Chances are you have walked past Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and didn’t even know it.
This unassuming building holding the ancient tiki gods is right in the middle of Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom.
The queue is in a covered area outside and has a beautiful fountain to watch. There is never really a line, merely a group waiting to watch the next show.
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room is described as a musical extravaganza with a bird filled sing along in a tropical Polynesian paradise. What it really is a groundbreaking piece of history and a song that will be stuck in your head forever. (More on that later.)
Come on into the ceremony room and grab a bench! You will notice right away all of those tropical birds overhead are not like typical tropical birds. These are Disney birds that not only talk, they can sing. Just don’t anger the temple gods!
The jolly tune sung by the special tiki birds may have a familiar jaunt to it. That’s because it was written by the famous Sherman brothers who also wrote songs for other attractions in the Magic Kingdom like Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress and “it’s a small world”.
While this show is cute and a great respite from the heat, it is 10 minutes sitting on a plastic bench, which for some is not the most comfortable of situations.
There is no Lightning Lane for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, but never fear! The show never fills up. If you are in line waiting, you are only waiting for the previous show to end.
We hope that the hardcore fans don’t come at us for this, but Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room is not the most exciting attraction. It’s delightful and imaginative, but let’s be real, we’re there to appreciate the history of it all.
Walt Disney himself helped to design the Enchanted Tiki Room, but in the initial concept it was actually meant to be a restaurant! Walt Disney loved to bring in concepts from his travels, so when the Imagineers brought the concept of a tropical paradise restaurant he was intrigued. Then they dropped the bombshell on Disney, the restaurant would be filled with tropical exotic birds.
Birds?! Walt Disney’s immediate response was that birds will poop on people’s food! This is the birth of an idea. Animatronics.
Classic Disney attractions are known for their audioanimatronics, but have you ever thought about where they started? When creating the Enchanted Tiki Room Imagineers pushed the boundaries of technology. They created a robotic concept that could play music or scripts in a synchronized fashion.
Now remember, this is the late 50s and computers are far from commonplace or streamlined. These tiny bird animatronics came with a giant room of computers.
Walt Disney was infamous for perfection and never being satisfied. There was always something to fix, something to improve. When Walt saw the 150 birds singing “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room”, he had one thing to say about it… They’re not breathing.
Imagineers were confused and reminded Walt that they were animatronics, but he says that he wanted guests to sit and wonder whether or not they were real, and to appear real they needed to breathe. Back to the drawing board! The original birds had a chest covered in cashmere to showcase the new robotic “breathing” element. Who knew that Disney animatronics were so posh?!
The end result is Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room that opened in 1963 in Disneyland. An identical version was placed in Walt Disney World. Now guests can visit one of the last attractions that not only Walt Disney himself touched, but also where it all started! The Enchanted Tiki Room paved the way for animatronics for Pirates of the Caribbean, “it’s a small world”, and the Carousel of Progress!See all our Theme Park Pages:
- Disney World Theme Park Overview
- Magic Kingdom
- Disney's Hollywood Studios
- Disney's Animal Kingdom
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This MDT Post By: Erin Schreiver
Erin is a MilSpouse who loves going to Walt Disney World with her family, pin trading, and collecting Minnie ears and coffee mugs! Check out her bio.
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