This is Gina in the Zendrum office...Thank you for your post about the Zendrum!
I can answer both of your questions:
1) The availability of the exotic and rare woods used to make the Custom Shop Zendrums depends on availability from our suppliers. And yes, just like your experience with the Bubinga drum veneer, there are some exotic and rare woods that for various reasons are not suitable to make Zendrums...too hard, too soft, too heavy, too toxic. Like, Purpleheart is too heavy for a solid Zendrum but can be used for an "inlay" sandwiched between two layers of other woods. And, a few years ago David and Kim discovered the hard way that Lacewood from certain parts of the world is so toxic that it is too dangerous to work with, so they had to stop using it altogether.
If you will send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I can send you a list of the exotic woods currently available in the Zendrum woodshop. Right now, David and Kim are making a Zendrum from a rare wood called "Ambrosia Maple" that is very unusual looking. As soon as the Zendrum is finished we will of course photograph it and add it to the Custom Shop section of the Catalog Page. In the meantime if you want to see it, please send us an email address and I can send you a photograph of it in progress.
2) Yes, there are quite a number of Zendrummers in the Orlando area who all play in different productions in the different Walt Disney World Parks, especially Epcot and The Animal Kingdom, as well as in other groups and studio projects on their own that have nothing to do with Disney productions. We get a lot of inquiries from people all over the world who have seen the Zendrum there!
But no, Disney does not endorse the Zendrum (or, anything else not Disney, officially), and Zendrum does not have an endorsement deal with the Zendrummers who play there (we no longer have any sort of endorsement program with anyone). What happened is that when the Zendrum was first introduced at WDW, in the late 1990's, it just "caught on" with the musicians there. The Zendrum is perfect for many of the musical acts that are created for the Disney scenarios, especially because they can use it wireless, so more and more of the musicians, both the regulars and the subs, who play in those acts have bought their own Zendrums.
And yes, you will see at least two more Zendrums there on your next trip! Our sincere apologies and thanks to your very patient wife!
We look forward to hearing from you.
In the meantime, thanks very much and go well,
Gina Boger-Haney at Zendrum