Disney Reveals Splash Mountain Will Be Transformed Into Tiana's Bayou Adventure by 2024

The ride's The Princess and the Frog-themed reimagining was first announced in 2020

Disney Shares Update on Splash Mountain’s Princess and the Frog Reimagining
Photo: The Walt Disney Company

By late 2024, Disney's Splash Mountain will be officially transformed into a down by the bayou, Mardi Gras celebration called Tiana's Bayou Adventure.

The company announced the fan-favorite ride would be getting a refresh based on the 2009 Disney animated film The Princess and the Frog, which features the company's first Black princess, Tiana, at both Disneyland in California and Magic Kingdom in Florida back in 2020.

Now, Disney has finally shared more details including the ride's name, inspiration, and general release date at the ESSENCE festival in New Orleans.

As announced today at the French Quarter's historic Preservation Hall, the log-flume ride Disney parks fans know as Splash Mountain will soon be called Tiana's Bayou Adventure.

Disney Shares Update on Splash Mountain’s Princess and the Frog Reimagining
The Walt Disney Company

Alongside Princess Tiana, Naveen and jazz-loving alligator Louis, guests will travel through the bayou as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration and listen to joyous music inspired by songs from the fan-favorite film.

Paying tribute to the region where the film takes places was of the utmost importance to the ride's creators. According to a press release, "Walt Disney Imagineers have been frequent travelers to Louisiana while conducting extensive research to ensure Tiana's Bayou Adventure preserves the heart and soul of the city that inspired Princess Tiana's story."

"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," Carmen Smith, Walt Disney's Senior Vice President of Creative Development, said in a press release.

She added, "To be able to join New Orleans in the celebration of Black joy as we bring Tiana's story to its roots is a full-circle moment I'm so proud to realize."

Disney Shares Update on Splash Mountain’s Princess and the Frog Reimagining
The Walt Disney Company

The company and its imagineers knew they had to encapsulate the local flavor that Tiana's hometown holds for anyone and everyone who enjoys the ride.

"In many ways, Tiana's Bayou Adventure is a love letter to New Orleans," Executive Producer of Relevancy Activations Charita Carter said at the event. "Like the musical city that inspired this attraction, Tiana's second act is about a community working in harmony to achieve something extraordinary. She reminds us of an immutable truth we can all relate to: 'If you do your best each and every day, good things are sure to come your way.' And that's a melody we can all sing along to!"

Splash Mountain
John Raoux/AP/Shutterstock

Tiana's story takes over the ride previously based on the controversial 1946 Disney film Song of the South, which has long been criticized for its problematic portrayal of the post-Civil War South and for employing racist stereotypes.

The 2020 announcement of its reimagining came just weeks after several petitions urging Disney to rework the theme of the popular ride garnered attention on the site Change.org — one titled "Re-theme Splash Mountain to Princess and the Frog" received over 21,384 signatures upon closing.

The petition read in part: "Disney parks should be a home for all to enjoy regardless of race, age, whatever your background may be . . . While the ride is considered a beloved classic, its history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from the 1946 film Song of the South. There is a huge need for diversity in the parks and this could help fill that need."

Disney noted at the time that a new story for the ride had long been under consideration.

Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

At a shareholder meeting in March, Disney CEO Bob Iger addressed the movie's exclusion from the Disney+ platform, stating, "I've felt as long as I've been CEO that Song of the South — even with a disclaimer — was just not appropriate in today's world. It's just hard, given the depictions in some of those films, to bring them out today without in some form or another offending people, so we've decided not to do that."

Anika Noni Rose, the Tony Award-winning actress who voices Princess Tiana, shared her own excitement about the decision.

"It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana's presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized!" she wrote at the time. "As passionate as I am about what we created, I know the fans are going to be over the moon. The Imagineers are giving us the Princess and the Frog Mardi Gras celebration we've been waiting for, and I'm here for it!"

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