Anika Noni Rose and Jennifer Lewis will voice characters for the upcoming attraction.
In 2009, Disney released its highly anticipated movie, The Princess and the Frog—the brand's first reveal of a Black American princess. Little Black and Brown girls everywhere felt a sense of pride as they finally saw a representative of themselves on the big screen in the character of Princess Tiana. With her Southern charm, melanated skin, and all-around hustler spirit—the Disney princess ranks high as one of the favorites among fans of all races, even today. Now, the magical brand will give us even more of the New Orleans-inspired character with the upcoming attraction, Tiana's Bayou Adventure, opening in 2024 at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
The brand recently unveiled a first-look rendering for the ride, which will take over the parks' long-running Splash Mountain. The team of imagineers, led by 25-year vet and current Executive Creative Producer Charita Carter, spent a significant amount of time in New Orleans to ensure the attraction's storytelling is just as authentic as the movie.
Carter and her team met with staff at Xavier University, as well as spent time on Louisiana's Avery Island—the only place in the entire state with some type of elevation—which ultimately ties in the "mountain-like structure" that will be seen in the ride.
But one of the most heartfelt parts of the entire process is the Disney team spending time with Stella Chase Reese, the daughter of the late Leah Chase of Dooky Chase Restaurant.
According to Carter, Reese often cleared her schedule for days to join the team on various research adventures around the city and state. From swamp boat rides to whipping up her mother's famous cuisine, Reese made sure she was present every step of the way. After all, her mother was a major inspiration for the movie, and now that same energy and spirit will be reflected in Tiana's Bayou Adventure.
As for the ride itself, it will take place 1-year after where the movie left off: Tiana is now successfully running her restaurant, and riders will go on a fun adventure with the Disney princess and her friends around the Bayou as native Zydeco music fills the air. Not only will the attraction be the first representation of the princess, but it will also give park-goers a deeper look into the culture of New Orleans. Anika Noni Rose will voice Tiana and the iconic Jennifer Lewis will lend her words as Mama Odie.