With Splash Mountain now closed at Magic Kingdom, and the transformation into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure heating up, we wanted to create a single space to track the Tiana’s Bayou Adventure project at Magic Kingdom. In this article, we’ll take a look at the Tiana’s Bayou Adventure model from the 2022 D23 Expo, as well as a look at concept art and project details. We’ll also create a timeline of our coverage of the transformation so you can follow along at home. Make sure you check back often as we continue to update this article and track the work taking place for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure!
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Project Tracker
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Concept Art
While Disney said that they had been working on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure since 2019, we have also seen some considerable shifts in concept art as the attraction storyline was fine-tuned. Here’s a look at the concept art for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which is replacing Splash Mountain.
June 2020 Concept Art
On June 25, 2020, Disney announced that they would be permanently closing Splash Mountain for a yet-unnamed Princess and the Frog-themed attraction. In the announcement, they released the following concept art.
The concept art clearly had the bones of Splash Mountain but showed an ambitious transformation of Chickapin Hill into Mama Odie’s boat as the centerpiece of the ride. The briar patch had been replaced by cattails, and Tiana and Louis could be seen sitting on a boat filled with fireworks and costumes for a Mardi Gras celebration. Here’s Disney’s initial description of the Princess and the Frog-themed attraction:
The theme is inspired by an all-time favorite animated Disney film, “The Princess and the Frog.” We pick up this story after the final kiss, and join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure – featuring some of the powerful music from the film – as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance.
Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important. It’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou.
August 2021 Concept Art
It would take more than a year for Disney to release new concept art of what was still an unnamed Princess and the Frog-themed ride. In the new concept art seen below, Tiana is seen as an adventurer at the front of a boat with Prince Naveen navigating through the bayou. Louis the alligator is in the water and silhouettes of critters are seen in the background behind guests in a log boat.
Here’s how Disney described the attraction in the August 2021 update:
Tiana is an ambitious and resilient woman, who proves that success comes through a connection to her family and community and has learned to never lose sight of what’s really important – giving back to others through great food and inspiring them to achieve their full potential.
As seen in this latest rendering of the attraction, the story will take place after the final kiss as Naveen and Louis join Tiana on her latest adventure, hosting a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration where everyone is welcome – during which some original music inspired by songs from the film will bring guests into the story. Tiana is leading the way and fans will be able to encounter old friends and make new ones along the way as well!
Perhaps the most significant change is in the description. It’s clear that the concept for the ride shifted in the year following the initial announcement, mostly notably the choice to abandon using songs from the film as initially announced and instead create an original soundtrack for the ride inspired by the movie.
Also unveiled in August 2021 was the new look for Tiana that was specifically created to be historically accurate to the 1920s, which is when Tiana’s story takes place.
September 2022 Concept Art (D23 Expo)
At the 2022 D23 Expo, Disney unveiled a major shift in the storyline that was only hinted at earlier. In the concept art below, still not officially released by Disney, we can see that there has been a major departure in exterior theming from the original June 2020 concept art. Mam Odie’s boat has been removed from the top of the attraction, and a new water tower showcases “Tiana’s Foods”. We’ll get into the backstory a bit later in this article.
Disney also released a look at the updated facade concept art at night.
December 2022 Concept Art
The last piece of concept art that Disney released before shutting down the Magic Kingdom version of Splash Mountain came in a December 2022 announcement when they also announced the January 22, 2023 final day of operation.
Here’s the accompanying description of the scene and attraction:
In Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, you’ll join Princess Tiana and jazz-loving alligator Louis during Mardi Gras season as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind celebration for the people of New Orleans. This new scene is the thrilling moment you first drop into the bayou and encounter some friends both new and familiar.
As you can see here, fireflies will light up the night and invite you deeper into the bayou … almost like they’re waving you forward. What you can’t tell from this rendering is that beautiful zydeco music will fill the air. Zydeco is a special blend of rhythm and blues that was born in Louisiana, and when you hear it, you’ll feel like you’ve truly stepped into Tiana’s world.
Here you’ll find Louis, who explains where this amazing music is coming from. Tiana made some new friends out here – a band full of adorable critters, including an otter, a rabbit, a racoon, a beaver, a turtle and others. The band members sing and play instruments made of natural materials they found in the bayou. It feels like they may have a bigger role to play in this story … but we’ll just have to wait and see on that one.
April 2023 Concept Art
In an April 12th press release, Disney confirmed that Mama Odie would have a scene within Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. They released the following concept art and description of the scene.
As depicted in this rendering, Mama Odie jokes with guests along their journey after a special display of her magic in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure coming to Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort in 2024. The two-hundred-year-old Bayou Fairy Godmother, with her eccentric belongings and “seeing eye snake,” Juju, is comically eccentric, yet wise and all knowing, throughout the adventure. Legendary actress Jenifer Lewis, who starred as the voice of Mama Odie in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “The Princess and the Frog,” is once again returning to her role for the attraction.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Opening Date
Disney has announced that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will open in late 2024 at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Model & Attraction Backstory
At the 2022 D23 Expo in Anaheim, Disney revealed the physical scale model for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. With the unveiling, Disney actually did a soft reset of the expected storyline for the attraction when elements from early concept art were missing from the model. The model showed the Disneyland version of Splash Mountain, but Imagineers said that the changes pictured in the model would apply to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
We’re going to take a detailed look at the model, but first, let’s take a look at the backstory that Imagineers provided via a timeline of sorts that takes us through Tiana’s life to see what shaped her into the person she is and where she’s going.
The display starts by establishing that family is at the heart of Princess Tiana’s success. Princess Tiana is the proud daughter of Eudora and James. Eudora influenced Tiana’s entrepreneurial spirit, while James instilled a deep passion for cooking. James taught Tiana that good food “brings folks together from all walks of life”, and to “never, ever lose sight of what’s really important”.
James and Tiana won the 23rd Annual Gumbo Cook-Off when Tiana was young, and we learn that James and Tiana are from the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
Family photos of Tiana, Eudora, and James were also on display. In one photo, James is seen in a military uniform with the rank of Corporal.
We then fast-forward past the events of the Princess and the Frog movie to after the opening of Tiana’s Palace. With its mouthwatering menu, exceptional entertainment, and warmhearted hospitality, Tiana’s Palace quickly became a treasured meeting place in New Orleans. Princess Tiana used her newfound success to support surrounding neighborhoods, which led to her role as a community leader.
Abandoned over twenty years ago, the old sugar mill has been transformed into Tiana’s Palace, a fabulous dining experience with a pinch of pizzazz and Cajun flair. The dream of opening a restaurant originated with Tiana’s father, James, and has now become a reality through perseverance, love, and a whole lot of hard work. Tiana’s Palace features New Orleans’ family favorites including James’ homemade gumbo and Tiana’s fresh, delicious beignets. They truly are the bees knees! The sugar mill facilities are beautifully renovated and contain details showcasing Tiana and Naveen’s love for New Orleans and the Bayou. If you’re yearning for even more atmosphere, Tiana’s Palace comes alive every night with the sounds of Firefly Five Plus Lou. You won’t want to miss them! So whether you’re a homegrown local or a guest passing through the Crescent City, come savor colorful cuisine full of character at Tiana’s Palace!
From the success of her restaurant, Tiana expanded her business into an empire thanks to the entrepreneurial drive she got from her mother. Tiana opened Tiana’s Foods – an employee-owned cooperative. The endeavor began when Tiana purchased the salt mine and the area surrounding the large salt dome it operated from. With the help of her mother Eudora, Naveen, Louis and fellow owners of the cooperative, Tiana revived the old salt mine and the surrounding land, growing a wide array of vegetables, herbs and spices for her recipes.
This multi-faceted enterprise has turned the aging salt mine into a space that has come alive. Complete with a boutique farm and both a working and teaching kitchen, Tiana’s Foods is where Tiana and her colleagues create all sorts of new products that they are bringing to the world, including a line of original hot sauces.
She combined her talent with those of locals to transform an aging salt mine and build a believed brand that bolstered neighboring communities.
So that’s the backstory of how Tiana’s Bayou Adventure came to be. With Tiana’s Foods established, the story of the attraction will take place after the final kiss as Naveen and Louis join Tiana on her latest adventure, hosting a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration where everyone is welcome.
Tiana wants to give a big thanks to her family and friends and the entire community for all the support they’ve given her by throwing an amazing party during Mardi Gras season. When it turns out there’s been a bit of a mix-up with the party preparations, Tiana invites us to meet her at Tiana’s Foods to help with the missing ingredient for the party.
When we arrive, we may see that Tiana spruced up the company’s facilities with vibrant art from local artists. Food for the party is being prepared and beignets are being loaded into crates for the celebration. All kinds of preparations are underway for the journey into the bayou with Tiana, along with new and familiar friends from the animated film.
After guests climb the first lift hill and make a wide turn through the Bayou, they will come upon a mill house that starts the second lift of the attraction and find a banner welcoming them to “A Celebration of Family and Friends of New Orleans”. The celebration is for one night only and all are welcome.
We promised a detailed look at the model, so here’s a closer look at the decor piece on top of the mill house.
Following the lift hill through the mill house, guests will pass by a garden much like they did during Splash Mountain.
Here’s a look at roughly the same area from the attraction model.
We can see that we’ll float past the chili peppers that Tiana uses in her famous hot sauces.
There will also be other crops in the area.
One of the changes we mentioned earlier in this article is the removal of Mama Odie’s boat from the top of the attraction “mountain”. Here’s a closer look at that area and the iconic drop.
Interestingly, we may have lost Mama Odie’s boat, but a detailed look inside the final lift hill seems to reveal that we might get to experience the “Dig a Little Deeper” sequence – even though Disney’s messaging has shifted away from “powerful music from the film” to “original music inspired by songs from the film”. Something to keep an eye on!
Here are the relevant visuals from the Princess and the Frog movie and the “Dig a Little Deeper” segment. In the movie stills below, you can see dangling bottles that look awfully similar to the top of the final lift hill in the model above.
UPDATE (April 12, 2023): It looks like we were correct in our speculation. Disney has released new concept art that appears to show Mama Odie straight out of her “Dig a Little Deeper” scene, likely in the flooded caves portion of the attraction, just before the lift hill.
Here’s a more detailed look at the log boat. Again, this is the Disneyland model, so the boats are only a single row. At Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort, the boats will retain the two-per-row setup. There will be very little, if any, change to the ride path.
Another significant piece of the new puzzle is Tiana’s Foods water tower. Instead of Mama Odie’s boat, the water tower will likely be the focal point of the facade for guests walking by.
The water tower features the words “Tiana’s Foods” along with a call out that the co-op is employee-owned and was established in 1927.
The water tower also features a tiara on top, a not-too-subtle acknowledgment that Tiana is a princess, after all. An earlier piece of concept art shows the tiara being installed. We can only hope that Disney will share a similar image when the physical tiara is placed on top of the water tower.
Continuing our detailed look at the model, let’s take a look at how the briar patch will change. First, here’s a look at the Splash Mountain briar patch.
And here’s a look at the same area on the model. Back in July 2022, we caught a test of faux foliage for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
Here are a few more shots of the model and queue area where guests will see more crops for the Tiana’s Foods venture.
Latest News & Construction
Painters are currently working on creating a vibrant new mural for the yellow entrance barn at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. First, here’s a look at what we mean when we say the yellow entrance barn. This is the old entrance barn…
It looks like the new bright yellow look that we first reported on back in July will be the final look for the entrance barn to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom. On a recent visit to Magic Kingdom, we…
On a recent visit to Magic Kingdom, we noticed that crews have begun the process of closing in the peak of the salt dome that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will run through. As a reminder, there used to be a tree…
Former Splash Mountain Entrance Barn Repainted Yellow for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Overhaul at Magic Kingdom
Crews are hard at work today at the Tiana’s Bayou Adventure construction site. While visiting Magic Kingdom, we noticed that crews were repainting the former entrance barn a shade of yellow, perhaps as a base coat for upcoming retheming. Interestingly,…
Imagineering Taps Longtime Scenic Contractor for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Attraction Redesign at Magic Kingdom
A permit filed by Walt Disney Imagineering lists longtime scenic contractor Adirondack Studios for “production and installation of items” for the Tiana’s Bayou Adventure redesign of the former Splash Mountain attraction. Adirondack Studios has been responsible for scenic work in…
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