As fans wait with baited breath to discover what has become of the iconic Splash Mountain attraction at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, last week brought them some much-needed hope. In speaking with NOLA.com’s Mike Scott, Walt Disney Imagineer Ted Robledo revealed new details on Splash Mountain’s replacement. The attraction, titled “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure” will take guests on a New Orleans-inspired journey based on the 2009 Disney animated film “The Princess and the Frog.” It is slated to open sometime later in 2024.
WDI Executive Creative Director Ted Robledo first highlighted the re-painted barn guests will enter as part of the queue. The barn will “house the main offices for the bustling Tiana’s Foods.” As guests walk through the queue, they will hear old-timey radio tunes recorded by modern New Orleans artists. The smell of beignets will be pumped through the queue.
Reporter Mike Scott remarks the load area looks much like it did when it was “Splash Mountain.” However, now there are cranes hoisting crates marked “Tiana’s Foods.” These set pieces were spotted being lifted into the outdoor ride loading area last year.
The Imagineer revealed that “every bit of Splash Mountain’s faux vegetation has been stripped out and replaced with flora native to Louisiana.”
2-D cutouts of Louis the Alligator and Tiana currently mark where high-tech animatronics will be placed along the ride path. There is also an all-new audio animatronic band the Imagineers call “the critters” which guests will see throughout the attraction.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Animatronics
Robledo explained that Tiana will “repeatedly address guests directly, seeking their help to find a yet-to-be-named missing element for a Mardi Gras celebration she’s planning.” This sounds like an ambitious feat!
Scott added that the animatronics in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be “the latest and greatest, the same high-tech versions used in Hong Kong Disneyland’s recently opened World of Frozen area.”
BRAYDEN’S EDITORIAL NOTE: I am quite pleased that Imagineering opted for two dozen non-projection, decently complex animatronics rather than a single amazing animatronic like on Na’vi River Journey. In an ideal world, I would have opted for 68 lower-tech animatronics to serenade guests every second of the attraction, as was the case with the Splash Mountain animatronics Disney recently removed.
Claims There Are “Nods” to Splash Mountain
In a vague statement, Robledo teases that “there might be a few subtle nods to the old Splash Mountain.”
In truth, what he means is that much of the interior of the attraction was barely touched due to budget constraints. As such, there will inevitably be lots of Splash Mountain DNA left over. This is verified by Scott who took the tour. He says “much of the interior ride architecture — the rocks, boulders and whatnot — have been retained from Splash.”
Given Disney defamed Splash Mountain and its characters as backwards and “culturally outdated,” the idea that now they’ve suddenly developed an fond affection for Splash Mountain and its ‘outdated’ cult-following is laughable at best.
Based on Robledo’s statements, detail-hungry fans holding out hope that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be a smash hit were greatly reassured. While some remain skeptical, the news on the animatronics do leave room for one to say, “hey, maybe Tiana’s will be a hit!” Are you excited for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure? Let us know in the comments below!