Exclusive: How Jazz, Art, And New Orleans Culture Bring ‘Tiana’s Bayou Adventure’ To Life At Disney World

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will officially open at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park on June 28. “The Princess and the Frog”-themed ride incorporates jazz, art, and New Orleans culture. 

To celebrate it’s opening, Disney held several Mardi Gras-inspired events that included a second line band and dancers; New Orleans-based food; and performances by Jenifer Lewis and Terence Blanchard who sung “Dig A Little Deeper.”

“It’s very special and I’m extremely grateful to be apart of this,” Lewis said during an exclusive interview with ADW. “This is the 15th-year anniversary since the release of the movie ‘Princess and the Frog.’ And all has come back around. It’s just exciting.” 

Blanchard, an award-winning jazz musician from New Orleans, shared how jazz is incorporated in the new attraction and introduce the art form to a new generation. 

“I want them to understand some of the things that they hear in pop music come from the origins of jazz,” Blanchard said. “I did the music and it’s all New Orleans-based music. New Orleans musicians and brass bands. Hopefully you’ll get a sense of the history of the music from the city. And then hopefully it can spark some interest in jazz.”

In terms of history, Princess Tiana’s storyline is based on Leah Chase, former owner of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans. Known as “The Queen of Creole Cuisine,” Leah passed in 2019 at age 96. 

Stella Reese Chase shared thoughts on keeping her family’s legacy alive through Disney. 

“It’s a really great opportunity for my family,” Chase said. “My family has come from humble beginnings. And my parents and grandparents were people who were very active in the civil rights movement, making sure that social justice was happening and opening their doors when no one else would. So it’s an opportunity for us to continue that inclusiveness. Disney is opening their doors for everyone. It’s special for us to be a part of that. Because that’s the legacy of my family and we have been working for years.”

Along with music and food, art is also a key component as New Orleans-based artists were commissioned. Malaika Favorite painted colorful murals that can be seen at the attraction’s queue. And Varion Laurent created a piece of art of the finale scene. 

Sivonne Davis, Disney World Marketing Strategy Vice President, revealed how the experience comes to life on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. 

“When we think about the Disney company, we’re about storytelling,” Davis said. “And what was envisioned was the next chapter of storytelling that included Princess Tiana. It showcases New Orleans culture which is so robust, full of energy, vibrant in so many ways. And specifically for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, you experience it through the music, the food, and the energy. It ends in a story that reflects celebration and dreams coming forward. And so those are all of the things that are exciting. It’s to me the vision coming forward and actually showcasing itself and this beautiful story.”

“Drop on in” with Princess Tiana this summer as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens in Magic Kingdom Park on June 28. The new attraction at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., invites guests to join beloved characters and all-new friends on a thrilling adventure, all set against the music and excitement of a New Orleans celebration. (Olga Thompson, Photographer)




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