Sunset Over the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Enchanted Tiki Room? ‘Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln?’ Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse? What is Your Favorite Addition Between 1961 and 1965?

posted on July 9th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company


Walt Disney in the Enchanted Tiki Room

It’s just one week and one day before the 55th anniversary of Disneyland park, on July 17, 2010.

This week’s countdown covers 1965 to 1961. During this time, the Enchanted Tiki Room, the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and Flying Saucers all debuted at the Park.

The Enchanted Tiki Room stands out as a personal favorite for Kevin Kidney, a Disney artist who is well-known for his art and collectibles that are created for this classic attraction.

Kevin explains why The Enchanted Tiki Room is one of his favorite attractions: “The design of the Enchanted Tiki Room just thrills me, from the peaked-roofed exterior with the lanai full of Imagineer Rolly Crump’s whimsical Tiki god characters, to the dark interior crammed with all the great details. As a kid, I actually tried to build those fantastic bamboo-slat windows that “rain.” If I could live inside Disneyland, I would want my house to be the Tiki Room.”

What do you think? What is your favorite attraction that was added during this time?

1965 – Disneyland park marked its first decade with a yearlong “Tencennial.” Celebration elements included parkwide decorations, a grand parade and numerous special events throughout the year. To help represent the park during the busy year, the role of Disneyland Ambassador to the World was created. Tour guide Julie Reihm was selected as the first “Miss Disneyland” — as the position was originally called — and she spent the year traveling throughout the United States and the world as the official emissary of Disneyland park. 3D Jamboree debuted at the Fantasyland Theater starring Mouseketeers. The film was presented in 3D, a technology that wouldn’t be used again at Disney Parks until Magic Journeys was produced for Epcot 25 years later. Also in 1965, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln found its permanent home in the Opera House on Main Street, U.S.A.

1964 – Although the 1964 New York World’s Fair didn’t actually occur at the Disneyland Resort, many of Walt Disney’s exhibits for the fair found their permanent homes in Disneyland park after debuting for enthusiastic Fair audiences. Walt used the opportunity of presenting at the Fair to fine-tune and perfect his technologically advanced Audio Animatronic figures through four exhibits: “it’s a small world,” “Progressland,” The Magic Skyway and “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.” Of course we all know that Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and “it’s a small world” are now classic Disneyland attractions, but “Progressland” also came to the park as The Carousel of Progress, and The Magic Skyway utilized omnimover technology, which was used in many Disneyland classics including The Haunted Mansion. Disneyland also hosted more than 400 American athletes heading to Japan for the 1964 Summer Olympics. Events included a tribute show on the shores of the Rivers of America, featuring Bob Hope and a cast of Hollywood stars.

1963 – In 1963, the then-groundbreaking technology of sophisticated Audio Animatronics debuted to Disneyland park guests in an attraction that was touched by Walt Disney in every aspect of its planning. The Enchanted Tiki Room opened in Adventureland, featuring colorful singing birds, delicate singing flowers and powerful tiki gods. With its infectious songs and lovable hosts — Fritz, Michael, Pierre and Jose — the Enchanted Tiki Room is still a favorite with park guests of all ages. Walt also hosted a press conference to explain his upcoming Audio Animatronics exhibits for the New York World’s Fair the following year.

1962 – Guests were invited to live the life of adventure by climbing and exploring the new Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, towering 70 feet over Adventureland.The year 1962 also saw the debut of the Safari Shooting Gallery – where the guns actually used real pellets! Also added in 1962: the picturesque elephant bathing pool within the world famous Jungle Cruise. Walt Disney also celebrated the 10,000th performance of the Golden Horseshoe Revue by airing it on television with its stars, including Betty Taylor, Wally Boag, Gene Sheldon and Ed Wynn.

1961 – This marked the year that the beam of the Disneyland Monorail, the transportation of the future, was expanded to reach the Disneyland Hotel. The Monorail began whisking hotel guests past the Main Entrance ticket booths and directly into Tomorrowland, where the hovering Flying Saucers debuted the same year for space travelers. Guests could also wish for their own Prince Charming at a quaint wishing well alongside marble statuettes of the seven dwarfs at Snow White’s Grotto. 1961 was the first year a Grad Night was hosted in Disneyland Park and 8,500 graduating seniors came to celebrate their accomplishments at the Happiest Place on Earth.

After you’ve told us your favorite attraction from this time period, take a look at our previous posts in this series by clicking the “Countdown to 55” tag just below this post.

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

25 Comments

1

Jennifer from IL on July 9th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

The Enchanted Tiki Room, without question. It is actually one of my favorite things in the whole world- and the version at Disneyland. I hope it never changes!

2

Mark on July 9th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Again, I’m torn. As much as I love the Tiki Room, I’m going to have to go with it’s a small world. That’s been a favorite since I was a little kid. But both are great rides.

And I still miss the Swiss Family Treehouse. I was actually really disappointed that the Disney World one was closed for refurbishment when I was there a couple years ago.

3

Amy from NY on July 9th, 2010 at 2:26 pm

It has to be the Enchanted Tiki Room. Who can resist Fritz, Michael, Pierre and Jose!

4

John on July 9th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

The Tiki Room is an absolute classic! Never failing to disappoint, I hope the place where “the birds sing words and the flowers croon” will always be in operation in Disneyland.

5

Glenda from OR on July 9th, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I loved the Small world riude when I visited when I was 5 and 7. But what I really remember is how much my mother loved the Tiki room. She talked about that experience all her life. I would love to go back because it would be such a great reminder of my now decseaed mother.

6

Debbie on July 9th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

As much as I loved all the attractions at Disney from ’61-’65, I would have to say that my most favorite was the “Flying Saucers”. It was like bumper cars in the air. So much fun.

7

Wendy from NH on July 9th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Flying Saucers! I’m glad I had the chance to ride them. So many good things that are still there, but oh how one can miss what it gone!

8

Dave on July 9th, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Tiki Room!!! I remember thinking the tiki room birds were real the 1st time I saw them. I also thought it really had rained at the end. I was in a daze while leaving the room and it was dry outside and sunny.

9

Debra on July 9th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Oh, the Tiki Room. I’m singing to myself as I type!

10

Anonymous on July 9th, 2010 at 4:05 pm

I liked the Swiss Family Robinson tree house much better than the current Tarzan one. Kind of miss it. The Tarzan version is corny and feels out of place.

11

Gary from CA on July 9th, 2010 at 4:37 pm

No Doubt. Mr. Lincoln.
As a youngster, it really was AMAZING!

12

Victor on July 9th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Wow, am I the only one here that’s going with Jungle Cruise? I been on that ride well over a thousand times and the cheesy jokes by the ride narrator never gets old. Though growing up in Anaheim a block away from Disneyland I also enjoyed the monorail because I could see my house right before the bend into Disneyland Hotel.

13

Joseph from IL on July 9th, 2010 at 5:36 pm

The Enchanted Tiki Room is my favorite from this period. What a great addition to the park, and a wonderful attraction to revisit again and again. It’s truly magical.

14

Lisa on July 9th, 2010 at 5:57 pm

My favorite of all time.. (don’t really know if it falls with in these dates) is AMERICA SINGS!!! Best ever don’t care how cheesy it was I LOVED IT and miss it terribly.

15

Danielle from FL on July 9th, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Without a doubt Tiki Room, Great Moments, and small world changed Disney parks the most. Without these attractions who knows what advances would or rather would not have taken place. I only wish the Tiki Room here in Orlando had not been changed.

16

Jeremy from CA on July 9th, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Tiki Room for sure. The absolute best part of Disneyland every time I go. Gotta love the birds!!!

17

Richard from OH on July 9th, 2010 at 7:09 pm

When I was a kid I fantasized about getting to visit Disneyland. One of the attractions I thought of most was the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. Just after I turned 21 I finally made it out to California and visited Disneyland for the first time. The Treehouse was probably the third attraction I visited and I still want to live in it (especially as that would mean living in Disneyland)!

But I have to admit that of all the items listed in this article, I was most impressed with seeing Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. So that would be my favorite.

For some reason I had no memory of ever hearing about the Enchanted Tiki Room before and seeing it for the first time in the mid 1980s I was very unimpressed. It just seemed so old and cheesy. [It was wasted on my youth.] But that is exactly what I love about it now. It is a piece of Walt’s Disneyland exactly as he created and saw it. it is fun to enjoy a Dole Whip and sing along with the birds.

18

Marissa on July 9th, 2010 at 7:40 pm

I can not believe the tiki room has been there that long, i just realized it was there a few years back…I have been going since i was a little girl and now im 35…wow i really missed out all those years….

19

Fred from CA on July 9th, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I’ve got to go with The Enchanted Tiki Room and Great Moments with Mr, Lincoln.

I love the attractions with audio-animatronics, and these two shows were very important in the advancements of audio-animatronics.

20

Rick from HI on July 9th, 2010 at 10:07 pm

The ride I liked was the Flying Saucers. I was very disappointed on my next visit to find them gone. But I understand DCA Park will have something similar soon.

21

William on July 9th, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Enchanted Tiki Room, without a doubt.

It’s nice that they have finally repaired the Tiki Room as the roof was looking pretty distressed for a few years.

22

Julie on July 10th, 2010 at 1:37 am

Mr. Lincoln was UNBELIEVABLE !…1964 takes the rest of the above mentioned years hands down ! Mr. Lincoln, It’s A Small World, The Carousel of Progress, Magic Skyway, Summer Olypics and Bob Hope !!! What a year ! 2nd favorite year 1961…GRAD NIGHT ! I will NEVER forget it…1972 was a good year!

23

nila on July 10th, 2010 at 5:58 am

I must say that The tiki room is still a family favorite. we also love mr. lincoln and the swiss family treehouse. I was a little sad when it became tarzan. we still love it.

24

Terry from CA on July 10th, 2010 at 8:43 am

My Husband & I fell in love at Disneyland, got married on July 15,2005 & spent our honeymoon there July 16-20, 2005! 1961 is the year my husband was born & the year that I went to Disneyland for the 1st time at age 3. I was there with my family of 5 siblings & our Mom & dad. At night, Mom, my sister & I rode the Jungle Cruise. As we turned the corner & the HIPPO came out of the water,I screamed & hid under my Mom’s large coat for the rest of the ride. My Dad & brothers rode the matterhorn in the orange bobsleds. We still have the family photos from that trip. I desired to be at Disneyland as much as possible. Now as Annual Passholders for 8 years, MY dream has come true!

25

Janaye on July 11th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

My all-time favorite ride was actually built in 1967 and was removed in 86…Journey Through Inner Space. As for those created 61-65 that are still standing, I can safely say we’ll be visiting all of them when we bring our kids for 3 days next month. Of course, we’ll be on “It’s A Small World” at least twice a day for our daughter and the Tiki Room as many times for our son. The Tiki Room experience; however, cannot be considered complete if you don’t get the pineapple before going into the waiting area!

25 Comments