We saw several crew members working on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom on Friday. Some were removing scaffolding from the attraction while others worked on the fake foliage.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Mountain
Splash Mountain has been transformed into a plant-covered “salt mine,” the home of Tiana’s Foods. According to the story of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, Tiana founded the co-op after the events of “The Princess and the Frog.” During the ride, guests will journey into the bayou with Tiana in search of a special ingredient for her Mardi Gras celebration.
We saw two crew members in front of the millhouse, working on the tree that has been added there. The fake tree is draped with Spanish moss.
On the top of the front of the millhouse is the new weathervane designed by Louisiana master blacksmith Darryl Reeves.
From another angle, we could see a white tarp draped over some plants beneath the weathervane.
The millhouse is where guests ascend the attraction. Right now, there is scaffolding all over the structure and the tree, which is what the crew members were standing on.
A third crew member was also working on the front and side of the millhouse, shaping the surrounding branches and plants.
The slats on the front of the millhouse were painted green earlier in the construction process.
A couple of other crew members were working along the track of the ride’s drop. Over the past few weeks, crews have removed most of the scaffolding from in front of the drop.
One crew member was painting the rockwork to one side of the flume. The other was on nearby scaffolding.
More crew members were at the top of the drop, removing the scaffolding from the opening of the mountain. In early January, we saw a couple of Mama Odie’s bottle lanterns added to the opening. Since then, more bottles have been added around the opening and further into the scene, although other elements are hidden by darkness.
The presence of the bottles indicates Mama Odie’s home will be the climactic set of the ride with her singing “Dig A Little Deeper” before guests drop.
When Imagineering executive creative director Ted Robledo took NOLA.com on a tour of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure last month, he kept the scene secret, saying, “I’ll just say it’s got a lot to do with magic. It’s a magical moment that happens down there.” NOLA.com also revealed that the audio-animatronics will have physical faces, not screen faces.
From behind the Frontierland train station, we got another glimpse of the crew members working at the top of the drop and a cluster of bottles hanging in the corner.
Jennifer Lewis will return to voice Mama Odie for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), Bruno Campos (Naveen), and Michael Leon Wooley (Louis) are also returning.
In addition to the scaffolding around the millhouse and the drop, there is still scaffolding across the top of the mountain. The iconic tree of Splash Mountain was removed and the peak of the mountain was covered with green leaves and flowers.
A week ago, a Magic Kingdom guest caught this section of the ride’s flume full of water at night. It was emptied overnight and the water in the flume now is just from rain. We saw a camera next to the flume the following day, indicating crews were documenting the flume full of water.
The flume may not be full of water anymore, but we did see some crew members working in it. They were visible through the tunnel under the bridge.
There were at least three crew members at the bottom of the drop. It looked like they may have been filming or taking photos.
A lot of the rockwork around this section of the flume was torn apart and reconstructed. New trees and other plants were also planted in the peninsula in the center of the loop.
Train Station & Queue
During work on the Tiana’s Bayou Adventure queue, crews have also been re-doing the stairs and ramps of the Frontierland train station. The stairs on the left recently reopened after being reconstructed. Now the entrance on the right is closed.
Near the old entrance, there is scoring in the pavement, indicating it will soon be torn up and replaced.
Scoring is a process of cutting pavement to make removal easier.
Guests can go under the train station into the courtyard queue area beyond. Right now, this just leads to restrooms. The Laughin’ Place play area has been demolished.
There are construction walls and rolling hedges blocking construction work behind the train station. We could smell some fresh concrete.
Next to the train platform, we saw two crew members taking photos of one of the buildings in the queue. It’s attached to the circular barn, which was repainted yellow and received a new mural. The building in the back has been stripped of paneling and has scrim over openings, but otherwise hasn’t been touched much.
The crew members were photographing the side of the building facing the train platform.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is set to open this year at both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland. Disney hasn’t announced a specific time frame with a recent list of projects simply stating the ride would open in “2024.”