Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Tropical Serenade, The Magic Kingdom, November 1971

Eight years after the original "Enchanted Tiki Room" debuted in Disneyland ("A Musical Fantasy With An Astonishing Cast of Audio-Animatronic Personalities"), a second version opened in the Magic Kingdom, this time called the "Tropical Serenade". It's a "musical luau"!

Mr. X took some very nice photos of the exterior of the Tropical Serenade; I love the way this building looks so completely different from the California version, especially with that distinctive tower. Presumably it echoes some kind of Polynesian architecture, but I'll be darned if I know which island culture is represented.

Notice the little dome with the muppet-like "eyes". It's either intended to scare away evil spirits or eat cookies.

This one is almost "postcard worthy". I love the stylized bulls (water buffalo?) atop some of the gables. Those orange pumpkin-like lamps are interesting too, I've never seen anything quite like them. Check out the pants on that kid with the yellow shirt!

And finally, a third shot - redundant, but lovely nonetheless.


TokyoMagic! said...

Ha, ha, Major! I don't know if I would have noticed the Cookie Monster eyes if you hadn't pointed them out!


Nanook said...


Adventureland at WDW is one of my favorite areas of the park - especially at night. And these images help explain just that.

I always had some pretty 'mod' clothes in my wardrobe back then, but I'm afraid those pants are just a bit "too far out" for my 'style'. And combined with that hat, the outfit has moved into dangerous territory.

Thanks, Major.

Pegleg Pete said...

Thanks Major – these are some great photographs! The tower and the buffalo masts are such an iconic part of WDW's Adventureland but I can't help but worry that they'll get rid of the Tropical Serenade one of these days and replace it with a princess meet 'n' greet. Please tell me the upcoming Polynesian-themed film with the Rock doesn't feature a princess!!!

Melissa said...

No such thing as a redundant picture of the old Sunshine Pavilion! Especially if it contains plaid pants!

Scott Lane said...

Those pants need to make a comeback!

I never noticed those eyes, either, and I used to sit on a bench roughly where that first shot was taken from and listen to the barker bird while gulping lots of that Florida orange juice. Speaking of - I don't see him in these shots, he must not have taken roost there yet.

K. Martinez said...

The Cookie Monster? I love it! With all the images I've seen of the Sunshine Pavilion, I never noticed those Muppet "eyes" before.

The whole Sunshine Pavilion/Sunshine Tree Terrace complex was my favorite set of buildings in all the Magic Kingdom. Adventureland was also my favorite area back then. Always liked the "pumpkin" lanterns too.

1970's Disney World - What an era! Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

Oh, the Barker Bird! I remember hanging on to his every word to make sure we had heard the whole spiel!

(And I'm sure everybody who experienced Adventureland before its latest remodels misses all that ample seating.)

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, the rest of the Tropical Serenade building looks so authentic, I wonder if the Cookie Monster is based on a real native feature? (Maybe I should have said Oscar the Grouch, upon second thought).

Nanook, oh I’ll bet this area looked amazing at night. And yes, those pants have moved way past “plaid” and into “harlequin” - somehow apt for the era, though. I wonder if they were available at Sears.

Pegleg Pete, I’ll have to look online to see how much this area has changed since 1971. For a long time I thought that Disneyland’s Tiki Room was in danger, but it seems pretty safe at the moment (famous last words). I wonder how popular the Tropical Serenade is?

Melissa, when is loud plaid going to make a comeback?!

Scott Lane, I didn’t know that there was a Barker Bird at the Magic Kingdom. I kind of wish he was in these photos! Do you know roughly where he would have been? And did he actually shill for Florida orange juice?

K. Martinez, my understanding is that the pumpkin lanterns are long-gone. It’s interesting, Disneyland’s Adventureland only had the Jungle Cruise in the early years, WDW’s version had at least three attractions (including the Swiss Family Treehouse).

Melissa, strangely I don’t see a single bench in these three photos (although I know that WDW had a lot of “built in” seats around planters and the like.

Patrick Devlin said...

I always miss the Major's "wrap-up post" by minutes. Oh well.

You guys are either rubbing my nose in the fact that I've never been to the Florida Park or helping me travel there through the magic of imagination and memory. I'm going with the latter, of course so thanks.

And now for the pedantic: that's not Polynesian architecture, Major, but Indonesian (or maybe Malaysian). Pagodas are common to a number of Southeast Asian cultures. I'd guess the Imagineers pulled their inspiration from Bali (hey, at least it's an island!) or thereabouts.

steve2wdw said...

I'm not positive, but the Barker Bird may have been directly under the Cookie Monster eyes, protected from the weather. I remember him being up to the left of the entryway, and that little nook seems to be the area I remember him occupying. If I'm wrong, please chime in......

Dean Finder said...

Tropical Serenade was gone for a while - in the late 1990s the show was redone as "The Tiki Room Under New Management" with Iago from Aladdin and Zazu from the Lion King as new owners interrupting the show.
A fire broke out in 2011, and the original show was (thankfully) restored with the repairs to the fire and sprinkler system damage.

Another fun fact - Adventureland backs up to Frontierland in WDW, and some of those water buffaloes can be seen from Frontierland, but stylized as they are, a viewer would assume them to be North American Buffalo heads adorning the Country Bear Jamboree building.

Scott Lane said...

Steve2wdw: You are correct, sir! The barker bird (can we just call him Bob?) was under and to the left of those cookie monster eyes. Have sent Major a badly faded, grainy photo from 1976 as proof he existed. It also shows those eyes that I swear I don't remember ever seeing before.