Disney Reveals New Details About 'The Princess and the Frog' Attraction Set to Replace Splash Mountain
Disney is celebrating our favorite royals with the first-ever World Princess Week, starting on Aug. 23. Across Disney parks and resorts, guests will find princess-themed experiences, merchandise, and treats, including a new Tiana-themed playground at Epcot, movies under the stars at Disney World resorts, the return of Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, a new princess loungewear collection, and more. And if you can't make it there in person, you can still hear recorded messages from your favorite princesses on shopDisney's Ultimate Princess Celebration Hotline — call 1-877-70-DISNEY.
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Today, Disney kicked off the celebration with new details about "The Princess and the Frog" attraction that will replace Splash Mountain at Disneyland Park and Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Kenneth Moton, national correspondent for ABC News; Stella Chase Reese, owner of Dooky Chase's Restaurant and daughter of Leah Chase — one of the real-life inspirations for Tiana; Carmen Smith, creative executive and vice president of Inclusive Strategies for Walt Disney Imagineering; Charita Carter, senior producer for Walt Disney Imagineering; and Marlon West, VFX Supervisor for Walt Disney Animation Studios joined in a discussion about the film, its impact, and the upcoming attraction.
We learned that guests will go on an immersive adventure in the Bayou with Tiana, ending with the ultimate Mardi Gras party. Imagineering, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and even Stella Chase Reese have been working on the attraction, which promises state-of-the-art tech, classic Disney storytelling, and a celebration of New Orleans. The discussion also gives us a peek into the Imagineering process, as the teams talk to Leah Chase's family, visit New Orleans, and draw inspiration from art, architecture, and culture. Disney also released new ride art that depicts Tiana leading guests through the Bayou on a flume ride. There's no opening date announced yet — Splash Mountain is still operating as is at both parks — but we can't wait to see what else is in store.
The discussion also dives into Leah Chase's legacy — she was known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine and her restaurant, Dooky Chase's Restaurant, was a gathering place during the civil rights movement. Disney also announced a $50,000 donation to the New Orleans Center for Creative Art to celebrate the occasion — this training center teaches many of Tiana's favorite things, like culinary arts and music, along with many other art disciplines.
Elizabeth Rhodes is an associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure who loves all things theme parks. Follow her adventures on Instagram @elizabetheverywhere.