Tiana's Bayou Adventure just broke a strange tradition for Disney Princesses!

Tiana's Bayou Adventure has broken from other Disney Princesses by giving its lead character something new: A last name!
Tiana animatronic in Tiana's Bayou Adventure - credit: Keith Langston
Tiana animatronic in Tiana's Bayou Adventure - credit: Keith Langston /

The brand new Tiana's Bayou Adventure has opened with some notable history made. However, the biggest is that it gives its Disney Princess something no other has had before!

There were doubters in the transformation of Splash Mountain to Tiana's Bayou Adventure. Changing one of the most iconic and popular Disney attractions ever was one thing. Doing so for 2009's The Princess and the Frog, which was not exactly a huge hit, was a risk, and more so by how it would be a sequel to the film, not adapting the story.

While the early ride videos received poor reception, riders' reviews of the ride have been fantastic since it opened. They praise the ride, the effects, the music, and the overall wonderful message. The ride is packed with some wonderful details, but perhaps one of the most notable is that it gives Tiana something almost no other Disney princess has had: a last name. 

Through the decades, it's been the odd tradition of Disney not to give last names to their princesses. It's a tradition going back to the classic fairy tales that inspired classics like Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and more. Somehow, some way, we just never get last names for these princesses, their parents always identified just as King or Queen and their first names.

It makes sense as folks don't need to get bogged down too much in names or know that much about the princesses. It also helps in merchandising as it's much easier to sell stuff for Elsa, Rapunzel, Belle, Ariel and others. Disney has made it a simple tradition for years but now, as in so many other ways, Tiana is breaking it with a last name.

The future of Tiana's adventures

As fans of The Princess and the Frog know, Tiana lost her soldier father in World War I. The ride's elaborate and beautiful queue area has a photo of the man, identifying him as Sergeant James Rogers. 

Tiana's Bayou Adventure. Image courtesy Along Main Street /

Of course, now that she married Prince Naveen, Tiana can simply go as Princess (and likely later Queen) Tiana of Maldonia. However, as the story is that Tiana prefers staying in New Orleans, she can use her family name to build her restaurant and cooking business.

In an interview with Gizmodo, Imagineer Ted Robledo shared this is a deliberate move to help set Tiana apart more. 

"There's so much of her story that was touched upon in the film, the relationship with her father, a World War I veteran; her relationship with her mother, [who] we like to say was the entrepreneurial inspiration for her to be the successful businesswoman that Tiana is today in our story."

It's a good touch that does make sense for the character and the numerous cooking awards for Tiana in the attraction show her name off. It makes sense that Tiana can break ground like this given she was also the first African-American Disney princess and the character always acting to the beat of her own drum. 

It's also a great way to enjoy the original movie, which was unfairly ignored in 2009 when it was one of the best Disney animated efforts of the time. The hand-drawn animation was beautiful, the music fantastic and it had a wonderful setting and mix of cultures. That was a key reason it was chosen as the replacement for Splash Mountain and by early reviews, it's paying off. So giving Tiana a real last name just adds to the appeal of the character.

Robledo added that this will play into a planned Disney+ series exploring more of Tiana and Naveen adjusting to their lives. 

"Her relationship with her husband, who is from another country of likely of mixed race. It's a time of Indigenous people and colonization. I think that team, from what little we heard, is going to explore that route. But I will say this about Naveen: we knew early on, and even if Naveen plays a small role or big role in this story, he has a role—they're a married couple, they care about each other. So to honor that, we want to make sure he's included somewhere in a real way. And actually, it's quite humorous, as this little performance of our story."

Thus, the new Tiana's Bayou Adventure is just the start of a new life for The Princess and the Frog that should give this property the popularity it's long deserved.

The Princess and the Frog streaming on Disney+.