Since her introduction into the Disney princess family in 2009, Tiana has allowed so many Black and Brown girls to see themselves reflected in her.
One unique characteristic about Princess Tiana is that she is modeled after a Louisiana icon Leah Chase. She is the kitchen mastermind behind a New Orleans staple restaurant, Dooky Chase. When “The Princess and the Frog” was first released, Chase was thrilled to be the inspiration behind the character.
“When you do a lot of work in your community, you become known, so somebody probably referred [Disney] to me, and I’m so happy about that,” said Chase in a previous interview with Oprah.com. “Now everybody wants to be Tiana. I think it’s fantastic. When I came up, being a cook was nothing. It’s just lately that we have chefs coming into their own. Back then, people would look at you, especially if you were a Black woman, and say: ‘Oh, you just a cook. That’s it.’ But now, being a chef is it.”
Prior to her passing in 2019 at the age of 96, Chase continued to serve her community by ensuring that they were filled with good food and love.
Now, the iconic Princess Tiana is getting a new look as a part of her attraction heading to Disney Parks. zset to open in late 2024 at both the Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland Park in California, Tiana’a Bayou Adventure brings a whole lot of New Orleans charm to the happiest place on earth.
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After years of research and dedication to the culture of NOLA , the Disney Imagineers were able to capture the Crescent City in its most authentic state thanks to numerous visits to historic sites like the French Quarter and the Bayou.
“We have the opportunity to reacquaint people with Tiana who always already loved her from the film,” Charita Carter, Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Creative Producer, said during the 2022 Essence Festival of Culture. “We have an opportunity to bring her to a new generation as we’re creating a dimensional space for her and it’s very important for us as a team because the city has been so gracious and open to us to make sure that we are giving our guests an experience that is a love letter to New Orleans.”