“Completely Empty”: Tiana Is All Bayou and No Adventure

in Walt Disney World

Tiana from Princess and the Frog looking irritated in her Mardi Gras gown

Credit: Disney

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure just entered its final testing phase and received its first official POV reveal from Disney (seen below). As exciting as the preview looks, we can’t help but notice something is seriously missing from the Magic Kingdom’s newest ride.

Since it was originally announced years ago, the new redesign of what was once Splash Mountain has divided Disney fans across the nation. From Disneyland to the Walt Disney World Resort, parkgoers are either excited by the new addition or vocally opposed to burning down the briar patch, but one design choice might push even the most supportive over the edge.

Related: Will Disneyland Change Critter Country When Splash Mountain is Rethemed?

Walt Disney Imagineering has been more than open about the ride’s progress, sharing multiple updates and footage of the animatronics and even a taste of the ride’s new original soundtrack. However, as Tiana, Naveen, Louis, and Mama Odie get ready for a Mardi Gras bash, more than one defining element never made it out of the Louisiana swamps.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Is Missing Some Magic

A vibrant, colorful illustration showing children watching in awe as a joyful, animated marshmallow character performs on stage, surrounded by glowing lights and a magical "Tiana's Bayou Adventure" ambiance.
Credit: Disney

While this truthfully isn’t the final product fans will experience, Disney doesn’t reveal all its secrets, there is an undeniable sense of emptiness compared to what came before. Those who grew up with Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, Br’er Bear, and the rest of the critters from Splash Mountain will instantly notice a severe population decrease until they come to the finale of this trip to New Orleans.

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The animatronics from Disney’s Imagineers are impressive, but there simply aren’t as many characters and effects as many were probably expecting. Additionally, Tiana’s Bayou has more of a Rainforest Cafe vibe to it than a Disney animated feature.

Tiana looking stunned with a update sign at Magic Kingdom for Tiana's Bayou Adventure at Disney World.
Credit: Inside The Magic

That’s not just a snarky remark either, as fans watching the footage have already shared their disappointment in the comments, stating how the ride feels incomplete and substantially lacking for something of Disney’s standards.

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Below the video, @JohnS-ki2zf aptly describes the experience with the following top comment.

“This ride showcases all the issues of modern Imagineering. Expensive animatronics take the place of well populated scenes, lots of dead space with nothing to look at. Overly sanitized story with no conflict drama or tension.”

To which @VolleyPuppy91 replies,

“This is the best way to describe it, I couldn’t figure out what it was bothering me but it’s that there’s a lot of dead space where as Splash felt rich throughout the whole thing. There’s this whole build up of looking out for Brer Fox, there’s songs throughout it saying beware and then at the end you realize you guys got away. Idk I feel underwhelmed with this ride.”

And @alexandriabasso4152 writes how the lack of suspense and intense atmosphere is ultimately the ride’s biggest detriment when they simply add,

“No storyline. No tension. No buildup. No villain. Absolutely empty, hollow mess. Major missed opportunity!”

That’s Not All

Dr. Facilier in a half-skull mask in a screenshot from Princess and the Frog
Credit: Disney

Fans of The Princess and the Frog film might also notice another significant absence in the ride. While nearly all of the main cast makes some form of appearance in the attraction, Doctor Facilier is the only lead not present in the final product. If Ray can be brought back from the dead, surely the film’s villains can escape the underworld long enough to make an appearance.

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As pointed out by the comments above, the absence of even a mild threat takes the thrill right out of the ride. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure didn’t need to be Expedition Everest, but there has to be some form of suspense when it’s biggest feature is that plummet from the top of the mountain.

A skeleton prop on Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Resort, an attraction many Disney Parks fans wish filming was banned on.
Credit: Disney

Coincidentally, this isn’t the first time a Disney ride has had some of its more intense elements removed. In fact, many Disney rides are beginning to lose their darker sides as the company’s modern audience continues to change. It looks like Tiana’s ride is just another victim.

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Again, this is only going off the footage on the Disney Parks YouTube page. Experiencing a ride firsthand is leaps and bounds different than just seeing an eight-minute video. That said, all will be revealed when the guests are able to board it themselves.

Do you think Tiana’s Bayou Adventure has already gone belly up? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

 

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