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Credit: Disney

Tiana Replaces Belle in Surprise Disney World Switch

Walt Disney World has seen some major changes recently to its theme parks, services, and experiences.

From the new Disney Genie and Park Pass reservation systems to brand-new rides like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT, Disney Guests always have something new to look out for on their next Disney vacation.

Some changes, however, can be surprising, and that’s exactly what happened to Guests today at the Magic Kingdom theme park during a beloved parade.

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Credit: Disney Tips

After a long pause in entertainment and shows at the Walt Disney World Resort during the COVID-19 pandemic, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks are slowly seeing the return of old favorites and beloved experiences.

Disney Park Guests were thrilled when Disney’s beloved Festival of Fantasy Parade returned to Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom Park on March 9, 2022.

With its catchy soundtrack and enchanting floats, the parade has been a hit since its eagerly-awaited comeback. But today, April 25, Guests noticed an interesting alteration to one of the major parade floats. Twitter user @Mousesteps shared a photo showing that Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen had replaced Belle and Beast from Beauty and the Beast (1991) in the opening float for the Festival of Fantasy parade:

Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen replaced Beauty and Beast to front the noon Festival of Fantasy Parade #magickingdom #WaltDisneyWorld

Usually, the front of Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade always stars Princess Belle and the Beast from the classic Disney animated film, Beauty and the Beast. Now, however, it looks like the iconic Disney characters have been replaced by Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen.

Of course, fans of the 2009 animated movie were thrilled to see their favorite frog duo take their “place in the sun” at the front of the parade, as Tiana and Naveen are often classed as underrated characters. Princesses like Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White, and Cinderella are seen more frequently in the Disney Parks in meet and greets, merchandise, and shows.

Disney has not confirmed whether this is a permanent change but we assume that the modification came from characters not being available at the time of the parade, requiring a temproary swap on floats.

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Credit: Disney Tips

Disney previously announced that Splash Mountain, in a stand against what many consider to be the “racist” undertones of the ride, will be rethemed completely into a Princess and the Frog ride. 

Ever since the reveal, Disney Parks have been removing references to Song of the South and Splash Mountain. In March 2022,  Walt Disney World removed “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” from the Festival of Fantasy parade soundtrack, while back in August 20202 Disneyland Resort quietly removed the attraction’s famous song, “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” from the Disneyland Resort esplanade music loop — the courtyard area in between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Disney has not yet announced when Disney World or Disneyland will be seeing the newly updated Princess and the Frog (2009) attraction but with Tiana now part of the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland Resort and at the forefront of the Festival of Fantasy parade, it seems only time will tell when the Disney Parks will see Splash Mountain get a refurbishment.

Princess and the Frog Splash Mountain

Credit: Disney

The Festival of Fantasy Parade celebrates Disney’s classic stories in a series of beautiful floats and amazing costumes. Disney Guests can wave to their favorite characters including Disney princesses Cinderella, Belle, Anna and Else from Frozen (2013), Flynn Rider and Rapunzel, Ariel from The Little Mermaid (1989), Peter Pan, Wendy, and Tinker Bell, Merida from Pixar’s Brave (2012), and characters from the classic 1959 movie Sleeping Beauty.

This Sleeping Beauty float is one of the most iconic floats in the parade, with Prince Phillip battling a fiery dragon version of Maleficent. This float stretches 53 feet in length and 26 feet tall.

We’ll keep you posted on any further Disney Parks updates regarding Disney entertainment or Splash Mountain.

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who loves to enjoy Disney's theme parks with a Mickey Premium Bar in hand! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her Air Force pilot husband. Find her children's book at @thebearandthehug_book