We knew that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, a re-imagined water ride based on The Princess and the Frog, was coming to Disney Parks—and while it won’t be open for a few more years, it’s already inspired some stunning new art, more of which was unveiled today as part of the company’s celebration of World Princess Week.
New Orleans artist Sharika Mahdi and lead Imagineer Charita Carter debuted the new art, featured on the Disney Parks Blog. Mahdi has been commissioned to collaborate with Disney Imagineering to capture the spirit of New Orleans, where Tiana’s story in The Princess and the Frog takes place.
Mahdi’s art infuses a vision of the city from her perspective as a local and serves as a vital source of inspiration for what Imagineering hopes to pay tribute to in Tiana’s next chapter: her world as her dreams come true. The character debuted in the 2009 animated film and has become a fan favorite, not to mention an inspiration as the first Black Disney Princess. “Tiana means to me perseverance, dedication, and a vision,” Mahdi said. “She’s an African American woman so I see myself in her. When I saw the movie I loved that she had her own dream to open up a restaurant. As an artist, as a creative myself, I wanted to reach more people and inspire more people with my art.” Mahdi’s first piece for Disney debuted in 2021 for World Princess Week with a piece that brought Tiana front and center:
This year, she and Carter revealed a new painting, a bayou scene that depicts the musical vibe of the city through frogs.
While Mahdi’s art will not be featured on the attraction, Carter and her team on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will work closely with the artist in order to create a vision of the ride that’s authentic to the city and region Tiana’s stories take place in. Watch the video below for more behind the scenes:
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is set to open sometime in 2024 at the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.