We Were Evacuated from Tiana's Bayou Adventure

We Were Evacuated from Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

Last Thursday, after way too little sleep, I groggily opened my MDE app and secured a boarding group for Magic Kingdom’s newest attraction. My family had flown into Orlando seven hours earlier specifically to ride Splash Mountain’s replacement, so getting that boarding group was a huge relief. Little did we know that we’d be evacuated from Tiana’s Bayou Adventure a few hours later.

Screen shot of a Tiana's Bayou Adventure boarding group from the MDE app

As an aside, I don’t recommend planning a trip around riding a single attraction. The pressure it adds can be overwhelming. I was feeling the stress in the days leading up to our trip, mostly because I wasn’t sure I’d be successful in getting a return time. Disney updated their Annual Passholder previews for Tiana’s. This was new territory for all of us.

First attempt

But the stress waned as we climbed into our boat that afternoon. Before long, Tiana asked us to help find musicians for the party she was planning. I had watched clips of her online, but I was stunned seeing her in person. Many other amazing characters followed. Then Mama Odie shrunk our boat and the lights turned on. Only one of those things should’ve happened.

“No no no no no no no!”

Me, when Tiana’s lights turned on

Then came the inevitable announcement: Tiana’s operations were being halted. We were told to sit tight as Cast Members were on their way. I snapped pics of Mondo, the Afro-Cuban band’s conga drummer. It was a cool spot to hang out, but I was still bummed. I needed to finish this ride!

Mondo with the lights on
Tiana's Bayou Adventure breakdown

Cast Members arrived quickly. I was the first to exit. They pulled the ride vehicle tight to the wall. I jumped out and stood on a concrete walkway while the other guests climbed from their boats. Cast Members were serious yet pleasant. I liked all of them even though they were taking me away from Tiana’s finale.

MagicBand+ going off during Tiana's evacuation

My MagicBand started flashing while I was standing outside the boat.

A fully lit Tiana's Bayou Adventure
Getting evacuated from Tiana's Bayou Adventure
Mondo from Tiana's Bayou Adventure fully lit during ride evacuation

My son filmed while I snapped shots of the brightly lit dark ride. We shut off our cameras once we arrived at a stairwell that led us backstage. Cast Members scanned our MagicBands, giving us Individual Lightning Lanes for later in the day.

Getting evacuated from Tiana's Bayou Adventure
A fully lit Tiana's Bayou Adventure
A fully lit Tiana's Bayou Adventure

Many Disney fans live for ride evacuations. I’m in that group, but I didn’t want to experience one that day. It did turn out to be a blessing, however. Just about every photograph from my initial ride was terrible. You’ve never seen so many blurry animatronics. I had tried a new setting that didn’t work, so I used the downtime to come up with a better plan. I tested the new specs on Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s not easy taking photos while floating in a boat inside a dark building. Luckily, my camera liked the update, and I was able to get some beautiful shots.

Auction scene from Pirates of the Caribbean

Let’s try this again

So now it was back to Tiana’s. It was running again, but storms were rolling in. We entered through the Lightning Lane, bypassing the outdoor queue. The line stopped a few times, adding to my anxiety. Every time a boat would leave, the waiting guests would cheer. We were all a little anxious that day.

As for the ride… it was spectacular. Tiana, Louis, Mama Odie, and the musicians are stunning in person. They’re on par with the Na’vi River Journey shaman, and there are dozens of them. Imagineers have created something beautiful with this ride. Just look at Tiana.

Tiana animatronic on Tiana's Bayou Adventure

As our ride was finishing up, another announcement came over the PA. Tiana’s was closing again, this time for severe weather. There were many groans from the waiting guests. I felt for them. Fortunately, they didn’t have long to wait.

Tiana’s has experienced considerable downtime during previews. I’m not sure what’s causing the issues, but you only need to ride it once to understand how advanced this new attraction is. And while we had a blast getting evacuated from Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, I hope few fans see that stairwell once it officially opens on June 28.