Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Ride Details and Review

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure officially opens at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park on June 28, and we were among the first guests to experience the attraction this week.

Disney first announced that Splash Mountain at both Disney World and Disneyland would be transformed into a new “The Princess and the Frog”-themed ride in 2020. Nearly four years and a complete overhaul later, Disney World’s version of the ride is “almost there,” just a couple of weeks out from its grand opening — and it’s a Mardi Gras-level celebration of the fan-favorite princess and New Orleans.

“Tiana was our inspiration because Tiana is everybody’s princess,” Walt Disney Imagineering’s Charita Carter said during an event celebrating the new attraction. “She comes from a real place in America, she wasn’t born into royalty, she has a working mom, she has military ties, and there’s so much about her life that is relatable.”

Elizabeth Rhodes/Travel + Leisure

The previously orange, rocky mountain covered in briar patches has been transformed into a lush interpretation of the Louisiana bayou, complete with colorful flowers and fireflies. And rather than retelling the film’s story, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure picks up where the film leaves off, with many of the original voice actors, including Anika Noni Rose as Princess Tiana, Michael-Leon Wooley as Louis, and Jenifer Lewis as Mama Odie.

The bones of the ride system haven’t changed much from Splash Mountain as the log flume attraction still carries guests through twists and dips and they sail through different scenes before reaching the 50-foot drops and festive grand finale moment. But beyond the physical movements, the ride feels brand-new with 48 all-new audio-animatronics featuring beloved characters Tiana, Louis, and 19 adorable, musically gifted critters, and a delightful soundtrack featuring songs from the film.

The ride also features a catchy original song, “Special Spice,” made especially for the attraction.

Inside the Ride

Elizabeth Rhodes/Travel + Leisure

As the story has it, after opening her restaurant, Tiana’s Palace, the princess-entrepreneur opens Tiana’s Foods, an employee-owned cooperative housed in a former salt mine that creates all kinds of local food products, from hot sauce to pecan oil.

Riders enter the queue and pass through Tiana’s office and kitchen, where she’s cooking up some of her tasty beignets (you may smell them before you see them!).

The ride takes place during the Mardi Gras season of 1927 and Tiana is hosting a party to celebrate, but she needs guests’ help because Louis hasn’t booked a band for the event yet. That means it’s time to board your log and go to the bayou with Louis and Tiana to round up some musicians. Cute critter bands playing zydeco, rara, and Afro-Cuban versions of songs from the movie are an attraction highlight, along with the incredibly fluid audio-animatronics of Tiana, Louis, Mama Odie, and other favorite characters.

Olga Thompson/Courtesy of Disney

After seeing some of the animal bands, Mama Odie uses some of her magic to shrink you down to the size of the frogs before restoring you to human-size just in time for the Mardi Gras party — and the big drop. The grand finale scene brings riders to the larger-than-life celebration with Lottie, Prince Naveen, and other famed movie characters, plus the critter crew gathered throughout the ride.

It’s a scene that you want to last forever, with plentiful audio-animatronics, beautiful set pieces while “Special Spice” plays in background.

Olga Thompson/Courtesy of Disney

It certainly is joyful to see logs flying down that iconic Magic Kingdom hill again, this time with a story that showcases Princess Tiana and the one-of-a-kind city of New Orleans.

And of course, due to their impeccable attention to detail, Disney Imagineers traveled to New Orleans and worked with Louisiana artists to make sure the ride felt like a celebration of the city, from the foods to the music to the murals along the buildings. And the fun doesn’t end after you get off the ride; the gift shop sells a range of specialty merchandise, plus a very special spice with a deeper meaning.

Elizabeth Rhodes/Travel + Leisure

Leah Chase, the legendary New Orleans chef of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant and the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” was a real-life inspiration for Princess Tiana, and her family was involved in the development of the attraction. Now, guests can even buy some of the brand’s spice mixes in the gift shop and take a little bit of the New Orleans magic home with them.  

Elizabeth Rhodes/Travel + Leisure

Know Before You Ride

  • Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will use a virtual queue when it opens, so you will have to request to join the queue via the My Disney Experience app at 7 a.m. or 1 p.m. According to a release shared with Travel + Leisure, a standby queue is expected to open soon after the ride opens to the public, however a date was not released. Guests will also be able to book Lightning Lanes with Disney Genie+ service. 
  • You must be at least 40 inches tall to ride. 
  • You’ll spot several “You May Get Wet” signs on your way in — and I’m here to say you’ll definitely at least get a little splash, and you might even get soaked. I wore a rain poncho and shoes that were okay to get wet, and I’d highly recommend you do the same in case you’re one of the lucky guests that get totally drenched. 
  • This is a family-friendly attraction with a cheerful atmosphere (no scares or things going catastrophically wrong here!), but the drops may be intense for some riders. 
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