June 23, 1963 – The Enchanted Tiki Room Opens in Adventureland at Disneyland
“…All the birds sing words, and the flowers croon, in the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room.”
On June 23, 1963, the Enchanted Tiki Room attraction opened in Disneyland’s Adventureland. The attraction, the first to feature Audio-Animatronics, was designed by WED Enterprises (now known as Walt Disney Imagineering). It was first sponsored by United Airlines, and passed to the Dole Food Company in 1976. Dole continues to host the attraction to this day.
The hosts of the show are four birds of different nationalities: the Mexican bird, Jose (voiced by Wally Boag); the Irish bird, Michael (Fulton Burley); the French bird, Pierre (Ernie Newton); and the German bird, Fritz (Thurl Ravenscroft). There are more than 150 Audio-Animatronic characters—including birds, flowers, and Tiki statues–that serenade the audience during the 15-minute show.
The attraction was first conceived as a dinner show, but the idea was shelved so that more guests could experience the room. The Tiki Room was originally controlled by an underground room with floor-to-ceiling computers, as seen in the Disneyland Tenth Anniversary Special. The attraction was closed for renovations in 2004, opening again in March 2005 for the park’s 50th anniversary, with new Audio-Animatronic figures replacing the old ones, and a new infrastructure designed by the 21st century Imagineers. The attraction is still as popular as ever, and has been replicated at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland.