With Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Becoming Disney's Blackest Ride, Here's All We Know About Princess Tiana's Next Chapter

Photo: Disney Parks
Photo: Disney Parks

Since it opened in 1989, Splash Mountain has been one of Disney’s most popular theme park attractions. The water-themed log ride was based on the controversial 1946 film “Song of the South,” which follows a seven-year-old boy as he befriends a former slave while visiting his grandmother’s plantation. Along with deeply racist undertones, it features the annoyingly catchy tune, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

For years, Black Disney fans have been asking the company to change the attraction so it’s based on a less problematic property.

In 2020, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, and the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, Disney finally announced that it would be re-theming Splash Mountain. The story would now center around the movie, “The Princess and the Frog.” Tiana’s Bayou Adventure follows the company’s first Black Disney Princess in her new life as a businesswoman.

As Disney has released sequels to many of its other animated classics, we’ve not-so-patiently waited for a follow-up to “The Princess and the Frog.” Since it seems like it may be a while before we get a sequel or live-action remake, it looks like the attraction will have to do for now.

With Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is ready to start splashing guests at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort June 28, we’re exploring what fans can expect from Tiana’s next chapter and whether the attraction is “The Princess and the Frog” sequel we deserve.

Tiana’s Foods

Photo: Bennett Stoops
Photo: Bennett Stoops

There’s no mountain in New Orleans that resemble “Splash Mountain’s” signature peak. It has been converted into a salt dome that’s part of an old salt mine that Tiana bought and turned into the food co-op, Tiana’s Foods.

The story of the ride involves Tiana planning a big Mardi Gras celebration with her friends and neighbors. She needs a special ingredient to finish the menu, so riders travel with her through the bayou to get what she needs for the party.

Star-Studded Voices

Photo: Cindy Ord (Getty Images)
Photo: Cindy Ord (Getty Images)

The film’s voice cast, including Anika Noni Rose as Tiana, Bruno Campos as Prince Naveen, Michael Leon Wooley as Louis and Jenifer Lewis as Mama Odie, all return to reprise their roles. It’s not unheard of for actors to portray their film roles in theme park attractions, but for it to be a direct continuation of the movie makes it feel like the ride is canon in Tiana’s world.

The Music

If we’re talking about “The Princess and the Frog” and New Orleans, we have to talk about the music. Grammy winning New Orleans natives PJ Morton and Terence Blanchard are scoring the music for the attraction. At a press event in New Orleans in May 2023, Morton told The Root, “Being able to create original music for Disney...a full circle moment.”

Tiana’s New Look

Obviously, she can’t go on an adventure through bayou in a huge princess ball gown, so Tiana has a new outfit for the attraction. Our princess rocks knickers, a jacket and awesome boots they should sell in the shop at the exit. It’s actually really cool to see one of the princesses get a second look, as no woman is wearing an impractical ball gown 24/7.

New Characters

As guests take their trip through the Bayou, they’ll meet plenty of new critters destined to become fan favorites. Among the 17 new characters the ride will introduce, we’ll also see a new version of a character we briefly met in the film. Naveen’s younger brother, Ralphie, is seen playing the drums — his set based on a classic one at the New Orleans Jazz Museum.

For the Culture

A new mural reveals the opening season for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The new attraction opens this summer and will take guests on a musical adventure inspired by the beloved story and characters from the fan-favorite film “The Princess and the Frog.” - Photo: Olga Thompson
A new mural reveals the opening season for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The new attraction opens this summer and will take guests on a musical adventure inspired by the beloved story and characters from the fan-favorite film “The Princess and the Frog.” - Photo: Olga Thompson

The reason “The Princess and the Frog” is one of Disney’s most influential animated films is because Tiana, Mama Odie, Louis and Doctor Facilier are such fresh representations of Black culture. It’s an animated celebration of Black culture for young viewers. Plus, our princess isn’t sitting around waiting to be rescued...she works hard to make her own dreams come true. It stands out for its Black Excellence, something Imagineers seemed to be replicating through the years of research they’ve done for the attraction.

Authentic Art

New Orleans artist Sharika Mahdi of the YAYA Arts Center, created pieces for the attraction and its accompanying merchandise shop, Eudora’s Chic Boutique. The art she created not only celebrates the fierce independence of Tiana’s personality, they’re also distinctly and unapologetically Black. You may be in a Disney theme park, but this attraction is designed to highlight and showcase the Black culture of New Orleans.

Tiana’s Palace

With a new attraction coming just short walk away, it made perfect sense for Disneyland Park’s New Orleans Square restaurant French Market to be reinvented as Tiana’s Palace. The menu includes Tiana’s famous gumbo, shrimp and grits, red beans and rice, buttermilk cornbread and of course, beignets.

Since Tiana was inspired by the legendary Leah Chase and her family’s historic restaurant, Dooky Chase, the Disneyland chefs bet not mess the baked mac and cheese.

Eudora’s Chic Boutique, Ray’s Berets

If you’re familiar with Disney parks, you know their attractions exit visitors into a shop whenever possible. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Disneyland Park will be surrounded by shops. Critter Country, which has always felt a little weird for Black guests, will now feature three new shops with “The Princess and the Frog” themes.

Eudora’s Chic Boutique is the main shop associated with the ride and has all the souvenirs you find at most Disney shops, but with a New Orleans and Tiana flair. Ray’s Berets is where you’ll go for all your hats and ears, while Louis’ Critter Club is where items featuring the critters of the bayou will be showcased.

Here’s the hard truth: It can be difficult at times to find Tiana merchandise in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Knowing that there’s three shops that will not only center our princess but also have souvenirs with the other Black characters is really exciting.

Disneyland Opening

Sorry, west coast Disney fans: no official date has been announced for the ride’s Disneyland Park debut, but it will reportedly open in late 2024.

The Logistics

Photo: Disney Parks
Photo: Disney Parks

For longtime Splash Mountain fans, there’s nothing to worry about: the giant drop will still be there at the end. Other than that, the company is keeping the actual details of the ride close to the vest until guests start experiencing it.

If we have to make a few guesses, we’d say it probably has a similar format to Splash Mountain. It’s been announced that Bayou Adventure will be nine minutes long, which we’re guessing includes any pre-ride shows that take place in the queue.

As far as getting on the ride when it opens, once again we’re guessing, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see a virtual queue implemented to cut down on crowd traffic. For other attractions, you use the app to get in line and a notification tells you when to head to the actual ride. You might still be waiting four hours — you’re just not physically in line that whole time.

Splash Mountain Easter Eggs

At a press event in May 2023, we were told that there could possibly be Splash Mountain Easter eggs or little pieces of the original attraction still hidden in the new ride, but Disney Imagineers were keeping those secret so fans can experience for themselves without spoilers.

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