Carmen Smith, SVP, Creative Development – Product/Content & Inclusive Strategies for Disney, confirmed the plans in a blog post.
Disney had indicated in 2020 that it would overhaul the attraction in 2020, sharing the news as protests against racial injustice were roiling the country. Splash Mountain had been based on the Uncle Remus Br’er Rabbit story in the company’s controversial 1946 film Song of the South. As Smith’s post and an accompanying YouTube video took pains to note, the focus of Imagineers in this updated effort is to pay homage to the history and heritage of New Orleans.
The new tie-in will be to Disney’s 2009 animated film, The Princess and the Frog. The flume ride’s new incarnation will pick up the story of the movie after the final kiss, following Princess Tiana (played by Anika Noni Rose) and Louis as they prepare for their first Mardi Gras performance. Rose is involved in the project.
“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,” Smith wrote. “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.”
The new version of the attraction was revealed at Essence Fest in New Orleans. Charita Carter, executive producer of relevancy activations at Walt Disney Imagineering, described Tiana’s Bayou Adventure as “a love letter to New Orleans.” She added, “Like the musical city that inspired this attraction, Tiana’s second act is about a community working in harmony to achieve something extraordinary.”