PJ Morton to Create New Song for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Ride at Disney Parks (Exclusive)

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“It’s a dream come true,” says the Grammy-winning singer and Maroon 5 keyboardist of helping score the new attraction that will replace Splash Mountain

<p>disney</p> PJ Morton and Princess Tiana

For fans of Maroon 5 and The Princess and the Frog, Disney’s latest news about their upcoming Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction will be music to their ears. 

Executive Imagineers working on the new ride revealed this week that they have tapped Grammy-winning R&B singer and Maroon 5 keyboardist PJ Morton, 42, to create original music for the ride, which is inspired by the 2009 animated movie and is scheduled to open at both Disneyland and Disney World in 2024, replacing Splash Mountain. 

“It’s a dream come true,” said Morton, a native of New Orleans, where the movie is set, speaking alongside Disney’s Executive Creative Director of Music John Dennis and Executive Creative Director Ted Robledo at the city's historic Preservation Hall music venue on May 26. “Disney is an institution that’s always been so connected to the music. It was Mary Poppins for me, hearing those songs, it connected to me. Or me and my sister harmonizing to The Little Mermaid. It’s just really full circle.”

<p>disney</p> PJ Morton


PJ Morton

During a recent press event, Disney execs highlighted the myriad ways the team has researched its music to ensure the ride's authenticity, including partnering with homegrown talent like Morton.

“I’ve always been proud to be a musician,” said Morton. “I know in other places to be a doctor or a lawyer is important, but when you’re a musician in New Orleans, it’s a badge of honor. We take it seriously. If you make it out of here, that means you can play for real.”

<p>disney</p> Artistic Rendering of Tiana's Bayou Adventure


Artistic Rendering of Tiana's Bayou Adventure

The new ride advances Tiana’s storyline past the film—she’s gone from running Tiana’s Palace restaurant to running a whole food company alongside her husband, Prince Naveen. Morton said coming up with new music was tricky, but "I took the challenge very seriously. I think I wrote about six songs initially and we started to narrow down words. We kind of knew when it felt right.”

Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort; Disney
Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort; Disney

While the singer stopped short of sharing specific details, he teased, “We got to something really special. I’m so excited about this song.” 

During the event Imagineers presented Morton with an artistic rendering of himself alongside one of the new bayou critters that will appear as an animatronic in the re-themed attraction.

<p>disney</p> PJ Morton Artistic Rendering


PJ Morton Artistic Rendering

Though he felt the pressure of adding to the already beloved soundtrack of The Princess and the Frog (including Ne-Yo’s 2009 ballad “Never Knew I Needed), Morton said, “I just wanted to make sure that [the new song] represented well and fit right in with those amazing songs that existed already. But the fun part for me was imagining Tiana now, what she’s doing and how her dreams are coming true. That spoke to the kid in me.”

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