The flavor of New Orleans and Mardi Gras is coming to Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
The company has finally revealed, after months of speculation, that the log flume ride will be rebranded as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, based on the characters from the 2009 film The Princess and the Frog.
Two years ago, Disney said it would be redoing the ride to eliminate themes from the 1946 film Song of the South. Now, it has a design concept and timeline in place for the changes.
Disney has not said when the attraction will shut down, but work will be extensive with a reopening date in late 2024.
“In many ways, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is a love letter to New Orleans,” said Charita Carter, executive producer of relevancy activations at Walt Disney Imagineering. “Like the musical city that inspired this attraction, Tiana’s second act is about a community working in harmony to achieve something extraordinary.”
The ride will pick up the movie’s story following the final kiss as Princess Tiana and jazz-loving alligator Louis prepare for their first Mardi Gras performance.
“Along the way, guests will encounter familiar faces, make new friends, and travel through the bayou to original music inspired by songs from the film,” Disney revealed in a blog post announcing the changes.
Imagineers have made frequent trips to Louisiana to conduct research on the project to make sure the attraction captures the heart and soul of the city, Disney said.
“From exploring the French Market and the bayou, to consulting with academics, chefs, musicians, and cultural institutions, imagineers have received inspiration from all over the region and learned from local experts along the way,” Disney wrote.
The goal is to pay homage to the region while also introducing — or reintroducing — the film to guests.
“We have the opportunity to reacquaint people with Tiana,” Carter said. “We have the opportunity to bring her to a new generation as we’re creating a dimensional space for her and make sure we’re giving our guests an experience that is a love letter to New Orleans.”
The changes have been a long time coming as Disney takes accountability for Song of the South and its problematic handling of southern folklore.
Splash Mountain has been one of the top attractions at both theme parks since it first opened in 1989.
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