Tiana, Disney’s first Black princess, is getting her own attraction — one that will expand the character’s story as well as bring more diversity to Disney’s theme parks.
What You Need To Know
- Disney to open Tiana's Bayou Adventure in late 2024
- The "Princess and the Frog"-inspired attraction will replace Splash Mountain at Disney World and Disneyland
- Disney shared more details about the attraction, including how it expands the story of Tiana, its first Black princess
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, currently slated to open in late 2024, will replace both Disney World and Disneyland’s version of the classic Splash Mountain attraction, which features elements that originated from the controversial “Song of the South” — the 1946 film that's considered racist for its negative depictions of Black people.
Picking up where Disney’s 2009 animated film “The Princess and the Frog” left off, the reimagined ride will take Tiana on a new music-filled adventure through the bayou. She’ll be joined by jazz-loving alligator Louis on a search for a special ingredient needed for a big Mardi Gras celebration.
Along the way, they’ll make some new friends, including a fiddle-playing otter. A total of 16 new characters will be introduced for the new attraction, according to Disney Imagineers.
But the backstory for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure isn’t just about Mardi Gras festivities. It’s also about empowerment and a sense of community.
“This is a next-chapter story,” said Carmen Smith, Walt Disney Imagineering’s creative executive over the project. “She opens Tiana’s Palace, we pick it up where Tiana’s Palace is open, is successful. Her next chapter is she’s married to Naveen, but her commitment and passion for her community is ever-present. And on this journey, she creates Tiana’s Foods, sort of like the next evolution of the restaurant, where it’s almost like a co-op. Everyone in the community has agency.”
At D23 Expo earlier this month, Disney revealed a model of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. The model, displayed inside the parks pavilion on the D23 Expo show floor, showed how some of those themes will be incorporated into the upcoming attraction.
The model features a tall water tower right next to the big drop. On the tower is a giant tiara as well as the logo for “Tiana’s Foods,” the co-op Tiana established in 1927. Also visible in the model are crops that growers have planted along the waterway.
The display at D23 Expo also revealed that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure would take on a different look at night — with the attraction getting special lighting effects that create a purple glow.
The attraction will also showcase its namesake. Tiana will be one of the animatronics featured in the attraction, according to Smith.
“We know people are going to anticipate seeing this princess, and so they’re going to have a chance to see her all along the journey and we’re very excited about that,” Smith said.
Some of the original cast from “The Princess and the Frog” will return to lend their voices for the upcoming attraction, including Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), Bruno Campos (Naveen), Michael Leon Wooley (Louis) and Jenifer Lewis (Mama Odie).
Disney has not yet shared when it will close Splash Mountain — at Disneyland or at Disney World — to begin the transformation of the attraction into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.