Be Cool to Your School! Poly Hai – Tiki Yearbook

Poly Hai yearbook

In the movie “The Breakfast Club” the high school archetypes were “a brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel and a recluse,” but in the tiki community it’s more like an artist, a musician, a collector, an imbiber and a mermaid. (And many other niches, too.) In fact, there’s even a yearbook. We’re all honorary students at Poly Hai, an imaginary institution for tiki education complete with its own school crest and alma mater.

Poly Hai 2013-2014

Co-principals Kari Hendler and Matthew Rios published the first edition of the Poly Hai yearbook last year and it’s chock full of photos from tiki events like Tiki Oasis, The Hukilau and Tiki Caliente.

Ask a Jungle Cruise Skipper from Poly Hai

There are also several articles including a behind-the-scenes look at Sven Kirsten’s Tiki Pop museum exhibit in Paris, a little tribute to Bahooka, and “Ask a Jungle Cruise Skipper.” I also love the sections for “Shop Class” (how to build a tiki menorah) and “Chemistry Class” (drink recipes!).


And it wouldn’t be a yearbook without class photos, of course. I had the alphabetical good fortune to be next to Leroy Schmaltz, the legendary carver and co-founder of Oceanic Arts. (Fun fact: One of his carvings is on the cover of the yearbook).

The next edition of Poly Hai’s yearbook will be released in August, but there are still some copies available for $40 plus shipping. (E-mail for details.) Poly Hai will also have a booth at the upcoming International Tiki Market Place on January 24th at Don the Beachcomber. You can also keep up with all the campus goings-on at the Poly Hai Facebook page. I hear there are some extracurricular activities in the works.

(Photos 1-3 from Poly Hai Facebook)


Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel


The Disneyland Hotel recently remodeled and re-themed the pool and dining area in the center of the property, with last summer bringing the opening of Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar and Tangaroa Terrace. The latter is a quick-service restaurant named after the tall tiki tree in the waiting area of the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.


The A-frame edifice features a sign with spears and three colorful masks as well as two large tiki columns carved by Leroy Schmaltz from Oceanic Arts. The inside has a sleek look that’s accented with tapa and rattan lamps, bamboo and lauhala matting, and black-and-white vintage photos of Adventureland and Walt in the Enchanted Tiki Room.


Diners order at three touchscreen stations and then pay at the cash registers off to the left. Drinks, desserts and grab-and-go items like pineapple-macadamia nut muffins are set up at other displays nearby.


Breakfast options range from french toast with banana-caramel sauce to a healthy-sounding egg white and tofu bake with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and cheese. After 11 a.m. the menu features burgers, panko-crusted fish and chips, cheese or kalua pork flatbread, and a couple of salads. There are also rotating “Island Plate Dinner” specials like miso-crusted salmon, chicken katsu and tamarind-glazed pork shanks.


The Angus 1/3 pound Hawaiian cheeseburger ($10.19) comes with grilled pineapple, teriyaki sauce, Havarti cheese, lettuce, tomato and a sad excuse for bacon on a multi-grain bun. The toppings are key to distracting from the fact that the beef is served well done. The Disney Parks may be a little late to the sweet potato party, but some of their restaurants have started abandoning regular fries in favor of these trendy tubers.


We used to fuel up on food here before going to Trader Sam’s, but they’ve since added some of the same dishes so you might as well head straight to the bar. It’s worth taking a look around Tangaroa Terrace, but I’d only recommend eating there if you’re looking for a quiet meal since it’s usually pretty deserted.


The large shared patio overlooks the Disneyland Hotel pool and its Monorail waterslide. It may be quite tempting to enjoy the pleasant setting when the weather’s beautiful, but I’ll say it again — just go next door to Trader Sam’s.


Tangaroa Terrace
Disneyland Hotel
1150 Magic Way
Anaheim, CA 92802

Previous Tiki-Related Disney Posts:

Tiki-Themed Restaurant at California Adventure Demolished
Holiday Drinks & Decor at Trader Sam’s
Los Angeles Magazine Article on Enchanted Tiki Room Imagineer

Tangaroa Terrace on Urbanspoon

Oceanic Arts – Whittier, CA

Inside a nondescript building in Whittier, less than an hour outside of LA, is the treasure trove of tiki that is Oceanic Arts. It’s basically a one-stop shop for anybody looking to build a home tiki bar or throw a big luau (though I suppose your second stop would probably be a good liquor store).

But supplying bamboo, lauhala matting and carvings to the masses is just the tip of the iceberg for them. They’re also responsible for the decor of landmarks like the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Tonga Room

Not to mention numerous films and television shows ranging from “Gilligan’s Island” to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequels to my personal favorite: “Saved by the Bell.” (A piece of paper at the front desk lists some of their many credits.)

There’s also sections filled with nautical items like port and starboard lanterns, cork floats, glass floats, rigging, life preservers and even mermaid figureheads. (Although some items are only for rent, and others are even just for show.)

Leroy Schmaltz started Oceanic Arts with Bob Van Oosting in 1957, after cultivating his talent for carving tikis in the style of…Oceanic art! Check out the book/catalog “Night of the Tiki: The Art of Shag, Schmaltz and Selective Primitive Oceanic Carvings” for more on their history.

And they’ve been running this business for more than fifty years! “Almost every sitcom will eventually have an episode that has some tropical setting in it….We’ll wind up doing it,” said Schmaltz in “Night of the Tiki.”

These shell and tapa lamps are just amazing, though alas, out of my price range. I can dream!

Here’s a little area where significant others can relax while the pocketbook damage is being done. (If Mr. Hockey hadn’t been out of town that weekend, you probably would have seen him here.)

The display cases are filled with tiki tablelamps and vintage and recent mugs, including one that commemorates themselves! These are just for admiring, though there are some Tiki Farm mugs available to buy in another area.

The warehouse is only open weekdays, plus Saturdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., so I’d suggest making it an early trip to ensure plenty of browsing time. I picked up a couple things for my tiki room, but probably the most useful purchase was their catalog ($10). It lists pictures and pricing for lots of their stock, so next time I can go in with a clearer idea of what I want and what’s in my budget.

Oceanic Arts Tropical Decor
12414 Whittier Blvd.
Whittier, CA 90602