Disney has announced that the family of Leah Chase, who inspired Princess Tiana, will be the first to ride Tiana’s Bayou Adventure when it opens this year.

Leah Chase, previous Head Chef at New Orleans restaurant Dooky Chase, has long been cited as the inspiration behind The Princess and the Frog. Imagineers recently took a trip to Louisiana to share the exciting news with Leah’s family and gift them a Tiana’s Bayou Adventure poster.

A Real-Life Tiana

chef leah chase
Chef Leah Chase catapulted Dooky Chase to fame after marrying Dooky Chase Jr. Disney.

Although Leah Chase passed away in 2019, her legacy lives on as one of the most influential New Orleanians. Throughout her lifetime, the “Queen of Creole Cuisine” cooked for the likes of Beyonce, Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, and President Barack Obama. 

In a touching tribute to her mother and heritage, Leah’s daughter, Leah Chase Jr., has recorded a cover of the Louis Armstrong song, “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?”. This song will play in the queue line of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

Leah’s other daughter, Stella Chase Reese, has been pivotal in helping the Imagineering team create the attraction. She has been a key contact in the last couple of years helping to bring her mother’s story – and Tiana’s – to life.

Disney previously shared a video on social media where Stella got to meet the new audio-animatronics that will feature in the attraction at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. She was invited to the California Imagineering Campus along with her daughter, Myla Reese Poree.

@disneyparks Continuing the legacy of Leah Chase 🥺✨ #Disney #DisneyParks #DisneyWorld #Disneyland #TianasBayouAdventure #Imagineering #Tiana #NewOrleans #Chef ♬ original sound - Disney Parks

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will open this summer at Walt Disney World and in late 2024 at Disneyland. The official opening date is yet to be revealed.