Disney's First Black Princess Tiana

Disney’s First Black Princess Tiana Stars in New Ride, Replacing Splash Mountain

A New Era of Representation and Inclusivity

Disney has unveiled a groundbreaking new attraction that celebrates diversity and inclusivity. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, starring the company’s first Black princess, Tiana, from the 2009 animated film “The Princess and the Frog,” has officially replaced the controversial Splash Mountain ride.

“For little Black girls, Tiana has meant a lot. When a little child can see somebody who looks like them, that matters,” said Neal Lester, an English professor at Arizona State University, who has written about Tiana.

Farewell to a Problematic Past

The replacement of Splash Mountain, a ride themed around the 1946 Disney movie “Song of the South,” which contained racist cliches about African Americans and plantation life, marks a significant step forward for Disney. The company has acknowledged the need to address its problematic past and promote more inclusive narratives.

“Disney is first and foremost about money and getting people into the park, and you can make money, still have representation and be aware of social justice history and make everyone feel like they belong there,” Lester said.

Celebrating Tiana’s Story and New Orleans Culture

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure immerses guests in the vibrant culture of 1920s New Orleans, featuring music, scenery, and animatronic characters inspired by “The Princess and the Frog.” While retaining Splash Mountain’s log-flume ride DNA, the new attraction infuses Tiana’s storyline, creating a captivating and authentic experience.

“We never want to perpetuate stereotypes or misconceptions,” said Carmen Smith, a senior vice president for creative development at Walt Disney Imagineering. “Our intention is to tell great stories.”

A Celebration of Diversity and Representation

The introduction of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure has been met with widespread acclaim, particularly from the Black community. Jenifer Lewis, the voice of Mama Odie in “The Princess and the Frog,” expressed her pride and excitement, stating, “It’s us.

We built this country, and we should be represented everywhere in statues and books. And look, here we are, and this will be here forever.”

Ongoing Efforts to Address Outdated Narratives

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is part of Disney’s broader efforts to address outdated and offensive narratives within its theme park attractions.

The company has also announced plans to remodel the Jungle Cruise and remove problematic scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, further demonstrating its commitment to creating inclusive and respectful experiences.

With the debut of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, Disney has taken a significant step toward celebrating diversity, promoting representation, and creating a more inclusive environment for all guests to enjoy.