RIDE EVACUATIONS Are Plaguing Disney World’s Newest Ride — Here’s Why We’re Not Surprised

By admin Jun7,2024

The “soft open” for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is off to a rough start.

©Disney

Cast Member previews started over the weekend, and each day has seen lots of down time, queue closures, and ride evacuations. Members of the DFB Team who have been invited to ride with Cast Member friends were not able to ride on Monday, June 3rd, or Tuesday, June 4th, because the ride was down at their designated time, and eventually it was down so long that their reservations were canceled. So, WHY is this ride having so much trouble? Disney traditionally does not release information about why rides go down, but we do have some theories. Let’s talk about it.

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Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is set to open in Magic Kingdom on June 28th, but for the next few weeks, the ride is in soft open — with previews for Cast Members, the media, then Disney Vacation Club members, and then Annual Passholders — all leading up to that official opening day.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

The ride’s storyline takes place one year after the end of The Princess and the Frog movie, as Tiana prepares to throw a Mardi Gras party for her community. We get to journey into the bayou with Tiana to find the “missing ingredient” for her party — and we meet lots of new, musical critters along the way!

©Disney

And, as you probably already know, this ride uses the same ride vehicles and ride track as Splash Mountain, which Disney closed in early 2023. And that has led a lot of people online to question why it seems so hard to keep a ride that already existed running consistently. Yes, it’s in previews, and yes, previews are generally when all the kinks are worked out as Cast Members train on operating the ride — but the ride has been down A LOT, and we’ve witnessed several ride evacuations.

Cast Members assist in evacuating a ride vehicle at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

So why is this ride in particular so hard to keep running? We have some thoughts. It seems like what we are seeing here is maybe some conflict between the old technology of the ride — which was shut down and dormant for more than a year — and the new technology in new animatronics and ride scenes installed into a ride that is technically more than 30 years old. (Splash Mountain opened in Disney World in 1992.)

We have been told some possible reasons for closures — and again, I stress that we are speculating here and going off information being told to us by Cast Members in a non-official capacity — could have been logs syncing in the ride, and wiring setting off fire alarms. The alarms in particular would have to be calibrated as the ride runs and could have been set to be too sensitive.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure queue

In addition, this ride is an indoor/outdoor situation starting up during a summer where record heat in Orlando is already predicted. The closest reference to this situation is the opening of Frozen Ever After — another Disney World ride that was built using the same ride track and ride vehicles as an older ride (Maelstrom, in that case). But while Maelstrom had a partial indoor/outdoor track, that ride building was closed in for Frozen Ever After, so the environment for it is entirely climate-controlled.

Frozen Ever After

We don’t recall Frozen Ever After having a lot of down time or ride interruptions and evacuations during its first few days of operation. However, there is a major difference in the way the ride was introduced in 2016. It did not have the weeks of previews that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is having. Even a planned press preview for Frozen Ever After was canceled in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando in June 2016.

And “soft opens” are often the times that businesses of any kind use to work out any kinks and test things out — so that’s definitely part of what we’re seeing with Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Regardless of the issues we’re seeing now, we expect them to be resolved soon and for the ride’s opening date later this month to be smooth sailing — or log riding, as it were — in Frontierland!

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