Sunday, July 05, 2009

A classic beginning

I love me some action rides, but nice, sedate attractions that give a grin are fun, too. This is one of them.

The Enchanted Tiki Room, now being styled as “Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room,” is just fun. Walt did indeed have the idea for the attraction, which is filled with singing and talking birds, flowers, and more, although he first conceived of it as an exotic Chinese restaurant. It turned into a show, one of the first to feature Disney’s innovative audio-animatronic figures.

The room, with its seating in the round, seems smaller here than in the Magic Kingdom – plus we’re six out of maybe twenty people total for this performance.

The cast member gets the audience to start the show by yelling, “Wake up, Jose!” to one of the birds, just like it’s been done for fifty years – but a new touch is that when the bird mentions the “senorita,” the male CM yells, “Stop calling me that!” as he walks away. Heh.

The beginning of the show is the same in both California and Florida. Jose wakes up Fritz, Fritz rouses Michael, Michael calls on Pierre, and then the “glee club” of the remaining birds come to life and begin singing the classic Sherman brothers song: “In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room, In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room, All the birds sing words and the flowers croon, In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room!”

Unlike the Walt Disney World version, the song is not interrupted by Aladdin’s Iago, nor does he “update” the show while The Lion King’s Zazu frets. This is still the original. The chorus of girl birds descend from the ceiling and lead the crowd in “Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing,” the flowers come to life and sing in Hawaiian, as do the Tiki gods on the walls around us. It’s cute, even if the music is really dated.

I much prefer the original ending here to the Florida version. The birds still offer up a “magic trick” of making the audience disappear, but with a rewrite of the song “Heigh Ho” from Snow White: “Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s out the door you go; Get off your seat and move your feet, heigh ho, heigh ho…” Much funnier than WDW’s Miami Sound Machine number.

That was fun. It was just a nice taste of classic Disneyland, and a good way to get started.

We exit into Adventureland and decide what to do next. The Jungle Cruise is really close, and right next to it is… No way, that can’t be right, can it???

Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Golden Eye, one of the most popular attractions in both California parks combined, is showing a wait time of only five minutes! We may never have another opportunity like this.

The queue for this ride is amazing, themed to the hilt as if you get deeper and deeper in a lost archaeological treasure site right out of an Indiana Jones movie. There are vines, artifacts, hieroglyphics, remains of previous expeditions, and more.

It is also a very long queue, even when no one is in it. Because this attraction was added fairly recently, the ride building is outside the berm, and the queue winds between the Jungle Cruise and the buildings of New Orleans Square, outdoors, indoors, uphill, downhill, through dark caves and temple ruins.

It would be interesting to slow down and look at the surroundings, but we’re thankful that we’re not forced to by standing in multi-hour-long lines as many people are forced to do. Plus the ride is bound to be much more interesting, so we push on. And on. And on and on and on. Man, exactly how far away did they put this ride building?

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