completed in March 2021, the P.A. Roofing and Sheet Metal crew returned to remove temporary protective items such as plywood and patched and repaired areas.
When Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opened in October 2021 as part of Disney World’s 50th anniversary kickoff, it sold out for passholders.
“We went above and beyond standard techniques and methods to provide Disney and fans with an amazing adventure ride with an inspiring final product,” DeVarona says.
For its work on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, P.A. Roofing & Sheet Metal was named a 2022 Gold Circle Awards finalist.
“We at P.A. Roofing and Sheet Metal are proud of this unique project,” DeVarona says. “It is a rare opportunity to implement a roof on the inside of a project. Our clients and their clients can see a beautiful roof in place without the dangers of being on the roof. The intricate patterns and materials just add to the splendor that Disney brings!”
CHRYSTINE ELLE HANUS is Professional Roofing’s associate editor and an NRCA director of communications.