After eight months of quiet and question marks, those babbling birds are back in the Magic Kingdom. Now called "Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room," the venerable squawking attraction reopened Aug. 15; it had been shuttered since January, when a fire inside singed a few feathers.
Before that, the longtime animatronics frenzy — originally called Tropical Serenade when the Florida park opened in 1971 — had been updated in 1998 with a lackluster (and really crass) storyline involving Aladdin's beaked baddie Iago and The Lion King's uptight hornbill Zazu.
The merging between old-school and new was a mess. Disney diehards crowed for the old days. And now, it looks like the geeks got their wish.
Bidding adieu to Iago and Zazu, Imagineers have reportedly returned to Uncle Walt's original vision — which was a little like Trader Vic's on acid — with lighting, sound and special effects all getting modern oomph. Here's hoping the original song, written by the Sherman Brothers, is restored in full, with the great Thurl Ravenscroft taking a dual vocal: Fritz, the German parrot, and one of the surly Polynesian tiki gods. All together now: "In the tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki room..."