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.