Aloha! Did you know that the Tiki Room recently celebrated its 51st anniversary? A lot has changed since Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room premiered at Disneyland in 1963, but the characters, story, and spirit of the show have all remained the same.
Now, wahine makune mana, ladies and gentlemen. Come with us to a world of joyous song and wondrous miracles as we take a look back at Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.
Walt Disney began developing an idea for a south-seas dinner show experience after purchasing a mechanical bird from a collectible shop in New Orleans. He brought it home, and with the help of his team of animators and imagineers, began trying to figure out how he could build upon its design. Originally intended to be a dinner show experience, the attraction evolved into what we now have today.
As the first attraction that featured the use of Audio-Animatronics technology, the Tiki Room paved the way to many now-beloved Disney Parks attractions all over the globe. The technology was so enticing to guests that barker bird, Juan, was perched high above the entrance to bring guests over to the attraction. Juan was such a hit that the Adventureland entrance would constantly be filled with a wall of people waiting to get a glimpse!
The four stars of the show, Jose, Michael, Pierre, and Fritz, are each covered with real feathers that were meticulously placed onto their figures. During one particular planning meeting for the attraction, an observant Imagineer, Harriet Burns, made a very important discovery. She noticed that the cashmere sweater that Walt Disney was wearing at the time moved exactly the way the imagineers of the attraction envisioned the birds would. Thus, their chests are covered in a custom-woven cashmere cloth that allows the birds to move, breath, and talk in a realistic manner. Sometimes, the most innovative solutions to problems can be found in your wardrobe!