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Fridays with Jim Korkis: Tiana’s Bayou Adventure



By Dave Shute

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

TIANA’S BAYOU ADVENTURE

By Jim Korkis

Sometime in late 2024, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will open at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Using the existing infrastructure of the Splash Mountain attraction, the new ride will still be a water flume ride that twists and turns until it climaxes with a drop down a waterfall.

The rocky top of Splash Mountain will be transformed into a giant tree with Mama Odie’s boat lodged in the branches.  Ray the firefly will hover around the tree with his firefly friends.

Imagineer Tony Baxter, who designed the original Splash Mountain, is a creative advisor for the new interpretation. The Imagineers took a field trip to New Orleans to explore the bayou and city, consulting with academics, chefs, musicians and cultural institutions, as well as reconnecting with the late chef Leah Chase’s family (Chase inspired the story of Tiana in The Princess and the Frog).

(c) Disney

The premise for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure takes place after the final kiss in the movie and will follow Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen and Louis the Alligator on a musical adventure through twisting waterways as they prepare to arrive at the ultimate New Orleans Mardi Gras performance in the same scene room that now features the massive Showboat.

Music for the attraction will be recorded by the original cast from the movie with Anika Noni Rose providing the voice of Tiana in the ride as she did in the film. Bruno Campos (Naveen) and Michael-Leon Wooley (Louis) will be doing so as well.

Composer Randy Newman, who wrote the music for the film that will inspire the original music used in the attraction, was born in New Orleans.

Rose stated, “It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized! As passionate as I am about what we created, I know the fans are going to be over the moon. The Imagineers are giving us the Princess and The Frog Mardi Gras celebration we’ve been waiting for, and I’m here for it!”

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will also introduce a whole new look for Tiana. The design process involved research into the fashion trends of the 1920s, which is the time frame for the film, making sure the clothing was historically accurate while reflecting Tiana’s personality and making it more suitable for a journey through the bayou.

Costume Designer Ida Mudrow stated, “Tiana was equally at home in the bayou as she was in the restaurant. We wanted her look to reflect that, as well as be a complement to the story’s setting.”

Mudrow added, “Our efforts are a tribute to the beauty and dignity of all proud Black women who came before us. And to their great-granddaughters joining us on the journey today; we’re celebrating with you.”

Charita Carter, executive creative producer at Walt Disney Imagineering stated, “In many ways, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is a love letter to New Orleans.

“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!”

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Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Off to Never Land: 70 Years of Disney’s Peter Pan and Final Secret Stories of Walt Disney World!

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