How Disney Brought Tiana's Water Tower to Life at Tiana's Bayou Adventure

27 days ago in "Tiana's Bayou Adventure"

Tiana's Bayou Adventure construction - May 2 2024
Posted: Tuesday May 28, 2024 11:11 am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Among the most striking features of the new Tiana's Bayou Adventure attraction at Walt Disney World is the impressive Tiana's Foods Water Tower, standing 32 feet tall and adorned with a grand tiara.

This water tower was created by Walt Disney Imagineering and a local Central Florida business, Icarus Exhibits. Founded in 1987, Icarus specializes in themed designs and has been working with Disney since the 1990s. Their expertise and dedication were crucial in bringing the water tower to life and seamlessly integrating it into the rich narrative of Tiana's Bayou Adventure.

Disney Imagineers are known for their attention to detail and high standards, and the Tiana's Foods water tower project was no exception. The process involved extensive collaboration, from initial design mock-ups to the final installation. Peter Ricci, principal show manager at Walt Disney Imagineering, praised the partnership, highlighting the long-standing relationship and the high-quality work Icarus consistently delivers. "Whenever we're creating new experiences, we frequently work with trusted and valued industry leaders like Icarus," Ricci said. "That was no different for the construction of the beautiful water tower at Tiana's Bayou Adventure. I've had the privilege of working with Icarus for more than two decades now, and their work as a longtime collaborator never ceases to amaze me."

A Project of Pride and Passion

For Icarus, the project was not just another assignment; it was a labor of love. Co-owner Mark Ireland reflected on the immense pride and relief felt upon the successful completion of the installation. "There's an immense sense of pride to know that you've built it," Ireland said. "First, there's a little bit of relief that everything turned out and was installed correctly, but mostly there's pride."

This sentiment was echoed by fellow co-owner Drayton Knox, a lifelong Floridian who has cherished Disney parks since childhood. "Growing up here in Florida, I've been going to Magic Kingdom since I was seven years old," Knox shared. "Any time we work on anything at the park, it's special. Working on an attraction like Tiana's is really cool."

Jennifer Smith, Icarus General Manager, brought a unique perspective to the project. Having spent over a decade as a Disney Imagineer, she possesses a deep understanding of both the creative and practical aspects of such endeavors. Her dual experience enriched the collaboration, ensuring that every detail met Disney's exacting standards. "My combined past of working for Disney and working with Icarus definitely helped prepare me for my role at Icarus today, as I have a deep understanding and respect for both sides of the work," Smith said. "I am immensely proud of the work we produce for all of our clients. It is also quite fun to still have an opportunity to leave my mark at Disney!"

Bringing Dreams to Reality

The Tiana's Foods water tower is just the latest in a series of successful collaborations between Icarus and Disney Imagineers. Icarus has contributed to numerous iconic Disney landmarks, from the post-show Lightcycle in TRON Lightcycle / Run to the immersive photo ops in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and the larger-than-life figures in Toy Story Land.

Icarus is one of the 2,500 Florida-based small businesses that supply products and services to Disney World. This relationship has allowed Icarus to grow and expand, working with high-profile clients like NASA. "Our relationship working with Disney has allowed us to grow," Ireland noted. "We now get to work with NASA and other companies like that, and we may not have had those opportunities if it hadn't been for Disney."

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Disney Glimpses28 minutes ago

From what I understand, the specific issues are not with new hardware. They've used the same hardware in other attractions but with different operating environments. But yes, it clearly was not considered.

FettFan32 minutes ago

….you would think that the “engineering” part of “imagineering” would eventually catch on to the fact that, instead of a climate controlled warehouse in Glendale, Central Florida is hotter and more humid than the devil’s armpits. Eventually, yes?

Disney Glimpses40 minutes ago

The issues with TBA are actually relatively simple but requiring a lot of trial and error to correct. They are related to operating conditions (temperature/humidity).

Kirby8648 minutes ago

Jurrassic Park river adventure is one as well. Last time I went my boat got pushed over to the raptor paddock. Hope they fixed that by now.

FettFan50 minutes ago

Test Track also opened, what, an entire year after its initial opening date. I remember that TT’s multiple issues were what enabled Horizons to stay open a bit longer, as it would give FW East three pavilions instead of just Ellen and Wonders. But then again, it was a brand new system that Disney designed from scratch. The computers onboard each car would hiccup and not know where the others were, which led to two of them colliding They also used off-the-shelf tires, but something about the rubber composition did not work with the stresses the ride placed on them, which led to them bursting after prolonged use…Disney contracted Goodyear to make specialized tires for them. Again though this is all moot, when you consider that TBA was an established ride system that was untouched. (As far as I can tell, although it does look like the old camel hump during the drop into the laughin’ place isn’t there anymore in every video I’ve seen. Can anyone confirm?)

SilentWindODoom53 minutes ago

You can stay home. Those that have the opposite opinion can go and enjoy and do this fun little thing that you felt the need to reply to twice. No problem.

peter1143554 minutes ago

Test Track

FettFan1 hour ago


EagleScout6102 hours ago

Whoops my bad. I misread that.

LittleBuford3 hours ago

He happens to really like this attraction and wants to celebrate it. That’s absolutely his right.

Kirby863 hours ago

I get it but the question asked rethemed or new.

MickeyLuv'r3 hours ago

Re-read the question. The questions was, "whether it was new or a re-theme." Test Track had a lot of down time. Hagrid's and Rise are the big ones that come to my mind as well. I think Mission:Space also had some downtime. Some of that though was due to people getting sick on it, I think. It was a while ago, so I might not be correct on this point, but I think it took WDW a little while to realize they needed to provide barf bags. Gringott's also initially had some problems, but I think they were resolved fairly quickly. I'm not sure. I recall waiting in a non-moving line back when it was new.

Smiley/OCD3 hours ago

Whoa! You gotta be ABSOLUTELY clear…the AA’s may be technically advanced, (and judging by the B mode and sensor malfunctions even THAT is still questionable), the ride itself is NOT… The optics for this is sooooooo bad…Bob is wearing sunglasses…I guess he really DOES love the Timbuk 3 song “The future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” What a dumpster fire…

MisterPenguin3 hours ago

FEA had tons of issues and wasn't fully reliable until a few months after opening.