Disney gives Splash Mountain closure date, shares new rendering for ‘Tiana’s Bayou Adventure’

New attraction at Magic Kingdom opening in 2024

A first look at a new scene and some of the brand-new characters coming to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. (Disney)

BAY LAKE, Fla. – Walt Disney World continues to share new details about the evolution and design about the anticipated new attraction, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

Disney Imagineers shared a new rendering on Friday, which gives audiences a glimpse into one of the all-new scenes of the attraction featuring Princess Tiana and everyone’s favorite trumpet-playing alligator, Louis. The new rendering is also the first time Imagineers have unveiled some of the new animal critters guests will see as they twist and turn around the bayou listening to zydeco music, a special blend of rhythm and blues that was born in Louisiana.

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“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,” said Carmen Smith, Senior Vice President, Creative Development. “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.”

During Tiana’s Bayou Adventure guests will follow Tiana, Prince Naveen and Louis through the bayou as they prepare for a Mardi Gras celebration.

The new attraction will be taking over the Splash Mountain attractions at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. To begin the updates needed for this new attraction, Disney announced that Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World will close starting Jan. 23, 2023.

During a one-on-one chat with a select number of media Thursday, Disney Imagineers talked about some of the details and backstory for the new attraction.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure model at D23 Expo (Disney)

Imagineers said the story takes place approximately one year after the events of “Princess and the Frog.”

Tiana, a new entrepreneur, continues to have a deep connection to her friends and community. Imagineers said she has purchased a salt dome mine which has drummed up her new business, “Tiana’s Foods.” Imagineers said the business serves up delicious New Orleans-style foods while also inspiring members of the community to follow their own dreams like Tiana.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (Disney Parks Blog)

Imagineers said guests will be immersed in the story from the moment they step inside the attraction’s queue.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (Disney)

Leaders said the attraction will also feature the original voices from Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), Bruno Campos (Prince Naveen), Jenifer Lewis (Mama Odie) and Michael-Leon Wooley (Louis).

Charita Carter, executive producer with Walt Disney Imagineering, alongside Ted Robledo, executive creative Director with Walt Disney Imagineering, said the entire team is pulling out all of their tools to create and develop this experience, which is said to be a love letter to the city of New Orleans.

(right) Charita Carter, executive producer with Walt Disney Imagineering, (left) Ted Robledo, executive creative Director with Walt Disney Imagineering (WKMG)

To ensure the authenticity of the Louisiana culture, Disney Imagineers took frequent trips to conduct extensive research to ensure the new attraction preserves the heart and soul of the city that inspired Tiana’s story. Furthering their experiences, Imagineers explored the bayou, consulted with academics, chefs, musicians and cultural institutions to make sure everything is perfect for Tiana’s second act.

Walt Disney Imagineering joins team at the historic Dooky Chase’s Restaurant during their research in New Orleans for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. (Disney)

One artist that helped inspire Imagineers was Sharika Mahdi, an alumna of the renowned YAYA (Young Aspirations Young Artists) Arts Center located in New Orleans. During Thursday’s meeting with media, Carter said one of Mahdi’s paintings which depicts a jazz band group of frogs playing instruments, captured the same energy and bayou magic that Imagineers hope to portray in the attraction.

Disney said when the new ride opens in 2024, it will feature new advanced storytelling techniques that feature state-of-the-art animatronics and immersive environments.

Disney plans to share even more details about the attraction in the future.

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About the Author:

Landon joined News 6 in 2017. He grew up in Southern Illinois and graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelors degree in TV and digital media. When he is not at work you can catch him at one of Orlando's theme parks or the beach. Before working at News 6 he worked for stations in Miami and Fort Myers.