The year after I moved back from Hawaii my family went to Disneyland where we met up with my best friend and her family who had also recently moved back to the Mainland. There is only one photo, that we know of, showing us standing in front of the Matterhorn.
There are two things that are hardwired into my brain from that day. The first is seeing Jimmy Dodd and Roy from the Mickey Mouse Club signing autographs in a room that also contained a lot of sets from the movie "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea." It was all a strange mix. One side of the room was dark and mysterious with the sets while the other side had Jimmy and Roy sitting at a table in front of I believe the Mouseketeer house all brightly lit. Sort of the yin and yang of Disney I guess. I so wanted an autograph, but was too shy to walk up to the table. Jimmy Dodd died the next year in Hawaii.
The second thing I vividly remember is the Tiki Room. It was "An entirely new concept in entertainment" according to the brochure. It certainly was! I don't think Disney had used animatronics at the park before this. And it was perfect for two families who had just lived amongst the lush jungles, bird calls, and tikis of Hawaii. We enjoyed it on a level I'm sure the other patrons didn't. I remember feeling a bit at home for the first time since leaving Oahu, even if what I was surrounded by was unreal. It was watered down touristy Hawaii which we generally only saw when we went down to Waikiki. But ohhhhhh talking tikis! How good could that be?
My best friend and I first became enamored of tikis aboard the Matsonia on the way to Hawaii. They were exotic and funny, maybe even a little bit scary. There were tiki statues in the lobby where we'd sit next to them playing with our favorite dolls. Tikis are still important to us beyond the pseudo hipster-ness with which they are thought of today. I have a tiki god standing near my front door that was carved by a prisoner on the Big Island of Hawaii in probably 1960 or '61 that my folks bought while on R and R at Kilauea.
But then back to the Tiki Room. I found this brochure dating from that summer in '63. The Tiki Room was new, exciting, and very colorful. And all you did was sit. Sit and look up. Of course most of the stuff you do at Disneyland requires nothing more than sitting (and standing in lines), but this took sitting to a whole new level. You didn't sit in something pretending to be something other than what it was, a motorized chair. No, you sat in a chair. Just chairs lined up. And the "guides" were dressed in, for us, familiar Hawaiian attire. The sort of clothes we had worn all the time.
This brochure has survived 46 years because it's been stashed away inside a Disney book my folks bought me that day. So take a look at the brochure, clicking on each image to see it larger. Then take a look at the fun videos I found.
This shows the front and the back of the brochure.
Opening up from the first fold.
And finally completely unfolded, the brochure inside.
This video is a fun bit of information telling you how the Tiki Room came to be.
Here's another fun video showing what goes on behind the scenes in the Tiki Room.
And here's a nice video of just the theme song.
Then take a look at this video of what appears to be the full Tiki Room experience, including the "pre-show" as you stood in line.
And as far as the puppeteer advertised on the back of the brochure, André Tahon, you can click here to read about him in French and English.