50 Years of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
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.
Anyway, in honor of today’s 50th Anniversary, here are some photos:
Which version of the Tiki Room is your favorite? Share your thoughts and memories of the attraction in the comments!
Love it that the (almost) original Tiki Room is back at WDW! It made such an impression on me when I first visited as a teenager in the ’70s. The birds were the first animatronics I had ever seen and I thought they were amazing. And that song absolutely got stuck in my head. Love the atmosphere in this attraction, great lighting, south seas theming, thunderstorm, chanting tikis and singing birds and flowers. It just makes me smile. My wife are excited to be taking our entire family to WDW with us for the first time this year during the first week in November! Can’t wait to share our favorite place in the whole world with them. And thanks so much for sharing all these photos Tom! You are definitely the king of the indoor ride/attraction shots! It’s obvious this website is a labor of love for you, and it shows. I’ve gotten so much enjoyment out of your site, and especially appreciate the photo tips! Keep up the good work!
I love the Tiki room. Didn’t really like the ” new management” edition too much but I still went to the show. It’s just a classic. I also love Carousel of Progress. When I was little I remember it always being packed when I rode it. I always feel sad when I ride it because it’s empty and I don’t know why because I love it!
I like how there’s you and about 5 other people in the pictures from Japan. Was this during a Bricker all-nighter or is the show just that unattended?
The traditional Tiki Room just always puts a smile on my face. It was a favorite of my parents’ when we lived in California back in the early 1970s and has always been one of the theming masterstrokes of Adventureland.
After almost 30 years between Disney visits, my Mother was looking forward to seeing the Tiki birds again at WDW, but what we got was the huge disappointment which was “Under New Management.” So when something a lot closer to the original Tiki Room was put back in WDW I made sure that it was our first stop on our most recent trip.
Thanks for the gorgeous pics of a family favorite!
I assume there was no disappointment on your most recent trip! Glad you enjoyed the photos!
I love original attractions and historical disney experiences but the tiki room is just so…. lacking. I think it is because I don’t particularly enjoy the music. If the sound track was more catchy it would be more fun. That being said, I’ll still be sure to check out the disneyland version when I visit for the first time next month!
What could be more catchy than: In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki room, in the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki room…. ?!?! One of my favorite Disney attraction songs! The lyrics are very clever and brilliantly rhymed! In fact, it will probably be stuck in my head for the rest of the night… and I’m okay with that!
Yeah, I think the music is pretty awesome, too. I just prefer the overall packages of Country Bear Jamboree or Carousel of Progress.