NEW: Disney Shares Inspiration For ‘Princess and the Frog’ Splash Mountain Redesign

in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

An official poster announcing Tiana's Bayou Adventure, opening late 2024.

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Earlier this morning, we reported that Disney announced Splash Mountain’s new name at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort!

Disney first announced that Splash Mountain would be rethemed to Princess and the Frog (2009) in 2020, but details about the redesign have been sparse. Last month, Anika Noni Rose, the voice of Princess Tiani, leaked that the newly reimagined Splash Mountain will open in 2024, which Disney refused to confirm at the time.

Princess Tiana
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Disney confirmed Rose’s information at the Essence of Culture Festival in New Orleans. Splash Mountain, currently themed after the controversial and widely banned Song of the South (1946), will reopen as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure in late 2024 at Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom!

This afternoon, Disney Parks Blog shared a bit more about the inspiration behind Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, including a video of Disney Park Imagineers on one of their many trips to New Orleans:

The Imagineers started at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, dedicated to Leah Chase, an iconic Black New Orleans chef. Next, the Cast Members headed out on the Bayou on an airboat tour!

Related: Disney Reject #SaveSplashMountain, Releases New Statements on Attraction Overhaul

Then, the group headed to Chicago Square, including a memorial to Louis Armstrong and a museum honoring the place where Free People of Color and enslaved people congregated to enjoy music.

Charita Carter stands in front of a statue of Princess Tiana.
Credit: Disney Parks YouTube

The group also had the chance to visit YAYA Arts Center, an art program for New Orleans youth. The Imagineers are collaborating with YAYA for the redesign of Splash Mountain!

“We’re getting exposed to a number of things from that time period that are gonna be really helpful,” said Charita Carter, Executive Producer of Relevancy Activations at Walt Disney Imagineering. “There are even a couple of exhibits that we were able to take advantage of. We got to see set design, props, and all kinds of things that are really appropriate for what we’re trying to do in being authentic as we represent the city as a part of our attraction.”

waitress tiana in the princess and the frog
Credit: Disney

Carter and the Imagineers also went to Xavier University, a part of the Historically Black College and Universities system, to talk to professors and staff about the history and culture of New Orleans.

“We even went out to Avery Island to take a look at a salt dome, which is one of the only areas in Louisiana that has any elevation,” Carter said. “It was really important for the team to be able to get an opportunity to come to New Orleans because it is very important that as we’re telling a New Orleans story as a part of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, we want to be really authentic.”

Panel at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Carmen Smith, Senior Vice President, Creative Development – Product/Content & Inclusive Strategies, shared more about the trip on Disney 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 senior lifestyle editor at ESSENCE Magazine, Victoria Uwumarogie, and a performance from Mama Odie herself, Jenifer Lewis.

Panel at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Smith shared that Tiana’s Bayou Aventure will be a “love letter to New Orleans:”

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.

The Princess and the Frog
Credit: Disney

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will pick up where Princess and the Frog 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.

Inside the Magic will report on any Splash Mountain and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure updates from ESSENCE Fest!

princess tiana and prince naveen wedding kiss the princess and the frog
Credit: Disney

Are you excited for Splash Mountain to become Tiana’s Bayou Adventure? 

 

 

 

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