5 Obscure Enchanted Tiki Room Facts

by | Aug 11, 2020 | Magic Kingdom, WDW Blog

Tropical Serenade was one of the opening day attractions at Walt Disney World, nearly a replica of the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland. Though it’s been through a few changes, the attraction has always been a fan-favorite.

Today, I am bringing you five fantastic Enchanted Tiki Room facts!

1. It’s had a few names

enchanted tiki room at night

The Enchanted Tiki Room looks beautiful at night! Photo by Judd Helms

As I mentioned, when Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room opened at Disney World, it was called Tropical Serenade. Eventually, that was changed to The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management).

The “new management” was Iago and Zazu from Aladdin and The Lion King. This show ran for 13 years until a small fire forced the attraction to close. 

When it opened back up, it was restored to the original show, led by the four macaws, José, Michael, Pierre, and Fritz. The show’s new name was (and still is) Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.

2. It All Started With a Bird

birds inside the tiki room

A little mechanical bird started it all. Photo by Rich Ramos

The attraction at Disney World was brought over from the original attraction at Disneyland, which means Walt had a hand in the attraction’s creation. 

Walt and his wife Lillian were on a vacation to New Orleans when he came across a mechanical bird in a cage—and that’s where the entire idea began!

He brought the souvenir back to his Imagineers and had them figure out how it worked and then built an entire attraction around it. 

But the first idea Walt attempted to pursue wasn’t the show we see today. He wanted The Enchanted Tiki Room to be dinner and a show.

The idea ended up being too complicated, with running a full restaurant on top of a large-scale audio-animatronic show, so the dinner idea was scrapped. 

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3. It Had Nuclear Beginnings

a tiki outside the tiki room

Can you believe the technology that started the Tiki Room? Photo by Rich Ramos

You might be surprised to learn that nuclear weapon technology is at the heart of The Enchanted Tiki Room.

During the Cold War, a technology was developed that used a magnetic tape system to control a missile guidance technology. With the successful launch of the Polaris missile, the technology that ran The Enchanted Tiki Room was born. 

The magnetic tape system allowed Disney to sync movements, lights, and audio, resulting in a cohesive show, complete with talking and singing birds. The computers were supposedly bigger than the showroom itself.

Now, the computer that runs the show is said to be about equivalent to a MacBook.

3. It Had a Cool Innovation

bird inside the enchanted tiki room

There might be some lava, but it’s a great place to get cool! Photo by Judd Helms

Everyone knows the Tiki Room is a great place to stop and take a quick air-conditioned break in the middle of the hot Floridan or Californian summer.

But did you know that the Enchanted Tiki Room was actually the first attraction at Disney to be air-conditioned?

No, it wasn’t a kind thing Disney did to help guests stay cool—though that was an added bonus. The computer system (the one I talked about above) was so large and extensive, that it required air conditioning to not overheat!

4. It Had the First Audio-Animatronics

tiki room birds inside

There are over 150 audio-animatronics inside the Tiki Room. Photo by Judd Helms

Disney had already been using animatronics before The Enchanted Tiki Room was built. But the technology only allowed for some movement and no synchronization with the audio.

With the inception of the technology that allowed the Tiki Room to be, the very first audio-animatronics were born! 

And Disney did not go easy on the use of the newfound technology. There are over 150 audio-animatronics inside the Tiki Room, from birds to flowers, to Tiki gods!

Of course, our favorite four audio-animatronics are the love-able José, Michael, Pierre, and Fritz.

Each of these four macaws is from a different country of origin, as we can tell from their accents. You can also tell by the color of their feathers, which represent their country’s flag! You’ve got to love Disney’s attention to detail. 

The Enchanted Tiki Room is a well-loved show by Disney fans all over the world. For my family, it’s a must-do every time we’re at the parks.

This attraction brings so much joy to any Disney vacation, but it is so much more than that! We have this attraction to thank for leaps and bounds in Disney technology. Without it, we wouldn’t have so many other beloved Disney rides.

I don’t know about you, but I could go for a Dole Whip and a little serenade from the birds and flowers in the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room right about now! (I hope you’re singing now!)

Ready to plan your trip to Disney World and catch a show with the Tiki Room birds? Contact our friends over at Destinations to Travel for a stress-free vacation experience!

Posts by Leah Sikes

Leah Sikes is a graphic designer and contributing writer for WDW Magazine and Dad's Guide to WDW. When she's lucky enough to visit the Happiest Place on Earth, you catch her hanging out with the 999 Happy Haunts. She also loves running in the parks (when it's allowed at the marathons).

Authored by
Leah Sikes

Leah Sikes is a graphic designer and contributing writer for WDW Magazine and Dad's Guide to WDW. When she's lucky enough to visit the Happiest Place on Earth, you catch her hanging out with the 999 Happy Haunts. She also loves running in the parks (when it's allowed at the marathons).
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