Halloween at Walt Disney World Resort

All the Birds Sing Words and the Flowers Croon…Coast-to-Coast at The Enchanted Tiki Room

posted on June 25th, 2013 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


George’s delightful post about the anniversary of Walt Disney’s original Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland park inspired us to give a shout out to the fans who “sing like the birdies sing” here in sunny Florida!

The attraction at Disneyland park was the very first to feature Audio-Animatronics characters—over 150 of them! When Walt Disney World Resort opened its version, entitled “Tropical Serenade,” it also included the Sunshine Tree Terrace. Both were sponsored by the Florida Orange Growers, who teamed with the Walt Disney Studios for a national promotion. One of the benefits of this project was a Disneyland Storyteller record album with songs by the Oscar-winning Sherman Brothers. Both the advertising and the LP record featured the first Disney Character created especially for Walt Disney World Resort: Orange Bird.

Throngs of admirers turned out when our fine-fruited friend made his triumphant return appearance to the Sunshine Tree Terrace last year, a short time after The Enchanted Tiki Room also returned in a revised version of its original glory.

All the Birds Sing Words and the Flowers Croon at Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room

The songs in the present Magic Kingdom Park edition include the classic, ultra-catchy “Tiki-Tiki-Tiki-Tiki-Tiki Room,” also by the Shermans. Another is a pop hit from 1932 known as “Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing.” The grand finale is “Hawaiian War Chant,” written in the 1860’s by Prince Leleiohoku and became a hit on records and movies when it was revised and reintroduced in 1936. Probably its most famous version is also the silliest one, by Spike Jones and His Slickers.

If some of the voices in The Enchanted Tiki Room sound familiar, they are. Thurl Ravenscroft plays Fritz, voice of one of the singing busts in the Haunted Mansion (look for the organ with his name in the interactive queue). He voiced, among hundreds of things, Tony the Tiger and sang “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

Disney historian Jim Korkis recently told me that legendary Hollywood “ghost singer” Bill Lee is also in the Tiki Room cast. Bill sang off-screen for countless movie stars, from Christopher Plummer in 1965’s “The Sound of Music” to Yogi in 1964’s “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear.”

Another Tiki Room alumnus who sang in the Yogi feature is Ernie Newton, who voices Pierre in the attraction. And playing José and Michael are two Disney Legends from the beloved Disneyland park stage musical, Golden Horseshoe Revue: Wally Boag (the master comedian who mentored Steve Martin) and Fulton Burley, the celebrated Irish tenor.

I always get a kick out of the exit song, a parody of “Heigh-Ho” that basically tells us to go away in an entertaining way! My favorite line is “Don’t stop to look / Or read a book!”

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

4 Comments 1 Reply

1

James on June 25th, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Is Phil Hartman still in the pre-show? He’s one of my favorite comedians and I like to think that his bird still performs to fans every day.

2

leanne from act on June 25th, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Thanks Disney for restoring the Florida Tiki Room to the original – still the best AND for the Sunshine Tree Terrace – both are wonderful and little snapshots of your heritage.

3

Jacquie from CA on June 26th, 2013 at 11:41 am

Love the ‘Heigh-Ho’ parody during exit. It’s disappointing that most people don’t stick around to listen to it — although, they are being asked to leave so following instructions.

My favorite line is ‘There’s folks outside, go take a ride.’
°o°

 

Greg Ehrbar on June 26th, 2013 at 1:23 pm

James — Thank you for giving me an excuse to pop over to Magic Kingdom Park to rewatch our Walt Disney World version of The Enchanted Tiki Room. I love seeing it over and over again! The pre-show you’re referencing, with the voices of Phil Hartman and Don Rickles, was part of the “Under New Management” version. Phil Hartman also did a voice for the pre-Stitch “Alien Encounter.” What a spectacular talent he was!

Anyway, when I saw the pre show today, it was the original Tropical Serenade version. The birds don’t mention The Enchanted Tiki Room at all, and direct Guests into the “Sunshine Terrace” to watch the main show. The voices in this edition of the preshow are Disney Legend Ginny Tyler (the cute squirrel in “Sword in the Stone”), Dal McKennon (Benjamin Franklin in The American Adventure) and Sebastian Cabot (narrator of the early “Winnie the Pooh” shorts).

4

Sherry from CA on July 11th, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Thurl Ravenscroft (what a great name) was a member of the church I attended as a young child (in Los Angeles) back in the ’70s. He was also part of a singing group (I think they sang 4-part harmony) that was put together in the very early days of that church, maybe even before the church was founded, for radio broadcasts and comedic bits….. Thurl was a tall, wiry, charismatic man with a wonderfully expressive face (perfect for a Haunted Mansion singing bust!) — full of character and humor — and a very deep voice. We would often hear (either directly or indirectly) tales of Thurl’s adventures working with Disney (especially Disneyland), and of the the voice work he did for them on the various rides and shows. (He also did some things for America Sings and the Country Bear Jamboree.) My very first trip to Disneyland was a mission to find the rides/attractions that Thurl was a part of, in fact, from which my lifelong love of Disney and Disneyland was begun!

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