Side By Side Comparison of Original 1963 Disneyland Tiki Room Brochures and Reproductions
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room opened June 23, 1963 in Disneyland. It was Walt Disney’s first attraction that featured audio-animatronics, created under WED Enterprises (which later evolved into Walt Disney Imagineering). The WED company was a way for Walt to maintain more control over the creation and management of park attractions like the Enchanted Tiki Room and It’s a Small World. To advertise the grand opening, Disney published Tiki Room brochures that read, “Today at Disneyland… don’t miss the World Premiere engagement of Walt Disney’s new concept in entertainment!” The brochures offered a colorful and imaginative glimpse into the technological groundbreaking attraction, in a style of park artwork that is unique to the era when Walt Disney was still alive. And it is these historic brochures that Disneyana collectors routinely seek, but surprisingly are equally routinely misrepresented on auction sites like Ebay. But a little more history before we get into all of that!
For the first 12 years, the Tiki Room was sponsored by United Airlines. This included an array of posters, tickets, and brochures with the United Airlines logo. But in 1976 the Dole Food Company took over sponsorship, and maintain it to this day (along with offering their park favorite Dole Whip soft-serve dessert). And within this sponsorship history are the clues that help us to identify the reproductions. As it is the 2003 50th anniversary Tiki Room ‘Dole” brochures that sellers repeatedly mistake for being original 1963 brochures. So let’s jump in and take a look!
One of these brochures is an original 1963 Tiki Room publication, and the other is a 2003 reproduction created by Disney in celebration of the 50th anniversary. Can you identify which is the original and which is the repro?
The 50th anniversary reproduction is a match to the original brochure up until the very bottom of the last page. On the original brochure this bottom area is marked by a WED logo and the words “Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room is a theatrical concept of WED”, along with a 1963 copyright. Of course this was important for Walt to print in the brochure, to distinguish the work that WED was accomplishing from other intellectual property falling generally under the Walt Disney Company. But in 1965, WED was purchased by Disney Productions and in 1986 was renamed Walt Disney Imagineering. Thus it would make sense that the WED information would be removed for the 2003 reproduction. In its place, the repro displays sponsorship recognition by placement of the Dole logo where the WED logo had once been. So let’s now take a look at which of the two brochures shown above is the true 1963 original and which is the 2003 reproduction.
It turns out the first brochure was the repro and the second brochure was the original. Did you get it right? Well, don’t feel bad if you didn’t, I really don’t see how anyone could determine this without looking at the back of the brochure, where you’ll either see a Dole logo or a WED logo. And that’s the whole point!
But we were next curious about how often these brochures get listed incorrectly. So we went to Worthpoint and did a search on their database using the keyword ‘disneyland tiki room brochure’. Worthpoint keeps pretty good records on Ebay going back to 2007. From this we found 42 results that had the brochure. Of these, 29 were correctly listed as reproductions, 8 were correctly listed as 1963 original brochures, 6 were listed as 1963 original brochures but were really reproductions (since we could verify the presence of the Dole logo like in the example above), and 5 were listed as 1963 original brochures, but we couldn’t determine if this was accurate or not as the backside of the brochure wasn’t presented in the listing. Curiously, 3 of these ‘undetermined’ were from the same seller who sold all 3 but would strangely and coincidentally always cut the image off just short of showing the area that either the Dole or WED logo would be found (see below). Why not just take a picture of the entire backside of the brochure? Hmmm….
So based on this data, we found that the majority of brochures are reproductions (69% of the 42 we looked at were repros – including those listed incorrectly), 19% are listed as original brochures and have the WED logo that verifies this, and then 12% are listed as original but we can’t determine if they are because the logo area is not presented in the listing. An important take away from this is that if you see a seller listing an original 1963 Tiki Room brochure, based on our research it’s close to about a 50% chance that it’s the real deal. But no worries, just remember to check the backside. If you see the WED logo, it’s a 1963 brochure. But if you see the Dole logo, it’s a repro. And if the seller isn’t showing the backside, then reach out to them and ask for a photo. But if you are reading this and you have bought one of these brochures in the past, I’m guessing you’re off to check that backside right now… good luck!
All images on this post are courtesy of Worthpoint