Chase Family With Mickey Mouse and More

The Legendary Chase Family To Be Among First to Experience Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Walt Disney World

Leah Chase Sr., former owner of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans, was one of the inspirations for the character of Princess Tiana for The Princess and the Frog and then Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Her daughters, Stella and Leah Jr., will be some of the first people to experience this new attraction ahead of its official opening at Magic Kingdom this summer. They will join the legendary Chase family to make the trek to Walt Disney World Resort to experience Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

Hosted by the Walt Disney World Ambassadors, the Chase family experienced a magical experience when the family was surprised with an invitation to visit Walt Disney World and experience the attraction. Along with the invitation, there were also some other special moments. Stella Chase Reese was presented with the Walt Disney World Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction poster. She also became an honorary imagineer and was given a hard hat. She has been a key contact for Walt Disney Imagineering throughout the research that has been done for the attraction.  Her sister, Leah Chase Jr., was given a framed photo from the recording session where she lent her voice to some of the attraction’s music.  Leah Chase Jr., sings a cover of the Louis Armstrong song, Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? Listen carefully in the queue to hear this!

Carmen Smith, Senior Vice President, Creative Development – Product/Content & Inclusive Strategies, shared a little bit about the legacy of this family. This was in a post on the Disney Parks Blog.

Legendary chef Leah Chase, former owner and operator of Dooky Chase’s, had a vision to give back to her community in ways that she knew best, good cooking and making an inclusive space for all. Through her creativity and determination, she transformed what once was a sandwich shop in Tremé into one of the first African American fine dining establishments in the country in Dooky Chase’s. It was this story that served as one of the inspirations for the character of Princess Tiana in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “The Princess and the Frog,” and later in the development of the upcoming attraction by Walt Disney Imagineering – Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush participate in a dinner with cultural and community leaders at Dooky Chase’s restaurant in New Orleans, LA.

The story begins in 1941 when Dooky Chase’s Restaurant opened its doors for the first time as a family-run po’boy stand. Founded by Emily and Dooky Chase Sr., the store was opened with the intention of providing good food to the New Orleans community, but later became so much more. In 1946, Leah married Dooky Chase Jr., and saw the up-and-coming restaurant as a playground for innovation. Starting out as a cook, Leah slowly infused her family’s famous Creole recipes into the menu and helped grow the po’boy stand into the famous sit-down restaurant it is today. With her influence, Dooky Chase’s has attracted the likes of all who visit New Orleans including celebrities and politicians like Beyoncé, former President George W. Bush and former President Barack Obama.

Recently the two daughters were given a sneak peek of the progress being made at Walt Disney Imagineering Campus. When Stella saw some of the Audio-Animatronics figures, she said, “My mom would be ecstatic…to see Disney take her talents and her values and use them in Tiana.” Later in the trip they got to see more of their mother’s legacy as it continues on at Disneyland Park. This includes Tiana’s Palace and Eudora’s Chic Boutique featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets. Stella shared how seeing her mother’s legacy live on in so many places really was “a joy because it’s a way for my mother to continue to give back.”

Following the trip to California, Disney realized how much of a priority it would be to bring the whole family along for the completion of this journey. The invitation moment, which included Mickey Mouse, took place at a Chase family meeting at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. It was there and then that the family was invited to be among the first to experience the attraction. This is a family that has been a part of the process of the development of this attraction and Disney shared how they are grateful that they will be able to see it come to life.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be opening at Magic Kingdom this summer. When it does, it will take guests on a musical adventure that takes place after the events of The Princess and the Frog. Guests will be joining Princess Tiana, Louis the Alligator, and Prince Naveen as preparations are underway for a special celebration during Mardi Gras season. Guests will join Tiana and friends on a musical trip through the bayou that is sure to make magical memories for fans of all ages! The attraction will be opening at Disneyland Park later this year.

What do you think of this magical moment and experience for the Chase family? What are you most looking forward to with Tiana’s Bayou Adventure? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!