Wednesday, June 12, 2024

PJ Morton, Terence Blanchard to make new music for ‘Tiana’s Bayou Adventure’

PJ Morton and Terence Blanchard are bringing their musical talents to Disney theme parks. Last week, the Grammy-award-winning musicians descended upon New Orleans where Disney Imagineers gathered and announced their involvement in creating the upcoming attraction, “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.”

Disney Imagineers disclosed Morton and Blanchard’s involvement in the very place that inspired the ride and source film: New Orleans. Based on the classic Disney animated film, “The Princess and the Frog,” Disney’s brand new attraction will take riders to the beloved bayou featured in the film as Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen prepare for a “one-of-a-kind” celebration for Mardi Gras season. 

A New Orleans native himself, Morton opened up at the historic city’s Preservation Hall about the power of music in his life and how proud he is to work with Disney on an original song for the attraction. “When you’re a musician in New Orleans it’s a badge of honor,” he explained. “We take it seriously and there is integrity in that.”

Grammy Award-winning musician and New Orleans native PJ Morton speaks about his collaboration on “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure” during a panel discussion at Preservation Hall in New Orleans.
(Credit: Disney)

The ride will feature music from the film (Randy Newman composed the original score with songs like “Almost There” and “Dig a Little Deeper”), but their goal, Morton explained, was to honor the original music while also pushing the story in a new direction.

“The challenge was to try to fit in what already existed but also bring something fresh and move the story along,” he said. “We know what Tiana has done and what happened. Now, what is she doing?” After initially writing six original songs for the ride, Morton and the Disney team settled on one, which will be featured prominently on the attraction.

Morton described the collaboration with Disney as a dream come true. “I was gonna get here at some point, somehow,” he added. “I always thought it was going to be a movie because you don’t naturally think you’re going to be a part of an attraction. Because, who does that?”

Blanchard, another New Orleans native, is returning once again to the bayou — serving as arranger, producer and even one of the performers for the attraction’s queue music. Reflecting on his experience working on the 2009 film, he said, “That was the first film where my kids actually really looked at what I was doing.”

(Left to right) Terence Blanchard and Princess Tiana celebrate the forthcoming “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure” ride to Magic Kingdom Park in Florida and Disneyland Park in California at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans.
(Credit: Disney)

Blanchard added, “It was something that made me feel proud to be a part of. I remember going to this elementary school, talking to these young African American girls and they were all just so excited about Tiana. And I just felt like I didn’t have that growing up. With that film, we gave so many kids hope and pride.”

As theGrio previously reported, “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure” is a project that has been several years in the making. The attraction replaces the famed Splash Mountain ride in both parks. While fans love it, Splash Mountain is based on the controversial 1946 film, “Song of the South,” known for its harmful portrayals of African Americans.

“Tiana’s Bayou Adventure” is set to make a splash next year at both Magic Kingdom in Florida and Disneyland in California. 

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