Disney announces opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

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.”

Just in time for Mardi Gras, Disney dropped some big news for fans eyeing their first ride on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, the “Princess and the Frog”-inspired reboot of Splash Mountain coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

On Feb. 13, Disney announced the ride will open this summer at Magic Kingdom Park in Florida and later in 2024 at Disneyland Park in California.

Disney also shared a seriously impressive sneak peek at a Tiana Audio-Animatronic, one of dozens of new animatronic figures that will be part of the attraction.

Tiana animatronic

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure: Let’s Dig a Little Deeper

The retheming of Splash Mountain to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure was first announced on June 24, 2020. If you haven’t been paying attention to Disney’s ongoing release of new details about the overhauled attraction, here’s a bit of background plus the latest updates.

The fully reimagined ride will retain Splash Mountain’s log flume ride mechanism and thrilling 50-foot drop, but debuts a totally new theme and storyline, set after the events of the 2009 animated film “The Princess and the Frog.”

In an effort to keep the ride’s “mountain” structure while maintaining real-world authenticity, Walt Disney Imagineers identified a salt dome as one of the only geological structures with significant elevation in Louisiana. So the new backstory has Tiana building upon the success of her restaurant, Tiana’s Palace, by establishing Tiana’s Foods in and around an aging salt mine and dome.

In the story, an employee-owned cooperative includes a boutique farm and a working and teaching kitchen. This setup helps to revive and engage the local community.

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Walt Disney Imagineering installs an artisan-created weathervane atop a structure within Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla on Jan. 5, 2024. The metal sculpture is the work of famed New Orleans master blacksmith, Darryl Reeves, and his apprentice, Karina Roca. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, opening in 2024, will take guests on a musical adventure inspired by the beloved story and characters from the fan-favorite film “The Princess and the Frog.” (Olga Thompson, Photographer)

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Goodbye Chickapin Hill, Hello Salt Dome

Since Splash Mountain closed and construction began last year, guests have been able to see some of the exterior progress firsthand. Splash Mountain’s signature tree stump topper has been removed, and the mountain’s rocky exterior is now covered with native Louisiana flora.

Other recent exterior updates include a tiara-topped Tiana’s Foods water tower, a custom handcrafted weathervane by Louisiana master blacksmith Darryl Reeves, and a mural by Louisiana artist Malaika Favorite adorning the walls of the queue area.

Guests should keep their eyes and noses open while in line — they might catch the aroma of beignets along the way. For the real thing, different variations of Tiana’s famous beignets are available during Black History Month at Golden Oak Outpost at Magic Kingdom and as a permanent menu item at Tiana’s Palace at Disneyland.

a beignet from Tiana's Palace on a plate

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First-Ever Audio-Animatronic Figures

Disney previously announced that dozens of new Audio-Animatronics figures were being created for the attraction. We got a first look at a stunning first-ever Tiana version:

woman working on Tiana animatronic

Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Creative Producer Charita Carter introduced the figure in a video shared on the Disney Parks TikTok and Instagram accounts.

In the video, Tiana moves fluidly from side to side, waving her arms and moving her eyes and mouth. Disney hasn’t shared specifics on the technology, but the new figure bears resemblance to recently debuted Audio-Animatronics figures in Frozen Ever After, which opened at Hong Kong Disneyland in November 2023, and The Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, which opened at Tokyo Disneyland in September of 2020.

@disneyparks FIRST LOOK 👀 at one of the new Audio-Animatronics figures coming to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure ✨💚 #Disney #DisneyParks #DisneyWorld #Tiana #TianasBayouAdventure #DisneyNews #MardiGras #Technology ♬ original sound – Disney Parks

These figures are notably more lifelike than the projected faces used in Walt Disney World’s Frozen Ever After attraction at EPCOT and are getting people excited about seeing how the rest of “The Princess and the Frog” crew is represented.

Tiana trades her princess gown for a new costume created for the attraction. She wears a jacket over pants tucked into tall boots and a new hairstyle.

“One of our goals was to represent the different hairstyles that African American women wore back in those days,” Disney Live’s cosmetology manager Tisa Powell told D23. “I think it’s great that Tiana is representing that era [in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure] with a beautiful hairstyle that is true to what African Americans wore then.”

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Adding even more authenticity to the new figures, many of the original actors from the film have returned to reprise their voice roles on the ride, including Anika Noni Rose (Princess Tiana), Jenifer Lewis (Mama Odie), Bruno Campos (Prince Naveen) and Michael Leon Wooley (Louis).

The ride will also debut a band of new animal characters including an otter, rabbit, raccoon, beaver and turtle playing zydeco music on handmade instruments. The ride’s soundtrack, created in collaboration with award-winning musicians PJ Morton and Terence Blanchard, will feature a mix of new, original music and recognizable songs from the film.

We’re almost there! Are you excited?

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About the Author
Brooke McDonald
Brooke McDonald is theme park, travel and entertainment journalist with an emphasis on all things Disney and Star Wars. Her work has appeared in Insider, The Points Guy, Parents, TravelPulse, MSN, CNBC, Attractions Magazine and more.

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