We are likely still years away from seeing Splash Mountain evolve from its current theme to that of The Princess and the Frog, but knowing that the transformation is coming is incredibly exciting for a lot of fans. Disney's information on just what will come to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom are light in the details department, but Anika Noni Rose, the voice of Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, who will be reprising her role in the new version of the attraction knows exactly what she wants out of the new experience, great music, and also, just maybe, great food.
In the original announcement from Disney Parks about the new attraction, we were told that it would tell a story that picks up after the events of The Princess and the Frog and involve a Mardi Gras celebration. Anika Noni Rose recently told People that if that's the case, then the new ride needs to get the music right. While the actress understands that Splash Mountain has a thrill ride element, she's more focused on the fun that can be had.
Anytime you talk about Mardi Gras, the music has to be fantastic. I’m hoping Louis will get to play and make us laugh. It should be a little thrilling, but it also should be just a whole lot of fun.
One of things that makes Splash Mountain a truly unique ride is that while it has the traditional log flume drop at the end, beyond that, it's a simple water-based dark ride, not that different from something like Pirates of the Caribbean. There is plenty of space to tell a fun, and funny, story before everybody gets soaking wet. And Louis has been promised to be part of it all.
It will be interesting to see exactly how the music will be handled on the new attraction. The Princess and the Frog has some great music but if the ride is set to take place after that story, there's an argument to be made that the movie music won't fit. Perhaps we could see an all-new soundtrack written exclusively for the ride. Randy Newman wrote almost all of the music for the film, so he could take on songwriting for the attraction as well to be sure the music all feels coherent between movie and ride.
But the ride itself isn't the only thing that Anika Noni Rose is hoping for along with the new attraction. Many fans have told Rose directly that along with the ride they want to see Tiana's Palace restaurant, and the actress wants that too. In fact, she has already begun planning the menu in her mind...
I've been looking forward to a Tiana's Palace for years. I agree with the fans that it would be great. I have dreams of them partnering with [New Orleans'] Café du Monde on some real deal beignets, having some fantastic shrimp and grits and king cake during Mardi Gras season. And the occasional second line through the joint ... Basically all the things I love!
Needless to say, I'm a big fan of this idea as I was one of those people calling for the creation of Tiana's Palace restaurant. I think it would be a great addition to an expanded New Orleans Square area at Disneyland. And hey, fans were the ones who asked for the Splash Mountain redesign in the first place, and now it's happening, so maybe getting Tiana's Palace as well isn't that wild an idea.
Of course, with the recent news that some planned additions to Walt Disney World have had to put on the backburner, exactly when we'll see these changes, or how extensive they could be, are anybody's guess.