Tiana’s Palace Restaurant Opens in Disneyland in September

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Tiana’s Palace Restaurant Opens in Disneyland in September

Disneyland will be welcoming its latest restaurant on September 7, when Tiana’s Palace officially opens in the theme park’s New Orleans Square area, the company announced last week. Based on the 2009 animated film The Princess and the Frog, Tiana’s Palace can be found in the former home of The French Market, which closed in February. The French Market served up classic New Orleans fare like jambalaya and po’ boy sandwiches, and although no menu has been released yet for Tiana’s Palace, you can expect a similar Cajun influence on its food. After all, the name might be different, but it’s still a New Orleans-themed restaurant, only this time with a direct connection to a Disney film that grows more classic with every passing year.

The first and most obvious change to The French Market that you’ll notice is the large Tiana’s Palace sign atop the building, with two crown-topped columns above it. This design comes straight from the film. The Tiana’s Palace in the movie was actually based on The French Market to begin with, so this retheme is fitting. Inside the newly redesigned space you’ll find various design elements that reference The Princess and the Frog and Tiana’s story from the movie and beyond, as well as a color scheme patterned after the distinctive yellow and green hues of Mardi Gras. The beloved Mint Julep Bar will also reopen alongside the launch of Tiana’s Palace, although I imagine its version of the southern staple will still leave out the primary (and pretty much only ingredient), bourbon. The Mint Julep Bar is also home to the always popular Mickey Mouse beignets. Tiana’s Palace will also offer mobile ordering when it opens, so you won’t have to worry about finding a table to try out its dishes.

Tiana’s Palace is part of a larger effort to expand the presence of Tiana and The Princess of the Frog in Disney parks. It started last year, with the opening of Eudora’s Chic Boutique featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets in New Orleans Square last year. It’ll peak with the 2024 opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, the first attraction based on the movie, in the ride formerly known as Splash Mountain. The Princess and the Frog was already steeped in New Orleans culture and history—Tiana herself was based partially on Leah Chase, the “Queen of Creole Cuisine” whose iconic Dooky Chase restaurant has a staggeringly important legacy—so introducing its characters into Disneyland’s longstanding New Orleans Square area makes perfect sense. 

The Princess and the Frog has a singular legacy within the Disney animated canon. It was the first film by Walt Disney Animation Studios to star a Black lead, and at this point is the second-to-last film Disney has made in its traditional hand-drawn style. (It’s often considered the last, but 2011’s Winnie the Pooh arrived two years after The Princess and the Frog.) When it was released in 2009, it was an intentional attempt to revive the studio’s classic style in the wake of computer animation’s box office domination. Unfortunately it underperformed at the box office, and that supposedly influenced Disney’s decision to once again leave the hand-drawn space after the already-in-production Pooh. The studio has since said that hand-drawn animation isn’t permanently off the table, and might return if it makes sense for a specific project, but it’s been over a decade since they’ve produced one. Perhaps the expanded presence of Tiana in the theme parks might inspire Disney to return to its classic art form if the new restaurant and attraction prove popular enough? Here’s to hoping. Either way, Tiana’s Palace will be open for business on Thursday, Sept. 7, only at Disneyland in California.

Tiana's Palace

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