Roughly two years ago, Disney announced that the iconic Splash Mountain attraction would be rethemed to a Princess & the Frog attraction. This would remove the troublesome connection to Song of the South. Today more details were released on what the new attraction will be! In this post, we’ll share the details and add in some of our commentary on the news.
The biggest pieces of news announced today were the name of the attraction and the timeframe for when it will debut both at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. The name will be Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and it will debut in late 2024. Here’s more details, including a video(!), via the Parks Blog:
Walt Disney Imagineers have been frequent travelers to Louisiana while conducting extensive research to ensure Tiana’s Bayou Adventure preserves the heart and soul of the city that inspired Princess Tiana’s story. From exploring the French Market and the bayou, to consulting with academics, chefs, musicians and cultural institutions, Imagineers have received inspiration from all over the region and learned from local experts along the way.
This research was explored in detail today at the French Quarter’s historic Preservation Hall during an intimate event held in honor of ESSENCE Fest, happening this weekend in New Orleans. With its own distinct history bringing people together, Preservation Hall was the ideal location to celebrate an attraction where music and community are at the heart of a transformational journey.
The celebration included a panel moderated by Victoria Uwumarogie, senior lifestyle editor at ESSENCE Magazine. Joining me in this discussion were colleagues and friends Charita Carter, executive producer of relevancy activations at Walt Disney Imagineering, Ted Robledo, executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering and Stella Chase, daughter of the late Chef Leah Chase who inspired Tiana’s story. Guests were treated to live art demonstrations provided by emerging talent from YAYA Arts Center, an organization we’ve engaged to commission artwork from alumna Sharika Mahdi. Music from the world-renowned Preservation Hall Jazz Band echoed throughout the hall, along with a performance by the voice of Mama Odie and living legend herself, Jenifer Lewis.
Guests are in for a true treat with local flavor when Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens in late 2024. As Charita Carter shared, “in many ways, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is a love letter to New Orleans. Like the musical city that inspired this attraction, Tiana’s second act is about a community working in harmony to achieve something extraordinary. She reminds us of an immutable truth we can all relate to: ‘if you do your best each and every day, good things are sure to come your way.’ And that’s a melody we can all sing along to!”
To be able to join New Orleans in the celebration of Black joy as we bring Tiana’s story to its roots is a full-circle moment I’m so proud to realize. Ted Robledo added that “the joie de vivre that animates this region so brilliantly not only inspired Tiana’s journey, but also our team at Walt Disney Imagineering.” It’s our intention to do that jubilant spirit justice when advancing the storyline of Princess Tiana at our parks.
First announced in 2020, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will take guests on a musical adventure inspired by the beloved story and characters from the fan-favorite film. Picking up where the film left off, guests will join Princess Tiana, Naveen and jazz-loving alligator Louis on an adventure through the bayou as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration where everyone is welcome. Along the way, guests will encounter familiar faces, make new friends and travel through the bayou to original music inspired by songs from the film as they are brought into the next chapter of Tiana’s story.
Off to the commentary. I’m not going to speak to Splash Mountain leaving the Disney Parks, as I’ve already done that and will likely do it again when the beloved attraction actually closes. There’s not a ton of new information so we’ll break down a few points in rapid fire succession!
- We’ll start with the name because this is becoming an issue. Does the average Disney fan really care about the names? Probably not, but there have been a wealth of new additions generally with unimaginative or overly long names. Honestly, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is the best of them. It would be even more passable if another new attraction wasn’t just named Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. I saw it mentioned online today that Tiana’s Bayou Splash (playing off of Splash Mountain and Bayou Bash) would have been a much better choice and I agree. These simple fixes would make a difference. All of these new attractions, maybe save for Rise of the Resistance which is generally just known as ‘Rise’, are called different things by fans because they’re long titles. There’s no Splash, Space or Big Thunder. It’s all a bit convoluted and seems like something that could be easily avoided. I’ll get off my soapbox now.
- Late 2024 isn’t that big of a surprise as far as the timeframe goes. That will give Splash through the end of this year and maybe a little bit more before a year long (more likely 18 months) closure. I would guess that they’ll give guests plenty of time to get one more ride in if they so choose to. Doing anything less than that would be a mistake. Doing any new attraction in less than two years is fairly quick but since most of the work will be done inside on this attraction it makes sense.
- Out of the news today, I am happy to see just how much this attraction will be focusing on New Orleans. They are saying all of the right things when it comes to this and I’m also encouraged that the attraction will be a post-movie plot instead of a recap of the film. This should only further the rumor that New Orleans Square will expand into the current Critter Country.
- Finally, I really enjoyed the video above. It wasn’t as fluffy and cheesy as some of the other videos that are released. I’d love to see a longform of this idea made it into a series on Disney+ about the building of park attractions, starting with Imagineers research and through the actual build. It’s a pipe dream for those that love to see behind the scenes but it’d be some very cool content. Hey Disney, I’ll make it if you want me to? Just give me all of the access and a bunch of money!
What are your thoughts on today’s news? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below! Planning a trip to a Disney Park? Check out our Planning Guides to help you along the way! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!