Friday, December 16, 2011

Disneyland Tiki Room - Holiday Overlay?

Last weekend my wife and I hosted our 5th annual Merry Kitchmas Party downstairs in our home tiki bar (The Kona Luanii). All of our good friends and fellow tikiphiles were there, it was a great evening! The Kona Luanii is already busting at the seams with tiki decor, but at Christmas, we add on another layer and decorate it for the holidays. Santa hats on the tikis, decorations hanging from the floats & fishnets on the ceiling, etc… The holiday overlay of my tiki bar is my favorite time of the year in the Kona Luanii.

The Walt Disney Company has also discovered how popular a Holiday themed overlay can be in generating renewed interest in some of their classic attractions. Currently at Disneyland (CA), they install seasonal holiday d├ęcor in the Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World. The Country Bear Jamboree used to have a holiday show, but has been discontinued. The current Holiday versions of these attractions have proven to be mega-hits over the last handful of years. That success led Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) to explore the possibility of developing holiday overlays for additional attractions.

In the early 2000’s, WDI did some concept development work on a Christmas overlay for the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The idea was also considered for Tokyo Disneyland as well. The idea did not pan out, but the Enchanted Tiki Room remains as popular as ever.

However, we can get a glimpse of what the Imagineers had in mind for the Tiki Room Christmas. In 2005, Imagineering released a set of pins that were based on the artwork for the Tiki Room Christmas show. There were four pins created, one for each of the main hosts.

Jose – (Spanish Host) Feliz Navidad Baby!

Fritz – (German Host) with a traditional wreath, Santa and Snowmen

Pierre (French Host) looking suave in his top hat and cane

Michael (Irish Host)

Mike Cozart, on his excellent Disneyland Attraction Poster blog, mentions that an attraction poster was also developed for the Christmas version of the Tiki Room.

The Enchanted Tiki Room attraction has seen many different versions in various different Disney parks around the world, with some of them failing miserably (Under New Management at WDW). I for one am happy that the Imagineers left the tiki gods alone this time.

Today, if you want to experience what that show may have been like, all you have to do is travel over to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel. They have a great holiday overlay inside the bar for Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Trader Sam's Christmas - Disneyland Hotel, California

Earlier this week I was in Los Angeles for a few days for my final business trip of the year. Visiting Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim was at the top of my list of things to do while I was in town. Just a few days before my arrival, the bar had been decorated for Christmas.

The Tiki Room Drummer sports a Santa Hat and is surrounded by Christmas Poinsettias

Koro is also getting into the Holiday Spirit

I visited Sam's twice while I was in town and sampled a few of their drinks...

The Hippopotto-Mai Tai (too sweet for me)

Ginger's Pear-adise (also on the sweet side)

Sam's created two new drinks especially for the holiday season, the Mele Kaliki-Moaca (an iced coffee drink), and....

The Red Nosed Zebra (complete with floating cranberry garnish)

The special effects projection windows were updated for Christmas, in addition to the erupting volcano and the tropical storm, they now have snow.

Finally, the soundtrack was updated for Christmas. It was playing an excellet assortment of Exotica (Martin Denny, The Tikiyaki Orchestra, etc.) and Christmas (The Blue Hawaiians, The Ventures, etc.)

Sam's was a great place to spend a evening this holiday season.

Oh, by the way...I've heard from the little Orange Bird that Sam's has completely exceeded expectations and that Disney is VERY happy. Does this mean we might see new versions pop up at other Disney properties? Time will tell.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lee Auditorium - Pago Pago, American Samoa

The subject of today’s post is a bit unusual in that this building is actually located in the South Pacific on the Island of Pago Pago in American Samoa. Most of the structures we look at on this blog are mainland United States fantasies of what we envisioned as the ‘South Seas’.

This civic auditorium was built in 1962 and was designed by the architectural firm of Wimberly, Whisenand, Allison & Tong (Honolulu). This firm may sound familiar to you if you are fan of Tiki Architecture. Pete Winberly was responsible for the design of many of the exotic buildings found in Hawaii, including the International Market Place, The Waikikian Hotel and the Tahitian Lanai of Waikiki, the master plan for the Kanapali Beach Resort in Maui, the Kona Hilton on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Coco Palms Resort on Kauai, and many more.

The design for the Lee Auditorium was based on traditional Samoan architecture with a Modern Polynesian flair. The building is nicknamed ‘The Turtle’ by the locals.

Lee Auditorium, March 1966

In 2006-2007 the Lee Auditorium underwent a major restoration project due to decades of neglect and was restored back to its original condition. On November 12, 2010 the Lee Auditorium was officially placed on the United Sates National Register of Historic Places.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Horizons Polynesian Garden Homes - Torrance, California

The New Horizons South Bay complex opened it's doors on Ocotber 24, 1963. The 80 acre project, built by noted Los Angeles developer Ray Watt of Southland Builders, has 600 garden homes, a 10,000 sqft clubhouse and recreation building, a nine hole par 3 golf course and a putting green surrounded by a lake.

Opening day advertisement in the Torrance Herald showcasing the Polynesian Clubhouse

When this neighborhood opened in 1963, it was called New Horizons from the start, it never had a more exotic name (too bad). What made this adult only development unique is that the builder offered 17 Oriental and Polynesian Modern stylings for the residents to choose from in the design of their garden home.

Individual Garden Homes

Well landscaped greenbelts and walkways separate garden residences. The garden-like malls and plantings perpetuate the community's park-like atmosphere

Sketch for the clubhouse entrance

The Clubhouse and Recreation building, designed on a Polynesian architectural theme by Selected Interiors of Los Angeles, has a two-story entry, assemby hall with kitchen and serving bar, billard room, women's bridge rooms, men's card room, locker and shower for golfers, golf shop, lounge with 10 foot high driftwood fireplace, photo laboratory and hobby rooms for ceramics, painting and sculpture. The recreation area includes swimming pool, shuffleboard and tennis courts.

The Polynesian clubhouse

The nine hole par 3 golf course was located out the back door of the clubhouse, including the Polynesian themed Island Putting Green.

April 1965 House & Home Magazine

The Island Putting Green (April, 1965)

New Horizons South Bay continues to operate as an adult community (55 yrs and up) and the grounds are well maintained to this day.

The clubhouse today

The clubhouse and the detikified putting green

The Island Putting Green today

Next time you find yourself in the SouthBay area of Los Angeles, you can stop by and check out the New Horizons at 22727 Maple Avenue, Torrance, California.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bali Hai & Outrigger Apts - Stockton, California

This week I was on the road again and happend to be in the Sacramento area and Central Valley of California. While passing through Stockton, I stopped off to explore the Bali Hai and the Outrigger apartments. These apartment complexes were built in 1962 are next right next to each other. They have been well documented online, but are still worth taking a look at if you are in town and enjoy tiki architecture.

Bali Hai Apartments - 4305 N. Pershing Ave., Stockton, CA

The building complex for the Bali Hai is rather plain, but they do have a nice 7' featherstone carved Moai out front.

The interior has been detikified over the decades.

The Outrigger Apartments - 4415 N. Pershing Ave., Stockton, CA

The Outrigger is quite the opposite of the Bali Hai. There are no tikis, but the building has a great 3-story soaring A-Frame entrance.

The interior courtyard has been detikified just like the Bali Hai.

Local tikiphile abstractiki, has done some great research on these aprtments and you can read an interview with the original contractor who built these complexes here. He has also discovered a few images from the local newspaper archives of the Outrigger in 1962.

The Outrigger in 1962, photo from abstractiki

Rendering for the Outrigger, photo from abstractiki

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Leeward Islands Apartments - Dallas, Texas

Last week I found myself in Dallas, Texas for a couple of days on a business trip. One afternoon I spotted this dingbat apartment complex called the Leeward Islands in the Glencoe neighborhood. The complex is located directly behind the former location of the Dallas Trader Vic's restaurant in the old Hilton Hotel.

There's not much left to this place, except for the dingbat font over the front door.

The pool around back had a small A-frame clubhouse, but no trace of anything exotic was left.

Leeward Islands Apartments: 3737 McMilian Ave, Dallas

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tropical Space Age Architecture- Part 3

Not to be outdone by Century 21, the New York World's Fair wanted to do everything bigger and better when they had the world stage 2 years later in 1964. The Century 21 Expo was a quaint 74 acres in size compared to the New York Fair sprawled out across 646 acres.

"The team behind the 1964-65 New York World's Fair had competed vigorously for several years with the Seattle organizers as they both tried to gain interest in their respective fairs. In fact, the New Yorkers signed up as exhibitors at Century 21, where they had a major display inside the Commerce Pavilion."

NY exhibit at Century 21

"The New York exhibit included maps. artwork, and a detailed model of the upcoming fair. There would be many changes in the next two years before it opened, and some of the pavilions shown were never actually built, but the presentation served to build public and press interest in the fair."

NY exhibit at Century 21

In 1959, the Territory of Hawaii was finally granted Statehood and joined the Union as the 50th State. After statehood, Hawaii made a very strong push to increse tourism to the islands. Part of that plan included sponsoring the Islands of Hawaii Pavilion at the Century 21 expo. Based on their sucess in Seattle, Hawaii sponsored another Pavilion in New York in 1964. However, this time instead of just one building, they built a 2.8 acre complex.

Model for the Hawaii Pavilion NY World's Fair

Model exhibiting Tropical Spaceage design

The Hawaiian Pavilion included:
- The Aloha Building (housing historical and cultural exhibits)
- Tourist and Industry buidlings
- The Restaurant of the 5 Volcanoes and the Lava Pit Bar
- Hawaiian Village (natives performing ancient crafts, etc.)
- Outdoor Theatre
- The Sandwich Isle Bar (fresh tropical fruit drinks and snacks)
- Outrigger canoe rides
- Concessions (island food, flowers, arts, crafts, and apparel)

Concept Rendering

This souvenir program sold at the Hawaii Pavilion included some additional conceptual artwork for the complex (2 images below).

Restaurant of the 5 Volcanoes with its distinctive roofline in the back

The Restaurant of the 5 Volcanoes overlooking the lake

Design study for the Entrance Area

The intent of the Pavilion designers was to showcase Hawaiian architecture of the past, the present and the future.

The Past - An ancient Hawaiian Village

The Present - 1964 Waikiki

The Future - Tropical Spaceage Design

Seattle 1962 World's Fair, Bill Cotter
Sabu the Coconut Boy