A Walt Disney classic that brought new technology to Disneyland and the world is now one of the most memorable attractions in Disney history.
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room brings together innovation, beautiful music, and hints of nostalgia that the whole family can enjoy together. Come fly away with us as we dive into the rich history that has made this attraction an undeniable classic.
Audio-animatronics development for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
We can’t talk about Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room without discussing the innovations in technology that changed the course of Disney Parks forever, the audio-animatronic! It all began when Walt Disney visited New Orleans and found an antique mechanical singing bird in a golden cage.
Walt then worked with a team of technicians to take the antique apart and learn its mechanics. Next, they needed to come up with a prototype. With using studio members as models, Charles Cristadoro sculpted figures with hydraulics to help make the figures move in a realistic manner. These figures would later go on to inspire Walt Disney and his team of Imagineers to develop the figure that Imagineers would take to the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair.
But before Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln could come to fruition, Walt Disney and his Imagineers would create the first attraction to ever feature audio-animatronics, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. And they sure out did themselves, because the attraction features over 200 audio-animatronic birds, flowers, and tiki figures and motifs.
Characters of note at Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
Even with the attraction having over 200 birds, flowers, and tikis, only 120 audio-animatronics actually sing and/or speak. But, there are four main parrots who are the grand masters of ceremony at the Tiki Room.
Disneyland Tiki Room
Before we can enter Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, we must talk about the preshow to the attraction with is otherwise known as the Enchanted Tiki Garden. In this garden you can hear from the Tiki Gods based on legends from the South Pacific.
Disney Parks describes the Tiki Gods by detail as:
- Pele: This Hawaiian fire goddess lives in the Kilauea volcano and likes to torment her neighbor.
- Ngendei: from Fiji, he is the creator of all the gods. He’s also got a big job as balancer of the whole world. That pressure combined with the torment he suffers from Pele – it’s no wonder there’s an earthquake every time he moves.
- Maui: The Polynesian trickster who gave people time and roped the playful Sun.
- Rongo: The Polynesian god of agriculture, also known as Lono in Hawai`i, is also the provider of food. He also discovered electricity, naturally.
- Koro: The Midnight Dancer, under whose spell all ladies and men learned to dance.
- Tangaroa-ru: Also known as Mapui-Kaufanga in Maori tales, she is goddess of the east winds, which bring rain.
- Hina Kaluua: This Hawaiian mistress of rain, from Hilo, Hawai`i, keeps it in the family – her daughter, Hina, is the mother of the trickster, Maui.
- Tangaroa: The father of all gods and goddesses, he took the form of a tree (a tree that no one ever did see).
The inside of the Enchanted Tiki Room has not at many Tiki Gods, but plenty of birds and birds of paradise! But let’s start with the four bird masters of ceremonies.
- Jose – He is the main tiki bird that gets the rest of his fellow birds to wake up, because “it’s showtime!”. (Singing voice, Bill Lee/ Speaking, Wally Boag)
- Michael – “So it is. Pierre, you rascal, you! Let’s put on the show!” (Singing voice, Bill Lee/ Speaking, Fulton Burley)
- Pierre – “Mon ami! I am always ready to put on ze show.” (Singing, Bill Lee/Speaking, Ernie Newton)
- Fritz – “Mein goodness, you’re all shtaring at us. We better shtart the show rolling!” (Singing, Bill Lee/Speaking, Thurl Ravenscroft)
Juan the Barker Bird – Juan, voiced by Wally Boag, was once placed in front of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room in order to entice Guests to visit the attraction, because before the Tiki Room opened Guests did not know exactly what an audio-animatronic was. However, due to his popularity, he created too much of a crowd that blocked the Adventureland entrance and was later removed.
The Showgirl Birds – This show-stopping display of a beautiful bird mobile, features these beautiful white cockatoos with stunning singing voices. The most notable of these ladybirds are Collette, Suzette, Mimi, Gigi, Fifi, Josephine, and what ever happened to Rosita…
Rosita – Rosita has now found a permanent home at Disneyland’s The Tropical Hideaway in 2018. She is perched atop a box of bird seed and entertains Guests with her witty comments and jokes! And if you look really closely, she has some items next to her that are very reminiscent to Juan the Barker Bird we mentioned earlier. What a great homage!
Walt Disney World’s Tiki Room
At the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, The Enchanted Tiki Room is also located in the park’s Adventureland area. It also features almost all of the same characters.
Originally known as the Tropical Serenade, the attraction was later reimagined into The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management. This version opened in 1998 to mixed reviews and featured Aladdin‘s Iago and The Lion King‘s Zazu. However, after a fire that burned down part of the attraction and an extensive renovation thereafter, the attraction would later return in 2011 and is now very similar to the Disneyland original.
Tokyo Disneyland’s Tiki Room
The Enchanted Tiki Room at Tokyo Disneyland in Japan has gone through a couple revisions as well. However, the most current version is The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents “Aloha E Komo Mai!”. All tiki characters are similar to the original attraction, however (you guessed it!) Stitch takes over to shake things up!
Obscure Enchanted Tiki Room Facts
- Walt Disney originally wanted the Tiki Room to be a dinner and show type of experience, but was later changed due to the mechanics of all the audio-animatronics paired with a proper dinner service proved to be too complicated.
- You know that famous tune that you can’t get out of your head? You have the Sherman Brothers to thank for that!
- The original attraction at Disneyland was not only the first to feature audio-animatronics, it’s also the first to have air-conditioning, but not for the reason you may think. Air conditioning was put into the attraction to prevent the new technology from overheating.
- That fire at the Walt Disney World version that we mentioned? It was actually Iago who caught on fire. This caused the sprinklers to go off which damaged a good amount of the other animatronics as well.
- When the attraction first opened at Disneyland, Guests were charged an additional 75 cents to view it.
- Before the Enchanted Tiki Room was sponsored by Dole Pineapple in 1976, it was sponsored by United Airlines from 1964-1973.
- Also, before Stitch took over at Tokyo Disneyland, the attraction was known as The Enchanted Tiki Room: Now Playing Get the Fever!
- The Disneyland version of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room features a 17-minute show.
No matter which version you end up visiting, we can guarantee you will have a fun time singing along and smiling through this classic Disney attraction! All you have to do is “sing like the birdies sing”!
What do you love about Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room? Let us know in the comments!