Voodoo in the Bayou: Doctor Facilier Comes to Tiana’s

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

Credit: Disney

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is currently in the final stages of prep work before its official opening day, but fans have found it lacking the special spice it so feverishly promised. Could it need help from some friends on the other side?

A jungle scene with animatronic characters. A young boy in explorer attire stands next to a large friendly-looking crocodile and a dog wearing goggles, reminiscent of Tiana's Bayou Adventure. They are surrounded by lush greenery and appear to be part of an enchanting theme park attraction.
Credit: Disney

Since replacing the beloved Splash Mountain attraction, the new theming inspired by The Princess and the Frog (2009) has earned more than its fair share of backlash. Not only did its redesign fail to live up to many expectations during previews, but many fans also cited just how much from the original movie was missing.

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One prominent absence was that of the Shadow Man himself, Doctor Facilier. One notable commenter on Disney’s original reveal footage stated that since there was “No storyline. No tension. No buildup. No villain,” it was an ” absolutely empty, hollow mess.” However, one concept reveals how an appearance from the film’s villain could have offered some saving grace.

We HAD Friends on the Other Side


Dr. Facilier lift hill concept POV for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Although he won’t be featured on the ride, I thought this is a fun what if! #tianasbayouadventure #disneyimagineering #disneypov #DisneyParks #DisneyWorld #MagicKingdom #Imagineering #DisneyRides #POV #disneyfyp #distok

♬ original sound – DisneyWorldTom

@waltdisneyworldparks shared this concept of an encounter with Doctor Facilier before the climactic drop on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Not only would this have completed the roster of film characters that appear in the ride, but it would have given the experience that touch of Disney-brand darkness that seems to be seeping out attractions more and more each year.

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Moreover, it would also mirror that admittedly creepy sequence with the buzzards before going over the falls in the original Splash Mountain. If we can’t have B’rer Rabbit, we could have  at least had that sense of suspense provided by Doctor Facilier and his shadowy minions.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Proves Disney is Deaf

A cartoon princess in a blue dress and tiara stands with an unamused expression in front of a colorful sign that reads "Tiana's Bayou Adventure." The background features lush greenery, a water tower, and a whimsical wooden fence, evoking the charm of Disney World.

If you’ve been keeping track of some of the reactions to the new theming, you’ll notice that guests are far from satisfied with the finished product. While the animatronics are impressive and it’s good that Disney is diversifying some of the narratives the studio chooses to tell, “empty” is certainly one word fans have used to describe it.

Related: Disney World Guest Exposes Self to Dozens of Children, No Consequences Given

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but by excluding a critical storytelling element that would have given the ride a much-needed dose of thrills and chills  makes for a bland experience that might have done more harm than good. That’s certainly going to bite Disney in the butt once they get the bill.

Will it attract a large crowd once it opens? Absolutely, but it will likely be short lived compared to what came before. Once enough fans get their taste, poor fan reception could lead to a lackluster performance Disney will have to reshape.

Would you deal with the Shadow Man to see him on the ride? Tell Inside the Magic in the comments down below!

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