When it debuted in 1963 at Disneyland, the Enchanted Tiki Room featured the first Audio-Animatronics characters and was a landmark breakthrough in park attractions. The sweet-natured show still operates virtually unchanged to this day and is adored for nostalgic reasons as much as for its enduring, timeless appeal.
When Disney World's Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, it offered a similar show that was called Tropical Serenade. In one of the Mouse's dumber moves, it tampered with the classic attraction in 1998 by incorporating the annoying characters Iago from Aladdin (voiced by the uber-annoying Gilbert Gottfried) and Zazu from The Lion King and literally tacking on an "Under New Management" sign to the outside of the attraction. Disney park fans squawked. Thankfully, the new bosses finally got their wings clipped, and the show will revert back to its traditional origins, minus Zazu and Iago, when it reopens in August as the Enchanted Tiki Room.
With the impressive underwater characters that recently surfaced in The Little Mermaid- Ariel's Undersea Adventure, animatronics have come a long way (the Disco Yeti notwithstanding) since the art form's humble beginnings. But the relatively crude talking and singing birds, flowers, and trees of Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room are nonetheless still, well, enchanting. It's great to know that Disney World guests will once again be able to all sing like the birdies sing.
Photo: Disney. Used with permission.