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

Mahaloween

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.

Patio

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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Not-to-Miss Tiki Events This Summer

Florida’s Hukilau just wrapped and tiki events are in full swing for the summer. Here’s a heads-up on some of the festivities coming up — admittedly with a Southern California bias.

June 26-29 – Ohana Luau at the Lake, Lake George, NY

“The Biggest Little Event in Tiki” takes place at The Tiki Resort in Lake George, NY, a Polynesian-themed motor inn from the 1950s.

King Kukulele and the Friki Tikis

June 28 – 10th Annual Tiki Night at the Egyptian Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

The gorgeous Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood will screen the excellent documentary “Plastic Paradise: A Swingin’ Trip Through America’s Polynesian Obsession” along with some bonus tiki film clips. There will also be performances from King Kukulele & The Friki Tikis and the Polynesian Paradise Dancers in the courtyard.

Brad Parker show at La Luz de Jesus in LA

July 4 – Opening Reception for Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker’s Art Show at La Luz de Jesus, Los Angeles, CA

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker‘s tiki-influenced “low brow art” will once again grace the walls of La Luz de Jesus gallery in Los Angeles from July 4-27. The Insect Surfers will rock the opening reception on Independence Day. Also: There will be rum.

July 11-13 – Tiki Kon: Mysteries of the Deep, Portland, OR

Portland’s Tiki Kon features a line-up of surf and lounge bands, burlesque, tiki vendors, panel discussions (“Home Tiki Bar Basics”) and more.

July 19 – International Tiki Marketplace at Don the Beachcomber, Sunset Beach, CA

The International Tiki Marketplace at Don the Beachcomber is your bi-monthly opportunity to go on a serious tiki shopping spree — I know from experience. Dozens of vendors offer tiki mugs, carved tikis, art, jewelry, etc.

August 14-17 – Tiki Oasis, San Diego, CA

San Diego’s Tiki Oasis has a beatnik flavor for this 14th installment. The epic weekend features tons of bands, symposiums, burlesque, a vintage car show and much more.

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August 23-24 – Tiki Beach Festival, Long Beach, CA

It’s no competition for Tiki Oasis, but Long Beach’s Tiki Beach Festival has its charms, among them Polynesian dancing, Hawaiian food and canoe rides.

Tiki Pop exhibit in Paris

Now through September 29 – Tiki Pop Exhibition, Paris, France

The Book of Tiki author Sven Kirsten‘s special exhibit “Tiki Pop: America Imagines its own Polynesian Paradise” is now on display at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris. The accompanying book is available for pre-order and will be released on August 1.

Check out the Events Calendar section on Tiki Central for even more postings. I also tend to post about upcoming tiki events on Facebook and Twitter.

Related Posts:
Tiki Night at the Egyptian Theatre 2012: DVD of Tiki, Vol. 1
Tiki Beach Festival in Long Beach 2012

“Tiki Modern: Style for the Sophisticated Savage” at Palm Springs Modernism Week

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As I mentioned before, there were several tiki related events at Palm Springs Modernism Week this year, including the lecture “Tiki Modern: Style for the Sophisticated Savage” presented by Sven Kirsten, author of The Book of Tiki and Tiki Modern.

Tonga Hut Palm Springs sponsored the event, and as a bonus for the attendees they distributed free posters of the event flyer, which features Kim Novak posing with a Cook Islands fisherman’s god in a promotional photo for the film “Bell, Book & Candle.” (It’s actually one of several photos of the cast with tikis.)

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In order to make the Hilton ballroom look less corporate and a little more tiki, Sven brought along these two carved saloon doors that once adorned the Reef Bar (since closed) at Caliente Tropics (still open) in Palm Springs. They disappeared 20 years or so ago but were rediscovered recently and will be installed over at Tonga Hut Palm Springs.

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The talk touched on many tiki topics, including Sven’s initial surprise at finding that tiki’s influence in its heyday wasn’t just limited to bars and restaurants but also carried over to apartments, hotels, bowling alleys, etc. (particularly on the West Coast and “recreational states” like Florida and Arizona).

Sven also talked a bit about his upcoming “Tiki Pop” exhibition at the Musée du quai Branly this summer. For those of us who won’t be able to jet off to Paris, there will thankfully be a 400-page catalog (with 900 illustrations) published by Taschen that will be available for purchase.

Related Posts:
Reviews of Tiki Bars in Palm Springs
Previous Palm Springs Modernism Week Coverage
“The Book of Tiki” 10th Anniversary Art Exhibition