Disney’s Imagineers have always been the magicians behind the scenes, conjuring wondrous attractions in utmost secrecy. However, a recent move by Disney has broken this tradition, possibly with unintended consequences. Just ahead of its grand opening, Disney released a full point-of-view ride-through video of its latest attraction, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, sparking a wave of unexpected reactions.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, set to debut at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in June, is a reimagining of the beloved Splash Mountain ride. Formerly themed around the 1946 film “Song of the South,” Splash Mountain faced controversy due to the film’s problematic racial portrayals. Amidst the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, Disney announced plans to retheme the ride around the 2009 animated hit “The Princess and the Frog,” which features Disney’s first Black princess, Tiana.

Excitement was high, but the preview of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure has garnered mixed reviews. The ride retains the classic log flume structure, replacing the iconic tree stump of Splash Mountain with a moss-covered mound. Riders navigate through a storyline where Tiana transforms a salt mine into a garden and embarks on a quest to find music for a Mardi Gras celebration. However, fans have criticized the ride’s plot for lacking the depth and coherence that made its predecessor so captivating.

One of the most voiced grievances is the absence of Doctor Facilier, the film’s main antagonist. Fans argue that his inclusion, particularly at the ride’s climactic drop, would enhance the experience. Moreover, comments highlight a perceived lack of suspense, narrative cohesion, and the feeling that some areas of the ride are incomplete or lifeless. Some even expressed their preference for the original Splash Mountain, with some considering trips to Tokyo Disneyland, where the ride remains unchanged.

The backlash on platforms like YouTube and X (formerly Twitter) shows a significant divide in fan sentiment. Despite some praise for the sophisticated animatronics and visual effects, the overall response skews towards disappointment. This wave of criticism follows other recent stumbles in Disney Park attractions, such as the poorly received Harmonious at Epcot and the lackluster return of Fantasmic at Disneyland.

As Tiana’s Bayou Adventure prepares for its official opening, it remains to be seen whether fan reception will shift once guests experience the attraction firsthand. What’s your take on the new ride? Will you miss Splash Mountain, or are you excited for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure? Share your thoughts in the comments and let’s get the conversation started!

[Source: Forbes]