Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Walt Disney World Review: The Enchanted Tiki Room - Under New Management

Stars: 1 out of 5
Pros: You can sit down in an air conditioned room.
Cons: The attempt to make a classic hip and cool utterly failed.
The Bottom Line:
'Twas new and improved
Which means it was pretty bad
Glad to hear it's gone

Disney Tries to Update a Classic and Lays an Egg Instead

In an effort to revitalize a classic, Disney decided to update The Enchanted Tiki Room.  When it reopened, it added the subtitle Under New Management.  They completely changed the show and included Iago from Aladdin and Zazu from The Lion King.  The reviews from people like me who love the original were immediately bad.  But I just had to go and see for myself.  I should have stayed away.

The Polynesian style theater is located in the Adventureland area of the Magic Kingdom.  The show actually starts while you are waiting in line.  A waterfall opens and we get to hear two birds discussing how they've just sold the show to their clients.  It throws in all kinds of bird puns.  I thought things were off to a good start.

There is one theater, and new shows start about every 15 minutes.  I can't imagine having to wait through more then one show to get a seat as there were plenty of them.  The show really takes place above and around with animatronic birds, tiki gods, flowers, and a fountain.  There isn't a bad seat.

The show starts the same as always with the ever popular "Tiki Room" them song.  But just after the first verse, Iago comes in, announces that he is one of the new owners, and says there will be some changes.  Zazu arrives at this point.  He's the other new owner, and he tries to get Iago to change his tune.  Instead, Iago sings about how it is time for a change (to the tune of "Friend Like Me.")  But the Tiki gods aren't happy with Iago's attitude.  They punish him, and we get several more inane songs before we are finally let go.

Yes, that's right.  I called the new songs inane.  I will freely admit the original songs aren't hip or clever.  But no one expected them to be.  You don't go to an animatronic show at a Disney park to hear hip hop, rock, or rap.  But that's what we get here.  The real problem is the show still isn't hip enough to attract anyone new.  It's cheesier now.

The show also features quite a bit more thunder, lightening, and fire.  One kid in the small group I saw it with had to leave.

The show starts out mocking itself, and if they had kept that going the entire time, with Iago making the old songs more hip, it might have worked.

The ironic thing?  The theater was maybe a quarter full (and I'm being generous here) on the weekday when I saw it.  I've never seen the original, still playing at Disneyland, less than three quarters full.

If you want to get off your feet for 10 minutes and enjoy some air conditioning, this will do it for you.  But that's the only reason to visit The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management.

2013 Update:
A couple years ago, there was a fire in this attraction.  Iago was one of the things most damaged, so they had to redo this attraction and make it closer to the original.  I haven't seen it, but I am thrilled to hear it is back to the classic version.

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