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.)

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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

DIY Home Tiki Bar: How to Turn a Closet Into A Tiki Hut Mug Display

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When we moved in to our house, I wanted to turn the guest room into a tiki room, of course. Part of the space ended up having more of a midcentury modern feel, but I also wanted to go all out with some bamboo and thatch so I decided to transform the closet into a tiki hut mug display.

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I started by doing a lot of measuring then took a little road trip to Whittier for supplies at Oceanic Arts, the premier purveyors of tropical décor. LeRoy Schmaltz and Bob Van Oosting have furnished many tiki bars and Hollywood productions like “Gilligan’s Island” (and even Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room!), so it’s worth a pilgrimage even if you aren’t working on a particular project. If you call a few days in advance, they will cut and split the bamboo pieces for you and have it ready to pick up. My haul was three sheets of lauhala matting (one 4′ by 8′ and two 3′ by 6′), a few pieces of two-inch split bamboo, one-inch sea grass braid and two lengths of raincape thatch (3′ by 4′ each).

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There’s a useful Tiki Central thread where I learned about putting tape on the back of the matting when you cut it to keep it from fraying. A pair of Husky scissors worked well enough.

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Some people use a staple gun to attach it to the wall but we went with contact cement and it’s held up for a year now. (It probably won’t be pretty when we take it down, but it is just a closet, after all.) The matting didn’t line up totally flush with the edges on the wall, so the segrass braid was perfect for concealing the imperfections. Working with the lauhala matting proved to be pretty labor intensive so we painted the top shelf brown like the rest of the room.

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I gotta give credit to my Mom, who helped with this project and came up with a clever way to hang the thatch at an angle — a curtain rod! After trimming the thatch to the desired length and width, I nailed big thumb tacks into the wall every few inches to hang the thatch and then covered up the hardware with more of that seagrass braid.

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We fit two pieces of split bamboo on each side of the closet frame and super-glued them in place. As you can see, we then discovered that this particular glue didn’t dry clear! We ran some twine between the gaps of the bamboo to disguise it. (You may also have noticed that the bottom piece of matting on the wall doesn’t quite match the shade of the upper piece, but you can’t tell once we put everything in.)

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At our previous apartment, we had this giant double-decker wooden shelving unit storing DVDs. I almost pitched it during our move until a friend pointed out that it could house my tiki mugs. As luck would have it, it perfectly fit in the closet. Then came the fun part of setting up the mugs and other things like the driftwood toucan perch by Tiki tOny and the Bahooka tribute sign by Lake Tiki.

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Mr. Hockey rigged some white Christmas lights along the top shelf for quick and easy lighting. He also hooked up everything to one power strip so I have instant mood lighting in the tiki room with the flip of one switch.

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And here’s the finished product! Almost forgot one very important step for Californians (or home tiki bars with cats in residence): make sure to put museum putty on the bottom of those tiki mugs!

New “Adventureland” Tiki Merchandise at Disneyland

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Disneyland recently released a boatload of new Adventureland-themed merchandise that includes tons of tiki items. I found this trove of glasses, mugs, pillows and plates at the World of Disney store at Disneyland but all of these items (and still more that I haven’t shown here!) are available to purchase online at the Disney Store. Search for “Adventureland” and you should be able to find it all.

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It’s a bit odd that some of the items feature the tiki mascot from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, which is a Disney World hotel and not part of Adventureland at all (or even the Magic Kingdom park). However, there is a precedent, as this little interloper also snuck in via the Polynesian Luau Party Bowl (by Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily) that was part of the Enchanted Tiki Room’s 50th Anniversary merchandise.

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I liked this Enchanted Tiki Room parrot plate ($14.95), but the lightweight bamboo material and raised screen print made it feel a bit cheap to me. (Same goes for the Poly plate above, which is the same material.)

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On the flip side, the Aloha appetizer plates ($12.95, available in red, blue and green in addition to yellow) are made with sturdier ceramic. (Though they’re still not dishwasher safe — aside from the coffee mug, none of this stuff is.)

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I was also pleased with the quality of the Enchanted Tiki Room appetizer tray and bowl set ($39.95), and I loved how it highlights each of the birds by name. That’s not something I’ve seen all that often.

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The purple scorpion bowl ($24.95) showed some promise but ultimately I was disappointed with how smudged the sculpt appeared in the finished product. I looked at a few other specimens to compare and they all had the same issue. (I’m guessing these weren’t manufactured by Tiki Farm, the company that’s previously produced several mugs and bowls for the park and Trader Sam’s. Their designs have nice, sharp details that these lacked.)

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This hefty green tiki mug ($16.95) features the graphics from the four shields that hang under the A-frame of the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland. Still, this one was also missing the “wow factor” for me for whatever reason.

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Much more to my liking were these glass tumblers ($12.95), which come in two designs: the Enchanted Tiki Room tikis and the parrot logo (based on the 1963 art for the attraction).

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Another distinctive Adventureland design is this collage of logos, which Disney has printed on coffee mugs and afghan throws. Like I said, there’s way more tiki merchandise where this came from so I suggest you go check it out!

Related Posts:
Enchanted Tiki Room Easter Egg
Recreation of the Original 1963 Brochure for the Enchanted Tiki Room
More Disney & Tiki Connections