Friday, February 11, 2011

The Enchanted Tiki Room

In this week’s case study we look at Disney's own tropical oasis, The Enchanted Tiki Room. The original Tiki Room opened in the early sixties, when Polynesian pop was at its peak. This Americanized take on Polynesian culture quickly evolved into heightened kitsch, and as countless tiki-themed bars and hotels popped up all over the states, it was only fitting that Walt would want to design an attraction based on this craze. Originally conceptualized as a dining experience, Walt and his Imagineers felt the new-fangled Audio-Animatronic birds could carry their own weight as a floor show attraction.

 The typography used to help establish The Enchanted Tiki Room comes from the early to mid-sixties. Most of the display fonts are heavily themed to reflect the Oceanic cultures represented within the attraction. A few of our classic Disney fonts make their appearances in the signage, such as the popular typeface Bookman Swash, which appears in two other attractions within the parks. A few classic serif fonts are used here and there, most likely to ease the viewer’s eye. The Enchanted Tiki Room also includes a few hand-carved and hand-painted fonts. Out of love for this classic Disney attraction, a few typographers such as David Occhino and Brian Bonislawsky have taken the time to recreate these one-of-a-kind fonts.

Over time, designers have added more tropical tiki-themed fonts through various refurbishments and enhancements. Unfortunately (or thankfully, depending on how you see it), you will not see any of the WDW “Under New Management” fonts in today's case study poster.  Well that about wraps it up for this week. I raise my tiki mug of Otto's Octane to you, Mahalo.  See you next week for another exciting look into the wonderful world of Disney typography, and be sure to stop by Sunday evening for another Retro 71 shirt concept.