Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, which is located just inside the entrance to Adventureland in Disneyland, opened on June 23, 1963 and was the first attraction to feature Audio-Animatronics, a Walt Disney Studios invention. The attraction's first commercial sponsor was United Airlines but sponsorship soon passed over to Hawaii's Dole Food Company who remains the sponsor to the present day.
The Enchanted Tiki Room opened in an era when all things Polynesian were popular and so it was an immediate hit. It houses a Hawaiian-themed musical show "hosted" by four lifelike macaws whose plumage matches their implied countries of origin. "Jose" is red, white and green and speaks with a Mexican accent; "Michael" is white and green with an Irish brogue; "Pierre" is red, white, blue and has a French accent while red, black and white "Fritz" has a German accent courtesy of the voice talents of Thurl Ravenscroft. The presentation features a "cast" of over 250 talking, singing and dancing birds, flowers, a "magic" fountain, tiki drummers and tiki totem poles that perform the attraction's signature tunes, "In The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room" and "Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing." The finale has every Audio-Animatronic figure performing a rousing version of the Hawaiian War Chant. So innovative was the technology by 1963 standards that an Audio-Animatronic talking bird 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 patio area for the show to start, visitors are serenaded by Martin Denny songs including his most famous, "Quiet Village." Hawaiian gods are represented as well around the perimeter of the patio and each have a story to tell via Audio-Animatronics.
Other than the removal of a minor musical number set to a theme from Jacques Offenbach's opera Tales of Hoffmann, the show has remained the same since its 1963 inception and as such is arguably dated. One chorus of "Let's All Sing Like The Birdies Sing" has Jose crooning like Bing Crosby, Fritz scat-singing in a gravelly voice like that of Louis Armstrong and Pierre singing like Maurice Chevalier. Still, the attraction remains among the park's most popular. Despite rumors that the show would be changed to that of the attraction's "alter ego" at Walt Disney World, one in which the Tiki Room is under the management of "Iago the Parrot" from Disney's "Aladdin," the attraction is currently undergoing a seven-month refurbishment and will reopen with totally overhauled and detailed "performers" and expansion of the original show back to its original length. The Dole snack stand that once served as the attraction's ticket booth has been removed which will allow easier access to the patio. The return of the "barker bird" after a forty-year absence is a topic on several Disneyland-related discussion boards.
- Disneyland official website (http://www.disneyland.com)