East vs. West: Enchanted Tiki Room

“All the birds sing words and the flowers croon…”

This week, the Disneyland Resort showcased some of its heritage as part of the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration with the “Tahitian Terrace Diamond Luau” – a tribute to the gone-but-not-forgotten Tahitian Terrace restaurant formerly found in Adventureland.

So I thought it would be a good time to look at some of the wonderful entertainment and themed offerings born from and inspired by Adventureland – starting with the classic and still utterly enjoyable Enchanted Tiki Room!

Inside Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room at the Magic Kingdom.

Inside Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room at the Magic Kingdom.

Just because it’s an audio-animatronics performance, rather than featuring live entertainment, doesn’t mean it should be overlooked! It’s still one of the best musical shows at either Disneyland Park or Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

For several frustrating years, the Magic Kingdom version had a rather unpopular overlay (“Under New Management”) that involved Iago from Aladdin and Zazu from The Lion King. Fortunately, a few years ago, these characters were removed and this attraction was finally returned to closer to its original state. Although the Disneyland version is still a longer iteration of the original show.

Inside the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland Park.

Inside the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland Park.

But it means you can once again enjoy the Enchanted Tiki Room show (more or less) on both coasts as it was originally envisioned and overseen by Walt Disney and his brilliant Imagineering team.

Some more blatant differences, however, can be seen outside the attraction.

The birds first entertain you outside the Enchanted Tiki Room at the Magic Kingdom.

The birds first entertain you outside the Enchanted Tiki Room at the Magic Kingdom.

In the Magic Kingdom, you are treated to a pre-show involving animatronic birds who address the crowd waiting in the queue to enter the attraction.

In Disneyland, by contrast, it’s all about the Tikis! (And the Dole Whip!)

Waiting in the lanai outside the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland Park, surrounded by Tikis and lush foliage.

Waiting in the lanai outside the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland Park, surrounded by Tikis and lush foliage.

Prior to entering the attraction at Disneyland, guests waiting in an open lanai are introduced to the various Tikis and the gods they represent with animatronic movement of both the Tikis and the foliage around them.

While they wait, guests can also grab a Dole Whip at the nearby Tiki Juice Bar which conveniently allows you to order from the lanai side of the bar if you don’t want to wait in the line outside that winds through Adventureland!

Then it’s time to go inside!

Let’s all sing like the birdies sing inside Disneyland Park’s Enchanted Tiki Room!

Let’s all sing like the birdies sing inside Disneyland Park’s Enchanted Tiki Room!

Walking into the Enchanted Tiki Room for me is like walking right into 1960’s-era Disneyland. It feels like Walt Disney could be wandering the park greeting guests just outside and I could be waiting to have dinner at the Tahitian Terrace. It’s beautifully retro – which for some can mean silly or boring (ah, people, really?). But for me that is its charm. And happily, the hipster culture that embraced the mod 60’s with its Tiki trends and artist SHAG style seems to have made this theming at least somewhat cool again.

But I just love it because the audio-animatronics still surprise and amuse and the catchy music absolutely forces you to sing along (and yes, you can get the songs stuck in your head for a long time afterward!) with the beautiful birds who were some of the earliest of Walt Disney’s and his Imagineers’ audio-animatronic concepts and to this day stand as a testament to their breakthrough achievements in technology and entertainment.

If you love music and shows, don’t skip the Enchanted Tiki Room – at either Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom.

But if you’re asking me which one I prefer – Disneyland wins this hands down. From having the longer show to the beautiful lanai waiting area to the easy access to cool refreshments – I’d say Disneyland gets the crown for this showdown!

Have you visited one or both versions of the Enchanted Tiki Room on the East or West Coasts? Do you prefer one vs. the other?

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