Latest Splash Mountain Update Angers Former Imagineer

in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

Left: A mural of Louis comes to life on Tiana's Bayou Adventure. Right: Splash Mountain's exterior while it was still operating.

Credit: Disney

A former Walt Disney Imagineer recently shared his thoughts on construction progress at the former Splash Mountain at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, currently being transformed into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom Park and Critter Country at Disneyland Park in 2024. The Princess and the Frog (2009)-themed ride takes place after the events of the film. It will feature Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, Louis the Alligator, and Mama Odie (notably, Dr. Facilier is unlikely to appear).

The exterior of Splash Mountain in Disneyland when it was still operating.
Credit: Disney

In the attraction queue, guests will learn that Princess Tiana expanded her restaurant into an employee-owned cooperative, Tiana’s Foods. The former Splash Mountain track will remain the same, but Briar Patch will transform into a New Orleans salt dome!

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Mural

The former Walt Disney Imagineer spoke out after Disney Parks Blog shared a peek at a mural coming to the Tiana’s Bayou Adventure queue at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. Louisana artist Malaika Favorite created the painting to adorn the log flume ride’s queue.

Malaika Favorite poses in front of her mural at Tiana's Bayou Adventure.
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

“Taking inspiration from the numerous murals and other works of art that decorate building exteriors throughout New Orleans, Princess Tiana’s desire to adorn the location with art is in keeping with the spirit that artwork is to be enjoyed and accessed by everyone,” Disney Parks Blog wrote. “When we were exploring how to introduce guests to the story of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure as they prepared to embark on the attraction, maintaining the authenticity of Princess Tiana’s experience as a young Black woman striving to achieve her dream in the soulful backdrop of New Orleans was one of our highest priorities. It only makes sense that an extensive search for an artist who could bring our vision to life brought us to Malaika’s doorstep.”

Bright and colorful faces on a mural.
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

“Continuing the storyline from ‘The Princess and the Frog,’ Malaika’s mural for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure features a collage of breathtaking scenes displayed on two of the building’s exterior walls as you enter the indoor queue,” they continued. “These scenes highlight Tiana’s professional journey and the creation of Tiana’s Foods. When Tiana was young, her father made her promise to ‘never, ever lose sight of what is really important,’ and the mural will reflect those elements: family, friends, food, music, art, and bringing folks together.”

Former Imagineer Speaks Out

Former Walt Disney Imagineer Jim Shull shared his thoughts on the Tiana’s Bayou Adventure mural on Friday. Though he appreciated the thinking behind the painting, he felt it didn’t fit the Princess and the Frog (2009) storyline.

Five Walt Diseny Imagineers stand in the former Splash Mountain queue, looking at the mural that will soon adorn the wall for Tiana's Bayou Adventure.
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Celebrating the idea of the mural, however the design of the mural is completely contemporary,” Shull wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “The story for the ride is anchored in the Disney movie which is set in the 1920s. Mural art in the 1920s is well known and documented. This mural is nice but not story appropriate. #Disney100″

The former Imagineer shared four images of murals from the 1920s, styles he felt better suited to the attraction and film.

These are all fine examples of 1920s mural artwork that celebrates the values of the era and could inspire an appropriate mural for the ‘Princess & Frog’ version of Splash Mountain,” Shull concluded. “The mural being installed has no relationship to the film story. #WDW #Splashmountain”

Are you excited about Tiana’s Bayou Adventure? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments. 

Please note that the story outlined in this article is based on a personal Disney Parks Guest experience. No two Guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Park operations.

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