Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room celebrates its 50th Anniversary at Disneyland today. In honor of this groundbreaking attraction (the first to utilize Audio-Animatronics), I though I’d share some of my favorite Tiki Room photos. This article includes photos from the Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland versions of the attraction.
Although we’ve seen multiple versions of the Tiki Room, history isn’t the strong suit of this site, so I’ll leave that to the folks who can do it so much better. You can see historical photos and read information about the Tiki Room here, here, here, here, here, and here. Some pretty cool stuff on those sites, so check them out.
Instead, here are some of my personal thoughts and experiences with the Tiki Room. I grew up with the Tiki Room at Walt Disney World, mostly before New Management took over. My parents enjoyed the classic Audio-Animatronics driven attractions, so Carousel of Progress, Country Bear Jamboree, and Tiki Room were all frequent stops for us. I always enjoyed the show as a child, but honestly, it never made as much as an impression on me as Carousel of Progress or Country Bear Jamboree. To this day, it still pales in comparison to both of those shows for me, although I do enjoy it.
Under New Management came onto the scene in the mid-1990s, and it wasn’t exactly well received. Although I was far from a fan, I don’t think it was as awful as some people made it out to be. It was ambitious, but it did fall flat on its face in terms of execution. Still, I’ll take an ambitious failure over some simple “spinner” any day of the week. I was glad to see a variant of the original return in 2011 after a fire in the Under New Management version. The original, which plays in Disneyland, is my favorite version, but Walt Disney World’s version is substantially similar, and I enjoy both.
Tokyo Disneyland’s “The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents Aloha E Komo Mai!” is probably the most interesting of the bunch. It combines two things that history would inform us are a recipe for disaster: a modernized Tiki Room and a Stitch Audio-Animatronics figure in an “in the round” setting. After all, Under New Management was a dud and Stitch’s Great Escape is a dud. Yet, somehow, The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents Aloha E Komo Mai! isn’t awful. I actually enjoy it, mostly for Stitch and his ukulele-playing at the end (I could do without the “Prankster Stitch” elements). It’s not as good as the original, but it’s unique, and it’s nice to have variations in the attractions from park to park. (more…)