Back to the future: Disney World’s updated Enchanted Tiki Room has retro feel

July 2013 update: Tiki Room celebrates 50 years of enchantment
Modern Retro Disney World: Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

With much fanfare, Walt Disney World’s Enchanted Tiki Room was back in business this week after being closed since January due to a mysterious fire that precipitated a full overhaul of the legendary attraction.

Jose and his friends have come home to roost at Walt Disney World's Enchanted Tiki Room (Photo from the Disney Parks Blog)

Jose and his friends have come home to roost at Walt Disney World's Enchanted Tiki Room (Photo from the Disney Parks Blog)

And, much to the glee of Disney fans and Tikiphiles, the Tiki Room officially reopened in the Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland with a new animatronic show that gives more than a nod to the original attraction, which has been a mainstay at California’s Disneyland since 1963.

We won’t be able to take a gander until October, but we’re happy to share some of the reviews, photos and video that have emerged this week. For a full recap of the Enchanted Tiki Room’s history and the story behind the renovations, check out our previous post.

First off, the official Disney Parks Blog was really on the ball with a great behind the scenes look at the new Tiki Room, courtesy of the Imagineers themselves. The post includes some photos (including the one above) and the exclusive video attached below.

The comprehensive Inside the Magic site was at Sunday’s “soft opening” and offers great coverage, including the video below and a whole gallery of photos.

The new show is slightly different than those that preceded it, blogger Ricky Brigante writes. It’s most similar to the current Disneyland version, which is similar to Disney World’s original Tropical Serenade attraction, minus a song or two. A few lines of dialogue have changed but most of the songs are intact, though some have been shortened. He calls the Tiki Room “a welcome (re)addition to the park.”

The Mouse Steps fan site was at Monday’s opening and posted a ton of photos. Blogger Denise points out the omission of the sing-along during Lets all Sing Like the Birdies Sing, allegedly a fan favorite. That’s one element that I won’t miss, however. One less sing-along is fine by me.

You can find comprehensive coverage of the reopening on JeffLangeDVD.com, a site chock full of photos and video. They were there live for Monday’s 10 a.m. unveiling and two subsequent shows.

They report that the entire experience takes about 15 minutes, including the pre-show. The blog post talks about the details of the attraction, including the fact that the original fountain has been replaced by a smoke effect. The bird mobile is still there, lowering from the ceiling. Here’s the JeffLangeDVD.com video of the entire performance:

The Disney Blog (a fan site) offers a new photo of the facade and some details along with the same video from the Disney Parks Blog. Blogger John Frost points out that the new performance is a shortened version of the current Disneyland show, which itself is a shortened version of the original. Among the features cut out, sadly, is the middle portion of the Hawaiian War Chant. Blame it on today’s attention-deficit culture.

However, the blog cites another factor: Disney’s goal to raise its “rides per capita” quota. At 11 minutes, the new Tiki Room show will play more often, which means more people will see it. Frost also encourages Disney World to next turn its attention to restoring the iconic Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland (a pre-Disney World classic created for the 1964 New York World’s Fair) so it recaptures the original spirit of the attraction. We agree with that wholeheartedly.

In a separate post, The Disney Blog reports that the Tiki Room pre-show has returned to its original form, with the toucans Claude and Clyde greeting guests as they wait in line. The blog includes a video of the new pre-show and a link to a video of the old one for comparison.

A few other sites worth checking out

Ken Kanaka weighs in on the new show on his Tiki Talk blog. “The interior may never have looked as spotless and the new LED lighting system not only looks good in person, but photographs beautifully as well,” he says. But he was also “saddened by how much of the show has been removed.” Nevertheless, “for us old-timers, it feels right,” he says.

Walt Disney with his friends in Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room, 1963. (Walt Disney Co.)

Walt Disney with his friends in Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room, 1963. (Walt Disney Co.)

The Mice Age site has a thorough review of the new show with lots of photos. Kevin Yee writes: “The crescendo-building tiki drummer song is untouched, thank goodness, and it remains an effective crowd-pleaser. The end of the show on a high note is a great thing to see.”

The Park Thoughts blog has a post about the history of the Enchanted Tiki Room, including a vintage video of Walt Disney talking about the attraction along with behind-the-scenes footage of how it works.

The Disney fan site AllEars.net also has a nice history lesson with photos from Anaheim and Orlando through the years.

The How Stuff Works site has an updated essay by self-proclaimed “Disney fanatic” Jonathan Strickland on, of course, how the Tiki Room works.

And, finally, here’s another YouTube video about the history of the Tiki Room featuring Rolly Crump talking about how the attraction was created, Richard Sherman singing the theme song, and much more.

We hope to see all the updates for ourselves in October at Disney World’s 40th anniversary celebration.

Aloha!

Previous post: Disney World’s Enchanted Tiki Room will reopen with vintage show

About Hurricane Hayward

A professional journalist and Florida resident for more than 30 years, Jim "Hurricane" Hayward shares his obsession with Polynesian Pop and other retro styles on his blog, The Atomic Grog. Jim's roots in mid-century and reto culture go back to his childhood in the 1960s, when he tagged along with his parents to Tiki restaurants and his father's custom car shows. His experience in journalism, mixology, and more than 20 years as an independent concert promoter make him a jack-of-all-trades in the South Florida scene. A graduate of the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications, Jim is a longtime web producer for The Palm Beach Post. In his spare time, he has promoted hundreds of rock, punk, and indie concerts under the Slammie Productions name since the early 1990s. In 2011, he launched The Atomic Grog to extensively cover events, music, art, cocktails, and culture with a retro slant. Jim earned his nickname by virtue of both his dangerous exotic drinks and his longtime position producing The Post's tropical weather website.
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3 Responses to Back to the future: Disney World’s updated Enchanted Tiki Room has retro feel

  1. Wow! I’m so excited after watching those videos to see, in person, the Tiki Room back to it’s old glory. “Let’s all sing like the birdies sing” I remember from my childhood, and it would be fun to see again too, but it probably wouldn’t hold up today.

  2. Kyle says:

    Let’s all sing like the birdies sing. tweet tweet tweet, twee tweet, *Person turns on brightly lit cell phone and tweets to the song* Jose: I didn’t mean THAT kind of tweet.

    Cast Member: “Turn that friggin thing off!” Crowd all at once including the birds: “Yeah!” Tiki Gods: Don’t make us angry now!

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