Tiana’s Bayou Adventure vs Splash Mountain: Scene-by-Scene Comparison of What Changed

    Earlier this week, we were lucky enough to preview Tiana’s Bayou Adventure during a Cast Member friends and family preview. During the preview, we were able to ride the attraction once and collected hundreds of photos during the ride and a walk through the queue. For a scene-by-scene breakdown of the attraction and a tour of the queue, check out our earlier article. In this article, we’re going to compare Tiana’s Bayou Adventure vs Splash Mountain. We’ll try to keep the comparison objective, with a review of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure still forthcoming. Let’s take a look!

    A few editorial notes at the top. It’ll be a while before Tiana’s Bayou Adventure can escape the comparisons to Splash Mountain. Not only does this article exist, but we’ll also include comparisons of the two rides in our upcoming review. Hopefully, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be able to stand on its own merit soon enough, but Splash Mountain casts a long shadow, in more ways than one.

    Second, this article, while intended to be comprehensive, will operate at a high level. We’re not going to nitpick every single change because there are many. Our first impression is that Imagineering tried really hard to ensure that there aren’t too many things for fans to point at and say “That reminds me of Splash Mountain”. For more detailed looks at Splash Mountain and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, check out our dedicated photo-heavy articles below.

    Finally, our primary intention from a content publishing perspective was to find photos that closely matched to make a before/after possible. Some of the before photos from Splash Mountain were deep in the archives, captured with older equipment, and processed differently than what we would do today. That means that, technically, it’s not always an apples-to-apples comparison, even if the framing/scene is correct.

    Splash Mountain vs Tiana’s Bayou Adventure: The Queue

    In this section, we’ll start with a look at the queue. Actually, before we get to the queue, here’s a look at the facade of the mountain/salt dome. Crews did quite a bit of cosmetic changes to the mountain, even if the ride layout didn’t change at all. The biggest change beyond the switch from an arid, clay look with a briar patch facade, to one with bald cypress trees and a lush foliage was the removal of the tree stump atop the structure. Of course, the other big change was the installation of the Tiana’s Foods water tower.

    Tiana’s Bayou Adventure vs Splash Mountain

    Of course, the Splash Mountain signage was removed at the main entrance, but not replaced with any signage of similar significance.

    In terms of the outdoor portion of the queue, Disney World made a few relatively small, but noticeable changes. First, the barn has been repainted a striking yellow, and murals have been added. A Tiana’s Foods delivery truck is parked outside, and a radio show plays over the speakers to entertain guests as they wait. A small “children’s garden” shows off some of the vegetables that you’ll see later on in the ride, and large trees remain in place.

    The biggest queue change comes once guests enter the barn. Previously a two-story tall structure, Disney has finished and expanded the second floor to create an all-new show scene area for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

    Here’s a look at the upstairs portion of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure – turning a previously unremarkable stretch of the queue into one of the most detailed and enjoyable portions of the entire retheme. Beyond the test kitchen, there are plenty of photos and memories on the walls – more than you can absorb in a single walk through the queue.

    Another significant change comes in an operational change. With Splash Mountain, standby would merge with FastPass+ just steps away from the load area. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure changes that, merging the two queues just past the test kitchen, at the top of the ramp as you enter the salt mines.

    As you can see in the before/after below, there used to be a railing running the length of this hallway (and continuing on), separating the standby (right) from the FastPass+ (left). With Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, that railing has been removed and the full width of the hallway is utilized by guests in a singular line, post-Lightning Lane merge.

    Continuing down the queue, we can see that an overlook into the load area has been closed off via the addition of semi-opaque windows.

    Continuing on to the load area, the area retains the feel of the former load/unload zone, but the look has changed. Instead of tree stump dispatch stations, Cast Members are now standing under cranes with crates above the load area – presumably ready to be loaded on a log not in use by guests. Also, the buildings have been repainted to the same yellow as the main office barn.

    Splash Mountain vs Tiana’s Bayou Adventure: The Ride

    Of course, there are quite a few changes to the interior of the attraction, with very little of Splash Mountain still recognizable to even the most seasoned fan. As we’ve mentioned before, the track layout remains the exact same throughout the attraction, which makes comparison easy, but so much has changed that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is more than just Splash Mountain with new paint and characters.

    Lift Hill 1

    After loading into your log, you’ll find some new crate props and a new Cast Member station for a seat belt check at the bottom of the first lift hill. The big change on lift one is the removal of an Audio-Animatronic frog.

    Lift Hill 2

    We’ve already covered the changes to the front of the attraction, including the pool that guests float through from Lift Hill One to Lift Hill Two. Two new frog figures have been added to the pool. They don’t move, but they do have a croaking noise that plays periodically.

    As we turn toward Lift Hill Two, we still have the familiar sight of a mill house in front of us and the iconic drop to our right. The biggest change to Lift Hill Two is the addition of an all-new Audio-Animatronic. Tiana greets us to the left of our boat. Previously, there were no Audio-Animatronics in this part of the ride. In fact, this scene was so unremarkable that I’m not sure I have much of value in the archives. Here’s the best before/after I can find.

    Outdoor Garden

    The concept of the outdoor garden remains the same, with some notable changes. Of course, the actual garden contents have been updated to reflect ingredients that Tiana would need to operate her Tiana’s Foods venture. Beyond that, a Louis the Alligator figure is present in the garden. While some of the Okra plants wiggle, Louis doesn’t move.

    Brer Homes/Slippin’ Falls

    Just before you enter the indoor portion of the ride, you travel down Slippin’ Falls. In Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, the drop is no longer named Slippin’ Falls, and the two critter homes have been either removed or redecorated.

    Entering the Indoor Show Scenes

    After Slippin’ Falls, you enter the indoor show scenes. This is where we see most of the changes to the ride. Most notably, the show lighting has changed dramatically. What used to be a pretty well-lit ride has turned into a very dimly lit ride. In terms of photography, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is more like DINOSAUR and Haunted Mansion instead of something like Na’vi River Journey. We’ll have more thoughts on the change in our proper review.

    This first scene perhaps isn’t the best comparison (especially with the Splash Mountain photo being taken at night, not taking advantage of ambient lighting), but as we turn the first corner, it’ll become more obvious. For now, let’s continue our scene-by-scene comparison!

    Frogs and a fishing goose have been removed from the left side of the first corner as we turn into the indoor scenes proper and start to lose the ambient lighting from the attraction entrance.

    Fishing Geese/Louis the Alligator

    Before we pass under a bridge, we see that fishing geese have been replaced by a cutting edge Audio-Animatronic Louis the Alligator. In terms of raw numbers of characters, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is pacing behind Splash Mountain in the early show scenes, but keep in mind that the new figures are more advanced (plus, we had some additions early in the ride).

    Brer Rabbit Leaving Home/Tiana Finds a Band

    The next scene to see changes is just a few seconds down the river. The placement of the character clusters is almost exactly the same in our before and after below. For Splash Mountain, we see Brer Bear and Brer Fox looking toward Brer Rabbit, who appears to be leaving his old life behind, perhaps making him vulnerable to being kidnapped.

    In Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, the scene is decidedly less dark (in terms of storyline, not literally). A critter band replaces the kidnappers, and Tiana replaces the hunted rabbit.

    Here’s a closer look at each of the characters.

    Critter Neighborhood/Firefly Dance

    The next scene is really a tough one for a before/after. I wasn’t able to get anything useful from my ride during the preview, but I’ll try for something whenever I get a chance to ride next. Essentially, the show scenes on the left have been replaced with foliage. It’s quite dark and not an actual “scene”, more of a “vibe”.

    In the distance, we can see the bunny home from Splash Mountain has been removed and replaced by a scene in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure where fireflies “dance” along the side of your log as you continue down the river with “Gonna Take You There” from Princess and the Frog plays in the background.

    Kidnapping Gone Wrong/Tiana Adds to the Band

    A soft left turn brings us to one of the most active show scenes (pre-finale), with two Audio-Animatronic clusters stacked, one on the right of the boat and one on the left. In Splash Mountain’s closing years, some effects were broken, leading to some “empty” scenes where there used to be movement.

    On the right side of the boat, inept kidnappers Brer Fox and Brer Bear find themselves effectively using a rope capture system against the incorrect target.

    Here’s a closer look at the before and after images of the right side of the flume, followed by the “new” scene of the bear band on the left side of the log as you move past the scene on the right.

    Tiana’s Bayou Adventure vs Splash Mountain

    An all-new scene is found on the left side of the log as we pass by Tiana, Louis, and the bobcats.

    Fishin’ Buddies & Critter Homes/Bayou Shack

    We’re up against another tough comparison, photography-wise. What used to be a number of scenes including a frog and alligator fishing, critter homes, possums, and more critter homes has been replaced by a lot of foliage and a bayou shack.

    Here are a few of the old Splash Mountain scenes that have been replaced by foliage and firefly effects before we reach Tiana at the end of the straightaway. We’ll get back to comparisons when we reach her.

    Critter Homes/Adventurer Tiana

    Ok, back to the before and after comparisons. The Splash Mountain scene immediately below has been replaced by at cutting-edge Tiana Audio-Animatronic.

    Characters Stuck in Trees

    As we turn the corner, into another small (but very thrilling) drop, we can see that the former home of Brer Beaver has been turned into a Louis the Alligator figure stuck in a log and that Brer Rabbit in the distance has been replaced by a screen with Mama Odie. Brer Fox is pushing Brer Bear into a tree in the former Splash Mountain scene. I suppose all that matters is that we haven’t lost a character stuck in a tree with their rear end sticking out.

    Bee Scene/Conga Drumming Frog

    After a drop into the Laughin’ Place (in Splash Mountain) and into the Lemoine Club (in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure), we can see that Brer Bear has been replaced by an oversized bottle.

    A little further along, the scene of Brer Fox catching Brer Rabbit has been replaced by Mondo, the conga-playing frog.

    Laughin’ Place/Lemoine Club

    Another short drop puts us in the final scene before the final lift hill before the 52.5′ drop. Formerly the Laughin’ Place, a cavernous scene featuring frogs and other critters is now a frog-run nightclub known as the Lemoine Club. Here are a few before/after comparison photos.

    Final Lift Hill

    As we approach the final lift hill for the attraction, we see more overhead Audio-Animatronics replaced by a screen. This time, the Boothill Boys vultures have been replaced by a screen of Mama Odie.

    As we approach the crescendo of the lift hill, Mama Odie has replaced a tied-up Brer Rabbit on the left side of the boat.

    A drop into the Briar Patch has been replaced by a drop into the fog.

    Grand Finale

    The grand finale scene has received a complete revamp. While it may seem like a riverboat would work nicely for a New Orleans reimagining, Disney invested quite a bit and rebuilt the entire scene to take you to the home of Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen. Both scenes are a celebration!

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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