Today, October 26, 2009, Princess Tiana was formally welcomed into the Disney family. As with any royal ceremony, Disney pulled out all the stops to receive their ninth and newest princess. Many of our favorite characters were on hand at Cinderella Castle to greet this lovely lady. With the help of Mickey Mouse, a town crier announced the arrival of Princess Tiana.
Soon after, a lively Mardi Gras procession danced their way to the castle forecourt, followed by a regal coach and the beautiful Princess Tiana. After much pomp and ceremony, and a few fireworks, Tiana left the area to get ready for the Magic Kingdom’s newest show, Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee.
Princess Tiana is the heroine of Disney’s newest animated movie, “The Princess and the Frog.” Opening on November 25th, this musical marks the return to 2D hand-drawn animation from the team of John Musker and Ron Clements (Little Mermaid and Aladdin), with music by Oscar-winning composer Randy Newman. In development since 2006, this classic story is set in the great city of New Orleans and the surrounding bayou area.
Although the welcoming ceremony was only for the fortunate few who happened to be visiting the Magic Kingdom today, a larger, more spectacular event is planned for the remainder of the year. Between now and January 3, 2010, a rousing show starring Princess Tiana will be presented three times daily aboard the Liberty Belle (check your Times Guide). Joined by a six-member jazz band, two dozen Disney Dancers, and thirty randomly picked guests, a jazz themed spectacular is staged. Several of the songs from The Princess and the Frog are performed and a number of the movie’s other characters are on board for the fun.
The festivities begin at the Diamond Horseshoe where a procession dances across Liberty Square to board the Liberty Belle. Although this is great fun to watch, the real event takes place further down the river. Soon after setting sail, the Liberty Belle stops near the bridge that crosses between Pecos Bill CafÃ© and Thunder/Splash Mountains. Ask a nearby cast member for the best place to stand. Then for the next fifteen minutes a lively performance is staged. If you have plans to visit Walt Disney World during the next couple of months, I highly recommend this show.
I’ve put together an edited version of Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee. The first thirty seconds of the video were taken as Princess Tiana is leaving Cinderella Castle, but the remaining is of Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee.
Currently, the Lilly Belle is closed to guests. And during the performance, the Tom Sawyer Island rafts use the island’s north dock so as not to distract from the festivities.
As you would expect, a new line of merchandise has been created and is already available at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the Disney Stores. At the moment, only children’s sizes are available, but who knows what the future might bring.
Also new is the Princess Tiana makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at both the World of Disney at Downtown Disney and the Magic Kingdom. Here, Fairy Godmothers-in-training sprinkle pixie dust on aspiring princesses with three makeover packages. Different options are available that will transform your little girl into a regal young lady.
I’m anxiously looking forward to “The Princess and the Frog” and Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee added to my anticipation. While I love 3D computer animation. It’s magnificent and allows a level of creation that Walt could never have imagined. But I’m glad to see a return to the 2D hand-drawn movies as well. Not all stories need elaborate canvases. Sometimes, less is more and I hope Disney’s latest movie proves that once again, that simple can also be fantastic.