Two new bottle-shaped lights have been installed at the top of the drop of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure in Magic Kingdom. The new “The Princess and the Frog” ride is set to open late this year, replacing Splash Mountain at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Construction
The Splash Mountain ride track will remain while new sets and audio-animatronics transform the story into that of Tiana soon after the events of “The Princess and the Frog,” journeying into the bayou to find a secret ingredient for her Mardi Gras celebration. The exterior of the mountain has been covered in green moss, flowers, and other foliage. A new weathervane was recently installed atop the millhouse of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
The Tiana’s Foods water tower was installed a few months ago and is now surrounded by fake trees with green leaves and Spanish moss. The Tiana’s Foods water tower was installed at the Disneyland Park version of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure earlier this month.
It looks like work is near complete on all of the trees, which originally didn’t have any branches when they were installed. Crews have removed scaffolding from around the trees. At the base of the tree in the center of this photo is a construction box and possibly a work light.
Earlier this week, we saw two new frog characters installed behind the construction walls along the bridge that crosses in front of the mountain. Over the past few weeks, more scaffolding was removed from the mountain façade, making the ride’s famous drop visible. Some scaffolding remains in the opening of the mountain at the top of the drop.
It’s through this scaffolding that we saw the two new bottle lanterns. They hang to the right of the opening when facing the mountain. One is wide and pink while the other is tall and green.
We can’t see any further into the attraction — it’s too dark — but more of these bottle lights will likely be installed or already have been installed inside. The bottles are just like those that hang in and around Mama Odie’s treehouse in “The Princess and the Frog,” as seen in the screenshot below.
Disney had previously confirmed Mama Odie would appear in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and released the following concept art of Mama Odie in the crow’s nest of her treehouse ship with bottle lights hanging all around her, mirroring the “Dig a Little Deeper” scene from the film. Jennifer Lewis will reprise her voice role as Mama Odie.
The bottle lights hanging at the drop of the attraction confirm that this scene will be the climactic moment of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, likely including a rendition of “Dig a Little Deeper.”
In addition to Lewis as Mama Odie, other returning cast members lending their voices to the ride are Anika Noni Rose as Tiana, Bruno Campos as Naveen, and Michael Leon Wooley as Louis the alligator. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is also set to include Tiana’s mother Eudora, her friend Charlotte, and Charlotte’s father. Naveen’s parents, the King and Queen of Maldonia, and his little brother Prince Ralphie will also appear.
We didn’t see a lot of active construction during our Saturday visit, but one crew member was working on this ridge. They were possibly fine-tuning some of the new foliage.
The squirrel running through our photo is not part of the ride, although there will be several animal characters.
There is also construction under and around the Frontierland train station. A new staircase recently opened as the entrance and exit of the train station while the previous entrance/exit is refurbished. An A-frame sign directs guests to the entrance on the left.
The Splash Mountain entrance was previously in front of the train station and guests walked under it to the queue. Currently, guests can walk under the train station to reach restrooms on the other side. Last month, Disney opened a new flagstone pathway that will eventually be part of the extended outdoor queue of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
Theming is not done on all of the outdoor walkways, but scoring indicates this concrete will be torn up soon. Scoring is a process of cutting into concrete. You can see the grid of cuts at the end of this ramp.
The ramp itself is a square of red pavement at the end of the flagstone path. Construction walls and rolling planters surround the open pathways.
Behind these rolling planters is the space that previously held a Splash Mountain-themed Laughin’ Place playground. The playground has been completely destroyed and the space has been gutted. Cast Members said they think this area will remain blocked off for two or three more months.
From the train station’s entrance stairs, we can look down into part of the queue construction site. In front of the station, the site is mostly dirt, with a few construction vehicles and materials around.
The dirt runs up to a pathway that circles around the central supports of the train station. The pathway is lined with brick and new railings have been installed atop the bricks.
The metal railings are not yet solid black like the ones lining the flagstone pathway behind the train station. They will probably get a few coats of paint. A blue scrim is around the front of the pathway where there is not yet a railing.
Red bricks create a circle within the front curve of the walkway. A planter with no plants yet is around the station supports.
Another circle inside the brick circle is full of small flagstones similar to those on the back pathway. The rest of the pathway is flat light brown concrete.
From the train platform, we could see a flagstone pathway that has not yet opened. These are also lined with red brick. Scaffolding is up around a tall metal pole further into the queue. Blue scrim is up around the building that houses the restrooms.
More flagstones are stacked and wrapped in wire fencing, ready to be installed on more pathways. There are still some of the wood fences that surrounded the Splash Mountain queue, but these will likely all be removed and replaced with metal railings.