Disney is honoring its first Black princess, Tiana, with her own park attraction. The family entertainment giant announced the Princess and the Frog-inspired ride will be coming to Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom and will replace the Splash Mountain ride.
“It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized!” Tony Award-winning actress and the voice of Tiana, Anika Noni Rose said in a statement.
“As passionate as I am about what we created, I know the fans are going to be over the moon. The Imagineers are giving us ‘The Princess and the Frog’ Mardi Gras celebration we’ve been waiting for, and I’m here for it!” she added.
Princess Tiana’s courageous character was inspired by the late New Orleans restaurateur Leah Chase, who opened the famous Dooky Chase restaurant in 1941. Chase died in 2019 at the age of 96, having spent seven decades feeding locals, dignitaries, and celebrities at her establishment.
According to Nola.com, Disney has tapped Chase’s daughter, Stella, to provide input on the attraction.
“I can tell you that Stella is definitely serving as an inspiration for our project team and our creators, and she really is integral in making sure that we’re able to capture those subtle details to make sure we have the opportunity to pepper them in,” Disney Imagineer Charita Carter told the outlet.
Carter and Stella were among a panel of Disney officials who hosted a panel at the famed restaurant revisiting the real-life inspiration for the historic princess story and forthcoming ride.
A timeline for when construction will begin on the attraction is forthcoming, Disney said. Creative teams are still drawing up plans and getting the details just right.