The Enchanted Tiki Room

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First things first! 

Tiki refers to large wood and stone carvings of humanoid forms in Central Eastern Polynesian cultures of the Pacific Ocean. The term is also used as it relates to Māori mythology where Tiki is the first man.

[From Wikipedia.com]

A BIRD OF A DIFFERENT FEATHER

[The Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom by The Imagineers - Disney Editions]

Our first Audio-Animatronics show at Disneyland in 1963, The Enchanted Tiki Room was often said to have been Walt’s favorite. Not bad for an attraction originally conceived as a restaurant-one with a show, of course! After Walt returned from a trip to New Orleans with a little mechanical bird, he became fixated on the idea of improving the mechanism and building a show around singing avians.

He first revisited an old Confucius dinner theater concept that had been developed, but never built, for a proposed Chinatown area on Main Street.

Eventually he settled on a Tiki backdrop for his singing birds, allowing him to place it into Adventureland.

This choice of theming also allowed for the introduction of a huge supporting cast of flowers, masks, drummers, and tikis, all singing along in unison.

The “Under New Management” show at the Magic Kingdom Tiki Room is an example of the WDI practice of “plussing” an idea. By the mid-1990s, after nearly three decades of performances, the Tiki Room show, beloved as it had been, began to feel a bit slow in its pacing.

When it was time for WDI to rethink the attraction, and possibly replace it, the significance of the show to our Company’s history made the Imagineers reluctant to implement a wholesale change. The decision was made to rejuvenate  the production instead, through the introduction of some contemporary comedy and music and a couple of very popular co-hosts.

The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management) opened in 1998 with Zazu from the Lion King and Iago from Aladdin as the two new birds on the block. The relaxing South Seas tropics have never been the same since!


At Least a Mild Kick for new Guests

[Birnbaum Guides 2009 - WDW Expert Advice from the Inside Source - Disney Editions]


Though cherished for its historical significance (the Tiki Birds starred in the first Audio-Animatronics attraction ever), the Tiki show was growing a bit tiresome. Now, thanks to clever new costars and zippy new tunes, the Tiki Room is rockin' once again.

The 9-minute show still features Michael, Pierre, Fritz and José (who is pinning for his beloved Rosita) - plus some 200 birds, flowers, and tiki statues singing up a tropical storm. But before long, their sweet serenade is interrupted by an unimpressed Iago (Jafar's partner in crime from Aladdin).

It seems that Iago, along with Zazu from The Lion King, is a new owner of the Tiki Room - and he has big changes in store for the show. In a fractured version of "Friend Like Me," the bratty Iago warns the Tiki Birds that they'd "better get hip, or the audience will disappear."

In a welcome twist, it is Iago who disappears, leaving the Tikis to prove just how hip they are. While it helps to have seen the old show to appreciate all of the silly humor, even many first-time guests manage to get at least a mild kick out of the Enchanted Tiki Room - Under New Management.


Some Unknown Treasures

[The Complete Walt Disney World 2010 - Coconut Press]


When Iago and Zazu take over this creaky musical revue of robotic birds and flowers, Iago wants to toss it for something more current. But when he insults the Tiki gods he learns that "you cannot toy with the Enchanted Tiki Room."

Songs include "Hot Hot Hot," "Conga," and, from the mouths of Tiki poles, "in the Still of the Night." It's an acquired taste.

An outdoor preshow has two talent-agent parrots trade bird-themed barbs over which one's client is the attraction's new owner.

HIDDEN MICKEYS

1 - On the Entrance doors, as 2-inch berries on a stem underneath a bird's tail, 4 feet off the ground;

2 - On the bottom of Iago's perch, where a small carved face is wearing Mickey ears.


FUN FINDS

1 - As the cockatoos start to sing "Conga," José says "I Wonder what happened to Rosita," an original tiki bird no longer in the show;

2 - "Boy, I'm tired," Iago says just before the exit doors close. "I think I'll head over to the Hall of Presidents and take a nap."


FUN FACTS

1 - Originally conceived as a restaurant, the Disneyland Tiki Room debuted in 1963 as Disney's 1st Audio-Animatronics attraction. After a barker bird out front enticed guests to "Come to the Tiki Room, " everyone would sing along to 18 minutes of tunes such as "Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing."

2 - Unchanged over the years, the show's bird calls and whistles were all voiced by one man. A. Purvis Pullen was also the voice of cheetah in the 1930s Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films and Bonzo the chimp in the 1951 Ronal Reagan flick "Bedtime for Bonzo."

3 - Does Pierre sound like Lumiere, the candelabrum in 1991's "Beauty and the Beast"? Both are the late Jerry Orbach, Det. Lenny Briscoe on TV's "Law & Order."

4 - Don Rickles and the late Phil Hartman voice the preshow birds.

5 - The upside-down wall masks depict Negendei: the Earth Balancer, who is always portrayed standing on his head.



Official Pictures

[Walt Disney World - Then, Now and Forever - Disney Editions]


The Orange Bird welcomed guests to Adventureland in the early years of Walt Disney World, as a tribute to the importance of Florida's orange groves.




REAL 3D ANIMATION
[The Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom by The Imagineers - Disney Editions]



The path that led Walt Toward Audio-Animatronics began before that mechanical bird. He had been toying around with the idea of mechanical performers for quite some time. One of his early ideas was a collection of animated miniatures called Disneylandia – a traveling show of miniatures re-creating moments from American folklore and history.                              

Walt Enjoyed Working with his hands, and the animated birf inspired him to improve upon it. As usual, he went into this new enterprise full speed ahead. Soon he had enlisted some of his artist at the studio. He had Ken Anderson sketching vignettes to be replicated in model form, and Roger Broggie and Wathel Rogers working on the animation technology. All were working in secret and being paid by Walt out of his own pocket.                                    


One of the first scenes attempted was that of a “Dancing Man” in vaudeville showman’s guise. With animation modeled after a film of actor / dancer Buddy Ebsen, the crew put their all into making the nine-inch-tall figure move in a lifelike fashion. Eventually, the restrictions imposed by the diminutive size of the scene could not be overcome.              


The team assured Walt that the results would be more satisfactory if they tried a full-sized figure, which led to the Abraham Lincoln featured at the 1964 – 1965 New York World’s Fair. This is another of the seemingly unrelated events and interests that led Walt, over a number of yearsm through the evolutionary development of the concept of Disneyland.              


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