Thursday, January 28, 2016

GDB Greatest Hits - The Tiki Room

It's time to revisit some GDB classics, featuring the Enchanted Tiki Room.

This first one was originally published in 2010, and dates from April, 1966. It's a great shot of the Barker Bird (with red plumage) as he entices passersby to stop in and see the show. Next to him is Uti, the goddess of fishing (which is why she is on an outrigger canoe). 

Next is this image from 1964 (first posted in 2007) looking toward the Plaza from inside Adventureland's entrance. Again we can see the red Barker Bird. Notice that the archway near us is getting swallowed alive by pretty (but spiny) bougainvillea. The elephant tusks still look like ivory, rather than carved wood.

And finally, here's one from 1965 (posted back in 2006) - the era when ladies liked to tease their hair into impressive bouffants. A small crowd is waiting to be let in to see the pre-show... it's fun to imagine seeing the Enchanted Tiki Room back when it was a brand new attraction - like nothing anyone had seen before! That being said, it's still pretty great all these years later.

PS... the Barker Bird is blue!


Nanook said...


I love the first shot with only the straw hat visible on (presumably) a gentleman full of wonder and awe listening to Barker Bird 'beckoning guests into the patio'. (Or perhaps his head is turned towards the heavens as his brain has been taken over by radio waves from a low-flying Martian space ship...)

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Notice in the second pic how there are two oval planters with lampposts in them in the middle of the walkway, and by the next year (third pic) the one closest to the Adventureland entrance has been removed and filled in with concrete. That patched concrete remained that way for more than three decades! Does anyone remember what year the current "textured" concrete was added to the Adventureland entrance?

Steve DeGaetano said...

I'm wondering...could those tusks have been real? There certainly wasn't any sort of taboo against ivory back then.

K. Martinez said...

I remember seeing the Enchanted Tiki Room show when it was brand new in 1963 as that summer was my very first trip to Disneyland. Amazingly at such a young age, I remember the singing birds which I thought were real and the totem tiki lips moving up and down. What really impressed my three year old mind the most was the rising water fountain (tube) and the rain storm outside. When we exited the attraction it was clear and dry outside. How could that be?

Wonderful set today. By today's standard, the Enchanted Tiki Room has been demoted of its 'E' ticket status, but it's still pure vintage Disney magic to me. I enjoyed revisiting these images. Thanks, Major.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

@ k. Martinez

I think it's a generational thing. To us (late boomer/early Gen Xr's)
the Tiki Room will always be an E Ticket. With all the audio animatronics in the world today from theme parks to restaurants to Bass Pro Shop the Tiki Room was the first and in my opinion the best overall use of the new medium.

It's too bad the barker bird could not withstand the torture of rain and sun and had to be removed. Maybe he stole too much Dole Whip and that was the PR excuse.

Chuck said...

The Tiki Room is a cherished memory from my first trip to Disneyland in 1971 when I was two-and-a-half. Oddly, I was already familiar with "Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing" and remember getting really excited when they started singing something I knew (I didn't develop an appreciation for Offenbach until many years later).

Another cherished Tiki Room memory is taking my then-91-year-old grandmother to Disneyland in 1995 and seeing her completely light up with delight when the flowers began singing. She was terribly hard of hearing by then but could still hear music pretty well, and the Tiki Room was something she could follow and enjoy without much difficulty.

TM!, I remember seeing that "scar" in the Adventureland walkway in the early '90s and wondering why it was there. I'd always assumed it covered a missile silo, but this makes much more sense.

Steve DeGaetano said...

Was the barker bird removed because of exposure to the elements? Thought the official Disney line was that too many people stopped to watch him and blocked the walkway.

MRaymond said...

I remember the Tiki Room when I was a kid. Around 1968 I remember almost jumping out of my shoes when the totem poles started chanting. I was sitting on the end of the row, right across from them, and swapped seats with my grandfather.

I also remember stepping outside and wondering where the rain clouds went.

Anonymous said...

Like Ken, I vividly recall my first wait in line for the Tiki Room, the queue stretched well around the corner to Main Street and seemed to "toddler me" to take forever.

I know I had been to Disneyland before that, because in the memory, the Tiki Room was "new", but I have no idea what year that might have been.

I also recall the Barker Bird pretty vividly, seems he was red at that time. His monologue helped pass the time before entry into the patio. In later years, when he was gone, I doubted that he had ever been because I thought Disneyland never changed.

Only the last few years, with access to on-line collections of photos like those of Major and Dave, I realize he was a reality for a limited time and my "little kid" memories were real.

@Steve, like you, I have read on-line rumors that the reason he was removed was to reduce the traffic jams of people who would stop in the concourse to watch him. I don't know if this was true, but the changes to the planters, presumably for similar reasons, seem to support the idea. Mechanical durability could be a problem too, but the robot critters in the Jungle Cruise hold up pretty well, although with a simpler repertoire. The feathers probably need replacing due to sun fading. Maybe that's why the color changed from red to blue, which is less subject to UV damage overall. Of course, the color change might not have been red to blue...

Maybe he just outlived his need and was removed when the novelty wore off. Happens to the best of us.

Great detail about the Fisher Goddess, too. New to me. Thank you, Major. Re-scan theater is a huge hit here.


K. Martinez said...

The Barker Bird was gone because he flew away! And Fritz told me "the birds stand still, und the Tiki Room flies away!"

Steve & JG, I also read the official Disney line was that too people were stopping to look at the bird and clogging up the walkways and making it difficult to pass.

K. Martinez said...

Come to think of it, the two barker birds at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom were sort of protected from the elements and lasted far longer. Perhaps there is something to what Alonzo P Hawk said. Here's three Youtube videos featuring all three barker birds at the U.S. Parks.

From TokyoMagicToo
Barker Bird at Disneyland's "Enchanted Tiki Room"

From Widen Your World
Barker Bird at the Magic Kingdom's "Tropical Serenade"

From Widen Your World
Barker Bird at Magic Kingdom's "Pirates of the Caribbean"

TokyoMagic!, Do you happen to know if the Enchanted Tiki Room at Tokyo Disneyland had a barker bird?

K. Martinez said...

Oops! Forgot about this guy from "The Bird and the Robot" show in EPCOT Center's World of Motion pavilion.

From Widen Your World
Barker Bird(?) at EPCOT Center's "World of Motion"

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, Tokyo DL used to have two barker birds in a setting pretty much identical to WDW's. Unfortunately, when they changed the show back in 2008 and added Stitch, they shortened the performance and got rid of the pre-show altogether. The little outdoor structure that the birds where in is still there, but it does not open up. You will rarely hear me complain about anything that Tokyo Disneyland does, but these were changes that I did not like. They had already gotten rid of the original show back in 1999, but I did not mind the show that replaced it ("Get The Fever")....unlike WDW's "Under New Management" show which I did not care for at all.

Chuck, maybe it was covering up a silo....or perhaps it was a secret entrance to a cryogenic storage locker.

Alonzo, your mention of Dole Whips now has me wondering something. What was sold at that little stand prior to Dole taking over sponsorship? Was that where guests originally bought their tickets to the show back when it was not included in the ticket books or general admission?

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the straw hat guy is definitely looking at the Barker Bird! It sounds silly in these more enlightened days, but I wonder if he was trying to figure out if it was a real parrot of not.

TokyoMagic!, I would have never noticed the planter, or its removal… so I’m glad you pointed it out!

Steve DeGaetano, I doubt that those were real elephant tusks… my guess is that they were fiberglass, which would have been relatively cheap, lightweight, and probably somewhat weatherproof.

K. Martinez, I did not see the Tiki Room for many years, and wish that I’d caught it when I was a child. I had heard the soundtrack so many times that I felt like I knew the show and didn’t need to actually see it, which was (not surprisingly) very dumb. BUT… I finally did see it and loved it.

Alonzo, you make a good point; nowadays, folks are generally not too impressed with animatronics, though I believe that they can still be used in a successful way if done right. Do they really have them at Bass Pro Shops? I haven’t been to one of those since visiting my grandparents in Minnesota 10 or 12 years ago. There were giant aquariums and cool dioramas, but no animatronics.

Chuck, I have a fondness for the Hawaiian War Chant! But I love all of the music in the Tiki Room… it is SO 1960’s. I suppose it has “Rounded the horn” from cool, to cheesy, and back to cool again. In my opinion. Very fun that you have that great memory of seeing that attraction with your grandmother. Don’t you know that the castle’s spires secretly hid ICBMs?

Steve DeGaetano, I had heard that the Barker Bird was removed because he caused “traffic jams” in the Adventureland walkway, but the weather/maintenance might have been a factor as well.

MRaymond, the loud thunder effects have made small children cry in more than one performance of the Tiki Room. When I win the lottery, I want a tiki bar with an artificial rain storm!

JG, I was thinking the same thing, there are other mechanical animals (though not necessarily true “animatronics” that seem to survive the elements pretty well. I’ve always wondered why they might have changed the parrot’s color, maybe it did have something to do with blue being less prone to fading.

K. Martinez, I want to find a robotic parrot at the bird feeder! I’ll make him my friend and train him to punish evildoers with his laser eyes. He does have laser eyes, doesn’t he?

K. Martinez again, I never knew that there was a Tiki Room in Tokyo, or if I did, I had forgotten it. I am going to have to watch that YouTube video to see the show in Japanese! It will blow my mind.

K. Martinez, there was also some kind of bird show at the 1964 World’s Fair, at the General Electric pavilion. I am away from home today, but the audio to the show was available on the CD collection of Disney World’s Fair music and sounds.

TokyoMagic!, STITCH?! Ugh. I like “Lilo and Stitch” as a movie, but what is Stitch doing in the Tiki Room? Arg. I hate when some genius has an idea like that. Why not put Olaf in the Tiki Room? He’s a snowman! In a tropical show! Hilarious! I believe that you are right, the current Dole Whip counter was probably where tickets were bought and taken in earlier days.

Chuck said...

Major, you don't need to win the lottery to do that...

(and here's how it was done:

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, i have seen that video, it must have been linked to on Facebook. It is very nice of course, but I want something much more fancy! I'm thinking BIG! I like the idea of the windows that show a tropical scene outside, only to turn rainy every 15 minutes. Maybe I even need real water to pour down. That doesn't represent any structural problems at all!

Chuck said...

Something more like this?

I remember a junior high buddy of mine telling me about having dinner here one night around 1982 or so. If I'm remembering the story right, there was a thunderstorm every 15 minutes or so.

Sadly, the Kahiki was torn down in 2000, three years after being placed on the national Register of Historic Places.

walterworld said...

Even though I went to Disneyland every summer from '73-'83 we never saw the Tiki Room because my Dad thought it was 'B.S.' lol.

When I finally took my own kids to Disneyland for the first time in the summer of 1993 we enjoyed it immensely. I was fascinated by the enchanted fountain, the tiki's on the columns that chant and grunt, and the rainstorm is of course a great finish (I think someone left the 'chower running...), and of course the tiki's that do their drumming up near the ceiling.

The Rolly Crump pre-show is a great treat as well. We always make sure to go in before it starts up so that we can enjoy the entire presentation (ok, and also a Dole Whip). "Here in this land of enchantment I appear before you as a mighty tree. STAND BACK!!!" :D

P.S. I wish my Pop was still alive because I'd make sure that he gave it another try. Apparently he'd walked out after only a minute or two the only time he (almost) saw it. My older brothers were there, as they got to go to Disneyland during the summer of 1971, but I was too little so I stayed with my Grandma instead (which wasn't a bad place to land for a near 3 year old...)

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I stand corrected (again) the reason(s) the barker bird was removed was "both" the elements and traffic.

If any of you can get a hold of it, or parts of it are still posted on youtube, the Enchanted Tiki Room documentary has Both Rolly Crump and the late Harriet Burns stating that the barker bird feathers faded in the sun and were also being stolen by live birds to make there nests. I guess he would look like a plucked chicken before too long.

As far as the Dole whip comment I was just trying to make a joke to lighten the mood. Dole whip was not for sale when the barker bird was in place.

TokyoMagic! said...

Alonzo, I knew you were kidding! And I knew that Dole Whips weren't sold back then! I remember as a kid, pineapple juice and pineapple spears were sold at that counter, but no Dole Whip yet. Now I'm wondering when Dole Whip was first introduced to the park? I "wonder" about a lot of things!

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, The Dole Whip Stand was originally called the "Tiki Juice Bar" in the 1970's and yes they sold the pineapple spears (which were my favorite), pineapple juice and fruit punch there as far as I can remember.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, thanks for reminding me of that! Didn't the punch have a special name in Adventureland? Someone here on the blogs commented about that several years back, but now I'm forgetting what it was called. I know that the punch that was sold at The Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland was called Space Mist!

walterworld said...

TM: Are you perhaps thinking of the 'Jungle Julep'?

TokyoMagic! said...

Walterworld, that's it! Thank you!!! Now I think there was also a punch that was sold in Fantasyland. Do you remember the name of that one? I don't personally remember it, but the comment that was made here a while back, referred to a Fantasyland punch as well and I don't recall what that was either. It might have had Fantasia in it's name.

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, I remember the Space Mist from The Lunching Pad. I used to stop by the Lunching Pad for Space Mist and Twinkies every trip to Disneyland back in the day. Do you remember the 'Frontier Freeze' at the Delta Banjo between Oaks Tavern and River Belle Terrace?

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, I don't remember that one either! I think I just always got the Space Mist in Tomorrowland. However, there was one time that I shared a Mint Julep with my mom. I think I blogged about that a while back. It was when my dad and my brother were going on the Haunted Mansion for the very first time and I was too afraid, so my mom and I rode the train around the park instead and then shared a Mint Julep while we waited for them to come out. Now that I think of it....that line for the Haunted Mansion must have been really long!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Space Mist. I loved that stuff. Mint Juleps too.

In the Blue Bayou recently, they were serving bottomless Mint Juleps, which was new to me, but they weren't the vivid neon green that I remembered. It was OK, I was in the Blue Bayou.

Remember the clear plastic glasses the Mint Juleps came in? I used to save those up and drink out of them as long as they lasted, stretching those Disneyland memories. They should bring those back, even if they charge for them as a souvenir cup.