Feb 13, 2024 - News

Disney World's New Orleans-themed ride to open this summer

Photo shows a Disney artist working on the animatronic version of Princess Tiana

Princess Tiana is Disney's first Black princess and the star of a new ride at Disney World. This is an animatronic version of her that will be part of the ride experience. Photo: Courtesy of Disney Parks

Tiana's Bayou Adventure, the New Orleans-themed ride that's replacing Splash Mountain, will open this summer at Disney World, the company announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the most specific timeframe Disney has given for opening the ride for its first Black princess.

  • New Orleans chef Leah Chase was the inspiration for Tiana, Disney imagineers say, and the attraction is meant to be a love letter to New Orleans.

Driving the news: Disney on Tuesday unveiled the Princess Tiana animatronic for the ride as well.

  • Tiana wears what Disney calls "bayou adventurewear" — a belted jacket, fitted green pants and tall brown boots.
Photo shows the robot version of Princess Tiana
An animatronic version of Princess Tiana will be part of Tiana's Bayou Adventure. Photo: Courtesy of Disney Parks

Between the lines: The announcement came on Mardi Gras Day, a common time for New Orleanians to visit Disney World in Florida while schools are closed for the week.

Catch up fast: Splash Mountain has been a fan favorite for years at the Florida and California parks. In 2020, Disney said it would change the concept to be more inclusive.

  • Splash Mountain is tied to the 1946 movie, "Song of the South," which used racist stereotypes to depict the Reconstruction Era.
  • Now, the attraction will be based on the 2009 movie "The Princess and the Frog."

Yes, but: The thrill isn't changing. "Bayou Adventure" will still be a log flume ride with the famous splashdowns.

Photo shows the construction fences around Tiana's Bayou Adventure at Disney World.
Tiana's Bayou Adventure is replacing Splash Mountain in Magic Kingdom at Disney World. Photo: Disney Parks

The new story: "Bayou Adventure" is like a next chapter for the "Princess and the Frog."

  • Tiana's company, Tiana's Foods, has opened in a salt dome fashioned after Avery Island.
  • She wants to throw a Mardi Gras party, Disney says, but she's missing an ingredient. Visitors will take a journey through the bayou during the search.
  • Many familiar faces will be back, including Tiana, Louis the Gator and Mama Odie.
Rendering shows Princess Tiana next to the log flume.
A critter band will join Princess Tiana in the bayou for the new ride at Disney World and Disneyland. Image: Courtesy of Disney

What's new: New Orleans native PJ Morton wrote the ride's new theme song.

  • The ride also will have new animatronic animals, including a raccoon, beaver and opossum. Fireflies are also a big part.
  • Disney also plans to use the "sweet scent of beignets frying" as the fragrance in the line to get on the ride. No word yet if beignets will be sold near the attraction though.

Meanwhile, Disneyland in California is converting its Splash Mountain to Tiana's Bayou Adventure too. Disney says it will open later this year.

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