We “Dig a Little Deeper” in a Thorough & Detailed Review of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

We “Dig a Little Deeper” in a Thorough & Detailed Review of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

This week we had a chance to visit and experience Tiana’s Bayou Adventure in a set of five visits. Our previous podcast was an in-depth look at why Splash Mountain ended and why Tiana’s replaced it. This podcast goes into big details as to how this entire experience plays out from arrival, through exterior/interior queues, the entire ride, and afterwards. This is a major spoiler alert, and we think you should listen. Most will only have one opportunity to visit in their upcoming visit. The logs move down the river quickly, and you will miss the chance to see all of these details come to life. This expose helps you be able to capture it all. Accompanying this podcast is an extensive set of photos and videos that support these details. We also have a complete grid which details a scene-by-scene comparison of what Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom had compared to what Tiana’s now shares. Join us for the details of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

The substance of this topic can be found on our podcast. You can find this podcast on iTunesSpotifyPodbean, and ListenNotes. Please subscribe to the podcast and to this website so you can be notified of upcoming posts and podcast.

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast and give us a rating, review, or referral to others. Also check out Disney Insights where we offer key points, photos, videos, links and more. While there, please subscribe to Disney Insights where you can be notified of upcoming podcasts. Also check out our Facebook page, Disney Insights and our YouTube page of the same name.

The following is an outline of this week’s podcast:


The following offers a scene-by-scene comparison of the attraction to Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom:


  • A sign greets you as you arrive. It’s not in keeping with a frontier setting, but it’s great for selfies.
  • This clearly looks different than the days of Splash Mountain with briar bushes awaiting those falling down the mountain.
  • In its place there is a lot of greenery across the entire mountain. Everything is lush. Shrubs are seemingly in bloom. Trees with moss have been planted in. Lillipads are in the water. Moss is found on the rock. The look is green and dense.
  • Where before Splash Mountain rock was in a tone that blended with Big Thunder along the way, you now see two very contrasting experiences. It’s not bad, just different.
  • With no tree at the top like in Splash Mountain, and with trees cutting your view and bushes obscuring the distance of the drop, the impression given is that the drop is not nearly what it was before. Of course it is, but it’s seemingly squished and not as fierce.
  • Remember that the original design of the attraction had an entire tree (rather than a log) positioned at the top of the mountain with a boat stuck in it for Mama Odie.
  • Note that the sprays of water that are projected from the mountain are not working at this time.
  • At night, this attraction has a glow to it, similar to the effect found at Pandora: World of Avatar.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Exterior Queue

  • You enter to the left as you approach the Frontierland Railway station. Those entering the station move to the right. The only confusion is that those exiting the train come down on the same side of the queue. Windows for both stand by and Genie+ are embedded in the wood foundation under the train station, which has recently been given a different shade of red.
  • Know that upon public opening you may go standby on this attraction, or use Genie+ as an option to book. I would suggest booking this early in the day, as potential closures still have the potential for closing down the attraction. DAS guests may utilize the Genie+ entrance.
  • New pavers and iron fencing greet you as you pass the tracks and enter the queue. They have a strong French quarter feel to them. It joins up with the previous outdoor queue which still stands and weaves among the large trees.
  • Lights and wires and victrola shaped speakers are dotted throughout. This replaces the bird houses which acted as speakers.
  • Old jazz favorites play throughout the queue. They come from a “local” radio station.
  • In the center is a children’s gardens with a variety of vegetables growing.
  • There is still a separate more direct entrance to be used by those utilizing Genie+. A side entrance exists still for those guests with mobility challenges.
  • The entrance is now a bright yellow with a mural outside. Artist Malaika Favorite did the mural which is a collage of scenes displayed on two of the building’s exterior walls as you enter the indoor queue. The mural is beautiful and very colorful, but seems more contemporary in style, as opposed to something that might have been rendered during WPA (Works of Public Art) movement.
  • The building notes that Tiana’s Foods was established in 1927. This does coincide with Grizzly Hall whose founder, Ursus H. Bear had his life established from 1848-1928. That would make the hall younger than the entry building for Tiana foods.
  • This is a time period that is currently around 100 years old. It hardly seems like the Frontier period of the original Magic Kingdom, but when Magic Kingdom opened the Frontier period was definitively a hundred years in the past. So perhaps this is a Frontier period, though one that is progressively moving forward.
  • We see clearly here that Tiana foods is a coop. That means in her success with the restaurant she started a company where all employees would share from the profits of the company proportionately. This is a subtle way to emphasize equity as opposed to something where only a few make a profit at the top.
  • A green Model-T style van is parked outside the building with detailing and a logo for Tiana Foods: “Never, ever lose sight of what’s really important.”
  • The stars of Ray and Evangeline appear in a cobblestone circle just outside the door as you enter.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Interior Queue

  • The interior queue is now contained and is largely indoors as opposed to being more like an open barn.
  • You enter Tiana’s office as you come into the building. A Royal Typewriter sits dead center on the desk. Products Tiana sells are up on the shelves nearby.
  • The original drawing of Tiana’s Palace with her dad’s scribbling of the title, is framed on the wall.
  • Above the type writer you will see references to a showboat, and to Bre’r Rabbit, Bre’r Bear and Bre’r frog in small ceramic sculptures,
  • Two steam boats are on the shelf. One of which appears to be a single stack and the other a double stack. This could be a reference to a time when the there were two ships on the Rivers of America, one being the Admiral Joe Fowler (double stack) and the Richard F. Irvine (single stack) which is now called the Liberty Belle.
  • Chocolates on the table have the box labeled as B. Jolley.
  • A newspaper on the desk has the headline “Princess Tiana Throws Mardis Gras Party for All of New Orleans” suggesting the upcoming plot.
  • Guests in the Genie+ sign go behind the office where shelves are lined up. A radio plays music and announcements from the local station. Time cards (probably with Imagineer names on them) are lined up next to a clock. A framed newspaper announces that “Princess Expands Palace Into Business Empire”.
  • Both lines align as they go up the stairs to the second floor and then divide again. Letters from her father while serving in the 369th Infantry during World War I are framed and on the wall. The 369th infantry was an all-black regiment that was known as the Harlem’s Rattlers. In the story, Tiana’s dad cooked up his popular Gumbo for the soldiers. There are also ribbons and awards made to Tiana.
  • Those in Genie + largely miss the kitchen scene that follows which centers on creating Beignets.
  • The kitchen has a large chalkboard sign reminding everyone: “Don’t Forget! Celebration at my house, tonight! Everybody’s welcome! See you there! Tiana”
  • Colored glass windows rather than an open entry now exists on the second floor of the barn.
  • Both queues come together as you make the turn to go into the salt mine. This location is the primary reference to the mountain being a salt mine, but does not play out any further in the attraction. It has a very “Big Thunder” feel all of its own.
  • You can see coloration changes from the reddish rock into a subtle salt crystal glaze.
  • Where a projection of Bre’r frog was before now stands is a TNT storage area.
  • “Safety First” signage for the mine is actually monitors showing key safety information for the ride.


  • Entering outside, the mountain contrasts between the salt rock and the red clay mountain.
  • The boarding area has buildings again in the clapboard yellow design with the “Frog green” trim.
  • New and center to the boarding area are old industrial lift conveyors holding up boxes of crates for Tiana’s foods.
  • Much of the remainder of the boarding area here remains the same in terms of layout and functionality.
  • Cast members have a new costume comprising of blue shirts with yellow berets and scarfs.
  • As you turn the corner before going up the initial short lift, you see that on the left side there is no character like Bre’r Frog was in the past.
  • On the right side however, you see that there is a station for Cast Members to do a final check on the safety bars.

Exterior & First Major Lift

  • Upon arriving at the front pond, you feel very immersed in the addition of plants, logs, trees, Lilly pads and even two frogs that can be heard croaking. This may be Gloria and Delores who are “gossipy best friends” who keep a watchful eye on the bayou.
  • You are immediately met with the song “Goin’ Down the Bayou” as you enter this space, and it continues as you go on.
  • With Splash, jets were timed to go off as logs came down the mountain. And one giant jet was thrown randomly toward guests viewing the scene from the rail. None of this is currently happening, and may not because of how it impacts the plants and props in this front pond.
  • Safety walls are still present from the last several years of Splash Mountain operation. They open up to allow guests to exit when the attraction goes 101, but they prevent you from just jumping out onto the adjacent walkway. These walls are now painted with foods familiar to Tiana’s coop operation.
  • Tiana greets you as your log moves up the lift and welcomes you to help find a band to help play at the Mardis Gras event. She is dressed in an outdoor explorer outfit.
  • After exiting the lift, you curl around the mountain where you see much of the mountain’s foliage on one side, and Tiana’s garden in various stages. Louis is digging in the garden to see if he can find a band to help play. The garden showcases a wide range of Louisiana area produce like peppers, pumpkins and squash–all labeled. This is almost “Living with the Land” played out Tiana style.
  • Lari the armadillo is found along the way. This armadillo is not an animatronic, but keeps showing up along the journey. In some way you think that perhaps he is a cleptomaniac, because he’s holding or around different items like an umbrella or produce. He is also turned in a way that you cannot see that the animal has an eye patch.
  • As you turn the corner and see the Magic Kingdom before you, you also come at the same height as the water tower. Here the back side shares the message: “Never, ever lose sight of what’s really important.” This is the primary message of the attraction.
  • Just before the first initial drop into the mountain you pass a former Bre’r Bear Cave that now is a door to Mama Odie. You can hear her from inside, and colorful bottles are around the doorway.

Interior Bayou

  • You drop down and enter the interior of the mountain. This is the upper level of the attraction and would best be referenced as an interior bayou.
  • Initially there were geese and frogs straight on in a boat. Initial drawings showed Tiana holding a lantern with Prince Naveen rowing the boat they are in. Louis is in the water beckoning everyone to come along. This scene has been eliminated.
  • Instead you are brought into a very lush setting.
  • Turning the corner you see Louis out of the water still beckoning you to come along.
  • Turning the next corner you see six critters playing instruments
    • Byhalia the Beaver: Not your average dam builder, Byhalia is the percussion master of the group, crafting instruments from the bayou’s bounty. Her engineering skills are only matched by her rhythmic talents, making her the band’s beating heart.
    • Gritty the Rabbit: With a name that reflects her spirit, Gritty finds joy and relief in the high-energy strumming of her washboard, made from an old license plate. Her enthusiasm is infectious, ensuring the band’s vibe is always upbeat.
    • Beau the Opossum: The dreamer of the group, Beau sees beauty everywhere in the bayou. Her musical contributions come from an upright gourd bass, played with a tail that’s as skilled as it is prehensile.
    • Apollo the Raccoon: A true artist, Apollo’s knack for turning discarded items into musical masterpieces is unparalleled. His squeezebox isn’t just an instrument; it’s a story, much like the tales he shares, inspired by his adventures with Rufus.
    • Rufus the Turtle: Don’t let his pace fool you; Rufus is quick to catch the rhythm with his harmonica. His genuine nature and slightly sarcastic humor make him a beloved companion, especially to Apollo.
    • Timoléon the Otter: The elder statesman of the group, Timoléon’s fiddle sings with the stories of the bayou. His tales of exploration and adventure add depth to the band’s soul-stirring melodies.
  • These critters are playing a Zydeco style of music. All of these characters are seemingly larger in size than the animals you found in Splash Mountain.
  • Next to the band Tiana is seen again, thrilled with the band that’s been found. They are “the Bees Knees.”
  • Passing Tiana we see at the end before the next turn projections of fireflies that seemingly lead us on. The trees above us are also lit with fireflies.
  • Turning the corner we find Tiana with a second musical group playing Rara-style music imported from Haiti and often performed during New Orleans festivals and street processions. These animals include:
    • Octavia — The adventurous daredevil bobcat kitten plays the Vaksin single-note horn that is part of the Rara music tradition.
    • Pawpaw — Octavia’s bobcat grandfather also plays the Vaksin horn.
    • Claude — The unintentionally funny horn player is the patriarch of a Louisiana Black Bear family that all play in the band.
    • Bernadette — The warm and supportive mama bear also plays horn in the band.
    • Sebastian — The baby bear is a drummer who loves to explore the bayou with his best friend Octavia.
    • Phina — The imaginative, optimistic and energetic gray fox also plays drums.
  • These animals are on both sides of the stream and are seen before we turn another corner and head further down the bayou.
  • In this longer canal area there are no animatronic characters, only projections of fireflies.
  • At the end of this canal section its Tiana again appears sitting on a log, noting the need to “dig a little deeper” to find the third musical group. Again, Louis is digging into the earth looking for such a group.
  • Mama Odie well help us “dig a little deeper” by turning us into the size of frogs. As she casts a spell on us, we fall into the double dip of the attraction.
Splash Mountain becomes Tiana's Bayou Adventure at Disney parks in 2024 |  InPark Magazine


  • A color wheel shoots through a mist as we move through the double dip.
  • We emerge from the double dip to see that we have been shrunken down in size, To reach the third musical group of frogs:
  • The third musical group of four frogs will play Afro-Cuban music with jazzy sounds and complex rhythms. The band members include:
    • Mondo — The laid back and steady drummer plays congos made from bottle caps and acorns. He appears before heading into the second dip.
    • Felipe — The band leader and piano player runs an exclusive bayou nightclub where the local fireflies dance the night away.
    • Mayra — The ambitious amphibian plays toe-tapping solos on her trumpet fashioned out of a flower blossom.
    • Isabel — The youngest member of the group also plays the bongos and seemingly gives you the feeling you are at Rainforest Cafe
  • The music has shifted to “Dig a Little Deeper”.
  • Both levels are colorful and you feel like you are in a scene that combines “Ratatouille” in the. forest with “Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground”
  • There are giant mushrooms and ferns. The fountains from Splash still are everywhere. It is extraordinarily colorful.
  • You see Louis and Tiana in a projection scene looking down at these creatures from above. Louis suggests that Tiana joins them, but she reminds him that she’s been there done that.
  • Fireflies appear from behind leaves and ultimately in projected form also dancing their way toward the Mardis Gras celebration. Because they are larger, you can see their individual personalities such as the older woman with the walker.
  • In projected form Mama Odie appears as you begin your lift inviting your new frog friends to tag along as well.
  • As you head up, a color wheel projects through the mist. In the daylight it is not as effective.
  • As you get to the top, Mama Odie is in animatronic form telling you that going this way will “get you there in no time”.


  • The fall is as wet as ever before.
  • Afterwards, you continue down the clay baked canals of the attraction similar to what it looked like in the days of Splash Mountain.
  • The music playing is “Almost There”.
  • The falls still are there. Most people have gotten wet in some degree at some point during the experience.
  • The one prop added along the way is Lari the Armadillo who has somehow snatched an umbrella, appropriate for the nearby falls.
  • Rounding the corner you come to the final climactic scene which takes place in New Orleans during Mardis Gras.
  • A new song is written by PJ Morton, a Grammy Award-winning artist, who is connected with the New Orleans music scene.
  • The song is called “Special Spice”, that focuses on finding what is special within you. Anika Noni Rose sings the song as well as narrates her role throughout.
  • The center of the scene is Tiana’s home. There are homes to the right and the left. With projections of party attendees in the background, Animatronics appear across the center and left sides. Included are:
    • Tiana
    • Louis
    • Prince Naveen
    • Prince Ralphie playing the drums
    • Charlotte
    • Eudora, Tiana’s Mother
    • Byhalia the Beaver
    • Gritty the Rabbit
    • Beau the Opossum
    • Apollo the Racoon
    • Rufus the Turtle
    • Timoleon the Otter
    • Octavia the Bobcat Kitten
    • Pawpaw, Octavia’s Grandfather
    • Claude the Father Bear
    • Bernadette the Mama Bear
    • Sebastian the Baby Bear
    • Phina the Gray Fox
  • That brings us to 18 animatronics in the finale scene.
  • Also the frog band sits down center of everyone in the cast, but are now small and do not appear as animatronic.
  • And Lari shows up as well–again not animatronic–but probably funnier than anyone else.
  • Following this you have a beautiful blacklight depiction of New Orleans along the shore with Tiana’s Palace in the center. Also the two gossiping frogs appear to be looking on.
  • After that you pass by Mama Odie who along with JuJu looking at some Beignets, which you can smell. She reminds you that the party would not be anything without you.
  • You return to the dock passing by a lone frog whose eyes light up.

Post Show

  • When you disembark and you turn around the corner, you pass by a fireplace hearth. Embroidered are the words, “and they lived Happily ever After”.
  • Also you see a rooster, a bear and a fox.
  • You pass by the photo display area, which has a specialized photo with characters from the film and attraction.
  • Beyond is Tiana’s Bayou General store where you can purchase photo prints, and additional souvenirs
  • The former Briar Patch is now the Critter CoOp. That will have many of the new characters in the attraction.
  • Don’t miss the door to Lari’s place as you move away from the attraction.
New, Unique Disney PhotoPass Ops for Tiana's Bayou Adventure - Small World  Vacations


  • This is a solid attraction, perhaps the greatest attraction done for any Disney princess, short of a castle. The exception might be the Beauty and the Beast attraction in Tokyo. But it may have been that one that inspired going all the way with this one.
  • While there may be budget cuts to this–as usually happens in all cases–they spent a lot of money to make a nice attraction and it shows.
  • When you look at the grid and compare the two, I found that 17 of the 26 scenes were excellent, compared to only a dozen of the original Splash Mountain scenes. There are spaces that could have been better filled (with Prince Naveen for instance), but there are spaces that were empty and void before that they did an exceptional job theming.
  • What supports this attraction is the original mountain it was in. It could not have been as good in a warehouse box like Little Mermaid if it wasn’t in this mountain. Little credit is given to Imagineers like Tony Baxter and Bruce Gordon who originally created a “place” and a ride system that is still incomparable to any other flume attraction in the world.
  • It was Bruce Gordon who once talked about Splash Mountain as being the closest thing to riding in a cartoon in real life. In truth, that is the experience here still. You enter the world of Tiana in this attraction.
  • Tony Baxter once shared his experience of working with color and light with the original Mr. Toad’s Ride at the Magic Kingdom in 1971. This attraction takes the lessons he shares and really brings color and lighting to a whole new level.
  • I also think we haven’t given to creators Ron Cements and John Musket for the original. I can see why the attraction may not have followed the original story line (though I also see how it could have), but I think that the experience could have never been created without the original film. Indeed, if we’re missing anything, it’s that the attraction could use a little more of the great humor found in the film.
  • Still, this is an E-ticket attraction. Located anywhere else, it would have been a D-Ticket. Together, it really works.
  • While I struggle with its location–to include a truck–in Frontierland, I can appreciate that this attraction breaks the “frontier” of social opportunity. It is something for children to see themselves in a Disney attraction. I think this does a beautiful job of that. In that regards, this will be a classic over the years to come.

I invite you to find a podcast or blog that better details all that is going on in this new attraction. This is the level of effort we put into our work. To see more of it in greater detail visit any of the following:

Books From Your Host at Disney Insights

My new book, A Century of Powerful Disney Insights, Volume I 1923-1973, The Walt & Roy Disney Years is available! 

Also, check out my two of my other books, The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney and Disney, Leadership and You

Also, for those examining = other business benchmarks beyond Disney, check out Lead with Your Customer: Transform Culture and Brand Into World-Class Excellence.

Join the Wayfinder Group!

Want more Disney magic you can’t find anywhere else? The Wayfinder Society is our Patreon group. Here we bring the best details of Disney both in terms of the magic of the parks as well as the business behind the magic. It’s part of what you get when you help support the Wayfinder Society. This Patreon group not only helps to support this podcast and attending websites, but also gives you access to one of our Disney at Play Interactive Guides, with hundreds of places to explore all things Disney.

Check out the Wayfinder’s Society to see these Sneak Peeks!

NOTE! with any Wayfinder membership, you will also get exclusive podcasts looking that checks out other Disney podcasts, social media finds, shows, books and more.

Find Excellence in Your Organization!

This podcast and post is provided by J. Jeff Kober and Performance Journeys, which celebrates more than 20 years as a training and development group bringing best in business ideas through books, keynotes, workshops, seminars and online tools to help you take your organization to the next level.

Want a Keynote Speaker? More than just nice stories, I offer proven insight and solutions having worked in the trench.

Need Consulting? I’ve worked for decades across the public, private and non-profit arena. 

Need Support? We offer so many classroom, online, and other resources to help you improve your customer service delivery, leadership development and employee engagement.

Contact us today, and let us help

J. Jeff Kober

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *