Your Ultimate Guide to Disney’s Splash Mountain Replacement: Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

ultimate guide Tiana's Bayou Adventure
Credit: Disney

In June 2020, Disney theme parks around the world were closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s when Disney decided to shock fans around the world by announcing that its iconic Splash Mountain attraction would be closing at both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. The flume ride had been a symbol of Disneyland since 1989 and at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom since 1992.

Splash Mountain Magic Kingdom Disney World

Credit: Disney

Related: Splash Mountain Has Been Closed for a Year and You Should Be Excited

One year later, Disney announced that Splash Mountain would be receiving a Princess and the Frog retheme, based on the hit 2009 film from Walt Disney Animation Studios. The ride would no longer be Splash Mountain, but would become Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Disney also shared that the ride would open in Disneyland Park and in the Magic Kingdom in late 2024.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure Magic Kingdom and Disneyland

Credit: Disney

The Initial Backlash

When Disney shared the closing and retheming news about Splash Mountain, they said that the project had been in the idea phase at Walt Disney Imagineering for years. However, that did not stop the company from receiving a ton of backlash from fans and guests who had been visiting the parks for years.

Splash Mountain was themed after Disney’s 1964 film, Song of the South. While it was popular when it was first released, and still has a strong following from people who love its classic feel, the majority have acknowledged some of the film’s blatantly racist undertones.

disney's song of the south

Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Imagineer Defends ‘Song of the South’ and Splash Mountain

Enraged groups immediately began dubbing Splash Mountain a victim of “cancel culture.” They also claimed that Disney was only retheming the ride because they were caving to those who were too sensitive. They said that the ride was an icon, and they shouldn’t change things just because the way society thinks has changed.

tokyo disney resort splash mountain

Tokyo Disney Resort

Still, Disney stood by its controversial decision. Walt Disney famously said, “Disneyland will never be completed, as long as there is imagination left in the world.” So, despite the fact that fans love the ride, the Disney way is to change things, and give guests a whole new wonderful experience.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure: The Story

In The Princess and the Frog, Tiana’s dream was to open her very own restaurant. And now, her dream has expanded.

Tiana has purchased a salt mine, as well as the salt dome and area surrounding the salt mine. She has turned it into a cooperative, and each of her employees owns a small stake. Tiana, Naveen, her mother, Eudora, and all the employees at the co-op have worked incredibly hard to turn Tiana’s Foods into a beloved local brand.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure

Credit: Disney

At the old salt mine, the workers grow a number of fruits, vegetables, and spices. Tiana has even created her very own line of hot sauces!

Tiana has decided to throw a huge party for her family, friends, and community, as a way to say thank you for all of their support throughout her journey from waitress to business owner. She collects everything she needs to make the party as memorable as possible, and begins to cook dishes everyone is sure to remember.

a green gold and purple logo for tiana's foods co op and a red yellow and blue circular logo for tianas hot sauce with a chili pepper

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Then, she realizes she is missing the secret ingredient that will make the party extra special.

Guests will join Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, Louis, and other Princess and the Frog characters as they journey down the bayou to help Tiana find just what she needs for her huge celebration.

What Characters Will Be in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure?

Walt Disney Imagineering truly changed the theme park industry when they created audio-animatronics, or simply, animatronics. Animatronics have brought attractions like Frozen Ever After, Journey Into Imagination With Figment, It’s Tough to Be a Bug, Na’vi River Journey, Spaceship Earth, and so many more to life.

Frozen Ever After

Credit: Disney

Related: Disney’s Newest Walking Animatronic Will Blow Your Mind!

Fans will know that Splash Mountain featured some truly memorable animatronics. Guests traveled through the Briar Patch, where they met residents like Br’er Bear, Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, and Br’er Rabbit. Then, at the end, they were greeted by a large musical number, full of a ton of dancing and singing animatronics. It is full of every kind of fritter creature you could imagine!

br're fox br'er bear br'er rabbit splash mountain

Credit: Disney

As we said above, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will feature Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, and Louis, the saxophone-playing alligator. But guests will also be able to see Mama Odie, who is considered the “Bayou Fairy Godmother.” You may even be able to catch a peek at her pet snake, Juju!

To add to the excitement of seeing some of your favorite characters, many of the film’s original actors will be returning to reprise their roles! Anika Noni Rose will return as the voice of the titular Disney princess. Bruno Campos will be back as Prince Naveen, and Michael Leon Wooley will return as the voice of Louis. Jenifer Lewis will also be back to reprise her role of Mama Odie.

Mama Odie Tiana's Bayou Adventure

Credit: Disney

Related: New Princess and the Frog Film Taking Over Disney +

Disney Imagineers have confirmed that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will feature dozens of new characters, which means dozens of new animatronics! A group of fireflies and a band of bayou creatures will fill the attraction with the sounds of the South. The band will feature an otter, a rabbit, a raccoon, a beaver, a turtle, and more.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure

Credit: Disney

One character, however, that we cannot confirm will return is The Princess and the Frog villain, Dr. Facilier. Disney has said that the ride’s story will take place after the events from the film. As fans know, Dr. Facilier disappeared at the end of the film, so we do not know if he will return from the “other side” to haunt guests along their journey.

New Songs to Love

One of the great things about The Princess and the Frog was that it was full of so many amazing songs. From the opening “Down in New Orleans” to “Almost There”, “Friends on the Other Side”, and “Goin’ Down the Bayou”, the movie truly embraces the sound and vibe of New Orleans.

Dr Facilier The Princess and the Frog

Credit: Disney

Related: Most People Miss What The Princess and the Frog is REALLY About

We do not have too many details on the music that will be used for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, but we do know that the critter band will play some new songs. Guests will be transported along the bayou as they discover all new songs to fall in love with.

Of course, you can also expect to hear songs from the original film that you fell in love with 15 years ago!

Princess and the Frog

Credit: Disney

Where Can I Find Tiana’s Bayou Adventure?

If you are visiting Walt Disney World Resort, then you will want to head down Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom Park. Then, take the second left, which will lead you into Frontierland. Frontierland is the home of classic attractions like Big Thunder Mountain and Tom Sawyer Island. It is also the former home of Splash Mountain and will be home to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad backstory

Credit: Disney

Related: Big Thunder Mountain Movie In the Works at Disney!

There is also a Frontierland at Disneyland Resort, but that is not where you will be able to find Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

When you enter Disneyland Park, head down Main Street, U.S.A., then, like in Disney World, take the second left into Frontierland. However, this time, you are going to head through Frontierland, and keep to the left. That will lead you into New Orleans Square.

New Orleans Square Disneyland park

Credit: Disney

But here’s the twist, even though The Princess and the Frog takes place in New Orleans, you’ll want to make your way through New Orleans Square. Head just past the Haunted Mansion, and you’ll find yourself in Critter Country. Critter Country will be the home land of Disney’s new attraction.

Disney has not said if they plan to keep Critter Country or make some big changes with the addition of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

Pooh Corner Critter Country Disneyland

Credit: Disney

Related: What Should Disneyland Do With Critter Country?

Will There Be Any Nods to Splash Mountain?

Disney knows how many guests were absolutely devastated when they learned that Splash Mountain would be closing. They know how important the ride was to so many people, since it was important to Disney as well. The company wants fans to know that Splash Mountain will always be an important part of Disney’s history.

splash mountain

Credit: Mike Buchawiecki, Flickr

Related: Fans HEARTBROKEN After Splash Mountain Entrance Sign Is DEMOLISHED

Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom will be able to see a special little nod to Splash Mountain and the Briar Patch.

Walt Disney Imagineers and construction crews are making a lot of progress on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, but they want guests to know that they have not forgotten about Splash Mountain. If you are looking at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and see the water tower, look to the right.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure Frontierland Magic Kingdom

Credit: Krysten S.

Related: The Imagineers Who Built Splash Mountain Gathered For One Last Ride

It is there that you will see a familiar-looking tree stump. Can’t see it? Look a little closer.

If we were to take an educated guess, it looks just like the top of the original Splash Mountain attraction! The Briar Patch lives!

Tiana's Bayou Adventure Frontierland Magic Kingdom

Credit: Krysten S.

At this time, we do not know if there will be any other nods to Splash Mountain inside the Disney Park attraction. It is possible Disney Imagineers could decide to add some familiar animatronics to the bayou. So, when the attraction finally opens, be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

Will Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Have Any Restrictions?

Disney takes safety very seriously, especially when it comes to the safety of some of its youngest guests. So, while there are some rides — like “it’s a small world”, the Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean — that do not have height requirements, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will not be one of those attractions.

haunted mansion holiday ride attraction summer closing overlay disneyland dates nightmare before christmas theme

Credit: Disney

When Splash Mountain was open, guests needed to be 40 inches or taller to ride. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will have the same requirement — guests must be 40 inches or taller.

As with other Disney rides, a cast member will have a measuring implement at the beginning of the queue, so you do not have to wait in line in order to find out if your little one is tall enough. There may also be another measuring stick just before getting on the ride. Oftentimes, cast members will double-check a child’s height, just to be extra safe.

Disney Height Requirement

Credit: Best of Orlando

Even if your little rider doesn’t measure up to the height requirement, there is still so much for them to experience at both the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park. There are tons of attractions they can enjoy, parades they can watch, and characters they can meet. A day at Disney is never, ever boring, no matter your age!

Will the New Ride Use a Virtual Queue?

Not too long before Walt Disney World and Disneyland had to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney began experimenting with a virtual queue system. This was used as a way to control crowds and help prevent hours-long waits at new attractions.

Rise of the resistance galaxys edge

Credit: Disney

Related: The WORST Part About Disney’s Virtual Queue

The first attraction to utilize a virtual queue was Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance — in December 2019 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and in January 2020 at Disneyland. Since then, Disney has used a virtual queue for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, TRON: Lightcycle/Run, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

mickey and minnie's runaway railway

Credit: Disney

At this time, Disney has not said definitively if Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will use a virtual queue when it opens at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park or in Disneyland Park.

However, nearly every big, new attraction at the theme parks has used a virtual queue for at least a little while. TRON and Cosmic Rewind are both still using a virtual queue after having been open for more than a year.

TRON Lightcycle/Run

Credit: Disney

So, while we can’t guarantee that there will be a virtual queue for the new ride, we can make an educated guess and say that guests should expect to snag a boarding group if they want to ride.

When Will Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Open?

In 2022, when Disney shared more about Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at ESSENCE Fest in New Orleans, Louisiana, officials said that the attraction would open in late 2024 at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure

Credit: Disney

As of right now, Disney has not shared any more information on the opening date. Crews have made really great progress on the retheming of Splash Mountain, so it looks like the late 2024 opening date will be more than reachable.

It is possible that Disney is aiming to have Tiana’s Bayou Adventure open for the Halloween or holiday seasons. All we can do is wait, and hope that Disney shares an opening date very soon! Since we are already in 2024, it is entirely possible that an opening date could be announced any day now!

Tiana's Bayou Adventure Frontierland Magic Kingdom

Credit: Krysten S.

And there you have it! This is everything we know about Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at this point. Even though there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the new ride, you can be sure that it will be one of the most popular attractions in the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland when it finally opens!

Are you excited to ride Tiana’s Bayou Adventure when it opens? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

One comment

  1. I hope it FAILS! No injuries, just keep breaking down. Bring back Splash Mountains.

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