Monday, July 8, 2013

Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room 50th Anniversary

Last month, Disney celebrated the 50th birthday of the beloved Tiki Room attraction. For those outside the United States, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room is an audio-animatronic show complete with music and talking birds. It first opened on June 23rd, 1963, and remains relatively unchanged to this day.

The Tiki Room was a showcase for the groundbreaking audio-animatronic technology seen in many attractions today. 50 years later, the technology has paved the way for countless Disney attractions around the world, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, and Splash Mountain. So what did Disneyland do to commemorate this occasion?

Aside from holding many events and galleries, the Opera House lobby on Main Street has been decorated with Tiki Room concept art and images from throughout the years. It even contains memorabilia from the original attraction, like the original barker bird.

Notice the wires dangling below his feet
The barker bird was the Tiki Room's host, who sat perched outside the gateway to Adventureland enticing guests to stop in and watch the show. The novelty of his puns and character made him a very popular attraction, and guests would stop to listen to his spiel. Eventually, this caused too much pedestrian traffic in Adventureland and he was removed. But here he is once again, hopefully to stay.

The show also features a gallery of concept drawings and paintings from the early 1960's. Some show that the Imagineers were going for a more realistic look for the birds and settings, while others demonstrate a cartoony aesthetic. It seems they went with a combination of both.

More Tiki Room memorabilia
I love that we can visit Disneyland and not forget about the past, but be able to see it right before us. Though the park changes drastically year after year, it still holds tight to its wonderful history. Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room is proof that these old attractions are delighting families the same now as they were 50 years ago. I hope that for the upcoming 50th anniversary of Pirates of the Caribbean, we can expect the same sort of look back at history.

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