Bayou Transformation Continues in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom

    Crews are hard at work to create a bayou feel for the upcoming Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction, and we stopped by Magic Kingdom this morning to watch the impressive theming taking place. As you may know, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is set to open next year, and Disney is transforming the former Splash Mountain attraction into the new Princess and the Frog-themed ride. The ride itself will remain the same, including the iconic 50-foot drop near the end of the ride. What is changing substantially is the theming of the attraction – both inside and out.

    Here’s the only concept art released for the current iteration of the exterior of the ride. As you can see, there will be a lot more grass on the face of the mountain (now rethemed to a salt mine), and bald cypress trees will be found in the pool that the drop passes beneath.

    Back in late October, we saw the first of the bald cypress trees arrive at the site. Because they sit in a concrete pool, Disney obviously can’t use the real trees, so they turned to Themeworks to create faux trees to scatter throughout the ride. Themeworks has a long history with Disney, including projects such as the retheming of Star Tours at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios back in the early 2010s, Pandora – The World of Avatar and the Flight of Passage attraction, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser immersive hotel, among other projects.

    Today, crews were installing the branches and finishing theming on some of the trees in the bayou pool seen in the concept art above. We watched for about 45 minutes as crews worked on different phases of the installation. Before we get to that, it’s also probably worth noting that about 10 or so Imagineers were walking the u-turn section of the ride following the splashdown, where all-new foliage was recently installed.

    Up at the top of the attraction, Disney’s in-house contractors (Buena Vista Construction Company) were spraying the recently finished rockwork. We can also see some flowers added to the top of the salt mine.

    Now for the interesting part (at least to me). We watched as various stages of the cypress tree installation took place. From preparations to installation to securing to finishing the installation, it’s immensely interesting to see how much care and time goes into doing something right the first time. Here’s a look at the process.

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