Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tiki Room & Back Side of Water, September 1963

I went to Disneyland many times when I was a kid, but my family never wanted to sit through most shows (including the Golden Horseshoe Revue), and when I was old enough to go without the family, I kept walking past the Tiki Room. A bunch of singing robot birds? Phooey!

Finally, a mere two years ago, I took the plunge. Guess what? I loved it! Especially the music, which is wonderfully "Disney" and so evocative of the 1960's. I'm happy to say that the attraction was packed, too.


The "Barker Bird" is missing his little straw skimmer, but any bird that has brilliant blue plumage doesn't really need to accessorize. 


I wonder when the joke about seeing the "back side of water" was hatched, and if the person who thunk it had any idea that it would live on for decades.


14 comments:

K. Martinez said...

My first visit to Disneyland was in the Summer of 1963 and the Enchanted Tiki Room had just opened. I remember being amazed by it that visit and I still enjoy it to this day.

From the Tiki Garden preshow to the "Heigh-Ho" finale, it screams vintage Disney. I'm glad it's still around.

Does anyone know when they changed the seating from chairs to benches for the main show?

Chiana_Chat said...

Ah, Schnapps Falls. No... hey, I just found a product tie-in opportunity! I only ask 10% of proceeds.

The folks at Disney are being quite smart at keeping The Enchanted Tiki Room around in its retro form. It is very popular with guests, having become all the more distinct and appealing as time has passed. Now if we could get a Tahitian Terrace back, all would be both tiki-rific and successful around that spot of the classic park.

Thanks as ever for the vintage views. That old sign is superb! The outfits of three of the ladies in the pic go with the decor, Mrs. Virginia Grey-Plaidhurst being the only strong clash.

Melissa said...

Love, love, love the Tiki Room. It's so beautiful and happy it makes me tear up sometimes.

The first time we went to WDW, I remember my sister and I sitting outside for what seemed like hours, listening to the barker bird to make sure we'd heard all of his spiel. He's gone now, but not forgotten.

Hannahx2 said...

I agree with Chiana... bring back Tahitian Terrace! I'd love love love to be able to experience that, and tiki culture is always cool! I think it would be a hit!

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I didn't watch the Tiki Room show until relatively recently; but when I finally did, I loved it. Probably because it is so full of "vintage Disneyland" qualities. It made me want a tiki-themed room!

Chiana, how about vanilla pudding falls? GLOP. See my comment to K. Martinez, it is the "retro-ness" of that attraction that is a huge part of its appeal. You can almost sense Walt's spirit hovering around. Meanwhile, how about the lady with the polka-dot dress?

Melissa, it would be amazing to see the original Tahitian Terrace show, but I'll bet it would just be too expensive to have all those dancers, musicians, and other performers. As for the Barker Bird, I wonder if I have some vintage audio of the spiel? It must be somewhere.

Hannahx2, it is amazing how tiki culture is possibly stronger than ever nowadays. I know quite a few people who are heavily into it.

Anonymous said...

Major, the Barker Bird spiel is part of the Disney Musical History collection, the 6 CD set.

Email me if you want it.

JG

Rosie said...

Can't believe you missed out on all those Tiki childhood memories by avoiding the place until now. :( It was one of my favorite shows as a kid! I was always glad they were animatronic birds so I didn't get pooped on!
rosie

Anonymous said...

I was lucky enough to be working at Disneyland in 1963 when the Tiki Room was about to open. The excitement was all over the park, and all employees (not known as cast members back then) were invited to see the show as many times as they wanted during off time so that the imagineers could work out the bugs. (We all filled out comment cards too.) I think I saw the show about 20 times in the month before the grand opening.

Later; after visiting the Tiki Room with my wife and children in the '70s, I noticed that a lot of details in the animatronics had stopped working, or were out of sync. I hope it's better now.

CoxPilot

210Frwy said...

The Tahitian Terrace sequence of Disneyland After Dark is one of my favorites. Especially the expressions of the people watching the show - classic! That one guy's glasses actually look like they might be fogging up!.

Before I ever saw the Tiki Room show in person I remember seeing it on the Wonderful World of Color. I loved the part where the Tiki’s on the walls started to animate and the storm hits.

Anonymous said...

It was just a few years ago along with a serious refresh that they took out the original dining room chairs and replaced them with uncomfortable benches. Remember that it came very close to opening as a restaurant rather than a show. I miss the extended musical numbers of dreamy tiki-ish tunes...by Offenbach! It's still got those glorious Disney colors, the rainy finally, Wally Boag's jokes and the always welcome AC.

K. Martinez said...

Anon - Thanks for answering my question about the seating.

walterworld said...

My dad was the same way RE the Tiki Room. We went in once but he walked out as soon as the singing started...so we followed.

So I missed it until I took my own kids there for the very first time back in 1993.

Thanks Major!

tviano said...

Great picture of the backside of water, Schweitzer Falls I believe.

I've had the impression in recent years that less water has been flowing over the falls. This pic confirms that the water flow is about the same now as it was then, but I'll be back there in Feb 2013 to confirm.

Major Pepperidge said...

Walterworld, I'm glad you liked these!

tviano, I noticed a considerable lack of water at Schweitzer falls... it really just trickles over, with the water now dyed a strange blue-green.