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I Rode Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Before It Opens. Here’s My Honest Opinion.

What I really thought about Disney World’s Princess & The Frog ride, plus tips for riding on your visit.

by Carly Caramanna

Walt Disney Animation Studios' 2009 film The Princess and The Frog is one of my favorites to rewatch — not to mention groundbreaking for many reasons. It shattered the mold of what it means to be a princess and introduced kids of all ages to a strong, relatable female. And now, she has her rightful place in Disney parks. Disney World guests will soon be going down the bayou when Tiana's Bayou Adventure, the highly anticipated Princess and the Frog-inspired attraction, opens to the public.

Jazz-loving Louis, Princess Tiana, and even Mama Odie will all be there for the occasion, along with a few new soon-to-be-favorite friends. A complete reimagining of the former (and controversial) Splash Mountain, this exciting new ride will live in Magic Kingdom, just before Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland.

I was invited by Disney to be among the first to ride, and — spoiler — I totally loved it. Here's everything you need to know about Tiana's Bayou Adventure and how to ride.

What is Tiana's Bayou Adventure?

Tiana's Bayou Adventure is a log-flume-style attraction set after the events of the beloved film. Around 10 minutes long, it gives riders a glimpse into Tiana's next chapter, in which she achieves her dreams. We learn that the princess successfully opened her own restaurant and continued to grow her other businesses. You go, girl!

The festivities begin in the queue, which is adorned with photos of Tiana's accomplishments and introduces us to her next venture, Tiana's Foods.

Carly Caramanna

There are so many details to take in as you walk through her prep kitchen. You can even enjoy (read: salivate over) the smell of fresh beignets piped in. It is pure eye candy and immediately sets the tone for what's to come.

Carly Caramanna

Once aboard, riders will travel to the bayou as Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen prepare to host a Mardi Gras party. Everyone's favorite trumpet-playing alligator, Louis, enlists riders to join him in the task of finding the final ingredients to a successful celebration: a merry band of musicians.

Just like the movie, music plays a pivotal part. Gleefully, the familiar sing-along hits from the movie make it alongside new tunes. The movie's original cast (including the incredibly talented Anika Noni Rose, who voiced Tiana) returns for the grand affair. The finale introduces a new original song, "Special Spice," with vocals by Rose.

The stars of the ride may very well be the adorable new lineup of characters introduced, a band of music-loving critters. There are 19 in total, each with their own distinct name and personality, including Timoléon, the fiddle-playing raccoon. Good luck escaping the gift shop without a plush version!

When does Tiana’s Bayou Adventure open?

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be open for all Disney World guests (who meet the height requirements) starting on June 28. A similar version is expected to debut at Disneyland by the end of the year.

What makes this ride so unique?

The ante was upped in a big way for Tiana as Disney decided to, ahem, 🎵dig a little deeper🎵 using its latest audio-animatronics technologies. These were first introduced last year in Hong Kong Disneyland's World of Frozen but are now making their way stateside.

The result? The most fluid, lifelike movement I've seen yet. One of the most impressive examples is Louis, one of the largest figures ever created by Walt Disney Imagineering. There are dozens of these new sophisticated characters, including Prince Naveen, Mama Odie, Louis, and Princess Tiana.

Olga Thompson/Disney

The final scene, which takes place at Tiana and Naveen's home, is a breathtaking showstopper. It brings together all the characters you meet along the ride in a vibrantly colored, immersive setting.

Who can ride?

The slow-moving boat journey (albeit with some drops) requires riders to be at least 40 inches or 102 cm tall.

Since this takes place after the events of the movie, Disney leaned into a celebratory atmosphere. Notably absent? The fear-inducing, ominous feels from the film (Thanks. Dr. Facilier!) and the ride's previous version of Splash Mountain (I'll never get over the vultures).

While some scenes are well-lit and outdoors, others are in the dark — but there is no overtly dangerous presence. Boat rows accommodate two guests, so you can hold onto your riding partner if consolation is needed. There's also a lap bar to grab onto.

Carly Caramanna

But keep in mind, this is a log flume ride. There are several small drops and two major ones, including the familiar 50-foot drop from its previous version. Guests will walk past the big drop when accessing the attraction, offering a glimpse into what to expect. Fair warning: You will get wet!

Why does this ride matter so much?

Disney worked in partnership with the city of New Orleans to authentically bring its culture and traditions to life in this new ride. And I honestly think they nailed it. Real-life "Queen of Creole Cuisine" Leah Chase inspired the character of Tiana, and the ride continues to honor her legacy. Chase owned and operated the New Orleans restaurant Dooky Chase's and played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement. Disney sprinkled Easter eggs that honor Chase throughout the attraction, including her replica cookware in the queue line's kitchen.

Tiana is Disney's first Black princess, and she's a princess who deviates from the quintessential fairytale story. She comes from a military, working-class family — not born into royalty. She's a dreamer and a doer, and it's relatable, inspiring, and refreshing. Tiana is everyone's princess.

How do you get on the ride?

Laissez les bons temps rouler ... soon. Once Tiana's Bayou Adventure officially opens on June 28, guests will have two options for riding:

  • Try the free virtual queue, as you would for other popular new attractions like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. With this option, guests can attempt to join the online waitlist at either 7 a.m. or 1 p.m. within the My Disney Experience app. Getting into the queue isn't guaranteed, and once it's your time window to ride, there will be an expected wait time.
  • If your family is insistent on riding, a better option may be the paid Genie+ service, which includes Disney PhotoPass photos and typically an expedited line.

Disney will not offer a standby queue at opening, but they anticipate this to be available soon.

How else can you celebrate Princess Tiana?

If your little one doesn't quite meet the height requirements or isn't ready for the 50-foot drop, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate the arrival of Princess Tiana. The Critter Co-Op is the one-stop shop for all things Princess Tiana, including plush dolls of the new cast of critters.

Carly Caramanna

Here, you can also purchase the very hot sauce created by Tiana's real-life influence, Leah Chase, along with other Dooky Chase products, like its signature seasonings.

It goes without saying that food is an integral part of the movie and new ride. Come opening, Magic Kingdom Park will offer inspired bites, including shrimp gumbo with sweet potato fries and, of course, Tiana's famous beignets. And if you can't make it to the parks but want a taste of New Orleans cuisine at home, Disney released a recipe for Tiana's gumbo. (Yep, it's delicious!)

Final Verdict

This is a win for families on many levels. Representation matters, and it's delightful to see Princess Tiana with a significant presence in the park. On top of that, the ride is pure fun — a joyful celebration with memorable music, scenes, and characters that combines Disney's mastery of storytelling with new levels of immersion. The instant classic is scenically beautiful with flowing Spanish moss and water lilies.

I already can't wait to ride it again and again for years to come. If you're a fan of the movie (and who isn't?), it tugs on those heartstrings in all the right ways.