The “Summer of Tiki” is shaping up to be a fall and winter of tiki here in Orange County as Disney Parks announced Wednesday their plans to revamp the Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel. The South Seas themed fast-casual restaurant has served as an afterthought next door to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar–the Disneyland Resort’s behemoth tiki bar that is consistently overflowing with tourists and tikiphiles–since it opened in 2011. Your last day to visit the restaurant before the big changes is this Sunday.
This refurbishment, which will begin September 9 and run through mid-January 2019, hopes to bring the Polynesian-themed restaurant closer to the levels of excitement that other tiki destinations in the Disneyland Resort generates. Trader Sam’s and the Dole Whip stand inside the Park next to the Enchanted Tiki Bar both draw notoriously long lines that the similarly themed Tangaroa Terrace never did. So Disney has decided to bring out the elephant guns for this one: they’re adding both booze and Dole Whips to the new menu. (Now you can enjoy your frozen pineapple desert with a rum float without smuggling in a flask!)
This announcement comes on a big year for tiki, both in popular culture in general and also at Disneyland. News broke in February that the Mouse was razing the deserted Aladdin’s Oasis attraction to make way for their own tiki oasis, called the Tropical Hideaway (a reference to the neighboring Enchanted Tiki Room attraction’s theme song which sings, “Welcome to our tropical hideaway, you lucky people you.”). The restaurant, which will serve as an “exotic marketplace for discovering extraordinary eats from all corners of the world” is set to open “later this year”, according to a recent article on the Disney Parks blog.
The opening of the Tropical Hideaway is a twist of irony in the tale of Orange County tiki: it’s being built on the site of the former Tahitian Terrace, a Polynesian restaurant which stood on the site from 1962 until it was torn down to make way for Aladdin’s Oasis in 1993. It was the fanciest restaurant in the Park until the Blue Bayou opened five years later in 1967. The Tahitian Terrace was a full service sit down restaurant where visitors could chow down on teriyaki chicken skewers and sip Planter’s Punch while watching the Polynesian Revue show which featured hula girls and fire walkers. The best place to get laid for under 4 bucks in the Park. Those were the days!
The exclusive, ritzy Club 33 has been celebrating a “Summer of Tiki” since late May of this year; a spirited celebration with Matt Ellingson at the helm. The several month festivities have featured local tiki figures like a birthday celebration for long time OC resident and pop artist Shag (catch his exclusive Trader Sam’s inspired art on this week’s cover story!) and live performances by Costa Mesa’s The Hula Girls hula-billy band that can be found at any tiki party worth it’s orgeat in So Cal. And no tiki celebration at Disney would be complete without an exclusive and exciting limited edition tiki mug with twice the price of Disneyland admission: the Club 33 Summer of Tiki mug sells on the secondary mark for north of $200 these days.
Speaking of ridiculously expensive exclusive Disneyland tiki mugs, it’s almost time to start lining up for the release Trader Sam’s annual limited Halloween edition tiki mug. What do you think this year’s creepy tiki mug will be? Let us know in the comments below.
When not running the OCWeekly.com and OC Weekly’s social media sites, Taylor “Hellcat” Hamby can be found partying like it’s 1899.