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WDW Radio # 779 – Inside Imagineering: Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Interview

This week’s episode is very special, as it was recorded at the home of Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, California. I had a very special opportunity and privilege to be invited to Imagineering and the Walt Disney Studios for an secret peek literally behind the curtains at Imagineering, including projects and technologies they are developing for the Disney Parks.

I’ll share not just details from my visit, but my exclusive interview with the lead Imagineers on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, Charita Carter and Ted Robleto, for a look at some of the details, secrets, and stories behind the attraction.


Summary

This conversation is a behind-the-scenes look at Lou Mongello’s visit to Walt Disney Imagineering and his exclusive interview with Imagineers Charita Carter and Ted Robledo. They discuss the balance between nostalgia and bringing new stories to life in the Disney parks, the importance of innovation while honoring the legacy of Imagineering, and the excitement of introducing new experiences to guests.

They also delve into the details of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, highlighting the extension of Tiana’s story and her entrepreneurial spirit. The conversation showcases the dedication and passion of the Imagineers in creating immersive and magical experiences for Disney fans. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is an opportunity to give guests a more multi-dimensional Disney princess experience. The attraction showcases Tiana’s personality traits, her love of cooking, her entrepreneurial spirit, and her connection to her community in New Orleans.

The Imagineers spent time in New Orleans to ensure the attraction authentically represents the diverse culture, music, and stories of the city. The attraction features advanced audio-animatronics, special effects, and an original theme song by PJ Morton. It also introduces new characters that guests can connect with. The attraction offers different experiences during the day and night, capturing the magic and romance of the bayou. The costumes and hair design were meticulously researched to reflect the time period and cultural authenticity. The attraction aims to bring joy, celebration, and a sense of being seen to guests.

This episode also covers:

  • Exclusive Insight: Dive into our special interview with leading Imagineers behind the creation of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, Charita Carter and Ted Robleto. Discover the magic and innovation shaping this highly anticipated attraction.
  • Behind the Scenes: Get an intimate glimpse into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Uncover the unique storytelling elements and meet the characters set to bring the experience to life in a way that’s unlike any other.
  • Technological Marvels: Explore the latest breakthroughs in Audio-Animatronics technology, pushing the boundaries of realism and interactivity.
  • New Additions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Encounter the newly introduced Star Wars BDX droids alongside the next-generation figures of Duke Weaselton and Judy Hopps.
  • Expansion Insights: Unveil what lies “Beyond Big Thunder Mountain” with updates on the expansion of Magic Kingdom.
  • A Fresh Vision for Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Step into the imaginative re-envisioning of Dinoland, featuring the “Tropical Americas” retheming, new Indiana Jones and Encanto attractions, and a surprising Coco carousel.
  • Inside the R&D Labs: Join us for an exclusive tour of the R&D labs for a heartfelt and magical revelation from Lou’s “7-year-old fan” perspective.
  • Artistic Excellence: Visit the Blaine Gibson sculpting shop for an insider’s look at where Disney’s iconic sculptures come to life.
  • Innovative Surfaces: Discover the HoloTile floor in a special segment with Imagineer Lanny Smoot, showcasing the cutting-edge of interactive environments.
  • Leadership Vision: Don’t miss the discussion of a very special presentation from Bob Iger and Josh D’Amaro as they share an exciting outlook on the “turbo-charging” of Disney Parks and what’s on the horizon.

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Takeaways

  • Disney Imagineering is dedicated to bringing new stories and experiences to the Disney parks while honoring the legacy and nostalgia of the past.
  • The balance between nostalgia and innovation is important in creating immersive and magical experiences for guests.
  • Tiana’s Bayou Adventure extends Tiana’s story and showcases her entrepreneurial spirit.
  • The Imagineers’ passion and dedication to storytelling and creating immersive attractions is evident throughout the conversation. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure offers a more multi-dimensional Disney princess experience
  • The attraction authentically represents the diverse culture, music, and stories of New Orleans
  • Advanced audio-animatronics, special effects, and an original theme song enhance the experience
  • New characters are introduced to create connections with guests
  • The attraction offers different experiences during the day and night
  • Costumes and hair design reflect the time period and cultural authenticity
  • The attraction aims to bring joy, celebration, and a sense of being seen to guests

Sound Bites


Sound Bites

  • “Every time we change something out, we win our audiences over.”
  • “We’re not just building for an audience or guests today. We’re building for the next generation and the generation after that.”
  • “We wanted to take this opportunity to give them more Tiana and just to be able to go a little deeper, if you will, into her personality and those things that our guests love about her.”
  • “We’ve really taken advantage of that opportunity to just give our guests a little bit more time with Tiara and you get to see what motivates her and the things that she loves and the things that makes her so special.”
  • “She’s just a much more real person… she’s more like us.”
  • “This is not just a story of Tiana, but a story of New Orleans itself.”

Timestamped Overview / Chapters

  • [00:00] Introduction to Disneyland’s New Orleans Square
  • [02:03] Exclusive Visit to Walt Disney Imagineering
  • [03:44] Behind-the-Scenes of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure
  • [08:04] Exploring Walt Disney’s Office and Legacy
  • [12:25] A Peek into the Future of Imagineering
  • [21:33] The Future of Audio Animatronics and Virtual Reality
  • [23:31] The Unveiling of the Lightsaber
  • [25:51] Presentation on Park Expansions and Franchises
  • [29:14] Peeling Back the Curtain with Imagineering
  • [32:00] Looking Forward to D23 and the Future of Disney Parks
  • [33:22] Interview with Imagineers Charita Carter and Ted Robledo
  • [40:09] A Multi-Dimensional Disney Princess Experience
  • [42:03] Authenticity and Representation of New Orleans
  • [46:22] Advanced Technology and Immersive Effects
  • [48:40] Introducing New Characters
  • [51:47] Day and Night Experiences in the Bayou
  • [56:04] Costumes and Hair Design Reflecting Authenticity
  • [01:05:29] Bringing Joy, Celebration, and Connection

What’s one lesson you learned from Tiana’s journey in “The Princess and the Frog” that you apply in your own life?

Share your thoughts in the WDW Radio Clubhouse at WDWRadio.com/Clubhouse, or call the voicemail at 407-900-9391 (WDW1) and share your story on the show.


Episode Transcript

Click Here To Read The Full Podcast Episode Transcript

Lou Mongello [00:00:42]:
Hello, my friend, and welcome to the WDW Radio show, your Passport to the Disney parks. I am your host, Lou Mongello, and this is show 779. And together since 2004, when I wrote my very first Walt Disney World trivia book, I've wanted to help you not only have the best possible vacation experience when you go to the parks, but I also want to bring you a little bit of Disney magic wherever you are here on the podcast, my weekly live video every Wednesday night, the blog, live events, weekly newsletter, and more. Please join the community and find everything@wwradio.com. So this week's episode is very special, as it was recorded at the home of Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, California. I had a very, very special opportunity and privilege to be invited to imagineering and the Walt Disney studios for a secret peek, literally behind the curtains at imagineering, including projects and technologies they are developing for the future of the Disney parks.

Lou Mongello [00:01:59]:
I'm going to share not just details from my visit, but my exclusive interview with the lead imagineers on Tiana's Bayou Adventure for a look at some of the details, secrets and stories behind the attraction. Then stay tuned for our Disney trivia question of the week, where you can enter for a chance to win a Disney Prize package and more updates at the end of the show. Please connect and chat with me on social I am Lu Mongello on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. And subscribe to the WWE channel on YouTube and like the WWE page on facebook@facebook.com. Wwradio. And if you like what you hear, and I hope that you do, please share the show and tell a friend. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this week's episode of the WW radio show.

Walt Disney [00:02:47]:
You come to the right place. This is our imagineering department. It is here where we dream up all the future things for Disneyland. It is also here that we dreamed up the things for the world's fair.

Lou Mongello [00:03:03]:
Thanks to you. Seriously. And because I would not be here, literally and figuratively, if it weren't for you. So thanks to you, this past week I had the incredible opportunity and honest privilege to be invited by Walt Disney imagineering to their home in Glendale, California for a peek inside the future of imagineering. And it was an absolutely remarkable opportunity to be able to be among a very, very small, select few to be invited on this trip, which also provided a stop to the Walt Disney studios. And my visit to imagineering was nothing short of mind blowing, as I was not only able to see some of the incredible technology and storytelling that's being worked on for the parks, but getting to speak to a number of the magicians, because that's what they are behind the scenes who are bringing these stories to life. And as you may or may not know, Walt Disney imagineering at 1401 Flower street in Glendale, California, is the magic factory that houses the theme park design team that works on the Parks Disney cruise line and the resorts globally. And when we talk about imagineering, these are not just designers and storytellers, because there's more than 140 different disciplines, from model making to writing to computer engineering and financial planning and everything in between.

Lou Mongello [00:04:31]:
And what I want to share on this week's show is just a small part of my experience there, which was an exclusive interview with two of the imagineers, the storytellers, the magic makers behind Tiana's Bayou adventure. But before I get into the actual interview, I want to sort of set the stage and share more about my visit and experience at imagineering with you, which I think will also help give additional context to the interview as well. And I thought a lot about how to best share this with you. So I thought that instead of just talking to you about it, I want to talk with you about it. So what I'm going to do today is give you a brief ish overview of the trip here on the show. But I also want to make this interactive and I want to take your questions about the experience. So on this week's WW live show on YouTube and Facebook, this Wednesday at 07:30 p.m., Eastern, I'm going to share more details about what I saw. Take your questions and we can then discuss what's coming to the parks in terms of attractions and technology and experiences, and maybe even speculate a little bit about what some of what I saw and heard means and what we might hear announced at this summer's D 23, the ultimate Disney fan event in Anaheim this August.

Lou Mongello [00:05:51]:
So I want to briefly ish take you through my experience in relative order. I wasn't able to photograph, obviously most of what I saw, but I do want to share just sort of a chronological idea of what my very quick trip in and out of Glendale looked like. So I flew in to Glendale on Monday and Tuesday morning. They actually brought me over to WDI early before the group experience started, to interview Sherida Carter and Ted Robleto, who were sort of the lead project managers on Tiana's Bayou Adventure. But unbeknownst to me, they also had some surprises in store to help give context to the interview I was about to do. So let me just say first that going to 1401 Flower is as amazing and thrilling as it sounds. I was trying to be cool, but I was smiling ear to ear. Now, I've been very fortunate to visit before, but as part of our WW radio adventures by Disney a number of years ago.

Lou Mongello [00:07:01]:
More on that later. But this time was very different because I was brought in, brought into the back offices while I waited to do the interview and sort of have this surprise shared with me. And look, I am always and will always be a fan first. And it was amazing just to see this who's who of of imagineering royalty walking these literal hallowed halls. Just going to work, right? Going to work every day. And I had a chance to see and chat with some folks that I knew and haven't seen for a long time and had the very fortuitous opportunity to have a one on one conversation with Josh Demaro before he walked into a meeting. More on Josh later, but my love and respect and appreciation for him as a leader, for him as a creative and just him as a really good human being continues to grow with every interaction that I get to have with them. But they then brought me over.

Lou Mongello [00:08:04]:
They drove me over to one of the many nondescript buildings on the very large WDI campus and literally pulled back the curtain for me because there it was like where Willy Wonka's factory meets a peak into the future because I was given a personal tour. Literally like they pulled black curtains back of the area where the final touches were being put on the audio animatronic figures for Tiana's Bayou adventure in Disneyland as the Walt Disney World figures are already installed. And it's one thing to see these figures as you float or ride by on an attraction, or to see a behind the scenes video on Disney or YouTube, but it's something else completely when you can get inches away from these characters in different states of completion as they are being tested and adjusted from nearly finished characters to remarkable, incredibly inventive skeletons that reveal the inner workings that bring these characters to life, which is what they feel like, because as you get close, the realistic faces that feel like these 2d animations were just literally pulled off the screen and brought into the third dimension. The texture on the hair, the bounce, that little sort of subtle bounce that Lewis the alligator has in his excited steps, and even the way the figures move so fluidly and it can almost sort of get a sense of the muscles that are underneath these bespoke handmade costumes and so much more that we're all going to see when the attractions open. I want to take a pause for a second because this experience really was full circle for me because I haven't discussed nor shared anything about this before this. But in May of last year, I was actually invited by Disney and imagineering for a very, very special opportunity to join the imagineers on a journey into the early creative process behind an attraction like Tiana's Bayou adventure. So in May 2023, I was brought out to New Orleans for a few days of everything from imagining presentations to a boat tour of the bayou. The Yaya Art center.

Lou Mongello [00:10:35]:
We had dinner at Dookie Chase's restaurant with some very special guests, museum visits, the jazz museum, which was amazing. We had lunch at the legendary Preservation hall, met some of the artists and artisans and musicians who work on Tiana's Bayou Adventure. We went over to Mardi Gras World and a number of other surprises and experiences and guests along the way that really gave a sense of what an imagineering research trip feels like, being immersed in the culture and the cuisine and the history and the people and the music. And there is a feel to New Orleans. And I love New Orleans, the city just even outside this. That was clearly part of the inspiration for Tiana's bio adventure because this attraction, as we're going to see, goes far beyond the four corners of the princess and the frog story, but really sort of embodies the culture and the people and the history and the spirit of New Orleans itself. And so now that this is sort of coming around full circle, I will finally be able to share some photos and videos from that trip, and I'll share it on social this week and on the WW radio site, and we can talk about it more on the live show on Wednesday. But let me get back to this trip and the time at imagineering.

Lou Mongello [00:12:00]:
So after my interview, I went back to my hotel, dropped off some of my gears, and then was brought on a shuttle over with just a very few. Again, I was incredibly honored and privileged to have been part of a very select few, like a literally, you know, you can count them all on one hand that was brought over on this experience. And we went back, checked in at imagineering and started what was a whirlwind trip around the imagineering and Walt Disney Studios campus, starting off with a visit again, talking about sort of hallowed ground and special places. I know, you know what I mean? And getting to go to Walt Disney's office in suite three a at the Walt Disney studios, because nestled literally in the heart of the studio lot amidst the corridors that have literally birthed the Disney classics, is an absolute treasure trove of Disney history, which is Walt Disney's impeccably restored office. And this alone could be a separate conversation for a separate podcast. But Walt Disney occupied studio three h from 1940 until his death in 1966, and it really was the creative center of what's now the Walt Disney Company. And back in 2015, the Walt Disney archives, started by Dave Smith and is now continued by Becky Klein and her team. They, when I say, painstakingly restored this historic space to its grandeur, like the day it was when Walt Disney left the office.

Lou Mongello [00:13:32]:
It is not an exaggeration. The books are exactly in, not only in the same place, but the same order leaning the same way. Every paperclip, literally every paperclip is accounted for. Dave Smith, again, meticulously went in, photographed everything, and it was absolutely and beautifully restored to the way it was when walked, when Walt walked out. And to say it is an emotional experience. And again, I've been here before. I've been privileged to be here before as part of our WWE group adventures by Disney. You can't help but sort of feel your heart palpitate a little bit.

Lou Mongello [00:14:08]:
And, yes, I got a little bit choked up. I'm a very sentimental person. I get it. But I sort of felt tears welling in my eyes even as we sort of approached the secretary's outer office. And you go into Walts formal office, where I just sort of stood there and imagined these echoes of deals and dreams sort of coming together within those walls. And then knowing that every item, from the pencils on his desk to the Norman Rockwell sketches to the piano that Richard Sherman played for him on Fridays, tells such an important, rich, and I know for a lot of us meaningful stories. And you see these books and you see these sketches and you see these miniatures and imagine how they were one little spark of inspiration for the attractions that we still get to enjoy today. You then go into a second office, which was sort of Walts working office.

Lou Mongello [00:15:14]:
And there you really sort of got this sense of the pulse of creativity. And you look at the desk, and I imagine these conversations and possibly arguments that took place over and around this lower than normal height desk as artists and imagineers poured over what was then secret plans. And you start thinking about the mysteries and the marvels of a world that's being created out of the imagination. Literally in that room and attached to that room is Walt's little kitchen, where they opened up the cabinets, and there was the cans of v eight vegetable juice and hormel chili and spam and corn and jello. And I remember just spending time just looking out the window at the studio's water tower, imagining that's where Walt stood, and that was the window that he looked out on. And even now telling the story, I find myself getting emotional thinking about that man and that place. From there, you go into Walts private gallery, which has a ton of wonderful, very personal artifacts from his life, which I think is such an important reminder that this global icon, whose name we see, you know, emblazoned on movie titles and marquees and theme parks, was a man to a certain degree, sometimes a very simple man, but who was driven by this relentless, passionate pursuit of excellence and a deep, deep love of storytelling. And I just to be clear, I share this with you not because I always feel weird.

Lou Mongello [00:16:58]:
I don't want this to ever feel like, oh, look what I did, look where I am. I share this with you because I want you to do to this as well. Because while Walt's office is not open to the public, you can visit WAlt's office on your stop on an adventures by Disney Hollywood, which is now called a Hollywood and Disneyland tour, which you've actually done twice before as a WW radio group, which got me thinking, maybe it's time to do it again. Quick aside, maybe thinking out loud, would you like to join me on another WW radio adventures by Disney to the Walt Disney studios and the archives and Imagineering, the Jim Henson studios and Walt apartment in Disneyland? If so, let me know in the comments and the clubhouse. We'll circle back to this later on. But I want to get back to the day at imagineering, because we did head back over to Walt Disney imagineering and really start to get this very close, detailed and behind the scenes look at the near and future plans and technologies at Walt Disney Imagineering. So we went back to imagineering at 1401 Flower and started a guided tour of a number of the buildings and offices and facilities in there, including the model shop, and got to see a lot of very close to the miniatures, from Tokyo Disneysea to Disney's animal kingdom, to star Wars Galaxy's edge, to a number of the different parks. And these are the models that actually are used to be scanned in and are the three dimensional blueprints for the attractions that we get to experience.

Lou Mongello [00:18:36]:
We walked over to the Blaine Gibson sculpting shop, which was incredible, and had hundreds of maquettes and statues and molds for the audio animatronic heads, and were given a presentation by an imagineer whose job it is to do those sculpts and helped to craft figures like Walt the dreamer and the process of their creation, which was helpful because when we did go back where it went to where the Tiana's bio adventure figures were being worked on and got that very close up and personal look at what and who is coming to Tiana's bio adventure. It really gives you a sense of not just how audio animatronics technology technology has involved, evolved, but the painstaking work, again, from a number of different disciplines, to bring these figures to life. And again, we were able to see them in various states of assembly and operation and testing, and hear some of the audio that was coming through and really got to pay closer attention to the costumes and the hair and like I said, the muscles under the arms and how each of the costumes is bespoke to each of the figures. And it was on this second visit that my sort of light bulb went off and I was chatting with some of the folks from imagineering, because I realized by watching these characters and hearing some of the dialogue that unlike a number of attractions like Peter Pan's flight, where we go through, when we are watching these scenes and vignettes unfold in front of us as sort of passive observers, Tiana's bio adventure is going to be different because the characters are aware of us. They see us going through this attraction, they interact and they talk to us. And I think that's such an interesting choice. And I think progression from something like Splash Mountain and I think adds another level of fun and realism and personalization of the attraction. And it's also why the technology laid over the storytelling is important, because these characters are looking at us in the eye.

Lou Mongello [00:20:58]:
They are speaking directly to us. So it becomes a much more almost personal relationship with each guest as they float through each of the scenes. And I talk more with Sherida and Ted, not just about this part of the experience, but how and why these details are important in the interview. So, moving on from there, we also went to a place that had ever seen before and is normally off limits to groups adventures by Disney or otherwise, which is the research and development building, which was mind blowing. This was an opportunity to see not just technology that is being rolled out in the parks now, but some of what is coming in the future. So we got to meet and get very close to some of the Star Wars BDX droids that are now back in Disneyland, in Batuu for season of the force, and see and hear from and talk to some of the imagineers in terms of how they were developed, the technology that is used to bring life to these adorable little robots. We also got to see the next generation of audio animatronics figures. You may have seen them on videos like Duke Weaselton and the Judy Hopps figures.

Lou Mongello [00:22:12]:
And to see them operate in person is. It was the first of many. Like, how did they do that? Moments. Because from there we went over to another section of the building where the hollow tile floor. And I'm sure you've seen the video of Imagineer Lanny Smoot, who I interviewed back on show 767, about the hollow tile floor. But to see this technology in action, to see even more in terms of how it is being used and the future of virtual reality and gaming and theme park applications. And I can only imagine just using or even licensing this technology for other applications that we probably haven't even conceived as yet. To say that this is a game changing technology, not just for the Disney parks, I think, as time is going to illustrate, is not an overstatement of just what this is going to be able to do.

Lou Mongello [00:23:15]:
But then, very much unexpected, we were asked to take a little step back. Fortunately, I was right up in front because I'm short and I can't see over people. So I was right up in front. They asked us to take a step back, and another imagineer walks in, and he's got it. He's holding it. He's holding the lightsaber, the one that you probably saw Josh D'Amaro demonstrated at Destination D. You may have seen Rey operate on the halcyon at the Star wars galactic Star cruiser. I was standing 2ft away, and I watched this lightsaber ignite and my mouth was agape.

Lou Mongello [00:23:58]:
And then he says, would anybody like to try it? And the woman next to me says, yes, I'm already sort of planning my move. I'm like, oh, let me, please, let me hold your notebook and pen for you. One because I was trying to be a gentleman. And two, I knew exactly what would hopefully happen next, which it did, because when she was done, I said, oh, here, let me hand you your notebook and pen back. Let me take that lightsaber out of your hand. And I am not too proud or whatever to admit this, but I stood up there and I felt myself getting a lump in my throat and just said, if my dad and my brother and my son could see me now. And they said, turn it on. And I hit that button and I watched this blade ignite and I was inches away from it.

Lou Mongello [00:24:46]:
I have no idea how it works. I don't care how it works because I held a lightsaber in my hand and I'm doing it right now. I was grinning ear to ear because I thought about me and my dad in 1977 at Middlesex Mall, watching Star wars in the fourth row just with our mouths agape. And to have that opportunity and to have that experience and to see and do something like that just, it made my seven year old heart very, very happy. And I can imagine my dad looking down, hopefully smiling as well. Sorry, I get nerdy and emotional and sentimental. I can't help it. Anyway, from there we saw a number of other things as we walked the halls and then were given a very, very special surprise and appearance and presentation at what's coming.

Lou Mongello [00:25:40]:
You may have heard the term the turbocharging of the Disney parks from a number of folks at imagineering, including the chief creative officer Bruce Vaughn, another imagineering lead who presented on some of the new concept art for upcoming park expansions beyond Big Thunder. While details remain undisclosed, we did see some permit filings, which are going to be filed and released relatively soon, and the beginning of the development for not just beyond Big Thunder Mountain, but Disney's Animal kingdom and the reimagineering of Dinoland, including the tropical americas, Indiana Jones Encanto, and what appears to be a cocoa carousel. There was also some peaks at Disneyland forever, and then the big surprise was being treated to a presentation and conversation with CEO Bob Iger and head of parks and resorts, Josh D'Amaro. Just as a quick aside, I've been fortunate to meet and chat with both of them over the years. But there is something Bob Iger has a presence when he walks into a room that is so commanding, not in an intimidating way, but so he commands the room with the energy that he brings and is so incredibly well spoken. I found myself looking over my shoulder at one point to see if he was reading off a teleprompter which he was not, as they talked exclusively about the parks and resorts and the investment strategies for the park expansion. Right. We're hearing these, this term being used over and over again, the turbocharging growth in the experience business and the commitment of the $60 billion investment plan.

Lou Mongello [00:27:32]:
And I love how they sort of brought home what we had seen throughout the day, and this synergy between technology and artistry and storytelling in the parks and the films as well, and a little bit more hints about upcoming expansions and franchises that are coming to the screens, but specifically to the theme parks. And I really appreciated how this was not just looking forward, but this acknowledgement and reverence and respect of the history and the significance of Walt Disney imagineering and the blend of not just technical engineering disciplines, but imagination as well. You know, the sort of reflective comments from Bob and Josh on the importance of continuing innovation and the strategic innovation and integration of new and different franchises into the parks. And it was just a very special way to punctuate a very, very special day. And again, this is a relatively very high level overview because there was so much more that we saw and experienced. You know, one of the things that I think was important as a. As a takeaway, too, and it's part of the reason why I'm sharing this with you, is the idea of imagineering, peeling back the literal and figurative curtain, not just for us, but for all guests as well, because we did hear right before it was revealed about how you can experience some of this at home. They want to let you peak as well, and sort of allow you sort of get behind those velvet ropes, not necessarily just by doing an adventures by Disney type of tour, but the new YouTube series that pulls the curtain back called, we call it imagineering.

Walt Disney [00:29:31]:
Right.

Lou Mongello [00:29:31]:
We've already seen some of this a little bit on the imagineering story and some of the other shows on Disney, but this new YouTube series really is a much more, I think, up close and personal and intimate look behind the scenes. And I love that extension of trust that they have and are giving to us as guests to let us understand how this all comes together, because it doesn't spoil the magic. I think it enhances it that much more. And I think that's what the takeaway was for me for this experience, because this was not an opportunity to spoil anything, but really get a sense of the creative process and work, the extent of work that goes into creating an attraction, specifically something like Tiana's bio adventure. This is something that is years in the making and the research doesn't just happen at a desk or at a computer, but going to these places and the importance of understanding, representing the culture and the people and the place and the history. And I think for me it definitely helps, and for us, it helps to frame my conversation with Sherida and Ted, both of whom were on that New Orleans trip with me last year. So it really is closing the circle almost, well, fully close the circle when we all get to experience the attraction soon. But I think as I sort of reflect on this imagineering showcase, it really sort of gave a glimpse into the future of the Disney parks.

Lou Mongello [00:31:09]:
We see the investments in growth and innovation that they're making. They're celebrating the legacy of creativity and the role in storytelling through the use, not because of, but through the use of cutting edge and true next generation technology that we have never seen anywhere or before. And I think, too, there's also a sense of continued and maybe for some people, renewed optimism for this next generation of park additions and underlying the importance of innovation while still honoring the legacy of, of the Disney parks. I think this helped also sort of set up the anticipation for what we're going to see and hear and experience at D 23, the ultimate Disney fan event this summer in Anaheim. So once again, I wanted to share this story with you to help sort of frame my conversation, to help share with you this opportunity to see this groundbreaking technology and some of the storytelling and really, more importantly, the people that make the dream a reality. These 140 plus disciplines at imagineering, not just artists, but architects and scientists and producers and project managers and programmers and model makers and mathematicians and everything in between. So with all that in mind, I did say that I started my day with an opportunity for an exclusive interview to get to sit down in those hallowed halls of imagineering with Walt Disney imagineers Sherida Carter and Ted Robledo. So I hope you enjoy my conversation.

Lou Mongello [00:32:51]:
All I wish is that I had more time to chat with them. And I would love to hear your thoughts either about the experience that I had at imagineering, my conversation with Sherida and Ted Tiana's bio adventure, imagineering, or anything in between. I will post this question over in the clubhouse. I invite you to come be part of the community. Conversation over@wwradio.com clubhouse but for now, please enjoy my conversation with imagineers Sherida Carter and Tedro Bledo.

Walt Disney [00:33:22]:
Just as we had to learn to make our animated cartoons talk, we had to find a way to make these characters talk, too. Now, to accomplish this, we created a new type of animation. So new that we had to invent a new name for it.

Lou Mongello [00:33:37]:
Audio animatronics.

Walt Disney [00:33:39]:
Right. Audio animatronics. Audio for sound, see?

Lou Mongello [00:33:43]:
And electronically animated by sound. That's what he's trying to say. Thank you.

Walt Disney [00:33:48]:
That's what he's trying to say.

Lou Mongello [00:33:50]:
Excuse me.

Lou Mongello [00:33:53]:
So, as we very anxiously await the opening of Tiana's Bayou adventure in Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Dare I say we're almost there. I promise that will be the last of the bad puns than I do. Actually, that's not true, because I wanted to dig a little deeper with Sherida Carter, the executive creator producer, and Ted Robledo, the creator director from Walt Disney Imagineering, where we are actually recording today. It is an absolute honor and privilege to be in these hallowed halls and to be sitting with you this morning. So, first, thank you for your time and the opportunity.

Lou Mongello [00:34:27]:
Our pleasure.

Chartia Carter [00:34:28]:
Our absolute pleasure, Lou. And I'm just so excited that you're so excited about what we're bringing to the guest.

Ted Robledo [00:34:34]:
Yeah, I mean, I think that's, at this point, at this stage of a project, this is part of my favorite parts is where we get to share and see the excitement on people's faces. This is all we've wanted to do from the very beginning. And so this is, now we're getting into the fun.

Lou Mongello [00:34:49]:
This is obviously a fun for us as well. We're talking a little bit about the fans. Let's sort of start there, because if you want to make Disney fans react.

Lou Mongello [00:34:58]:
Tell them that you're changing something, God.

Lou Mongello [00:35:00]:
Forbid taking something away. And clearly, the Internet potentially loses its mind, but also gets excited. Can you talk a little bit about how you balance that sense of nostalgia and sentiment that we all have?

Lou Mongello [00:35:14]:
Right.

Lou Mongello [00:35:14]:
These parks mean, and these characters mean so very much to us with bringing these new stories to life.

Chartia Carter [00:35:22]:
Yes. Well, I've often said that if Walt Disney was with us right now, he would be doing the very same thing. And the reason for that is he was always very curious. And we, as the Disney company, we are so prolific in our storytelling. We have so many opportunities and new stories that we tell. And so this opportunity to continue to just refresh our parks, give our guests something new. As you know, I've worked a lot on the technical and kind of technique of how we actually manifest our attractions, and we're forever pushing the envelope. And so this opportunity to tell new stories and to give our guests new ways of experiencing our attractions, I think is really a part of the DNA of imagineering and it started with Walt.

Chartia Carter [00:36:09]:
Now, I certainly understand the nostalgic aspect of it. You know, I grew up going to Disneyland, and I had my favorite attractions, and I have wonderful family memories. But I can also say this, every time we change something out, we win our audiences over, because that same DNA of just fun, good storytelling, and opportunity to be immersed in a story that you love, none of that has ever changed. And so it's just really kind of amusing to me because, as you said, it's very consistent. Every time we change something, there's this panic on the Internet. But I can tell you in recent history that I've been aware of every single time we win the guests over. And so we're just always really excited about bringing our guests fresh new experiences. Yeah.

Ted Robledo [00:36:57]:
And to kind of further what you were saying, Sridhar? For me, I like to think of it as not just building for our audience, for guests today. We're building for the next generation and the generation after that. I grew up with Disneyland in the 1970s, and some of what I thought were my favorite things, rides and attractions at Disneyland and tomorrowland, they're no longer here. Right. But some of them. Some of them have been replaced or things have been added that when I look back at, like, when my son was born, a kid maybe 20 years ago, the version of Disneyland that he came to and saw was very different than the version of Disneyland that was near and dear to my heart. But to him, that's what Disneyland had always been at that moment in time. And then you have a next generation.

Ted Robledo [00:37:35]:
And when they show up there for the first time in the park, whether it's magic kingdom, whether it's Disneyland, whether it's Tokyo Disneyland, whether it's Paris Disneyland, Hong Kong, that moment in time for that guest, that is, to them, that is the Disney, right. They don't necessarily have the luxury, if you will, of the history of it and the legacy to kind of compare and contrast. So what we need to be, we need to be sure we do is whatever we do bring to the new stories or whatever we do bring that's new to the parts that it does become that touch point that the new guest and guests from the past, that'll resonate with them, because even with Tiana's bayou adventure, we know what's in the DNA. Or that ride that made it fun for guests, we definitely didn't take away any of that. In fact, we just added to it.

Chartia Carter [00:38:22]:
Yeah, I was going to say, if I could just build upon that specifically for Tiana's bayou adventure, we looked at the dynamics of the ride potential and the fact that it has always been that coming of age attraction for guests because of that big drop. Right. We knew that that's something that we wanted to keep. And then also the aspect of our guests love to experience musicals. Right. You just. You. There's just so much emotional connection.

Chartia Carter [00:38:49]:
And so we wanted to make sure that we were really capitalizing on that and just really taking it to the next level. I mean, anytime you're doing an attraction that is themed after New Orleans and you think about music, right, it's a home run. So we were really excited about that. And as Ted said, looking at just the elements of what makes that attraction very special and then taking it to the next level was our approach.

Lou Mongello [00:39:12]:
And so continuing this idea of taking things to the next level and extending the story, you chose not to simply.

Lou Mongello [00:39:18]:
Retell what we saw in the film.

Lou Mongello [00:39:20]:
The princess and Frog, but instead extend Tiana's story, really with a focus on not just the vibrant culture of Mardi Gras, but one of the things that I love about the character and the story, but is her entrepreneurial spirit.

Chartia Carter [00:39:34]:
Yes. It's been over a decade since our guests had the opportunity to interact with Tiana, and so we wanted to take this opportunity to give them Tiada and just to be able to go a little deeper, if you will, into her personality and those things that our guests love about her so that they could see her in her next chapter. And we were real excited about doing that because, like I said, we have this opportunity to introduce her to a whole new generation. And the fact that we're putting her in a dimensional space allows us to tell the story in a way beyond what our guests saw in the animated film. And so we've really taken advantage of that opportunity to just our guests a little bit more time with Tiana, and you get to see what motivates her and the things that she loves and the things that makes her so special. Yeah.

Ted Robledo [00:40:25]:
And I think that what we've done is kind of create a more multi dimensional Disney princess. With Tiana, we didn't invent anything. You know, in looking back at that film, she came already armed with all of these interesting personality traits. The fact that her father, you know, she cultivated, helped cultivate her love of cooking, but was also an american veteran. Her mother was a dressmaker. Maybe that's where she got her entrepreneurial spirit. So she's just a much more real person. And it's funny, I look at my resume of Disney attractions that I've opened.

Ted Robledo [00:40:58]:
It's like, I'm pretty Disney princess heavy.

Lou Mongello [00:41:00]:
When I look back at it, I.

Ted Robledo [00:41:02]:
Got one Marvel superhero. The rest are Disney princesses.

Lou Mongello [00:41:05]:
And it's been great.

Ted Robledo [00:41:06]:
But something that kind of struck me with this particular Disney princess is that she's more real and more like us. And so this idea of her and her entrepreneurial spirit and just really, what is just the setup for the adventure that we go on, that is not part of the setup of this business place. It's just our opportunity, as Shirita was saying, just to expand upon that and just show how multidimensional she is and how proud she is and how connected she is to her community, to New Orleans, her family. And so in all the research trips that we did, going to New Orleans and meeting all these incredible people, the chase family, all these folks, how could you not make that part of the story? Because clearly, even in the opening sequence of that film, that is who she is, and that city is as much of a character in that film and as much of a part of who Tiana is as Tiana herself. So we had to have a lot of that. What makes New Orleans special in this attraction as well?

Lou Mongello [00:42:03]:
Yeah, I was gonna say that this is. This is not just a story of Tiana, but a story of New Orleans itself. And last year, I had the remarkable opportunity to go on this secret little trip to New Orleans with you. And it was amazing and enlightening for me because it gave me what I imagine as a very small taste of the process that you go through. Right. In terms of, look, we know that everything speaks, the details matter, especially when you're talking about a real place and you see some of the. Not just the locations, but the ways that you gain inspiration. So how do you sort of ensure that this attraction authentically represents the diverse culture and the music and the stories of New Orleans, not just what we see in the corner in the bayou and the ecosystem as well?

Chartia Carter [00:42:56]:
Well, as you mentioned, the fact that the team spent quite a bit of time there on the ground, we had the opportunity to meet the people of New Orleans. And I can't say enough about how special the people of New Orleans are. And everything about that city is unique. It is a unique United States city. It has an incredible heritage. And when you think about the music and then you think about the food and the people, there's just so much that the city offers. And so we really, really spent time talking to people, talking to subject matter experts, spending time, you know, literally walking the streets of New Orleans, being a part of Mardi Gras and just really experiencing firsthand that spirit and that cadence of that amazing celebration were all things that really helped us as a creative team, as a designing team, bring authenticity to this attraction, which I, you know, I can't say enough about how important that was to us. But then in addition to that, we took it to the next level because we had the unique opportunity to actually collaborate with a number of artisans from New Orleans.

Chartia Carter [00:44:09]:
So now we have things that our guests will experience firsthand that were actually crafted and built from, you know, New Orleans residents. And I really think that that will really speak to our guests in terms of just the real, true spirit of the city of New Orleans and the surrounding area.

Ted Robledo [00:44:27]:
Yeah, well, I mean, again, the way, the connection that New Orleans has to its history, and you were there, it's clearly some of those folks are proud of their city, proud of that history and the complexity of that history. But along with these artisans that we've brought on board, we want to be as authentic as possible, not because it's a mandate. We don't want to be didactic here. We don't want everyone, everything that we're doing that is authentically New Orleans, we want to do in service to the story and have it help and contribute to that story. And one of these other ways, too, that we're being, again, authentic is bringing in these musical voices from New Orleans, like Terrence Blanchard and of course, PJ Morton, who's written this amazing new original theme song for the attraction. They're both born and raised in New Orleans. PJ still lives there, but Terrence lives all across the United States. But we knew we had to go to folks who knew this city, who knew the vibe of the city from a musical standpoint to really, again, sort of share with our guests something that's.

Ted Robledo [00:45:22]:
That's real. Right.

Chartia Carter [00:45:24]:
It's.

Ted Robledo [00:45:24]:
It. That New Orleans vibe, that New Orleans sound is. It's only. It's. It's exclusively, I would say, or uniquely New Orleans. So we had to have, you know, musicians and talent from New Orleans, you know, come on this journey with us.

Chartia Carter [00:45:38]:
To help deliver that.

Lou Mongello [00:45:40]:
Yeah, there's, there's a. Unless you've been there, you can't. It's very hard to articulate. There's a special energy in that city that, you know, I've been fortunate to travel a lot. I don't feel anywhere else. And the music is so important, not just to the city, but even to the original film itself. So how do you sort of ensure that the music resonates with sort of the heart and the soul of New Orleans while still allowing it to be sort of connected to the original film as well.

Chartia Carter [00:46:10]:
Well, I'll say to that, that our partners over at Walt Disney Studios did a wonderful job going in and taking a similar approach initially, as we, as imagineers have, in terms of wanting to get just the cadence, the heartbeat and the sound of the city. And so one of the things that was important to us, as we were telling this next chapter, was we wanted to make sure that we were giving our guests something that was familiar, something that connected them initially to the film. And that's why we chose to take a number of the songs and kind of reimagine them, if you will, in a way that our guests would have that initial connection. And then we had the privilege of then taking them further along in the journey. As Ted mentioned, we have an original song that has been written for the finale that we just know our guests are going to absolutely love. So it's just really in line with this ability to start on that wonderful foundation of the film and then continue to build upon it, to give our guests something really fresh and new that will bring a lot of joy. Yeah.

Ted Robledo [00:47:14]:
And with that music, that amazing music from, from the. From the film, we've also found an opportunity here because this is a next chapter story to maybe exercise some of the knowledge that we learned in some of the places that you visited and learning about the history of New Orleans and the origins of the people who came from all over the globe, from Africa, from Europe, colonists from North America, all the way back down to Louisiana. And that culmination of all those different voices created this unique sounds, and they brought with them their musical traditions. So I don't want to say too much, but we are being authentic to that film. And as you said, Srira, using things and musical songs and themes that are familiar to our guests.

Lou Mongello [00:47:59]:
So putting a little bit of a.

Ted Robledo [00:48:00]:
Twist on it, based on the knowledge that we learned about all of the different musical origins that came to New Orleans. So we want to find that balance. We want to find that balance of, like you said, you know, giving somebody, giving our guests, the fans, something familiar. But, hey, if we have this opportunity to do something new and see it through a different lens, why not?

Lou Mongello [00:48:18]:
And that's a perfect segue, because also you have such great opportunity to introduce new characters as well. We're just starting to see hints of some of the new characters, talk about the decision of the inspiration behind them and how these new characters give you the opportunity to enhance the story and enhance the narrative itself.

Chartia Carter [00:48:40]:
Okay, we talk about Laura west as being the mama of the critters, but if there's a pop up of the critters, it's Ted. So I'm gonna let him take this one initially.

Ted Robledo [00:48:51]:
Well, okay, so, you know, again, I'm over the older set of imagineers, and I grew up, you know, with the privilege of experiencing a lot of the original stories and the original characters in all these theme parks, starting with Disneyland. But I was there as a middle school kid at the opening of Epcot, and there's so many original stories and original characters, you know, so we're talking everything from country bear jab regrown up to figment. And I just thought, wouldn't it be wonderful, since this is the next chapter story, to bring new characters, new friends to our guests? Right. That, you know, so that, in a way, selfishly, could kind of capture that feeling that I had where it's like, who was this figment dragon? I've never seen this guy before. You know, and these bears who play the piano or whatever, you know, I wanted to, you know, create that opportunity for Tiana's bayou adventure again. So we got the perfect imagineer to help us with that. Laura west as imagine, and she is the mama of 17 brand new characters that I say. One of the things.

Ted Robledo [00:49:53]:
One of my favorite things about them is that I think she's giving you every type of character or personality type out there. Old, young, big, small, you name it. It's their family units. And I think that's great because for our guests who have come from all different walks of life and backgrounds families, we want to give them a lens through each one of these characters that they can relate to them and maybe even see a little bit of themselves in these characters. So super excited that we finally get to share them, you know, with the world.

Chartia Carter [00:50:23]:
And I'll just add that we truly believe that our guests are going to fall in love with the characters, and this is going to be an opportunity to create new memories and new traditions for our guests. And so we're really excited.

Ted Robledo [00:50:35]:
We'll just.

Lou Mongello [00:50:35]:
Quick.

Lou Mongello [00:50:36]:
There's a lot of us guests who are very, very excited, you know, especially I have two kids, aren't young anymore. You know, they grew up with this film. It's the songs we sang in the car. McCarray. It's the songs we sang in the car as I picked them up from grammar school. And even at, you know, they're 19 and 20 sometimes it's just so much cynical age for kids. They're so excited.

Lou Mongello [00:50:57]:
You get it, right?

Lou Mongello [00:50:58]:
Yeah, but my daughter and my son are so incredibly excited for this because it's not just bringing back memories of this, but they're wondering to see how the story continues. Again, story is the foundation of everything, but there's also opportunity to integrate and utilize some of the technological innovations that have come over time this morning. Look, it's amazing to be here. It was incredible to be. I have friends on the other side.

Lou Mongello [00:51:32]:
Who show gave us a little peek.

Lou Mongello [00:51:35]:
Literally behind the curtain at some of the technology that's coming in in terms of the advancements of audio animatronics. Talk about the technological innovations that are being brought into not just the audio animatronic figures, but using technology in the queue. And it's a multi sensory experience in terms of the visuals, the sounds, and what I imagine is going to be the smells as well.

Chartia Carter [00:52:05]:
Yes, you have that right. Well, the thing is, we at imagineering, like I said, we like to advance our methodologies and the ways that we create our guest experiences. And technology is simply a tool for us because you said it, it starts with the story. The story is very important. And as we get new technological tools and we think of new ways of integrating those tools, it opens up the opportunity for us to give the guests something that they've never experienced before. And that's something as imagineers, we're always going after. We want our guests to be really delighted with the fresh ways that we tell our stories. And so this particular project, Tiana's Bayou adventure, has been this wonderful opportunity, as you mentioned, with our audio animatronics figures.

Chartia Carter [00:52:54]:
We have continued to advance them, and we're really excited about the fact that what our guests are going to experience are some of our most advanced work in that, in that area of creating these characters as figures. And we're excited about that. But in addition to that, we're always looking for the right tool to tell our story. And so we've got sprinkled throughout the attraction, some really special effects, and the way that we are integrating that very dimensional space in fresh, new ways that I think are going to surprise our guests. And we're just really excited to have them experience it.

Lou Mongello [00:53:32]:
Yeah.

Chartia Carter [00:53:32]:
And I mean, I think, too, you're.

Ted Robledo [00:53:34]:
Seeing the folks are going to get to experience, again some of the very best as far as, like this technology that's been developed here at Walt Disney imagineering, not just to bring characters to life, but just to bring magic to life. There's some magical experiences on this ride and transformational experiences that happen, just that, you know, have never been experienced in this particular ride before. So it's the combination of all those things that's magic. But at the end of the day, I say this again, it's all in service of the moment and the story. And what we want is for the technology to be invisible. As proud as we are about the technology, because it takes a lot of smart people, smarter people than me, to make these amazing things happen. But in the moment, we want that technology to be invisible to you. So really, it's in service of how alive can Tiana feel to us? How alive can Lewis feel to us? How alive can.

Ted Robledo [00:54:27]:
How believable are these fireflies, you know, that are in the canopies that are just, you know, bringing us down the bayou? And that's. That's. That's what we want.

Lou Mongello [00:54:35]:
Right.

Ted Robledo [00:54:35]:
But, yes, there's a lot of, like, high end technology to make that happen. But, you know, what we. But again, it's all in service to kind of, like, immerse people in a feeling, you know, in an adventure, in a story.

Lou Mongello [00:54:49]:
And it goes back to what Walt wanted for Disneyland, right? The ability for guests to step out of this 2d environment that they see on screen and live in within the stories of these characters. And again, without giving away too much, I was in awe at what I saw today in terms of the advancement of the technology and being able to get close to Tiana and Mama Odie. It looks like she was just brought forth from the screen. And I love Louis the alligator, not just because it's my namesake, but I just love the character and I love his energy. But he's got that. There's that little sort of bounce. Right, that he had in the film that translates through. But one of the things that I noticed as I saw different iterations of the Tiana character was not just the fluidity of motion, right.

Lou Mongello [00:55:38]:
And you can see. You could almost tell that, but underneath her clothes, there's not metal, but there's muscle. Right. In the way she moves, but her hair. I was very aware of the lifelike and realism that her hair had. Can you talk to that? And sort of making sure. And again, it goes back to sort of the cultural authenticity of these characters, which we've seen only in two dimensions and now in three.

Chartia Carter [00:56:06]:
Well, I can tell you, first off, that our figure finishing group that's responsible for putting that together is just as to advancing the craft as every other aspect of imagineering. So we were really excited about that. But also, we had the opportunity to engage some partners from Walt Disney World to work with us in creating the look, the initial conceptual look for Tiana's hair, her makeup, and all of that. And I think it just lends itself to people who have lived experiences getting involved, have really helped to once again bring that authenticity of the time period, you know, the styles and all of that. And that's something that we have engaged in as imagineers as part of our pursuit of doing something that is very realistic, even within this fantastical world that we'll be taking our guests through. Yeah.

Ted Robledo [00:57:00]:
And, you know, even speaking, going back to here specifically, you know what I mean? It's hard to unlearn what you've learned. And as much research as this, as this team has done, once we start to get into those level of details, texture of hair, how it was worn, all those kinds of things, you can't ignore it. It's easy to sort of fall back on what we know we've done in the past because it's the default. But I think you were saying, sharita, it's kind of, we want to keep pushing the envelope, and it's not, again, in service to be didactic in any way, but it's kind of like, well, now that you have this knowledge, why wouldn't you put it to use again, it just brings some of that believability. It brings some of that authenticity. And I think, in a way, it also services fans who can relate to that, who can appreciate that. It's like, oh, yeah, I see that hair. That's something that feels familiar to me, and it's connection.

Ted Robledo [00:57:54]:
All we want is create connections for people. Yeah.

Lou Mongello [00:57:58]:
The idea of seeing a character and saying, that looks like me. And again, the sort of evolution, I keep going back to the hair because, you know, you might be listening and think he. Why is he focused on the hair? When you see it, you'll understand it's not sort of that molded hair that we've seen on animatronic figures in the past. It looks real. And the closer you get to the characters, you would think that they get. They look less realistic, and they're put in just the opposite, even the costuming.

Lou Mongello [00:58:23]:
Right.

Lou Mongello [00:58:23]:
I was very aware of the costume. Again, Mama Odie looks like she stepped off the screen. Tiana has this new, vibrant, bright, sort of 1920s style clothing. Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration in terms of the design and what you wanted to convey in costuming as well?

Chartia Carter [00:58:41]:
Sure. We were able to partner with a woman Ida Mildrow as a conceptual costume designer, she works for the parks and has been responsible in the past for maintaining our audio animatronics figures in the park. And once again, it was this beautiful opportunity. And she has this amazing story of how she, you know, when she was introduced to her first african american doll and how that inspired her at a very young age to go into costuming. Right. And so, you know, you have expressed that you have been impressed with the amount of research that the team has done in New Orleans. Well, I can tell you Ida took that same amount of rigor in terms of research and looking back at, you know, what the style was like at that time. But in addition to her research online and through publications, her mother, who actually lived in that time period and was a young woman at that time, served as a great source of inspiration for Tiana's outfits throughout the attraction.

Chartia Carter [00:59:54]:
And so once again, we had this opportunity just to take the authenticity to the next level. Right. And so as she was designing, she was doing a tribute not only to that time period and not only to Tiana, but to her family and her mother. Right. And I think that is just something that takes, takes the whole design to another level. And I think our guests are going to perceive it, that there was a lot of love that went into designing the way that Tiana looks like.

Ted Robledo [01:00:21]:
Yeah. And, yeah, absolutely. 100%. And one of the things that Ida educated us on because we knew we want to service the story. I keep saying that. But, you know, if you're going in and if you're going into an adventure into the bayou, you're not going to be wearing a princess dress. You could, but it's not very practical.

Chartia Carter [01:00:39]:
Right.

Ted Robledo [01:00:39]:
And it's not going to say you're looking for a while. So we asked either, as it kind of got us, what would a woman of that time wear if she was going on an adventure? And during that time, there werent a lot of pants tailored for women. So in she doing her research, Ida bringing us all this great research, we discovered that these pants that Tiana wear, theyre called jodhpurs. Theyre equestrian based pants. That was sort of the go to because that was one of the few pants, if you will, trousers that women wore. But for a specific activity. But if you look back at those historical time, a lot of women going on either whatever adventurers for, or even there was an african american aviator, she showed us picture of they're all wearing these pants. And so that was, again, sort of a direct line, like, okay, of course, if Tiana was of that time.

Ted Robledo [01:01:24]:
That's what she would choose to wear into the bayou and wear those, those boots with those gaiters, you know, and that type of jacket, that type of hat to keep the sun out of her eyes. So we're, again, super privileged, you know, to have smart folks like Ida, who's already part of Disney, to kind of like, come on this journey with us and educate us, really, you know, and help us, you know, solve for the.

Lou Mongello [01:01:44]:
Story, you know, as I've been able to watch the evolution of Splash Mountain becoming Tiana's bayou adventure, just sort of looking, I'm not very tall, but I look over the walls as much as I can, and we see this. I started to think, you know, one of the things I loved about Splash Mountain and some of the attractions in the parks is they're different experiences from day to night. And I have to imagine with Tiana's bio adventure, there was an opportunity for you as well to enhance the attraction for different experiences. Talk about thinking about the attraction going from day to night and maybe with things that we should be looking for as well.

Chartia Carter [01:02:21]:
Okay, well, don't want to give away too much, but you're absolutely right when you think about the bayou. The bayou has a certain magic in the daytime for those who've had the opportunity to experience it. And then at nighttime, it's just a whole nother thing. And so we wanted to make sure that we were capturing that aspect of the bayou as well. So we do have an opportunity to have a completely different look. I know we put out a video conceptually of what we're going for for our guests. And I think it's just once again, a unique opportunity to just give more variety to our guests as they experience the attraction over and over and over again. And with that, I think the way that we have approached the overall attraction, whether it is a daytime experience or a nighttime experience, there is so much for our guests to that every time they go on it, they will probably discover something and see something that they didn't see before.

Chartia Carter [01:03:17]:
And so we're really excited about that aspect of the experience as well.

Ted Robledo [01:03:21]:
Yeah. And, you know, I think, again, going back to the source material, princess and the frog, there's so many moments in that film, so many of my favorite scenes from that film that take place either in the day or the night. And we wanted to try and try and capture some of that. That, ok, I'll use this word loosely, but that sort of the romance of those scenes, I don't mean like romance between Naveen and Tiana. But I mean, just, you know, the sunlight hitting the water across that long that they were hiding in to hide from the crocodiles, or the hunters, rather. You know, there's this magical, like, light that the animators were able to achieve with that. But then in the evening, there's that scene where I think it's ray the firefly singing his song and the dancing that happens of the fireflies inside those lilies floating on the water. Well, that happens at night, and they glow.

Ted Robledo [01:04:11]:
Right. So there are so many things from the film that we wanted that really kind of blew us away. Oh, we got to do that. We got to do that. And so a lot of that has to do with that time of day and how we can again create unique experiences at different times of day.

Lou Mongello [01:04:26]:
I have a billion more questions, but I have to be respectful of your time. You have attractions you need to finish. I will say just two things. One of the things that I love about this coming full circle, sitting here and imagineering is how it does, because this is not just about the princess and the frog. It's not just about New Orleans. I think about Walt and his love of travel and going to New Orleans and sort of the genesis of what now is audio and tronics. This really is coming full circle. Just very quickly, what would maybe be the one thing that you hope that guests take away after experiencing the attraction? Or if I was riding with you.

Ted Robledo [01:05:04]:
What'S the one thing that you would.

Lou Mongello [01:05:06]:
Want to make sure we don't miss when we're on it? You have to have a little favorite section of it as well.

Chartia Carter [01:05:12]:
Oh, my goodness. Well, first of all, I think the one takeaway that I would want our guests to have is this sense of joy and celebration. That's what we're going for. That's what we need right now, is some joy and some celebration. And I think this distraction is going to deliver on that, that you're asking me to potentially divulge my favorite part of the attraction. And I don't know that I can do that because there's things that are really unique about every aspect of the attraction. But my mind goes to just one of the aspects that will, that makes the attraction unique, and that's the big drop. And I think the way that we are approaching it is less of a kind of scary experience and more of a just joyous, fun, celebratory aspect.

Chartia Carter [01:05:59]:
So I think if we were riding together as we approached that drop, I would just tell you, be ready, get ready.

Ted Robledo [01:06:07]:
Can I choose three things.

Lou Mongello [01:06:08]:
Absolutely.

Ted Robledo [01:06:09]:
Okay. So number one, I hope that each guest who experiences Tiana's by adventure girls in the ride connects with one character that they meet on this ride. This is like, oh, they're my favorite.

Lou Mongello [01:06:19]:
That's the one.

Ted Robledo [01:06:20]:
I want them to be my friend or their most. That's the one that's most like me. Okay. So I hope that they guess can make that connection. Secondly, I hope the guests recognize, and this is something I think that's fairly unique, is that they feel seen because Tiana speaks directly to us.

Chartia Carter [01:06:36]:
Right?

Ted Robledo [01:06:36]:
Louis speaks directly to us. Right? We're part of this. I hope that guests walk away feeling like, wow, Mama Odie was talking to me, you know? And then the third thing is that amazing new theme song that PJ Morton wrote. I hope that their kids and the car home then are singing it over and over again. And if their parents are annoyed, then we did our job.

Lou Mongello [01:06:59]:
I think Richard Roberts will be very proud of you saying that. Sarita and Ted, thank you so much for your time today. Thank you for all that you do to bring these stories, bring these characters, bring these cultures to life and share the world with us.

Chartia Carter [01:07:13]:
Our pleasure, thankfully, for being here.

Ted Robledo [01:07:15]:
Thank you.

Lou Mongello [01:07:30]:
Getting ready to test your Disney knowledge with our Walt Disney World trivia question of the week contest. See how well you know your Disney history details or if you, you can identify a quote or sound clip from the parks. If you get the answer right, you can enter for a chance to win a Disney Prize package. And this week's trivia contest is once again brought to you by you. Seriously, I mean it. Because as part of the WWE Nation, you can become an important part of every episode, every live show and the community. And for as little as a dollar per month, not only do you help support the show, but you also unlock exclusive rewards like scavenger hunts, group calls, private community access, and monthly surprise care packages from the parks. Plus, your contribution helps our Dream Team project, which sends children with life threatening illnesses to Walt Disney World through make a wish.

Lou Mongello [01:08:16]:
And thanks to your generosity, we've raised more than $550,000 so far. And I am so grateful for your love and your support and your friendship and help. And I love being able to give back to you and say thank you each and every month. I want to thank some new and longtime members of the Nation family, including Christina Welch, Deb Patrice Roberti, Angela Batista and your awesome kids. Hey, guys. And Dave Brookover, to find out how you can join the nation, support the show, and our dream team project through make a wish you could visit wwradio.com support. Now, before we get to this week's question, let's go back, review last week's and select our winner. So there is a method of my madness, because last week we were at Port Orleans French Quarter.

Lou Mongello [01:08:59]:
This week we're talking about New Orleans and Tiana's bayou adventure. And last week's tribute contest question allowed me to combine two of my loves New Orleans and food in New Orleans. Because your question was to tell me, what was the name of the original now closed table service restaurant? Yes, it was a table service restaurant there at one time at Port Orleans French Quarter. If you entered and answered and played thank you and congratulations. If you got it right and knew that the answer was, of course, Bonfamil's cafe. This was the original full service restaurant, which closed in August of 2000 and was named after Madame Bonfamille from the Disney animated feature the Aristocats, which was also the inspiration of the naming of Scat Cats Club. By the way, do you know what Bonfamil means? It's french for good family. Anyway, I took all the correct entries, randomly selected one.

Lou Mongello [01:09:49]:
Last week you were playing for a WWE 3d keychain, a bunch of stickers, a WWE o pin, and a mystery prize. And last week's winner, randomly selected, is Cathy Marcus. So, Cathy, congratulations. I'll get your prize package out to you right away. And if you played last week and didn't win, that's okay, because here's your next chance to enter in this week's Walt Disney World Trivia challenge. So of course we have to stick with New Orleans and princess and the frog and some of the critters and characters in the film. And maybe coming soon to the attraction. Because what famous, at least us Disney fans voice over artists, provided the voice of Ray the Firefly in the Princess and the Frog film? I'm gonna give you a hint.

Lou Mongello [01:10:34]:
You've definitely heard him and his many incredible voices before, but what is the name of the famous voice over artist who provides the voice of Ray the Firefly in the film? Maybe the attraction we'll see coming soon. Anyway, the contest runs until Sunday, April 14, at 11:59 p.m.. Eastern. To enter, all you need to do is go to wwradio.com, click on this week's podcast, use the form there, and this week you're once again going to play for the keychain, the stickers, the pin, and a mystery prize. Maybe, possibly, probably. I'll share it on social a special prize from Tiana's Bayou adventure. More specifically, it may have come from imagineering for Tiana's Bayou adventure. So good luck, have fun en laissez les bon timbroler.

Lou Mongello [01:11:26]:
And forgive me for my probable awful attempt at french pronunciation. Thank you so very much for spending and sharing your time with me this week. I know how valuable it is. I appreciate you listening and subscribing and tuning in quickly. Before you go, don't forget to join me for my live discussion about my trip to imagineering, Tiana's bio adventure, and anything you want to chat about on this week's WW radio live show. This and every Wednesday, 07:30 p.m.. Eastern this week you can watch either on our Facebook page or in the clubhouse@facebook.com wwradio. Or on our YouTube channel@YouTube.com wwradio.

Lou Mongello [01:12:14]:
And the only way to ensure you don't miss a thing there's no algorithm. Here is to subscribe to my free weekly newsletter and updates for not just news and updates and information about the show and from Disney, but you also can get exclusive information and a free copy of my 102 things to do in Walt Disney World at least once. Book if you'd like to share a question, a comment about this week's podcast, or just a hello from the parks, you can call the WW radio voicemail. Be heard on the air at 407-900-9391 that's 04:07 900 WW one. And of course, be part of the community and conversation over in the clubhouse@wwradio.com. Clubhouse and of course, as much as I love connecting with you online, I still believe believe that nothing beats a handshake and a hug. Check out our events page@wwradio.com or on Facebook for our next meet of the month group cruises on the Disney Magic later on this year to Lighthouse Point, the Disney treasure in 2025, and join our interest list for our adventures by Disney to Japan and maybe a few other places that I'm working on as well. And whether you join us on one of our group adventures meets of the month or you're planning your next Disney adventure or looking to book your next Disney cruise, let mousefantravel.com be your guy.

Lou Mongello [01:13:27]:
They are my official and recommended travel provider for more than 17 years because it's who I use, it's who I recommend, because most importantly, it's who I trust. So whether you're dreaming of a magical vacation to Walt Disney World or any other destination Mouse fan travel offers you an incredible level of personal service, expert advice, and amazing deals that make your trip completely unforgettable and all at no cost to you. But don't just take my word for it, you can experience the magic for yourself. Get a free, no obligation quote and find out why. Mouse fan travel is my go to for all things Disney travel. And as always, my friend. And you are my friend whether we have met yet or not. All I ask is that if you like the show, please help spread the word, rate and review the show over on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Lou Mongello [01:14:12]:
Share a link to this or your favorite episode on social. Tag me media on Jello so I see it and can reshare it for you. And thank you, thank you. Thank you again for joining me this and every week for being part of our WWE family and for the gift of allowing me to experience and share with you opportunities like I had this past week. If there's ever anything that I can do for you, please reach out and let me know. And speaking of trying to help you, if you're looking for a keynote speaker for your event or your conference, or to your business, or if you're a creator, entrepreneur, or solopreneur looking to take what you do to the next level, you can find out some of the ways I can help you. We can work together and come to some of my momentum series of events, including my weekend workshop this fall in Walt Disney World. You can visit lumangelo.com and please feel free to reach out if there's anything at all I can help you with.

Lou Mongello [01:15:01]:
I hope to see and chat with you on Wednesday during the live show. I hope that you have an amazing day today and even better tomorrow. Always remember to choose the good. So until next time, thank you. I love you. See you soon.

Catherine from Mass. [01:15:17]:
Hi Lou, this is Katherine from Massachusetts calling. Just listen to episode 775, the ten most influential women in Disney history. Loved the episode. You and Kendall did a fabulous job. Really enjoyed it. I had my top five picked out because I like to play along and you all hit four of them. Who were Lily and Disney? Harriet Burns, Mary Blair, and Alice Davis. But you didn't get my fifth.

Catherine from Mass. [01:15:47]:
So I wanted to call in and make a plea for Flora Disney, who was Walt's mom. As many of you may know, Walt's dad Elias, was really a very tough cookie. He was no joke. But Flora was so loving and really fun loving and had a really joker sort of side and really made life a lot better for Walt and his siblings. And I feel like without her influence, his life might have really gone in a very different direction. So here's a shout out to Flora Disney, Walt's mom. Thanks a lot, Lou, for everything you do. Love the show, and we'll talk to you again soon.

Lou Mongello [01:16:32]:
Bye bye.

Tom Caller [01:16:33]:
Hi, Lou, it's Tom free calling from New York. I wanted to thank you for your recent podcast episode about the ten most influential women in Disney history. And I also wanted to be sure and mention the writer Linda Wolverton, who worked on some real watershed projects for Disney, including writing screenplay for Beauty and the Beast and co writing the screenplay for the Lion King. Many other things, too. And she, she has said that when Disney brought her into, right. Beauty and the beast in her heart, she really wanted to change the perception of the Disney victim heroine because she didn't think that sort of conventional approach, that contemporary audiences would buy it. And that was certainly an astute observation on her part, especially since it was back in the, this was back in the early nineties. So I think she had a huge impact on the film's success, and we all know where that led to, and as, of course, did many other people.

Tom Caller [01:17:34]:
But the film might not have been, you know, become this Oscar nominated milestone, you know, if it hadn't been for her perspective or determination. And not only was she the first woman to write a screenplay for a Disney animated feature, she also adapted her screenplay for the Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast, another milestone, because that was really the beginning of Disney on Broadway. She co wrote, as I said, another major Milestone, the Lion King screenplay, adapted that for Broadway and worked on other things like Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland, other Disney projects. And since I also write musicals, she's certainly an inspiration to me, as are many other people at Disney, of course. But she really has been a very, very, very significant, significant player in Disney history. So thank you. And Kendall, for another really interesting, really very sharp and well researched episode. I appreciate it.

Tom Caller [01:18:37]:
And take care.


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