Disney World's Tiana's Bayou Adventure Splash Mountain renewal

Tiana's Bayou Adventure opens June 28 at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida! The ride takes guests on a musical adventure set after the events of the Walt Disney Animation Studios film “The Princess and the Frog.” Guests will encounter favorite characters including Prince Naveen, Mama Odie and more, plus all new music.

Disney| Olga Thompson

We are almost there.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure, the newly themed Splash Mountain, will reopen June 28 Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida. The renovation of the iconic water attraction was first announced four years ago. Similar renovations at Disneyland in California are expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Featuring characters from Disney Animation's “Princess and the Frog,” Tiana's Bayou Adventure takes guests through the swamps of New Orleans as Tiana prepares a grand Mardi Gras celebration. And don't worry, the 50+ foot drop remains.

Riders will be immersed in a musical experience as they take down the tree trunk ride with new, original music in addition to favorite songs from the 2009 animated film. Along the way, riders will see familiar faces like Tiana, Louis and Mama Odie, as well as some instrument-playing critters from the bayou.

The renewal of Splash Mountain at Tiana's Bayou Adventure is part of a larger strategy for Disney to bring relevant, fan-favorite intellectual properties to its existing attractions and theme parks. It's all part of Disney's broader efforts to invest $60 billion in its parks business over the next decade.

The company has already rethemed the iconic Tower of Terror at California Adventure with characters from Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' the California Screamin' roller coaster turned into an 'Incredibles' roller coaster (also at California Adventure) and Maelstrom in replace Norway. Pavilion at Epcot with a “Frozen” ride.

Disney often calls these updates “plussing,” which is done to make attractions more relevant and improve the guest experience.

Tiana's transformation

Splash Mountain has been a fixture at Disneyland since 1989 and at Disney World since 1992. There is a third Splash Mountain in Tokyo, which also opened in 1992. In recent years, there have been calls from some park visitors for the ride's “sound of the South” theme. The source material, a 1946 film, is considered racist by many, even though the ride itself has not been criticized as racist.

For Disney, renaming Splash Mountain allows it to upgrade ride elements such as the animatronics, tie the ride to a hit studio film and develop a slew of new merchandise, food and drinks for guests to enjoy.

Imagineers have developed fully electronic audio-animatronics for the ride, including for characters like Louis, the trumpet-playing alligator from the film.

Disney revolutionized animatronics decades ago with its hydraulic, liquid-fired, and pneumatic or air-powered systems, but the electronic animatronics for Tiana's Bayou provide more refined and precise movements, making them appear more realistic. Similar animatronics can be seen in the Smuggler's Run and Rise of the Resistance attractions, in Galaxy's Edge.

A sneak peek at Walt Disney Imagineering's audio-animatronics for the upcoming Splash Mountain revamp, Tiana's Bayou Adventure.

Disney

Interior pieces of some animatronics were made using 3D printing, resulting in a lighter material.

The relaunch also comes with new clothing lines, themed hot sauces, stuffed animals and a whole host of different snacks.

Parks profits

In 2023, experiences were the best-performing part of Disney's business, accounting for 36% of the company's total revenue, but 70% of operating income. Meanwhile, Disney's entertainment division, which includes its theater and streaming businesses, accounted for 45% of revenue but only 11% of operating income.

The ability to get more out of the parks in recent years has been critical for CEO Bob Iger and the Disney board as they try to make the company more profitable and improve stock performance.

“I have looked at the return on capital invested in our parks and resorts during my tenure, and it has been extraordinary,” Iger said last month at the MoffettNathanson Media Internet and Communications Conference. “And I asked how much we planned to invest over the next ten years, and I realized that if we believe that we're actually going to turn things around from a cashless perspective – a free cash flow generation perspective, what we have done, and we do, then we have the opportunity to invest. Why not invest in the company with the highest return?”

Disney has already announced that the revamped Country Bear Musical Jamboree will open on July 17 at Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando. In an all-new show, the twangin' bears sing interpretations of classic Disney songs across various genres of country music, including bluegrass, pop-country, Americana and rockabilly.

Additionally, a theatrical production “The Little Mermaid,” inspired by the 1989 film, will debut later this year.

The company also develops what it calls “blue sky” ideas for its parks – projects that are still in their early stages and may not ultimately see the light of day.

Disney has teased that an area based on “Coco” or “Encanto,” or both, could be on the way in the Magic Kingdom. There were also talks about opening an area of ​​the Magic Kingdom that would be overrun by Disney villains.

During the company's investor meeting in April, Iger even teased the possibility of an “Avatar” land at California's Disneyland.

Price points for these projects will vary if they become reality. The recent additions of the two Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge landings at Disneyland and Disney World are estimated to have cost $1 billion each.

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