When fire alarms were first heard ringing in the Adventureland area last January no one quite understood the extent of the damage. Power went out to most of Adventureland (and the Country Bears) and water damage was reported to have destroyed the Iago figure along with some general water damage to the walls, attic, and basement. Nevertheless cast members were instructing guests that the attraction would re-open in a few days.
Turns out damage was much more severe than originally thought and many of the audio-animatronics sustained some damage – a few to the point of needing to be replaced. One of these is reportedly the Polynesian Tiki Goddess Uh-Oa.
Months went by with no word on the status of the attraction. Finally word leaked out that there was some work going on in the attraction. Then William and Morris, the birds from the queue disappeared and walls went up. Finally on May 15th, Disney World made it official. The Tiki Room Would return.
We now know that date will be in August 2011. Here’s a quote from Disney’s most recent press release.
The Sunshine Pavilion, featuring a show variously known as “Tropical Serenade” and “The Enchanted Tiki Birds,” debuted on Oct. 1, 1971, in Magic Kingdom. In 1998, following substantial refurbishment, it re-launched as The Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management, with two famous Disney birds – Iago from Aladdin and Zazu from The Lion King – taking control and trying to spruce up the show.
The “new management” has been let go and the future of the Adventureland landmark is in the wings and wit of José, Fritz, Michael and Pierre – four crooning parrot hosts who ushered in sophisticated Audio-Animatronics technology at California’s Disneyland in 1963 at The Enchanted Tiki Room.
In time for fall 2011 vacations, The Enchanted Tiki Room (as the Magic Kingdom attraction now will be called) is being prepared to reflect the show at Disneyland that represents a milestone in Disney theme park entertainment. While Walt Disney’s creative team previously had produced movable figures, none had the sophistication of the bird-brained cast of the Tiki Room. José, Fritz, Michael and Pierre produce movements when solenoid coils hidden inside receive signals recorded onto magnetic tape and are regarded as the first “true” Audio-Animatronics figures.
They introduce a musical presentation by more than 200 birds, flowers and tikis. Even the audience gets into the act, joining in during the musical ditty “Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing.”
Good news. Right? My little birds tell me that we’re getting the Disneyland version of the show with almost none of the UNM elements remaining (some lights and sound system will be kept). The upgrade to the audio-animatronics is in progress (the birds share the same system as the country bears, so it’s taken a bit longer than estimated). It looks like the Tiki Goddess is gone along with Zazu and Iago.
There are some question as to what they’re doing in the queue area. It was one of the weakest parts of the original attraction. Often times guests would walk out after waiting in the amphitheater space thinking that that was the whole show. The queue at Disneyland has always been a great success with many more interactive elements. Since WDI is fixated on interactive queues right now, I hope they’re planning on bringing some Disneyland’s charm to Florida.
Now, if they’d just bring back the Barker Bird voiced by Wally Boag (even just for a few months), that would be the ultimate feather in the cap for current park management. Maybe they really do ‘get it.’ Either way, the end result is José, Fritz, Michael and Pierre and friends (but not Rosita) will soon have sole position of the Tiki Room. And one of the Magic Kingdom’s largest scars will be nothing but a memory. Chalk this one up as a victory folks.
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