Meet the Critters at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure: Part 1

Meet the Critters at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure: Part 1

You’ve watched murals and metalwork flourishes for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure come to life. You’ve followed along with construction updates. You’ve seen an Audio-Animatronics figure of Tiana make her social media debut. Now, as the executive creative director of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, I’d like to welcome you among the cypress trees, water lilies, and Spanish moss to learn about some of the new Audio-Animatronics friends who play an important role in this musical adventure. 

In the bayou, Princess Tiana is getting ready to throw a big party, but there’s been a bit of a mix-up between Prince Naveen and Louis. Uh oh — the princess suddenly finds herself in need of a band. We previously shared that all-new Disney characters were being created for this attraction and that’s where the critters come in. Even with the richest roux for your gumbo and the most delicious beignets, a true Mardi Gras celebration isn’t complete without music. We’ll follow Tiana and Louis into the bayou in a last-minute search for this essential missing ingredient for her party — musical critters! 

Who are the critters? 

In the first critter encounter, we’ll discover a group of critter musicians playing a rendition of one of our favorite songs from “The Princess and the Frog,” “Gonna Take You There.” This raucous Zydeco musical recipe of fiddle, accordion, washboard, and other instrument voices will have you singing along as you float down the river under dancing fireflies. The familiar melody is being played on charming makeshift instruments constructed from natural materials and some human-made found objects. But who’s behind this critter band? Meet some of the adorable musicians and get to know them a little more.  

Byhalia the Beaver – Byhalia doesn’t just build dams; she helps build musical instruments using natural materials from the bayou. As a strong-willed percussionist, it’s safe to say Byhalia is the heartbeat of the band, as well as a natural designer and engineer. 

Gritty the Rabbit – Always willing to dig a little deeper to help others, Gritty plays the washboard (a found automobile license plate) with a high-energy flair. It’s the perfect instrument for someone who’s often overzealous and digs to relieve her nerves.  

Beau the Opossum – Seeing limitless possibilities, no one finds more wonder in the bayou and the sounds of zydeco music than Beau. All she knows is beauty, especially her own. You can find her plucking out the low notes with her upright gourd bass, which of course, involves some musical dexterity with her tail. 

Apollo the Raccoon – Apollo loves transforming abandoned objects into works of musical art – like his squeezebox. He’s full of energy and storytelling, especially about the objects he finds in the bayou. He’s particularly close with Rufus and appreciates Rufus’ calm demeanor.  

Rufus the Turtle – Rufus may be a turtle, but he’s quick to jump into rhythm with his harmonica. He’s also the first to join in on new adventures! He’s genuine and sincere but may come across as a little sarcastic at times with his habitual sighing. Rufus loves going on adventures with Apollo. 

Timoléon the Otter – He’s the eldest of the band, but Timoléon’s fiddle-playing is inspired by all the ‘kids’ he spends his time around while in the bayou. When he’s not sawing out a jig, he’s famous for telling stories of days long ago about his explorations of every corner of the bayou. 

In addition to these talented new friends, Tiana wonders who else we might discover in the bayou. More on that soon, but it’s not every day we get to debut brand-new original Disney characters as part of an attraction in our theme parks! And, if you wish you had a critter friend of your own, you are in luck: Beau, Apollo and Rufus will soon be available in the form of huggable plushies for you to take home.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure critters plush

Not only are these critters special, but so are the many innovative Imagineers and partners who are bringing them to life. Meet my talented colleague and storyteller, Laura West, a lead concept designer with Walt Disney Imagineering, and the creator of these adorable critters.

Laura West, a lead concept designer with Walt Disney Imagineering, creator of the new Tiana critters

In collaboration with Walt Disney Animation Studios, Laura carefully crafted the brand-new characters that you’ll see in the attraction. Check out her detailed creative process below!

Stay tuned, because there’s more to come from the other talented critters you’ll meet in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which opens at Walt Disney World Resort this summer, and later this year at Disneyland Resort.