The attraction opened on June 23, 1963 and was the first to feature Audio-Animatronics, a WED Enterprises patented invention. The attraction was sponsored by United Airlines for its first 12 years; in 1976, sponsorship passed over to Hawaii's Dole Food Company, which remains the sponsor to the present day. Dole also provides the unique Dole Whip soft-serve frozen dessert sold at a snack bar near the entrance. The attraction was at first separated from Disneyland insofar as Walt Disney personally owned it through his own company, WED Enterprises, instead of the rest of Disneyland which was and still is owned by the Walt Disney Company (then Walt Disney Productions).
The show was originally going to be a restaurant featuring Audio-Animatronic birds serenading guests as they ate and drank. The "magic fountain" at the room's center was originally planned as a coffee station (there is still a storage compartment within the base of the fountain) and the restaurant would have shared its kitchen with the now-defunct Tahitian Terrace in Adventureland and the Plaza Pavilion restaurant at the corner of Main Street, U.S.A. since all three are actually part of the same building. Since ownership of the attraction was separate from the rest of the park, a nominal admission charge of $0.75 was levied. Since computers have played a central role in the attraction since its inception, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room was also Disneyland's first fully air-conditioned building.
The attraction opened in an era when all things Polynesian were popular and was an immediate hit. It houses a Hawaiian-themed musical show "hosted" by four lifelike macaws whose plumage matches their implied countries of origin. "José" is red, white and green and speaks with a Mexican accent, voiced by Wally Boag; "Michael" is white and green with an Irish brogue, voiced by Fulton Burley; "Pierre" is blue, white and red, and has a French accent courtesy of the voice talents of Ernie Newton while red, black and white "Fritz" has a German accent provided by Thurl Ravenscroft, who also voices Hawaiian god "Tangaroa" near the attraction's entrance.
The main birds have changed color over the years. In 1965, the four host birds had almost identical plumage of white, green, yellow and blue. The four macaws as well as all the other birds are plumed with real feathers with the exception of chest plumage. The chests are covered in custom-woven cashmere which allows the figures to "breathe" in a lifelike manner. The choice came quite by accident; in a planning meeting, Harriet Burns noticed a cashmere sweater that Walt Disney was wearing which moved at the elbows exactly the way the engineers envisioned.
The presentation features a "cast" of over 150 talking, singing and dancing birds, flowers, the aforementioned magic fountain, tiki drummers and tiki totem poles that perform the attraction's signature tunes, "The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room" by the Sherman Brothers and "Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing". The finale has every Audio-Animatronic figure performing a rousing version of "Hawaiian War Chant". The choice of exit music is somewhat unusual, namely an arrangement of "Heigh Ho" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with lyrics thanking guests for watching the show and hurrying them to the exit.
So innovative was the technology by 1963 standards that an Audio-Animatronic talking "barker" bird (Juan, cousin of José) once located near the walkway to beckon visitors inside, caused enormous traffic jams of visitors trying to catch a glimpse of it. While waiting outside in a lanai area for the show to start, visitors are serenaded by Hawaiian music which at one time included that of Martin Denny and Bud Tutmarc. Hawaiian gods are represented as well around the perimeter of the lanai and each has a rhyming legend to tell via Audio-Animatronics.
Some include Hina Kuluua, goddess of rain; Rongo, god of agriculture; Maui (god), who roped the playful sun; and Tangaroa, father of all gods and goddesses. A brief documentary of the history of the pineapple is presented as well. The story, filmed in the early 1960s and updated at the end with a Macromedia Flash presentation of a parade of Dole products, is shown on a screen on the rear of the roof of the Dole snack bar at the entrance to the lanai. Other than the removal of a minor musical number set to the "Barcarolle" from Jacques Offenbach's opera Tales of Hoffmann and the final verse of "The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room", the show has remained otherwise unchanged since its 1963 inception due to a stipulation in the sponsorship contract with Dole that the attraction remain unchanged.
One chorus of "Let's All Sing Like The Birdies Sing" has José crooning like Bing Crosby, Fritz scat-singing in a gravelly voice like that of Louis Armstrong and Pierre singing like Maurice Chevalier. The show reopened in March 2005 with the original seats for crowds after a seven-month refurbishment, commissioned by new Disneyland management in a bid to restore the park to its former glory for its 50th birthday. Feathers were regularly falling out of the Audio-Animatronics, the thatched roof of the building was breaking away in broad daylight, and the movements of the Audio-Animatronics were noisy and slow.
After the renovation, the original show and storyline remained but with a digitally remastered audio (remastered by Randy Thornton, who produced A Musical History of Disneyland (2005)), a new sound system both indoors and out, and completely new Audio-Animatronics. These look the same as the previous ones, but have a completely different infrastructure. Updates in technology allowed Walt Disney Imagineering, the descendants of WED Enterprises, to create a show to satisfy 21st century expectations while retaining its classic look and feel.
The original Tiki Room was controlled by a large room full of floor-to-ceiling computers that operated the birds with data on magnetic tapes, which was located underneath the floor of the main show room. As of 2010, Wally Boag is the only surviving cast member of the voices for the four parrots.
Walt Disney World Edit
The Enchanted Tiki Room opened in the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971, as Tropical Serenade. The show was an exact duplicate of the Disneyland attraction, but instead of the pre-show there was a waterfall in place of the Tiki gods, which would open and two Audio-Animatronic toucans would entertain guests. The show was sponsored by Florida Citrus Growers until 1986.
The show closed on September 1, 1997 for renovations and updating, re-opening in April 1998 as The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management, featuring Iago (again voiced by Gilbert Gottfried) and Zazu (voiced here by Rowan Atkinson) from Aladdin and The Lion King, respectively, as the new owners of the Tiki Room. The show features all of the same audio-animatronic birds, flowers and Tiki gods but now includes Iago and Zazu, plus a new Tiki goddess named Uh-Oa, who disrupts the usual Enchanted Tiki Room storyline after Iago upsets her.
As guests are waiting outside the Enchanted Tiki Room, a cylinder-shaped tube opens behind a waterfall to reveal two audio-animatronic toucans — William (voiced by Don Rickles) and Morris (voiced by Phil Hartman). William and Morris entertain the waiting guests by discussing their positions as agents of the new Tiki Room's new "co-owners". A human Cast Member then tells the birds that he/she is preparing to let the guests in. William and Morris are incensed because their clients are not yet in the theater.
Morris says that he has to leave because he's about to sign Donald Duck, while William brags that he's got the Mighty Ducks. The cylinder closes with the two birds yelling and arguing. After the guests have entered the theater, the human Cast Member proceeds to "wake up" José with help from the audience. The 4 original Tiki Bird hosts- José, Michael, Pierre (in this version, voiced by Jerry Orbach, the voice of Lumière from Beauty and the Beast) and Fritz get ready as they did in the original show. They start singing "In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room" as they have for the last 30 years, but in the middle of their song, an audio-animatronic Iago, the red, cranky, loud-mouthed parrot from Disney's Aladdin, descends from a hole in the ceiling.
Iago sits on a pillow holding a small megaphone, yelling that the Tiki Birds need to stop the music. Iago complains that the show's outdated songs make him want to "toss his crackers." The birds say that they are in the middle of a show. From another hole in the ceiling comes a perch bearing an audio-animatronic Zazu, the proper blue hornbill from Disney's The Lion King. Zazu pleads with Iago not to toy with the Tiki Room. Pierre tells Iago that "his friend" is right and that he should not anger the Room's inhabitants. Iago ignores Zazu's warnings and replies that Zazu isn't his friend.
José, Michael, Pierre and Fritz are confused — they don't know Iago and Zazu because they never "fly to the movies." To give them an example of how the songs should be sung, Iago begins singing a song to the tune of "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin. He says that since the Tiki Birds are ancient history and he's a big "cele-birdy," he's going to change the show so that a more modern audience can appreciate it, warning the birds that they'd better get hip or their audience will disappear. Zazu tells Iago to knock it off — the Tiki Gods can hear him. Iago then begins to blatantly insult the Gods, soon after which "lightning" strikes and the lights go out. The Tiki Birds begin singing that the atmosphere in the theater has suddenly gotten "Hot! Hot Hot!" and the carved faces on the Tiki Poles begin chanting "Uh-Oa!"
From the center of the fountain in the middle of the room, smoke bubbles and fumes and Uh-Oa, the green and evil audio-animatronic "Tiki Goddess of Disaster" (Voiced by Armelia McQueen), emerges. Uh-Oa wants to know who dares to defame the Tiki Gods and Zazu tells her it was Iago. Uh-Oa then sings about how unwise Iago was to have messed with her. She claims that he "Can't fly away because [he's] stuck, [she] has cursed [him] for pushing [his] luck and it won't help to yell — [he's] under [her] spell!" Uh-Oa then uses her magic Tiki powers and Iago shoots up from his perch. In a big, dark explosion of smoke, the loud-mouthed parrot is gone. Uh-Oa laughs evilly, then, in a cloud of smoke, disappears back into the fountain.
The Tiki Birds and Zazu feel that they should let the Tiki Gods have their say and Zazu introduces the one and only musical sensation: The Tiki Gods. The faces on the Tiki Poles begin to sing "In the Still of the Night" (which is sung in the style of slow doo-wop), then the flowers join in by singing a crazy rap song using lyrics from the original Tiki Room show and some of the birds begin singing along. At this point, over the exit doors, a small compartment on the wall opens. And who else should be in the compartment but Iago. Iago is burnt, smoking, carrying a crutch and has bandages all over his body. He tells them all how the Tiki Gods are the greatest act he's ever heard and that they're going to make a gold mine on this show, no more worries.
Zazu tells Iago that where he comes from, no worries is "Hakuna Matata," which Iago misinterprets as "Hunky-Tuna Tostada". However, he seems to like it, declaring that Zazu is now his friend and that they should party. All the birds start to sing their own rendition of "Conga" as the Bird Mobile descends from the ceiling. Zazu sings about how Iago learned his lesson and will no doubt be more discreet in the future. Iago decides to show Zazu that he won't be discreet, telling everybody to get on their feet. "That's right — everybody stand up!"
As the audience prepares to leave, the Tiki Birds begin singing "Get On Your Feet!" The birds declare that they're going to do a magic trick and make the audience face the door and disappear. The exit doors open and the guests start walking out as the Tiki Birds continue to sing "Get On Your Feet!", followed by "Heigh-Ho". Zazu bids farewell to the guests, while Iago keeps up a barrage of comments and insults designed to get the guests to leave as they walk under him. Once the majority of the guests have left the theater, Iago says that he's tired and plans to go take a nap in the Hall of Presidents. He then says good-bye to Zazu, turns around and enters the compartment over the exit. José laughs that nobody "laid an egg"... except him.
Tokyo Disneyland Edit
The Tiki Room opened in Tokyo Disneyland with the rest of the park on April 15, 1983. It was originally a Japanese version of the original Tiki Room show in Disneyland until 1999, when it was replaced with a new incarnation called "The Enchanted Tiki Room: Now Playing Get The Fever!" This version featured the Tiki Room in a Las Vegas nightclub setting and removed the four host birds from the original show(Jose, Micheal, Pierre, and Fritz), replacing them with four lounge host birds;Danno, Scats, Buddy, and Lava (The first female host bird). The story involved the birds trying to wake up the sleeping Tiki Gods, which was accomplished by Lava singing Fever to them. An English demo track of the show was recorded.
The show begins with the Cast Member introducing the four Birds of Paradise; Hanoli, Manu, Mahina, and Waha Nui. The birds welcome the audience to the Tiki Room and start off by singing "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride." Just as they finish the first verse however, the lights shut out interrupting the song. When the lights come back on, the birds see that someone was written painted messages and pictures all over the walls and windows of the Tiki Room.
Manu suspects that one of the drawings is of the Big Kahuna, the leader of the Enchanted Tiki. If he is angered, they will be doomed. Mahina points out that the messages also say "Aloha e komo mai", which is Hawaiian for "Hello, welcome." Hanoli is amused that the phrase also happens to be their next song, and wonders why they knew that. Mahina guesses that the Tiki Gods know all, and proceeds to sing "Aloha E Komo Mai" from Lilo and Stitch: The Series.
At the end of the song, Waha Nui suspects that the Tiki Gods are anixous because they are singing out of tune. The paranoid Manu tells him to watch his words or he could make the Big Kahuna angry. Waha Nui tells him "Kahuna Matata" and starts the next number, which is part of the Hawaiian War Chat from the original Tiki Room show.
However, Stitch disrupts the song by sticking his arms out of the flower beds and sounds various air horns. Waha Nui tries to stop him by shouting at him whenever he reaches out of the flower beds, but Stitch gets the upper hand by sounding a large foghorn blast.
Manu decides to ask the cute birds he met at Waikiki about the Big Kahuna. The girls come down riding the Birdmobile wearing plasic Stitch ears. He asks why they are wearing them, and they tell him that some blue creature put the ears on them. Nanu tells them they were lucky and their bodies could have turned blue, when Stitch throws down blue paint on the girls (The effect is achieved by using a blue light). The girls run off, saying they won't come back until the blue creature leaves.
The lights go out and lighting cracks. Stitch comes out of the fountain in the center of the room obscured by the low red lighting in the Tiki Room. He pretends to be the Big Kahuna at first, but soon reveals himself. He says he did the things he did so he could be in the show, but the Birds of Paradise scold him telling him he should have said so before the show started.
They let Stitch perform in the show, on the promise that he doesn't interfer with the show anymore. Stitch agrees, asking the Birds of Paradise and the audience if they want to join his ohana. Stitch and the Birds of Paradise then close the show with a reprise of "Aloha, E Komo Mai". Stitch delcares "Everyone...ohana!" and the show ends with him spitting out of the fountain.
Original Show Soundtrack Edit
Of interest to the original sound recording of the Enchanted Tiki Room for Disneyland, most of the background birds, as well as the singing voice of Pierre (which puts into question the listed acting voice as stated in the description) were created via the talented vocal cords and warbling skills of Purvis Pullen, aka Purv Pullen, aka Dr. Horatio Q. Birdbath. Pullen was a comedy talent best known for his time with Spike Jones and his City Slickers.
According to Eugene Chadbourne writing for Allmusic - "...At the same time, his Pierre the Parrot in Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room doesn't seem to have any relation to Pierre Salinger. It is actually the voices of the birds in the Tiki Room that represented Birdbath's proudest achievement. He was fond of telling interviewers that he had done every single bird in the place."
- ↑ Footage of the original control room is available on the 10th anniversary special made in 1965 featuring Walt Disney and "Miss Disneyland 1965" called "The Tencennial Special"