You may have noticed the 9-tiered, thatched roof tower, reminiscent of a tiki hut, at Adventureland inside Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World, but you just kept walking. Maybe you saw “Enchanted Tiki Room” on your map of the park, but because FastPass+ times are not offered for the attraction, you skipped it on your last trip to Disney World. Or perhaps you were curious and wanted to take a look inside, but your teenagers rolled their eyes, thinking it would be boring. And maybe it flashed before your eyes as you were racing to get to the last five minutes of your FastPass+ window for Pirates of the Caribbean. For whatever reason, you may not have ever enjoyed Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. But here are eight really cool reasons you need to make it part of your Disney World to-do list for your next trip.
8. It was Walt’s.
The first Enchanted Tiki Room opened at Disneyland in 1963. When it debuted in 1971 at the opening of Walt Disney World in Florida, it was called Tropical Serenade. Sadly, Walt passed away five years before the park opened, so he never saw the production as part of Disney World’s attractions, but it was the exact same show as the show at Disneyland, which Walt had his hands on. The Enchanted Tiki Room, like so many of the classic attractions at Walt Disney World, has a special touch to it that only Walt could have added. And though Walt is no longer here, you get a look into his genius when you experience an attraction he worked on firsthand.
7. It was the first of its kind.
The Enchanted Tiki Room was the first attraction to ever use audio animatronics. Audio animatronics is the registered trademark name given to a type of robotic animation invented and patented by The Walt Disney Company. The robots can move and make sounds, but they are affixed to some type of support, which holds them up. In the Tiki Room, there are over 225 robotic birds, flowers, tiki statues and totem poles that “come to life” and sing, dance and create the atmosphere for the 10-minute show. The Enchanted Tiki Room would prove to pave the way for additional attractions at the Disney Parks that used robotic animation as part of the entertainment. Some of those include Pirates of the Caribbean, The Carousel of Progress, It’s a Small World and The Haunted Mansion.
6. It has been through some changes.
When the attraction opened at Walt Disney World in 1971, it did so under the name Tropical Serenade. It was later named The Enchanted Tiki Room. That was helpful for Guests because it was the exact same attraction as the Disneyland version with the same name. In 1998, the original four macaws who led the show—Jose’, Fritz, Michael and Pierre—were replaced with Zazu from Disney’s The Lion King and Iago from Disney’s Aladdin. The attraction got a slightly new name as well: The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management. The new hosts weren’t a huge hit though. Several years later, in 2011, a small fire broke out in the attic of the attraction. No Guests were injured, but the Iago audio-animatronic was badly damaged, and the attraction was temporarily closed. Shortly thereafter, the attraction reopened with the original four birds as the hosts, and since it was restored to Walt’s original plans for the attraction, it was named Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.
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5. It’s got hidden meanings and life-like additions.
As with many Disney movies and Disney World attractions, hidden meanings and symbolism can be found inside The Enchanted Tiki Room. The colors of feathers used for each of the four host birds symbolize the countries they represent. Jose’s feathers are red, green and white: Mexico. Fritz’s feathers are white, which symbolizes his native Germany. Michael represents Ireland, so it makes sense that his feathers are green and white. And Pierre, whose feathers are blue, white and red, represents France. The feathers on the birds are real feathers, except for those on the birds’ chests. Those are made of a custom-woven cashmere that “moves” so the birds appear to breathe and are thus more life-like.
4. It has modern technology.
The theme song of the show today, “In the Tiki Room,” written in 1963 by staff songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman, is the same song that’s always been used in the show. And the show is essentially the same as the one that debuted at Disneyland in 1963 and Disney World in 1971. But even though the actual entertainment is several decades old, the technology with which the show is produced and delivered is the most modern technology available. The show boasts a brand-new show-control system, re-mastered audio (including subwoofers behind the back rows) and new energy-efficient lighting.
3. It has some catchy tunes.
The theme song written for the show by the Sherman Brothers in 1963, titled “In the Tiki Room,” is still the central song used in the current attraction. It was the first song ever to be written for audio-animatronics to “sing,” and it gives Guests an insight to the crux of the production:
All the birds sing words and the flowers croon/
In the tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki room
A few other songs in the show will stick with you long after you leave the Sunshine pavilion. “Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing” features a chandelier arrangement of gorgeously plumed white birds—female cockatoos—as the four host macaws announce, “Here come the girls!” “The Hawaiian War Chant” is a song used as part of The Enchanted Tiki Room attraction, and with the Hawaiian craze in the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s, the song caught on wildly even outside of the Disney parks and is still played in live Hawaiian shows to this day.
2. It is a great place to unwind.
The Enchanted Tiki Room is also a wonderful attraction to enjoy when the Florida sun is beating down on the Magic Kingdom. It’s indoor, air-conditioned, and you are seated for the entire production. Try this attraction in the afternoon when you and your family are feeling tired from walking throughout the park, and when temperatures are at their warmest, especially if you are visiting in the spring and summer months.
1. It’s perfect for the whole family.
No matter who you’re traveling with—parents, grandparents, toddlers, young kids, grandchildren, friends, aunts, uncles—The Enchanted Tiki Room has something to please everyone. Vibrant colors and a Polynesian theme put Guests in a celebratory mood, and the sing-alongs only add to that. Kids will love the audio-animatronic birds and flowers, and adults will appreciate the hard work and craftsmanship put into every square foot of the theater-in-the-round exhibit and production. Short wait times make it perfect for your family, especially if you’ve been taking the park by storm all day and need a break from the long lines and heat. No one will want to sit this one out, so grab the whole group, and head to the Tiki Room for some really great family-friendly entertainment.
Maybe you’ve never enjoyed The Enchanted Tiki Room on your trips to the Magic Kingdom. That’s okay. There’s always the opportunity on your next trip! You may not have known how great the attraction is, but with all the really cool things you know now about one of Walt’s classic attractions, you’ll have no reason not to go next time!