The first process for the Walt Disney Imagineers gathered at Preservation Corridor in New Orleans on Friday morning (July 1) was twofold.
First, they had been to disclose in the end the identify of their “Princess and the Frog” retheming of the Splash Mountain sights at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
That identify: “Tiana’s Bayou Journey.”
Secondly, they had been to announce for the primary time a tentative opening date, which, assuming all the pieces goes based on plan, will probably be in some unspecified time in the future in late 2024.
However for Stella Chase, the daughter of New Orleans culinary icon and real-life “Princess and the Frog” inspiration Leah Chase, there was one other process: to guarantee her fellow New Orleanians, in her capability as an unofficial guardian of the tradition, that Disney’s staff is doing proper by town.
“What they’re bringing to you is authentically New Orleans, and I am right here to essentially testify to that,” Chase stated, collaborating in a panel dialogue on the brand new attraction on the Preservation Corridor stage.
She would know. Chase, who was playfully declared “an honorary Imagineer” at Friday’s occasion, has served as an envoy, guide and (after all) dinner host for Disney’s staff throughout its repeated analysis visits to city.
“I’ve watched the Imagineers within the swamps and the bayous, watching the alligators swim alongside our boat, and anticipating the main points and writing them down and taking footage of each element,” she stated. “(They had been) wanting on the bushes, taking place, bending down, taking footage of the vegetation to ensure each element is absolutely included into this journey.”
Additional specifics will probably be introduced at Disney’s annual D23 fan expo, set this yr for Sept. 11th of September. Till then, here is what we all know thus far:
Virtually precisely two years in the past, Disney introduced its Tiana-themed reimaging of the log flume trip Splash Mountain, which relies on the racially problematic 1946 Disney movie “Track of the South.”
Final August, it shared the primary particulars, revealing the rethemed trip will probably be a really New Orleans-themed attraction, beginning with Princess Tiana inviting friends on an journey down the bayou and ending with a Mardi Gras celebration.
Singing a brand new music
The previous trip’s observe system will stay in place, so the tempo of the brand new attraction will really feel the identical to Disney park followers. However the “Track of the South” characters, music and storyline will probably be changed by these from 2009’s “Princess and the Frog.”
That may embrace a brand new story that picks up after the film ends, in addition to a mix of previous songs and new ones.
A closure date for the prevailing Splash Mountain trip, which opened at Disneyland in 1989 and 1992 at Walt Disney World, has but to be introduced.
When the retheming is completed, Disney Imagineering’s Charita Carter stated Friday, Tiana’s Bayou Journey will function “a love letter” to New Orleans.
In some ways, Friday’s occasion was, too. There was a mini-second-line parade. There have been performances by musicians from the prolonged Preservation Corridor Group, together with trumpeter Mark Braud and trombonist Haruka Kikuchi. There was meals from Dooky Chase Restaurant.
And Jennifer Lewis
Lest anybody overlook it was a Disney occasion, there was additionally a shock efficiency by actress/singer/all-around dynamo Jennifer Lewis, who sang the “Princess and the Frog” music “Dig a Little Deeper,” in addition to an look by a costumed actress portraying Tiana herself.
Fittingly timed to coincide with the Essence Music Pageant – which prides itself for its celebration of “Black lady magic” – Friday’s occasion additionally noticed Disney’s inventive staff double down on their intention to make Tiana’s Bayou Journey as inclusive an attraction as attainable.
To listen to Stella Chase inform it, there may hardly be a extra becoming technique to honor her mom’s legacy.
“She was an African-American who appreciated being an African-American, however she additionally revered the tradition of everybody,” Chase stated. “She was at all times delighted when folks of all colours, all races, from all around the nation, visited her on the restaurant. She received an opportunity to be what she liked to be: an envoy to New Orleans.”
Mike Scott may be reached at email@example.com.