Today is the
41st 43rd anniversary of the opening of the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland and the attraction is still as popular as ever. The first show to make extensive use Audioanimatronics®, it has been many a wide-eyed child's initial introduction to tiki culture and spawned sister versions at Disney's Florida and Tokyo parks as well. I grew up on The Tropical Serenade, as the first show at Orlando's Magic Kingdom was called, but the California original holds a special place in my heart.
The attraction has a fascinating history: financed and operated by Walt himself, it was supposed to be a sit-down restaurant up until a week before opening day—the chairs inside
are still were the originals, purchased in 1963 to sit around tables and bolted together into rows as a last minute kludge (they were finally replaced by benches during the renovation of 2006). Imagineer Rolly Crump, who had never sculpted before, had to sculpt many of the tiki garden gods, the fountain, and the birdmobile as lead-Disney sculptor Blaine Gibson was busy with other projects.
As a birthday tribute, here's a couple of interesting tidbits from the attraction's history:
UPDATE: Tiki Talk reader Jackson pointed out that the attraction is actually 43 years old today. Doh! I visited Disneyland for the attraction's 40th Anniversary—I can't believe it was that long ago.
UPDATE 2: Since Tiki Talk got BoingBoing'd, here's a little bonus: computer wallpaper based on the art from the 1963 Disneyland front gate booklet. Enjoy!