Dreams Do Come True In New Orleans

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Opens June 28 at Walt Disney World
Courtesy of Disney Parks

Disney World Revealed When Tiana's Bayou Adventure Ride Is Opening & It's So Soon

But don’t expect to just hop on line...

After Splash Mountain closed in May of 2023, Walt Disney World park-goers have been eager to get back out on that 50-foot flume drop. And now, after more than a year of waiting, it’s official, the refurbished ride, now Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, will open at Walt Disney World in Florida on June 28. Just over a month, people! I guess you could say we’re... “Almost There.”

The ride will be based on the 2009 movie The Princess and the Frog, set in 1920s New Orleans. There, hardworking, big-dreaming Tiana has her sights set on opening her very own restaurant. And, of course, since this is Disney, there are adorable singing animals, handsome princes, and a cadre of lovable sidekicks, many of whom will be depicted in stunningly advanced animatronics. The story depicted on the ride itself will revolve around Tiana and her friends preparing for, what else but Mardi Gras, the beloved annual tradition synonymous with the Big Easy.

Splash Mountain first opened in Disneyland in 1989 and in Disney World in 1992 in the hope of enlivening the less-attended Critter Country and Frontierland, respectively. It featured characters from the 1946 film The Song of the South, which depicted animated characters alongside human actors... and a whole lot of really unfortunate racism against Black people. Set in Reconstruction-era Georgia, it follows a boy named Johnny spending the summer on his grandparent’s plantation where he hears stories about Bre’r Rabbit from kindly Uncle Remus, who’d formerly been enslaved. At the time the ride opened in Florida, the film, which has never been available on home video, hadn’t been in theaters since 1986. So in addition to the problematic elements present in the story and on Splash Mountain, younger audiences had no meaningful connection to the story or the characters.

The Princess and the Frog was initially released in 2009, and has remained popular thanks to its availability on home video, Disney+, and, of course, lots and lots of merchandise. (There are several Tiana dolls in my house.) Plus she has maybe the best Disney Princess dress since Snow White. I said what I said.

If you’re planning a Disney vacation this summer, be aware that this isn’t a ride you can just get on line for. In fact, the park has confirmed that there will be no standby line. (Maybe a good thing since the closing of Splash Mountain resulted in four hour lines. In the Florida heat and humidity? No, thank you.) Instead, would-be riders will have to queue up for a virtual line via the My Disney Experience app (you can try for your favorite rides at 7 a.m. or 1 p.m., so set those alarms, people) or purchase Disney Genie+ service, which can get you and yours access to the Lightning Lane entrance.

But we have no doubt that the new attraction will be worth the wait. Disney Imagineers took great care not only to honor the movie but the culture and spirit of New Orleans and its people (including some very specific people). Also? Who doesn’t want to get splashed with water on a hot summer day?