BAY LAKE, Fla. — Tiana's Bayou Adventure will take Disney's first Black princess on a new adventure—one that celebrates community—in “The Princess and the Frog"-inspired reimagining of Splash Mountain.
What You Need To Know
- Tiana's Bayou Adventure, an attraction inspired by "The Princess and the Frog" is set to open in 2024
- To make way for the new attraction, Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom will be closed starting Jan. 23, 2023
- Disney has also shared new details about Tiana's Bayou Adventure, including concept art and insight into research
- RELATED: How Tiana's Bayou Adventure will expand the story of Disney's first Black princess
As Disney Imagineers prepare for the attraction's transformation, the long-running log flume ride at Magic Kingdom will be closed starting Jan. 23, 2023. Fans have until Jan. 22 to take one final trip to the briar patch. Disneyland's version of Splash Mountain will also get a Tiana makeover, but the date for that attraction's closure has not yet been announced.
Tiana's Bayou Adventure is set to open in 2024 at Disney World and Disneyland. As Disney previously said, the ride's storyline won't be a retelling of “The Princess and the Frog.” Instead, it will be set a year after the events of the 2009 animated film, with Tiana now an established business owner in her New Orleans community.
A scale model of the attraction revealed at D23 Expo in September showed not only how the revamp of Splash Mountain will look but also how the idea of the community will play throughout the new attraction. A large tiara-topped water tower in front of the ride will feature the logo for Tiana’s Food, an employee-owned food co-op. Also, the journey riders will take through the bayou will involve Tiana and her jazz-loving alligator friend Louis preparing to host a celebration for the people of New Orleans.
With construction on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure beginning soon, Disney has shared more details about the attraction, including new concept art and information about the research process. Some elements from Splash Mountain will carry over into the new attraction—there will still be a large drop with a splash—but there will also be new characters, animatronics and effects.
A piece of concept art released Friday depicts a new scene riders will encounter during their first drop into the bayou. It features Tiana, Louis and a band made of bayou animals, including an otter, a rabbit, a raccoon, and a beaver. The critter band will sing and play instruments made of natural materials found in bayou as zydeco—a blend of rhythm and blues music that evolved in Louisiana—plays overhead. Louis will also explain where the music comes from.
During a special preview on Thursday, Imagineers Charita Carter, executive creative producer, and Ted Robledo, executive creative director, revealed the concept art as well as an animated rendering of a section of the ride. The short clip, from the perspective of the rider, showed what an animatronic of Louis could look like. Tiana will also be one of the animatronic’s featured in the attraction.
The clip shown during the preview Thursday wasn’t a final look, but rather part of a tool Imagineers use to explore staging and lighting in a digital environment.
The exterior of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will also take on new life at night. As shown in an animated rendering released at D23 Expo, the attraction will glow with different lighting effects once the sun sets.
Carter and Robledo also talked about the work that went into the design process. For the team, the goal was to be as authentic as possible. Although Tiana is a fictional character, her story is inspired by real people and places. As part of their research, Imagineers traveled to New Orleans to learn about the city and its culture.
The research also lead to a way to explain the “mountain” on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which will be a salt dome, which is a geologic formation that occurs in parts of Louisiana. As part of the backstory, Tiana purchased the old salt mine for the co-op.
Imagineers also worked closely with subject matter experts to help with authenticity. Tiana will be sporting a new look on the attraction. The outfits she’ll wear are inspired by what women wore in the 1920’s. The same is true for how the texture of Tiana’s hair is depicted in concept art released earlier this year at ESSENCE Fest.
The cast from the animated film will also be providing their voices for the attraction. Anika Noni Rose will be voicing Tiana, Jenifer Lewis will be voicing Mama Odie and Michael-Leon Wooley will be back as Louis. Bruno Campos will also be returning as Prince Naveen.
Disney first announced that Splash Mountain would be reimagined with a "Princess and the Frog" theme more than two years ago. The attraction, which opened at the Magic Kingdom in 1992, features imagery and characters from the controversial 1946 film "Song of the South," which has been criticized its depictions of Black people.
With Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, Disney will introduce more diversity to its theme parks. “We know people are going to anticipate seeing this princess,” said Carmen Smith, creative executive with Walt Disney Imagineering, in September. “And so they are going to have a chance to see her along this journey, and we’re very excited about that.”
Disney World has not yet announced an exact opening date for Tiana's Bayou Adventure.