Tiana’s Bayou Adventure OPENING DATE at Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World has announced the opening date for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom in June 2024! This shares the latest official news & details, plus AP & DVC preview predictions, soft opening speculation, virtual queue vs. standby line, Lightning Lane status, and more!

In case you’re unfamiliar with it, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is a reimagining of Splash Mountain. The new-look attraction will use the exact same ride system and remain a log flume with an outdoor section, interior show scenes featuring Audio Animatronics critters, and several smaller drops culminating in one big drop. Same idea, different story and substance.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will pick up the story of The Princess and the Frog after the final kiss, joining Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance. During this celebration, guests will hear original music inspired by songs from the film. Tiana is leading the way and guests will be able to encounter old friends and make new friends along the way as well.

Disney has announced that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will open on June 28, 2024 in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

Here are more details shared by Disney about the upcoming Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction at both Walt Disney World:

“Drop on in” with Princess Tiana this summer, as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort on June 28, 2024.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure invites guests to join beloved characters Princess Tiana, Mama Odie, Louis, and all-new friends on a thrilling adventure, all set against the music and excitement of a New Orleans celebration. This new attraction will feature dozens of Audio-Animatronics figures, a foot-tapping soundtrack, and a celebration where everyone’s welcome.

They got music, it’s always playin’

Music is at the heart of New Orleans, and guests will be tapping their toes all throughout the attraction thanks in part to adorable critters, who play instruments made of natural materials found in the bayou. Tiana’s new friends include an otter, a rabbit, a racoon, a beaver, a turtle and more. Their spirited stylings will turn the bayou into a party with Zydeco, Rara, and Afro-Cuban music authentic to the region of New Orleans. There will be new, original music alongside favorite tunes from the film, created in collaboration with award-winning artists PJ Morton and Terence Blanchard.

In addition to musical critters, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure welcomes talent voices from the film as they reprise their roles, including Bruno Campos as Prince Naveen, Jenifer Lewis as Mama Odie, Michael-Leon Wooley as Louis, and the one and only Anika Noni Rose as Princess Tiana.

Grab somebody, come on down

As guests float through the cypress trees and Spanish moss of a beautiful Louisiana bayou, they may see some familiar faces as part of the dozens of entirely new Audio-Animatronics figures. Along with Princess Tiana, Louis and Mama Odie, keep an eye out for Eudora, Charlotte, Prince Ralphie, Prince Naveen and others. Between Disney’s iconic storytelling, technologically advanced Audio-Animatronics figures, and a thrilling 50-foot drop, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure has enough fun for everyone!

As Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “The Princess and the Frog” makes its home in the Crescent City, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is more stuffed with authentic NOLA artistry than Charlotte is with Tiana’s “man-catching” beignets! Artwork from Louisiana artist Malaika Favorite will delight guests as part of the queue, and guests can see an original metalwork weathervane from third-generation master blacksmith, Darryl Reeves and his apprentice, Karina Roca. New Orleans artist Sharika Mahdi’s artwork has inspired the attraction from the beginning. And, for some lagniappe (a “little extra”) guests will have a nose full of the sweet scent of beignets being kept warm in the oven – reminiscent of strolling through the French Quarter – as part of the attraction queue.

Dreams do come true in New Orleans

The heart of Tiana’s story reminds guests that everyone has the potential to make their dreams a reality. With teams of Imagineers, Disney Animation artists, cast members and Louisiana artisans working together, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is sure to pass a good time when it opens at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida on June 28, 2024, and later in 2024 at Disneyland Park in California!

Now, let’s turn to questions about Tiana Bayou Adventure’s Lightning Lane status, potential virtual queue, soft openings, AP previews, and more…

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Soft Openings

Soft openings are also known as trial operations or technical rehearsals, and are basically an unannounced and controlled test period. They provide an opportunity for theme parks to open an attraction prior to its official opening and conduct operations and Cast Member training in a more forgiving and low stress environment.

Typically, these are not publicized via official resources: not on park maps, the official Disney Parks Blog, annoying TikTok videos, wait time boards, or even in the My Disney Experience app. As a result, they always draw significantly fewer crowds than official openings. They’re a nice perk for guests who are already in the park and the most plugged-in Walt Disney World fans.

Walt Disney World had moved away from soft openings in the last few years, before bringing them back with TRON Lightcycle Run last year. However, I’d argue that was a totally different scenario, as the official opening was, for some reason, scheduled after the heart of Spring Break season. That’s why we predicted a return of soft openings, which did happen. Also, those were different because they were publicized. It wasn’t so much a soft opening in the traditional sense of the term as it was the ride moving forward its opening date.

The difference between Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and every major attraction opening since 2021 is that each of those attractions were originally slated to debut “in time for” Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, but was delayed due to the closure and subsequent phased reopening. In all of those cases, Walt Disney World purposefully postponed the openings–it wasn’t simply a matter of staffing shortages or construction progress. The opening dates were slow-rolled for strategic purposes.

It’s a totally different story with Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Most notably, this attraction’s debut is being moved forward–from Late 2024 to Summer 2024–rather than postponed. The opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is more like a race against the clock, as opposed to waiting out the clock, as was the case with the aforementioned attractions.

Accordingly, we can’t make any confident predictions with regard to general public soft openings or even AP and DVC previews, for that matter. It really all depends upon how conservative Walt Disney World is with the official opening date, how smoothly work goes between now and then, and if unanticipated issues arise. There could be time to spare, or it could be a mad dash to make the opening date, with work continuing after hours even after the official debut date and delayed openings for months to accommodate. (Anyone remember the rocky first few months of Frozen Ever After?)

Keeping in mind that I know absolutely nothing, my gut says there will be a very limited AP and DVC preview period, but no soft openings. Given what we already know about the media preview and certain other affiliation previews, it doesn’t sound like there will be time for soft openings.

With that said, I could see Walt Disney World offering Tiana’s Bayou Adventure pre-registered previews for select groups: Disney Vacation Club, Golden Oak, Club 33, and Annual Passholders. We expect this to work almost exactly like past previews, right down to all eligible APs not receiving the email before slots started filling up.

Having previews for the entire month of May would make sense, as that’s shoulder season and was part of the second-slowest six week stretch at Walt Disney World. However, I simply do not think the attraction is far enough along for that. If the entire month of May could be previews, the ride would be opening by Memorial Day.

But it’s not, so they won’t. It’s possible there will be some Cast Member previews in May, but other groups are likely to have previews in mid-to-late June. At most, there’s only a little over two weeks for affiliation previews between the media event in mid-June and the official opening date of June 28, 2024.

Accordingly, we’re going to predict far more limited previews for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a brief preview period, but it’s not going to be like other headliners that had around a month of previews prior to opening.

As always, Annual Passholder and DVC preview emails DO NOT go out to everyone who is eligible. I didn’t receive the one for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Sarah didn’t get the one for Cosmic Rewind. I don’t remember who got the email for TRON, but it didn’t matter because one of us was pregnant and we couldn’t do it, anyway.

Maybe Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be the first time in ages that we both get one…or maybe neither of us will this round! Regardless, if our prediction about more limited previews turns out to be true, that also means registration will be even more competitive. In turn, that means

In any case, receiving the email does not matter! The link inside is what’s important, and ANYONE WHO IS ELIGIBLE can use that. Both of us will be monitoring our emails like hawks in the coming weeks and will give you a heads up ASAP if/when preview registration goes live. You can subscribe to our free email newsletter for instant alerts.

Genie+ vs. Individual Lightning Lane

Next up, whether Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be part of Genie+ or another Individual Lightning Lane at Magic Kingdom. This is really a “wildcard” in name only, since Walt Disney World hasn’t officially announced anything. This is once again a scenario where Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is different than other recent additions, TRON Lightcycle Run and Cosmic Rewind, both of which we predicted had a “greater than 99.999% chance” of being Individual Lightning Lane attractions before they opened.

The arguments against Tiana’s Bayou Adventure getting Individual Lightning Lane status are that it’s a reimagining rather than a brand-new ride, and Splash Mountain did not offer an Individual Lightning Lane. There were ‘operational realities’ that likely drove that decision (as Splash Mountain was one of Walt Disney World’s most popular rides without ILL status), which will also apply to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, such as the necessity of winter refurbishments at some point and the fact that water rides simply are not as popular at night or when the weather is colder.

Finally, if Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens with an Individual Lightning Lane and nothing else changes, Magic Kingdom will be the only park with more than a single ILL attraction. It’ll have not 2, but 3. Otherwise, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train would need to be “demoted” to the Genie+ service. While that might seem logical after a decade, that ride is still incredibly popular. It’s also consistently popular, unlike a water flume ride that isn’t as in-demand at night or in the winter.

There are a lot of good arguments against Tiana’s Bayou Adventure getting ILL status. Logically, I think those should win out from a long-term perspective. Regardless of all that, I still think that there’s a better than 50% chance that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is elevated to Individual Lightning Lane. It will be a marketable draw and even more popular than Splash Mountain for at least a couple of years–unless something goes terribly wrong with the execution of the reimagining, and there’s no reason to expect that after seeing the wowing Tiana Audio Animatronics. It also probably wouldn’t be great optics to have the new ride be relegated to Genie+ status.

Standby vs. Virtual Queue

Another big question is whether Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will use a virtual queue. With Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind still using a virtual queue, the answer to this probably seems obvious. However, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure both stopped their VQs…and we’ve been expecting Cosmic Rewind to follow suit for (literally) over a year.

The bigger issue, though, is that TRON Lightcycle Run still uses a virtual queue and seems unlikely to stop anytime soon. That would mean that Magic Kingdom would have two attractions with virtual queues if Tiana’s Bayou Adventure adds one. So it’s not as clear-cut as it might seem, with compelling arguments for and against a VQ–which is what we discuss in Will Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Use a Virtual Queue?

Cutting to the chase, we really think it could go either way for all of the reasons discussed in that post (seasonality, reliability, long physical queue space, optics, guest satisfaction and more). At this point, we’d probably give an edge to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure getting a virtual queue. But it’s pretty far from a sure thing–more like 60/40 as compared to the guarantees that came with Cosmic Rewind and TRON Lightcycle Run.

While we’ve gotten good at gaming virtual queues (and have “speed strategy” advice so you can achieve similar success), my personal hope is for a standby queue. It’s the more guest-friendly approach that levels the playing field, is less stressful, and results in fewer complaints.

Ultimately, we’re looking forward to experiencing Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opening on June 28, 2024 at Walt Disney World. The reimagined ride will instantly become one of the top 3 most popular attractions at Magic Kingdom and help soak up crowds. Regardless of how anyone might feel about the reimagining of Splash Mountain, that’s fairly undeniable. The ride was popular before and it’ll be even more popular thanks to marketing and it being new. That always happens, so it’s crazy to expect anything different here.

The only real questions are whether it can surpass TRON Lightcycle Run and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in terms of popularity. Moreover, whether Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be a regular or a la carte Lightning Line. My early guesses are that it replaces Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in both regards, becoming one of the longest wait times and most coveted Lightning Lane selections in all of Walt Disney World.

That’s really the core of the apple. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is likely to be a crowd-pleasing attraction and one that’s popular because 1) anything new is popular for a period, and 2) it features a princess from a more modern movie than what it replaced. Before we even arrive at whether it ends up being a “better” or “worse” ride, those factors alone will make it a must-do attraction for many guests. It’ll likely rival Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and Avatar Flight of Passage as the most popular new attractions in all of Walt Disney World…at least until the colder months (or nights!) roll around.

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Your Thoughts

Are you excited for the grand opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom on June 28, 2024? Think it’ll have a virtual queue or standby line right at opening? What about soft openings v. pre-registered previews? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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