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The Disney Attraction Powered By Nuclear Weapons Tech via Popular Mechanics

In the form of a 14-channel tape recorder using one-inch magnetic tape.

On June 23, 1963, Walt Disney opened his famous Tiki Room on the grounds of Disneyland. Featuring animatronic animals, a Polynesian atmosphere and non-alcoholic tiki drinks, the Tiki Room quickly became a hit with visitors to the California theme park. What visitors did not know was that the Tiki Room’s beating heart was derived from nuclear weapons technology, missiles that could devastate the Soviet Union in a nuclear war.

As Los Angeles’ KCET explains, Disney’s Tiki Room was an enormously complex enterprise. The room operated at the cutting edge of audio-visual technology, complete with lights, sounds, and “Audio-Animatronic” performers. The room had four animatronic macaws that acted as masters of ceremonies for their human guests, as well as 225 animatronic birds, flowers, and tikis that moved, talked, and sang.

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The tape recorder is commonly thought to have come from the Navy’s Polaris missile, the first submarine launched ballistic missile. First operational in the 1960s, Polaris carried a single 200 kiloton nuclear warhead. However, Von Braun never worked on Polaris, working instead on the Army/Navy Jupiter missile, so the German scientist either provided Disney with components of the Jupiter’s guidance system—which was probably very similar to Polaris’ guidance system—or some other arrangement was made for the transfer of Polaris technology.

Today, KCET notes, the Tiki Room is controlled by the equivalent of an Apple Macbook. For a time however one of the star attractions at the Happiest Place on Earth was in part controlled by a device designed for nuclear destruction.

Read more at The Disney Attraction Powered By Nuclear Weapons Tech

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