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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Memories From Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room

In my last visit to Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room in April, Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I did our usual. We got tired and hot and needed a place to relax and cool off. So through the turnstile we went into the courtyard of the Tiki gods. Mrs. DLT found a slab of cement to sit down on while I got in line for our Dole pineapple refreshments. Be patient, the line moves SLOWLY. Always has. Always will. After getting our refreshments and witnessing the creative movements of the various Tiki gods we were summoned to enter the Enchanted Tiki Room. Going from bright sunlight outside into the cool darkened showroom, my eyes somehow failed me and while making our way to the padded bench (we always sit in the back row for better back support) I whacked my shin on the side of the bench. @#$%! @#$%&! So as the birds sang and the flowers bloomed in the Tiki Room, my leg was throbbing in pain.

That was my last memory of the Tiki Room. But for me, down deep, I know the Tiki Room isn't about my last memory, it's about my first memories of Disneyland.

Walt and Jose Opening the Tiki Room in 1963.
A Disney Photo

I grew up in San Francisco, California. I don't live there anymore so it's been many years since I have seen the house I grew up in, or my old school, or the old neighborhood. There's not a lot left that ties me with my boyhood. My parents passed away many years ago and now with my own family and all the responsibilities of adulthood, life has moved on or I should say, life has moved on until I get to Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room.

Fifty years ago tomorrow, Walt Disney opened his Tiki Room and in that little building gave us a world of music, charm, and enchantment and gave me years of wonderful memories.The same way I walked into the Tiki Room in April with Mrs. DLT and my younger sister and her husband, many years ago, I walked into the Tiki Room holding the hand of my my mom and dad. Oh yes, my sister was there too. It wasn't 1963, the year that Tiki Room opened but probably more like 1967 or 68 (it would have to be been because Pirates of the Caribbean was opened) when I entered the Tiki Room for the first time and even has a young boy, thoroughly enjoyed the little show.

So how many times have I been in the Tiki Room through the years? That's probably not as important as the people I've been blessed to walk in there with and a sit along side - people that I love dearly and yes, some that have sadly passed on. But in the show of singing birds we were able to share a very special memory and I am fortunate to have a chance to relive those memories every time I go back.

Visiting the Tiki Room now isn't so much about eating ice cream, seeing the show, or beating the heat outside. Going into the Tiki Room now is walking into a time portal where decades of memories are connected together with people that were a very large and important part of my life. 

I think Walt Disney understood this. His Disneyland wasn't just an amusement park, it was a place where memories could be collected and forever treasured throughout a lifetime. And for me, no place in Disneyland does this better than Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room. Thanks again, Walt.

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