Terence Blanchard‘s career spans decades. Born into a musical family, the trumpeter, pianist and composer has scored over forty films. However, one that stands out is his work on The Princess and the Frog, which introduced the world to Disney’s first Black animated princess, Tiana. Blanchard performed the titles “When We’re Human” and “Ma Belle Evangeline.” Now, 15 years after the film’s release, the son of an opera singer has lent his talents to helping the franchise expand with its theme park attraction Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, coming to Walt Disney World on June 28. 

While all of his work is special, working on all things Tiana hit differently for the New Orleans native. 

“This is like a dream come true. It was so exciting because first of all, you’re doing something for young African-American girls,” he told members of the press at a recent preview for the attraction. “And that means a lot to me. It’s one of the first films where my daughter was really excited. I actually played the music all day, every day, for her. But, to see it done in such a way that makes it a positive story for young kids. It’s awesome. I’m just I’m just proud to be a part of it.”

The attraction is lauded as a love letter to New Orleans. Blanchard said Disney enlisted the proper help to ensure everything was true to New Orleans culture, especially the music. 

“That’s one of the exciting things because we did the music for the Q line, and we were worried about people not getting on the ride and wanting to get back in line and listen to music,” he recalled. “Because we’ve got a lot of great bands that are playing a lot of fun and infectious type of music. I hope everybody has a good time. We tried to make it like a radio broadcast. So the whole idea is to just make the whole experience something that’s just fun from beginning to end.”

More than anything, Blanchard is thrilled over Tiana’s lasting impact on not just Black and brown girls but how the world and women and girls of all ages and shades have responded to Disney’s first Black princess. Walk through Magic Kingdom, and you’ll see someone from each ethnic background dressed in their version of Tiana. Blanchard said it’s a testament to the culture’s impact.

“That’s why it’s important. Because now we’re being accepted. And it’s just another flavor. My daughter’s the same way. I was telling somebody earlier today, I saw a little girl with the princess gown on. And it took me back to when my daughter was little and had a princess party. There were little girls dressed in every Disney princess, and the girls were all Black, but the princesses were not,” he recalled. “I think that what you’re talking about is the overall statement of having a larger box. It’s not just about Black culture, but it’s about different cultures in America. One of the things that I loved about this place, about Disney World, is there’s a lot of different influences from all different parts of the globe here. So why not have our culture here too? And this shouldn’t be the sidekick. This should be the territory for other things to come in as well.”