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:: Saturday, July 24, 2004 ::

The Former Glory of the Tiki Room

We went to Disneyland a couple weeks ago and went on all the rides I remember from my childhood. In particular, we took an hour off and decided to go to the Tiki Room.

For those of you who don't remember, the Tiki room in Disneyland is a Hawaiian themed attraction with a house full of singing birds and other oddities. It's a completely automated animatronic show and I don't think the show has changed since it was first created in 1963.

Well, when I went there two weeks ago, I was very disappointed by what has become of the show. The wooden faces on the wall, and the wooden drummers were in deep disrepair. They were often stuck or not moving when they should have been chanting and drumming in time with the music. Some of the birds were not working, and it felt like the place had been really let go.

The hostess was a fairly standard Disneyland employee. Fun-loving, sarcastic, and her enthusiasm obviously forced since we could all tell she had been doing this for quite a while. Plus she was forced to wear this really out-dated dress that look kind of forced and almost discriminatory in its appearance.

But what really struck me was the four main bird characters: Jose, Micheal, Pierre and Fritz. These birds spoke with caricature voices of the various ethnic groups that their names belong to. Spanish, French, and German, and I don't know what Micheal was supposed to be. This may have been a cultural revolution back in '63 to include the "various ethnic groups of the world" in this Disneyland show, but listening to their voices and their expressions in 2004, it almost seemed racist. Jose the Spanish parrot spoke more with a Mexican caricatured accent and it seemed plainly despicable. And the German bird sounded like he could only talk about Lederhosen, Sauerkraut and Wurst. Ja Wohl!

But maybe I'm reading too much into this. Perhaps we should just view the Tiki Room as a historical curiosity of the legacy of Disney invention. But it just doesn't have the same enchanting effect that once did when I was young.

I think its years are numbered.

:: everist 3:57 PM [+] ::