Since last year’s announcement that Splash Mountain will be updated to become an attraction based on The Princess and the Frog, fans have been wondering what exactly that will be like. Today, Disney shared an update on the process, the inspiration, and the progress being made on this attraction.
Part of the process is going back to the roots of the original story. One of the inspirations for Princess Tiana was Leah Chase, the found of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans. Disney recently brought several people together to Dooky Chase’s Restaurant where they spoke with Stella Chase Reese, the current owner of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant and also the daughter of Leah Chase. Others in attendance included Kenneth Moton, National Correspondent for ABC News, Carmen Smith, Creative Executive, Vice President, Inclusive Strategies for Walt Disney Imagineering; Charita Carter, Senior Producer for Walt Disney Imagineering; and Marlon West, VFX Supervisor for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Together they talked about Tiana’s impact over the last decade. They also spoke about the creative process that is going into making this new attraction come to life. Part of this includes next-level technology that is being used by Imagineering to bring the story to life.
The story for this new attraction will take place after the final kiss in The Princess and the Frog. Naveen and Louis will be joining Tiana on a new adventure. This one has her hosting a one-of-a kind Mardi Gras celebration and everyone is welcome. Throughout this attraction there will be new original music that is inspired by songs from the original movie.
Great efforts were taken to create a story that is authentic to the region around New Orleans. Walt Disney Imagineers have gone to great lengths to do in-depth research on the culture of the region. They also worked hard to make sure this new story is authentic to the original characters. Throughout this research process, Disney shared that Imagineers are exploring the “food, music, art and architecture to the diversity of its people and their traditions.” Much of this was done with Zoom but this trip was the first in-person. There will be many more. As more research is done, Imagineers will continue to get inspired and educated as they work to bring to life this new story.
To show appreciation and its love for New Orleans, along with its commitment to arts education, Disney announced a $50,000 donation to the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). NOCCA is a regional, pre-professional arts training center. It offers students extensive training in multiple disciplines. This includes culinary arts, dance, media arts, classical instrumental music, jazz instrumental music, classical vocal music, drama, musical theatre, theatre design, visual arts and creative writing
To help with the inspiration for the attraction, Sharika Mahdi was commissioned to create a series of four original paintings. Mahdi is, a visual artists, art educator, and almuna of YAY (Young Aspirations Young Artists) Art Center in New Orleans. Her series of paintings won’t just help inspire Imagineers but also connects back with the origins as Leah Chase had a love of art.
The updated shared by Disney for this attraction comes as Disney begins celebrating World Princess Week. Along with this attraction that is in the works, fans will soon also be able to see Princess Tiana in a new series entitled Tiana on Disney+. They will also be able to experience the new lounge called The Bayou on the Disney Wish when it begins cruising with guests next year.
What do you think of the updates to this attraction? Are you excited about it? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!