Anaheim, Calif. – Last year, Disney Parks announced that Imagineers are developing an all-new attraction coming to both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort inspired by the fan favorite Walt Disney Animation Studios film, “The Princess and the Frog.” With the kick off of World Princess Week today, celebrating the characteristics these Disney heroes inspire in fans all around the world, there are some new details to share! Splash Mountain – at both Disneyland park in California and Magic Kingdom park in Florida – will soon be completely reimagined as “The Princess and the Frog.”
Tiana is an ambitious and resilient woman, who proves that success comes through a connection to her family and community and has learned to never lose sight of what’s really important – giving back to others through great food and inspiring them to achieve their full potential.
As seen in this latest rendering of the attraction, the story will take place after the final kiss as Naveen and Louis join Tiana on her latest adventure, hosting a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration where everyone is welcome – during which some original music inspired by songs from the film will bring guests into the story. Tiana is leading the way and fans will be able to encounter old friends and make new ones along the way as well.
We recently gathered Kenneth Moton, National Correspondent for ABC News as he joins Stella Chase Reese, Owner of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant and daughter of Leah Chase; 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 at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans — founder Leah Chase was one of the inspirations for Princess Tiana — to talk about Tiana’s impact over the past decade and the creative process behind the upcoming attraction, including the next-level technology Imagineers are employing to bring it to life.
Imagineers often do in-depth research to help inspire their work. In this case, that involved digging deep into the culture of New Orleans to tell a story that’s as authentic to the region as it is to the characters’ stories. From the food, music, art and architecture to the diversity of its people and their traditions, there is much from which to draw inspiration. The team has done virtual research trips through Zoom and this was their first of many in-person research trips to come and get the story right.
Tying to Leah Chase’s love of art, one of the early sources of inspiration has come from Sharika Mahdi — a visual artist, art educator, and alumna of the renowned YAYA (Young Aspirations Young Artists) Arts Center located in New Orleans — who was commissioned to create a series of four original paintings to inspire Imagineers, one of which was revealed today.
To celebrate all of these developments, our love and appreciation for New Orleans, and our commitment to arts education, Disney announced a $50,000 donation to the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), a regional, pre-professional arts training center that offers students intensive instruction in culinary arts, dance, media arts, classical instrumental music, jazz instrumental music, classical vocal music, drama, musical theatre, theatre design, visual arts and creative writing.
Stay tuned for more updates as work progresses on this exciting new attraction, and discover how Tiana is represented across Disney Parks, Experiences and Products today here.