EPCOT Explorer’s Tiki Tour of California


Having just returned from two weeks in California, the time is apt to share with you all some of the adventures I had. Although my trip wasn’t particularly focused on Tiki, as Disneyland, Yosemite National Park, and San Francisco were major destinations of this trek, my vacation was influenced and peppered with some amazing Tiki experiences that really elevated the trip itself and deepened my appreciation for midcentury Tiki Culture. California is home to not only Tiki’s American birthplace, but also home to its modern-day resurgence on the pop culture scene. With this in mind, I planned my trip around getting to see some of the most influential and popular sites in the Tiki world. Serendipitously, I was able to even go beyond my original itinerary and got to encounter some Tiki sites that I happened to just run into. As a Floridian, where Tiki is quite rare, turning a corner on a city street and finding a Tiki bar was pure bliss. Californians are quite lucky. That said, let’s get started! I intend for this post to be a sort of “trip report” where I review and explain what I saw and attempt to offer some history and thematic analysis. I’ll start off in Disneyland, work my way up the coast to Monterey, and end up in San Francisco.


Continue reading EPCOT Explorer’s Tiki Tour of California


Talking Tiki II: The Sublimity of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto


          If you’re in search of an apt example of the thematic differences between Walt Disney World and Disneyland, comparing their shared attractions, aesthetics, and themes is usually the quickest way to the core of the question. Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, and many other attractions can be found at both parks, yet each entity is vastly different from its sibling. All of these attractions aim to entertain and exhibit a themed show but do so by playing by different rules and employing different methods. Now that Imagineering has built two Trader Sam’s, this analogy is all the more deepened by the similarities and differences forged between Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto in Walt Disney World and Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in Disneyland. Exploring these variances and the different methodologies between the two Tiki bars illustrates the subtlety and artistry in each. Imagineering has gotten lightning to strike twice; where Disneyland’s Trader Sam’s was an apt reflection of American Tiki culture and its resurgence, Grog Grotto undergirds Tiki culture’s place in the current pop culture psyche and Walt Disney World’s connections to it. Although in The Polynesian Village Resort, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is just as much of an artful and subtle attraction as anything found within The Magic Kingdom or Disneyland.

Continue reading Talking Tiki II: The Sublimity of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto