11 things you didn't know about 'Princess and the Frog'

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Monday, June 1, 2015
Naveen asks Tiana to kiss him and break the spell.

There's magic in the air tonight and anything can happen, so the opening song from The Princess and the Frog says. Lucky for everyone involved, on this occasion that sentiment is absolutely accurate because you're about to learn some of the behind-the-scenes stories and secrets from the production of this delight of a film (and we get to share them with you). So make a wish (hopefully the wish will be for 11 fun facts) and hold on tight:

1. It took three and a half years to make the film. (No frogs were kissed in the process.)

2. Directors Ron Clements and John Musker pitched the film to Oprah on a trip to Disneyland, just for fun. She loved the idea so much that she asked to be a part of it.

3. The women who fawn over Prince Naveen are all caricatures of women who work at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

4. Anika Noni Rose requested that Tiana be left-handed, just like her. (Tiana's dimples are also borrowed from Anika.)

5. This interlude is an homage to Dick Van Dyke's dance with the penguins in Mary Poppins.

6. "Achidanza," a word Naveen says in the made-up language of Maledonian, means, "cool!"

7. In an earlier version of the story, Louis was a human who couldn't play any instruments, but really wanted to, so went to Dr. Facilier who gave him the ability to play the trumpet-and turned him into an alligator in the process. It was too complicated, so filmmakers nixed the subplot.

8. Ray was animated by Mike Surrey who also animated Timon in The Lion King. He's voiced by Jim Cummings, the voice of Winnie the Pooh!

9. Mama Odie's character is based half on comedian Moms Mabley and half on Yoda.

10. Dr Facilier's name is derived from the french word "facile," meaning easy. The idea was that he would lure people in under the guise of giving them what they wanted with ease-without them having to earn it the old-fashioned way (work).

11. The birds used in this shot were recycled from existing bird animation in The Lion King.

Of course one of the biggest influences on the film was the city of New Orleans itself! Its gorgeous traditional architecture, art, jazz, and people were all key to filmmakers when making The Princess and the Frog, and courtesy of New Orleans Tourism you can enter for a chance to win a trip to New Orleans and see its sights yourself! Like the song says, dreams do come true there, so laissez les bon temps roulez!

No Purchase Necessary. Ends 8/23. Open to U.S.; 18+. For complete official rules and eligibility, visit followhermagic.com. Sponsored by New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp.

This story first appeared Oh My Disney and is reprinted with permission.