How Disney World's Tiana's Bayou Adventure Ride Gives“ Princess and the Frog” Its Due, Nearly 15 Years Later

PEOPLE spoke with 'Princess and the Frog' star Anika Noni Rose and more about how the new, 'magical' attraction pays homage to the 2009 film

<p>courtesy everett; Disney</p> <em>The Princess and the Frog</em> (2009); Tiana

courtesy everett; Disney

The Princess and the Frog (2009); Tiana's Bayou Adventure at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida

Nearly 15 years after The Princess and the Frog was released in theaters, Disney is continuing to cement its blue-skies-and-sunshine legacy.

During a media preview of Walt Disney World's new Tiana's Bayou Adventure attraction at Magic Kingdom, PEOPLE spoke with several stars of the 2009 animated musical. Set in 1920s New Orleans, The Princess and the Frog follows Tiana (Anika Noni Rose), a waitress who dreams of opening her own restaurant, in part to carry on the dream of her late father, James (Terrence Howard).

When Tiana finally saves enough money to buy the perfect French Quarter building she has had her eye on, she is thrown into a series of hurdles — including an outbid on the building and, most notably, being accidentally turned into a frog after an amphibian-form Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) kisses her, all thanks to a curse put upon him by the evil Dr. Facilier (Keith David).

Fortunately, with some help from Tiana's best friend Lottie (Jennifer Cody), Ray the firefly (Jim Cummings), Louis the trumpet-paying alligator (Michael-Leon Wooley) and voodoo priestess Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis), Tiana is able to achieve her dream of opening her restaurant — all while digging a little deeper to "never lose sight of what's really important."

During the This Is Magic media preview on Monday, June 10, Rose, 51, told PEOPLE, "It's so rare that something happens 15 years later to something with a piece that reinvigorates it and brings it back to life."

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<p>everett; Marleen Moise/WireImage</p> <em>The Princess and the Frog</em> (2009); Anika Noni Rose

everett; Marleen Moise/WireImage

The Princess and the Frog (2009); Anika Noni Rose

Related: What Disney World's New Tiana's Bayou Adventure Ride Gets Right About New Orleans, from a NOLA Native

"So that in itself is a rarity," she continued. "But the fact that the fans have been so excited about it and clamoring for it for so long. It's like a beautiful gift to us and to them."

Tiana's Bayou Adventure takes the place of Splash Mountain, with the majority of the ride mechanism the same (including the famous 50-foot drop) but a total refresh on the décor and storyline. Instead of a briar patch, guests are now taken through the Louisiana bayou, to help Louis the alligator find a band to play during a big Mardi Gras celebration thrown by Tiana — which is shown in all its glory at the very end of the attraction.

The ride features various authentic inspiration, from the scent of beignets wafting throughout, to pieces from local artists like Malaika Favorite and Varion Laurent, to music from Crescent City-born Grammy winners PJ Morton, Terence Blanchard, Trombone Shorty and Jon Batiste.

"I think the fans of Princess and the Frog may love the music the most," Rose told reporters on Monday of the "magical" ride. "But it's also beautiful — like, the light is stunningly beautiful. And just reacquainting ourselves with the characters and hearing their voices again in a new space."

<p>Olga Thompson/Disney</p> Tiana's Bayou Adventure at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida

Olga Thompson/Disney

Tiana's Bayou Adventure at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida

Related: 7 Easter Eggs on Tiana's Bayou Adventure Every Princess and the Frog Fan Should Look, Listen (and Sniff) For

For Blanchard, 62, Tiana's Bayou Adventure "goes a long way in giving the movie its due."

"I think it really justifies the whole reason that the movie was made," he told PEOPLE on Monday. "And it's really propelling what's gonna happen in the future, 'cause they announced today there's gonna be more stories of Tiana on Disney+."

"Which is amazing, because the thing I love about that is it's not a film where you have to go to a theater — it's something that can be right in your home, and these kids can watch it over and over, whenever they want," he continued. "That, along with having this ride, coming here and having a family experience, creating memories, [it's great]."

Tiana's Bayou Adventure opens to the public June 28 at Walt Disney World. It will open at Disneyland in California later this year.

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Read the original article on People.