Disney has announced the new musical talent behind the highly-anticipated new attraction Tiana's Bayou Adventure, which opens in late 2024 at Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Music legends and New Orleans natives PJ Morton and Terence Blanchard will produce the music that guests will hear throughout the new attraction, which is inspired by the 2009 animated hit film "The Princess and the Frog."
"PJ and Terence will help us score a lyrical love letter to the region that first inspired our endeavor with Princess Tiana," the company announced on the Disney Parks Blog Thursday. Disney added that the two will also compose "a new original song -- and new renditions of fan favorite music."
Morton is a multi-Grammy-winning artist and keyboardist for Maroon 5. Blanchard is a famed jazz trumpeter and composer, who is back to reprise his music and voice work with Disney from the movie.
"Both PJ and Terence are well decorated across music genres with PJ recently celebrating four straight years of Grammy wins -- and 19 career nominations -- as an independent artist and Terence having won seven Grammy awards for his own discography and trumpeting expertise," Disney stated. "Terence also played all of Louis the Alligator’s trumpet parts in 'The Princess and the Frog,' so you can only imagine how delighted we were that he was returning to work on this project."
Blanchard also voiced Earl the bandleader in the riverboat band for the film.
"As a token of our gratitude, we presented them both with artist interpretations featuring each musician with a critter guests will meet on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure," the company shared.
When Disney first shared renderings of "The Princess and the Frog" attraction late last year, it also announced that Anika Noni Rose, who voiced Tiana, would reprise her role for the attraction, along with Jenifer Lewis (Mama Odie) and Michael-Leon Wooley (Louis). There are also a few new characters unique to just the ride.
The rendering shared by Disney showed of one of the ride's new distinctive scenes features zydeco-style tunes, a type of music native to Louisiana born from a special blend of rhythm and blues. Tiana and her friends old and new -- including jazz-loving alligator Louis, and a band full of critters that includes an otter, a rabbit, a racoon, a beaver, a turtle and others -- will explain the importance of zydeco, the blending of sounds and styles of so many cultures, and invite all guests to join in on the celebration.
The re-themed ride was unveiled in June at the 2022 ESSENCE Festival of Culture in New Orleans -- a fitting location since the Louisiana city is also Princess Tiana's hometown.
Last August, Disney released the first look at Tiana's Bayou Adventure with a moody and colorful rendering showing the princess carrying a lantern and helming a boat, highlighting the region's unique bayou landscape.
"The story will take place after the final kiss as Naveen and Louis join Tiana on her latest adventure, hosting a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration where everyone is welcome -- during which some original music inspired by songs from the film will bring guests into the story," a Disney Parks Blog post revealed at the time.
Disney's team of Imagineers has been traveling to New Orleans and Louisiana frequently to research and gather information to make the ride extra special and reflective of the famed city and region.
"In many ways, Tiana's Bayou Adventure is a love letter to New Orleans," Charita Carter, executive producer of relevancy activations for Walt Disney Imagineering, said in a statement last year. "Like the musical city that inspired this attraction, Tiana's second act is about a community working in harmony to achieve something extraordinary. She reminds us of an immutable truth we can all relate to: 'If you do your best each and every day, good things are sure to come your way.' And that's a melody we can all sing along to!"
Previously, the attraction was named Splash Mountain and featured characters from "The Song of the South," a controversial film from 1946 that was criticized for racist and offensive depictions of Black people and misrepresenting the culture of the South in the 1800s.
In addition to the attraction's new name, Princess Tiana will get a new look for the ride. Her outfit is inspired by the styles and trends of the 1920s and will be historically accurate, according to Ida Muldrow, a costume designer for Disney Live Entertainment.
"Tiana was equally at home in the bayou as she was at a banquet," Muldrow said. "We wanted her look to reflect that, and be a compliment to the story's setting."
The Disney team also made sure to carefully consider Tiana's hair, creating a unique style that reflected the versatility of Black women's hair.
This article was originally published on Dec. 2, 2022.
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