This is the fourth post in the Imagineering Awesome series … so if you’ve missed any of the previous posts, click on the link at right.
Today’s post is brought to us by Becky from Come Home to Disney, who weaves a wonderful, lively dining experience. Wear your loose-fitting pants and bring your dancing shoes.
When I was asked to come up with a new attraction based on a Disney film, of course my mind went to all of my top favorite movies. The Lion King – already plenty of Lion King attractions the park. Beauty and the Beast – just got plenty of appreciation with the new Fantasyland expansion, and I don’t know that I could imagine much better! Tangled – the new bathroom area is definitely cool looking, but I think Tangled deserves more. Princess and the Frog – definitely needs some love and appreciation in the Parks!
Yes, Princess and the Frog is one of my all time favorite Disney movies. I know it is somewhat under appreciated, but I adored it. The story is great, we have a wonderful heroine that can be a true role model and the music is fun, and I just have such a liking for the 2D animation style. I knew that I wanted to do something Princess and the Frog related for this blog post. And as soon as that was decided, I knew instantly that it wouldn’t be an attraction I would be imagining, but a restaurant.
Of course, if you’re familiar with the movie it should make total sense for Disney to build a new restaurant called Tiana’s Palace. Tiana’s life revolves around the dream of that restaurant. And there’s already the perfect location for it – Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, of course! This resort already has a New Orleans theme to it, so Tiana’s Palace would fit right in.
It would be a new, stand-alone building to try and truly replicate the appearance it has in the movie. The building itself looks quite majestic, and I would love to try and get as close to that as possible.
The inside would look just like the inside from the movie – two floors with an open area in the middle, and gorgeous chandeliers. The color scheme would be shades of green to go with the frog idea and to match Tiana’s dress. Finally, I would also create an area for outdoor, roof-top seating. The scene with Tiana and Naveen dancing on the roof of the restaurant is one of my favorites, and I would love to be able to eat up there!
As for food, it would be a lot of New Orleans classics. I know that there are two New Orleans style restaurants in Disneyland, so Disney already has some recipes to pull from. It would have to serve some of Tiana’s specialties from the movie, such as gumbo and beignets. There would also be plenty of other New Orleans favorites, such as jambalaya, crawfish and po-boys.
To make this restaurant more unique and special than many of the other Disney restaurants, it would have something that very few restaurants have – live music. A New Orleans style jazz band would be scheduled to play during the dinner hours every day, from 4:30-9:30 p.m. It would give the place a fun, festive atmosphere. While it might not actually have alligators playing the trumpet (though an animatronic one in the band would be pretty cool, no?), there would certainly be some great brass players.
I would also like the restaurant to have a character meet and greet with Tiana and Naveen, since they do after all own the place! Instead of having them come around to the tables, they would be set up like Cinderella at her Royal Table or Belle at Akershus. You would get to meet them and take your picture with them on your way in.
And of course, it’s not an imagineered restaurant without some special little touches. Before you enter there will be a small wall with a history of the building – what it looked like when Tiana first obtained it, how she and Naveen worked hard to renovate it, and how it became the popular spot that it is today. There will also be small memorials to two very special people in Tiana’s life: her father and Ray the lightning bug. In addition, there will be hidden frogs around the decor of the restaurant. Like a hidden Mickey, but instead it’s a subtle hidden frog to pay tribute to the days when Tiana and her prince were frogs themselves!
At the end of the day my creation might not be the most original – after all, it is based on something that already exists in the film. But Tiana’s Palace has always seemed to me to be something that just has to exist in Disney World. Princess and the Frog needs some love, and I’m sure Tiana would agree with me that there is no better way to represent the film than with a restaurant!
What do you think? Would you have a swinging good time at Tiana’s Place?