Recap of the Mahaloween Luau at Trader Sam’s – Disneyland

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This past Monday, Disney hosted a “Mahaloween Luau” at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. The price for the special event was steep ($125 per person) though Disney seemed to have little trouble selling out each of the four hour-long sessions.

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Whether or not you got your money’s worth has been up for discussion. We had a great time and met fellow tiki fans and runDisney participants, but I agree with other outspoken attendees that the event didn’t really live up to the expectations set by the (somewhat inaccurate) description. (For example, it was supposed to take place inside Trader Sam’s, but everybody who did the math realized that 100 ticket holders wouldn’t fit in a bar with a capacity of 55. Instead, we were corralled into a section of the patio.)

shrunken heads

Anyway, the event was held in anticipation of the release of a new glaze of the Shrunken Zombie Head mug. (I featured the original blue version on my list of Top 5 Spooky Tiki Mugs last year.) The one on the left with the greenish tint and orange interior is the mug that’s now available at Trader Sam’s, while the mug on the right with teal highlights was exclusive for Mahaloween.

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Servers were ready with trays of Shrunken Zombie Heads (to be redeemed with our two drink tickets) and there was a buffet table piled with tuna poke cones and chicken lettuce cups with ginger hoisin sauce.

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Pulled pork sliders and plates of our favorite panko-crusted Chinese long beans with Sriracha aioli made the rounds later on. The food was very good, but seating was limited and it was difficult to eat unless you had snagged a table.

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Brandon Kleyla, a Walt Disney Imagineering set designer who worked on Trader Sam’s, gave a brief talk about the concept art on display. Some of the Enchanted Tiki Room designs were already familiar from last year’s Disney Gallery exhibit “Tiki Tiki Tiki Realms: Celebrating 50 Years of Enchantment.”

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My favorite part was hearing about repurposed designs. As Brandon said, at Disney: “No idea idea ever fully dies.” The shipwreck in a bottle effect at Trader Sam’s was originally considered for Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, as seen in the top left design by Elmer Plummer from 1968. Some folks might remember that it was part of the dearly missed Adventurers Club at Pleasure Island in Disney World (Tim Kirk art, 1987). The shipwreck was brought up once again for the Haunted Mansion in 2002. Meanwhile, Mary Blair‘s 1970 abstract art for Disney’s Polynesian Resort forms the wallpaper pattern in the Trader Sam’s bathrooms. And finally, the Tiki Goddess formerly featured in Florida’s infamous Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management will apparently glower over the patrons at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, which is scheduled to open at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort in Orlando in early summer 2015.

Mugs

Another board revealed a few early concepts for the Shrunken Zombie Head mug. The first was Shrunken Ned, the “Jungle Witch Doctor” at the South Sea Traders shop in Adventureland, and the other inspired by the fellows with fezzes in the Lost Safari scene from Jungle Cruise. Different swizzle sticks were initially devised for each drink, and this would have accompanied the Piranha Pool. I really hope Disney revisits some of these ideas in the future!

Trader Sams

Brandon also told us more of what we can expect from Trader Sam’s in Florida. He said that while our Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar has more of a ’30s-’40s Adventureland theme, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto will be “60s-’70s nautical, kitschy” (sooooo….Bahooka, basically?) with references to “20,000 Leagues Under Sea” like a giant squid tentacle stealing from the bar. (Again, this was concept art we’d seen before.)

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New to me at least were these previews of two tiki mugs paying tribute to Tangaroa Terrace at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. I’ll have to get my hands on one of the Trader Sam’s octopus t-shirts somehow — apparently it’s also just for Florida.

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We also got a sneak peek at the second edition of the Uh Oa bowl, which has a three wise monkeys (“see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”) theme. They said it should be available at Trader Sam’s Disneyland any day now.

King Kukulele

Special guest King Kukulele, who we always enjoy seeing at the annual Tiki Night at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, led everyone in a sing-along of “Hawaiian War Chant” from the Enchanted Tiki Room. The Hawaiian musicians that usually perform on the patio also serenaded us.

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Since we were in the last group of the night, we weren’t rushed out of the event quite as quickly so I had the chance to pose with the shrunken head prop that Brandon had brought from Trader Sam’s.

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On the way out we were given our swag bags, which included the special event mug, hat, some Mahaloween pins, Tangaroa Terrace flyer/coupon and a canvas poster.

Tiki Tony

I must admit I was more excited to get one of these unofficial Trader Sam’s postcards that Tiki tOny‘s friend was handing out. I was given a few extra to give away here! Leave a comment on this post about your favorite part of the Halloween season and I’ll randomly pick three winners on Friday, Oct. 10.

Related Posts:
Trader Sam’s Tiki Juju – Adventureland Trading Company Scavenger Hunt
Tiki Stitch Featured at Disneyland’s 10k Race
New Adventureland Tiki Merchandise at Disneyland/Disney Store

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Tiki Tablescaping & Luminasia at the LA County Fair

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Every year we go to the LA County Fair and every year I stumble across something related to tiki. (And every year we wonder why we ride this giant Ferris Wheel as we freak out when it reaches the top.)

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Our latest fried food adventure was fried Doritos, which were, in a word, unnecessary. They paled in comparison to Chicken Charlie’s previous triumphs of fried avocado and the fried Klondike Bar. (Though we may not eat any more fried food at the fair since we discovered the amazing duck confit grilled cheese from the Street Kitchen stand.)

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One of the halls housed the exhibit “Mid-Century Modern” which featured some gorgeous cars and vintage furniture sort of oddly interspersed with vending booths for artists with retro flair. (Among them was Rachel Walker, whose “Pina Colada” print provided the first tiki sighting of the day.)

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And surprisingly, that was the only tiki-related thing I saw in that exhibit. (The two often go hand in hand, as I’ve found at Palm Springs Modernism Week.) At any rate, the pièce de résistance for me was this amazing Arkay “Fantasia” television (aka Kuba “Tango” Stereo Console) produced between 1959-1962. Those lines!

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Last year I had lamented the lack of tiki representation in the tablescaping section of the arts and crafts building, but this year did not disappoint! “Turn the Table” featured a tiki from Oceanic Arts, Trader Vic’s salt and pepper shakers, Don Ho “Suck ‘em Up” glasses, Dynasty Easter Islander mugs, bamboo flatware and more.

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The judges awarded top points for originality/creativity for the upside-down table and its tiki torch legs, but points were docked in the correctness category: “Fruit for salad and dessert course is repetitive. Questioning the knife, as it does not go with the menu. Lobster pick is appropriate but nut pick is not.” Still, it scored 90/100 points, which was good enough for the fourth place ribbon.

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Another highlight was the new exhibit Luminasia, an impressive display of about 300 giant Chinese lanterns shaped like animals, flowers and famous landmarks near and far.

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The colorful creations were made by more than 50 Chinese artisans from Zigong, a city in the Sichuan province that’s known for its lantern festivals.

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It was an additional $9 to walk through it, but we thought it was worth it, especially when I spotted this trio of Moai in gold, silver and copper colors. They were placed among other icons like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Eiffel Tower and…Morongo Casino. (They were a sponsor.)

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The 2014 LA County Fair ends after this weekend, so you better get going if you haven’t already!

Related Posts:
Tikis, Mermaids & More at the LA County Fair

Tiki Sno Cones & Tablescaping at the LA County Fair
LA County Fair: Tiki Cake

Tiki Stitch Featured at Disneyland’s 10K Race

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I don’t really like running, but runDisney makes it sort of fun with their races through the Disney parks. My mom and I had signed up for the Disneyland 10k this Labor Day weekend even before we found it was going to have a “Lilo & Stitch” theme. (I don’t think it was a coincidence that the starting line looked like the a-frame logo from Aulani, Disney’s resort on Hawaii.)

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To be even more specific, the 10k race was actually inspired by the Stitch tiki I’d seen at the merchandise event for the 50th anniversary of the Enchanted Tiki Room. He was the mascot logo for our bibs, t-shirts and even our medals, which had a tapa print lanyard.

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Tiki Stitch also made an appearance in a bamboo and thatch hut photo op set up at the runDisney expo at the Disneyland Hotel. Joining him was a tiki carving-style statue of the alien Pleakley. (I had to look that one up.)

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Part of the fun of these races is seeing the creative costumes people put together, like these ladies who donned Dole Whip hats.

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Most of the runners still wear something functional, but this guy really went out of the box with his Kronk (and Yzma) costume from “The Emperor’s New Groove.” I don’t know how he did the race in that!

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To get in the spirit, we decorated the backs of our shirts with tributes (made out of felt) to Pele from the Enchanted Tiki Room and tiki Stitch.

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Throughout the course there are cast members cheering you on and photo opportunities with parade floats and Disney characters. This race didn’t have as many costumed characters as the Tinkerbell 10k; instead they had several Elvis impersonators. (If you saw the movie “Lilo & Stitch,” you’ll recall Stitch was a big fan of The King.)

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However they did have “Jailhouse Rock” Elvis paired with Chip and Dale as a police officer and a prisoner.

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In the 10k race, each of the six mile markers had a different design, so that also helps with motivation to keep going.

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I even spotted an Elvis tiki on the sidelines. (The photo is a bit blurry but you get the idea.)

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At the end of the race there was a group of hula dancers welcoming everyone back. Up on the stage you can see another logo with the Stitch tiki and tikis from the Enchanted Tiki Room. If anything were to get me to enjoy running I guess it would be Disney and tikis!

Related Posts:
Trader Sam’s Tiki Juju from Adventureland Trading Company
New “Adventureland” Tiki Merchandise from Disney
Enchanted Tiki Room 50th Anniversary Merchandise Event