New Summertime Updates Announced at Walt Disney World

Anika Noni Rose sings at Walt Disney World

Earlier today, during a special “Dig A Little Deeper” showcase for media at Magic Kingdom Park, we shared some incredible updates from across Walt Disney World, including a July 17, 2024 opening date for Country Bear Musical Jamboree and other details on experiences to get excited about this summer!   

This season, more than ever, we’re bringing your favorite stories to life in fun, innovative ways at The Most Magical Place On Earth.  And here’s a special (hot off the press) look at everything shared today.   

Country Bear Musical Jamboree Debuts July 17

Yes, get ready to knee slap and toe-tap to some country twang as a new Country Bear Musical Jamboree arrives in Frontierland in Magic Kingdom on July 17. 

At today’s event, Wendell and Big Al (from the Country Bears’ Family Band) joined Disney Imagineers and showed off their new and stylish costumes for their big return to Grizzly Hall.  

Wendell and Big Al

All of the bears, including Henry, Trixie, Shaker (and even The Five Bear Rugs) will have new country-inspired looks when the show reopens. You may even spot a few Easter Eggs that callback to iconic Disney films in the stage wear.   

During the event, Brett Swain, senior creative director of music, also gave a behind-the-scenes look at how iconic Disney songs have been rearranged in ways that pay homage to the classic musical revues in Nashville.   

Brett and surprise guests — 10-time CMA musician of the year Mac McAnally, country star Emily Ann Roberts, and artist Allison Russell — even gave a FIRST LISTEN to one of the new songs, “Try Everything” from Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia.” 

New Little Mermaid Show Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

FIRST LOOK: The Little Mermaid – A Musical Adventure

New behind-the-scenes photos and jaw-dropping concept art were just unveiled for “The Little Mermaid – A Musical Adventure,” our all-new theatrical production inspired by the Walt Disney Animation Studios Classic “The Little Mermaid.”  

New Little Mermaid Show Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The story is being told from Ariel’s viewpoint, as a young, empowered, strong heroine searching for where she belongs. This brand new show will build on elements from the previous one, but with a whole new cast of puppets, physical set pieces that showcase the different aesthetic, and two additional music numbers. “Daughters of Triton” and the iconic “Kiss the Girl” will now be included for guests to enjoy. 

Motion capture technology at work for new Little Mermaid show

“The Little Mermaid – A Musical Adventure” will debut in the newly refreshed Animation Courtyard theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in fall 2024.  

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Opens June 28

A new, behind-the-scenes look at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure was shared today as well ahead of its June 28 opening at Disney World – along with a surprise performance of one of the attraction’s songs “Special Spice” by award-winning artists PJ Morton and the voice of Princess Tiana and Tony Award-winning actress, Anika Noni Rose. 

Imagineers Carmen Smith, senior vice president of creative development, Ted Robledo, executive director, and Charita Carter, executive creative producer, shared fascinating stories behind the attraction — highlighting Tiana’s story, plus the inspiration, technology, characters, and voices featured in this vibrant new story.  

Importance of Telling Tiana’s Next Chapter

As you may know, the attraction picks up after the events of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “The Princess and the Frog” film, with a glimpse of life after Tiana and Naveen’s happily ever after at the biggest soiree during Mardi Gras season on this side of the bayou. 

The story continues with Tiana wanting to give a big thanks to her family and friends and the entire community for all the support they’ve given to her as a successful entrepreneur. But it turns out there’s been a bit of a mix-up with the party preparations and an essential ingredient is missing.  

You join Tiana and jazz-loving alligator Louis on an adventure through the bayou in a last-minute search for this essential missing ingredient. Along the way, you’ll encounter familiar faces and make new friends in the next chapter of Tiana’s story. 

What Inspired Imagineers?

From the get-go, Imagineers said that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure placed New Orleans authenticity at the forefront. They conducted extensive research in and around New Orleans to preserve and pay tribute to the city that inspired Princess Tiana’s story, from the New Orleans Jazz Museum to the Williams Research Center. 

Local artists who inspired Imagineers during the attraction’s development included Sharika Mahdi, Malaika Favorite, and Darryl Reeves. They also worked with music legends and natives of New Orleans PJ Morton and Terence Blanchard.  

And, of course, Stella Chase and the Chase family, whose late matriarch, Leah Chase, helped inspire Tiana’s story.  

What Sets Tiana’s Attraction Apart?

Imagineers also shared that the attraction features dozens of new Audio-Animatronics figures considered to be the most advanced yet. 

It’s an experience unlike anything you’ve seen before, combining some of Imagineering’s tried-and-true techniques with new digital tools for animating and lighting — like using mist like a painter’s canvas! 

19 New Characters in Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

Along with beloved characters from the film like Tiana, Louis, Mama Odie, and others, there are 19 NEW creative critters who can’t wait to share their interpretations of sweet New Orleans sounds like Zydeco and Rara music with you. Each has a distinct name and personality.  

Anika Noni Rose sings at Walt Disney World

Talented Voices of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

Voice talent from the film returned for the attraction, including Jenifer Lewis as Mama Odie, the incredible Michael-Leon Wooley as Louis, and the one and only Anika Noni Rose as Princess Tiana. 

Of course, there’s even more to enjoy this summer at Disney World.  Here’s a look at what else was shared:  

  • ‘Lion King’ Roars into Animal Kingdom – Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “The Lion King” is celebrating its 30th anniversary at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a big way! Now until Sept. 6, fans of the original animated film can enjoy character meet and greets, themed food and drinks, unique merchandise items, and other special “only at Disney” surprises. 
  • Joy Joins Pixar Stars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Starting today, you can meet Joy from the Disney and Pixar Animation Studios film “Inside Out 2” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  There’s a lot to bring you joy in celebration of the film, including limited-time food and beverage offerings, new merchandise, and a sneak peek of “Inside Out 2” at Walt Disney Presents.  
  • Dine with Classic & New Disney Characters – In case you missed it, the iconic 1900 Park Fare Restaurant returned to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. You can now dine with classic and new Disney friends, including Cinderella, Aladdin, Mirabel and of course, Tiana! 
  • Disney Characters Hit the Sky at Disney Springs – This summer, you can enjoy “Disney Dreams that Soar presented by AT&T” at Disney Springs featuring state-of-the-art drones choreographed to create designs in the sky with an amazing musical score. 
  • Typhoon Lagoon After-Hours Parties  H20 Glow is back at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.  The water park takes on a whole “neon” light with a DJ dance party, character appearances, complimentary snacks, and more.  This after-hours event is available on select nights through summer!  
  • “Encanto” Summer Sing-Along at EPCOT – Everyone will be talking about Bruno beginning with a new summer sing-along featuring the beloved songs and story of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto.” This new limited-time show “¡Celebración Encanto!” will run several times throughout the day on the newly unveiled CommuniCore Plaza Stage.  

All of this is just the beginning!  There’s much more to come at Disney World and we’ll be sharing it in August during the D23: 2024 The Ultimate Fan Event in Anaheim, California.   

Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for updates on some of these experiences and more in the future!