Mickey Mouse & Tiki Aloha Shirt – Elias & Co.

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What’s better than Disneyland? Disneyland with no crowds (well, fewer crowds, anyway). We were lucky enough to experience that at the passholder preview for Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, which officially open at California Adventure on June 15. This thoroughfare pays tribute to the 1920s, when a young Walt Disney arrived in Los Angeles to start a new animation studio (and the rest, as they say, is history).

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It was such a treat to stroll around and admire the ersatz Art Deco architecture, especially the Elias & Company gift shop. The inside is made to look like a luxury department store (see: Bullocks Wilshire), and one of the rooms displays vintage sheet music on the wall as props. Among them I spotted the tropical cover of “Sun Kissed Isle,” one of many 1920s ukulele tunes inspired by the South Seas.

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I also found a blue Hawaiian shirt printed with tikis, coconut drinks, palm trees, hibiscus flowers and surfin’ Mickeys. Disney seems to have produced quite a few aloha shirts with tikis over the years, not even counting the ones Shag has designed.

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There were only boys’ shirts at this store, priced at $29.99, but I’m guessing adult sizes might be available over at the Disneyland Emporium. (Don’t quote me on that, though.)

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They stock some neat mugs (coffee, not tiki mugs…you’ll have to go to Trader Sam’s for those) like this one that reminded me of the awesome travel trailers we saw at Palm Springs Modernism Week. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the new merchandise being rolled out for California Adventure.

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If you want to see more of Buena Vista Street, there are some great photos here and here, plus detailed background about the people and places that inspired it here and here.

More Tiki-Related Disney Posts:

Boutiki at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Tiki in Toy Story 3 & California Adventure
Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel

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Pizza Oom Mow Mow – California Adventure

I’ve put off posting about the restaurant Pizza Oom Mow Mow at Disneyland’s California Adventure theme park for awhile now. These pictures are actually from last January.

I remember eating here when it first opened, oh, like ten years ago (!). I had no real desire to return, though, until I noticed this surfer dude tiki column at the entrance…

…and his tiki wahine counterpart. They were very cartoony and of course “Disney-fied,” but I thought they were kind of cute. (Especially since I’ve been subjected to far worse.)

The pizzas and pastas—the same served up elsewhere in the park—were pretty bland. I’d much rather go for one of those crazy delicious corn dogs or a po’ boy from Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen.

The name was inspired by the doo-wop song “Papa Oom Mow Mow” that was covered by the Beach Boys, to go with the 1960s surf shack vibe they had going on here. (You might recognize the tune better as Family Guy favorite “Surfin’ Bird.”) I really dug all the chunky swag lamps hanging about.

Now this pizza-munching tiki hanging out over the registers reminded me of those weird tikis lurking at the Boutiki at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Funny how Disney can get it so right and so wrong.

They had some either neat design elements, too, like surf movie posters on the wall and these vintage California postcards. So when we came around this place this place in October, I was shocked to find this:

The restaurant was completely gutted, but that surfin’ tiki was still standing. By December, he was gone. (I wonder if somebody “adopted” him?) Pizza Oom Mow Mow was a casualty of the extensive re-branding they’ve done at the park recently. The space is being turned into Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, opening this spring.

Tiki in Toy Story 3 & California Adventure

Animation building at California Adventure

Disneyland’s California Adventure is somewhat lacking in places to quickly escape the SoCal heat (granted, you may not be all that concerned with that since it’s November and all, but bear with me here).

Little Mermaid on the screen in the Animation Academy

However, the inside of the Animation building on the “backlot” is an air-conditioned oasis that’s also never crowded! It’s very relaxing to sit back and watch the giant screens change as they showcase the art and music from various Disney films.

Toy Story Zoetrope

On display in one of the adjoining rooms is a 3D zoetrope, where these Toy Story figures are spun around and then suddenly appear to be moving fluidly when the strobe light is activated. It’s a pretty cool optical illusion.

Easter Island Moai in Toy Story 3

Behind this is a mock-up of Andy’s room from the movie, and among the car and rock band posters tacked up on the wall is this image of the Easter Island Moai. Because that’s what every teenage boy has up in their room, right? 😉

Toy Story tiki mugs

The director, Lee Unkrich, is into tiki, and one of the crew’s gifts were these Toy Story-inspired tiki mugs with Buzz on one side and a Moai-esque Woody on the other. (Image is from Scottiki, though I first heard about these on Tiki Talk).

Ferris wheel at California Adventure