Disney's New "Princess and the Frog" Ride Is a "Love Letter to New Orleans"
Princess Tiana is officially making her Disneyland and Walt Disney World debut. In June 2020, Disney's Imagineering Team announced that plans were underway to replace Splash Mountain with a "Princess and the Frog"-themed ride at both the Disneyland park in California and Magic Kingdom park in Florida. On July 1, the parks shared a sneak peek at Tiana's Bayou Adventure, the new Louisiana-inspired ride.
Why Is Disney Replacing Splash Mountain With The Princess and the Frog?
Plans to reimagine the classic theme-park ride come following criticism from park-goers who have pointed out the ride's racist origins. Disney fans even organized a petition that was signed by more than 21,000 people insisting that the park change the theme of the ride. "While the ride is considered a beloved classic, its history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes," the petition reads. "There is a huge need for diversity in the parks and this could help fill that need."
"Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what's really important."
The ride was initially inspired by Disney's "Song of the South," a 1946 film that has rightfully been criticized for its offensive portrayals of the Black community. Disney has kept the film locked away for decades and excluded it from the lineup of movies available on Disney+, making the decision to change Splash Mountain's theme long-awaited. "The new concept is inclusive — one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year," Disney's statement reads.
What Will Disney's New Princess and the Frog Ride Be Like?
According to Disney, the new ride will pick up right where the film left off, after Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen's final kiss. After consulting academics, chefs, musicians, and cultural institutions across the French Market and the Louisiana bayou, Imagineers have come up with an experience that will encourage riders to join Tiana and her trumpet-playing alligator Louis on a "musical adventure" that celebrates Mardi Gras and includes new original music inspired by the film.
"It's a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou."
"Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what's really important," Disney's statement reads. "It's a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou."
In August 2021, members of the Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Animation Studios teams met in New Orleans at Dooky Chase's Restaurant. Its founder, the late Chef Leah Chase, was one of the inspirations for Princess Tiana. According to the Disney Parks Blog, the group gathered "to talk about Tiana's impact over the past decade and the creative process behind the upcoming attraction, including the next-level technology Imagineers are employing to bring it to life. Generations of the Chase family welcomed us while Chef Dook cooked up some of their famous gumbo. We sat down with Leah's daughter, Stella Chase Reese who shared that 'The two coming together, music and food, brings joy and happiness to all' and isn't that the truth?"
On July 1, Walt Disney Imagineering representative, Charita Carter added that the new ride is a "love letter to New Orleans." "Like the musical city that inspired this attraction, Tiana's second act is about a community working in harmony to achieve something extraordinary," Carter adds. "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!"
When Will Disney's Princess and the Frog Ride Be Open?
Disney's "Princess and the Frog" ride is expected to be open to the public in late 2024. Take a sneak peek at Tiana's Bayou Adventure — including Princess Tiana hereself — and see what a few of the voice actors from the 2009 film have to say about the ride ahead.