This attraction is beared by 3 Kingdoms out of 5 which doesn’t make it the most reproduced but there has been so many versions of it, and I was lucky to experience all 4 of them, (and soon the new Tokyo “Stich” version) That I coudn’t resist but innaugurate the blog with this article. Waaaake up ! Jose !
I’ll simply remind people not to familiar with Disney history that, at the origin, Walt envisioned a restaurant where he could entertain guest with exotic and very animated birds. They soon realised holding a restaurant underneath the birds would be unpractical, and so Tiki opened foodless on June 1963 introducing to the world yet another Annoyingly Catchy Disney/Sherman Brothers Song.
Speaking of which… Let’s head wester. When Roy O. Disney found out about the plans for the Florida’s Magic Kingdom after his brother’s unexpected death, orders shifted from “Let’s explore new horizons” to “just give them Disneyland” Nough Said : Attractions were now simply supposed to be the faithful replica from the beloved and already proved successful originals of the motherpark. So Tiki dropped its suitcase in Florida dressed exactly like its older Californian brother. But it sat inside a grander reproduction of Disneyland’s original Tiki’s environement. The Sunshine pavilion held three different premises including Tiki. This magnificent structure is still present these days but Aladdin’s Carpet blocking the view, the disapearance of the wonderful pool it used to overlook and the permanent closure of its two restaurants make me surprisingly use past tense.
Let’s get back to present, inside the Sunshine Pavilion fights two extra birds : The Enchanted Tiki Room : Under New Management ! The preshow already features a fight between the protagonist’s two lawyers. They bable about their clients and ownership claim. Like in bad law shows, they start the fighting even before the episode starts. Then the Room you seat it, cirlce shaped, neck stiffing, same old Tiki. The music is rearanged like in Tokyo borrowing some tunes from the Lion King and Aladdin. Iago and Zazu animatronics are well detailed especially the feather burned Iago you can easily contemplate leaving the premises as he angrily picks at walking out guests. It’s a good show, maybe pulling a bit to hard on the bad guy string…
Now of course, we’re intrigued by all those different versions of the script, but the one true fans or even kids really want to see is the original. It lays in Disneyland. But as you may guess, it was supposed to go away, closed to be lost as well… Indeed in the late 90’s when Disneyland Management (Team Building) wanted to refresh the Tiki Room, they thought about putting the New Management version in there. They finaly pushed it back due to the ever occuring budget restrictions of those day, only ahead of the 50’s anniversary did they switch to just refreshing it, and only technicly “plussing it”… Gee this 50th campaign really did save a lot of elders in the motherpark. Now, thanks to this welcomed 2 years anniversary homage, it is called Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room there in honor of the man who first envisioned it and also to reminds people that this is the Original Tiki : only in Disneyland !
Now even though Disneyland Paris doesn’t host a Tiki Room, on opening day stood the restaurant Walt envisionned with twist of theme. The Explorers Club sat proudly across Adventure Isle. It is considered by Imagineers and die hard fans as one of the most accomplished and detailed construction ever Imagineered. In the center rises a very furnished tree, on which stand many Audio-Animatronic birds. Many pictures of it can be found over the internet, but be sure to google Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost now, for it is the name magement chose to give it after they decided this fine table service restaurant should be turned into a cheap counter pizza place. Now as you can guess, as soon as 200$ table bill vanished, so went the animated birds, or so went to sleep should I say. Today you can still enjoy some fine exotic music concert buff with your Pizza, but I’ve never witnessed the birds animate. I know they sporadicaly work because of some sources on the internet, but nobody notices them nowadays. They don’t really have a show worth of looking away from your mickey shaped pizza.
Now why all the versions ? Why every Magic Kingdom can’t cope with the Original and the historical and living memorabilia status it bares ? Well, because this kind of expectations sadly only works in Disneyland. Only there, do the guests care for the history of a park most of them have been visiting regularly since they were kids. In Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, guest visit it twice or three times a decades, regulars there, don’t show up more than once every two years. The orlando area, don’t represent the percentage of guest OC area does for Disneyland. Out-of-staters don’t really feel attached to past attractions that much.
In Tokyo Disneyland they do, for this park is also mainly visited by the locals. But Tokyo Disneyland’s guest tend to like uniqueness. Knowing that they just have the same attraction as in the others parks really does’nt make it for them. So having their own is always better. We’ll talk m
ore about the differences between people and feel in Magic Kingdoms in a soon to be published post.
That’s it for Tiki, despite his great performance, please don’t tip the Cast Member.