Little Orange Bird

Orange Bird at Night

In April of 2012, Disney fans were thrilled to hear their favorite little bird had returned to the Magic Kingdom.  After many years, Orange Bird returned to the signage of Sunshine Tree Terrace.  He has also recently been featured on his own merchandise line which includes drink cups, t-shirt, and more.

So, just where did Orange Bird come from?  When Walt Disney World opened, the Tropical Serenade attraction was sponsored by the Florida Citrus Commission.  In exchange for this sponsorship, Disney created the character for use in ads for Florida oranges.  Orange Bird had an orange for a head and leaves for his wings.  Although Orange Bird couldn’t sing or  talk, he was able to share his thoughts through little orange clouds above his head.

Throughout the 1970s, Orange Bird was quite popular.  He could  be seen greeting guests in Adventureland at Walt Disney World.  Orange Bird was also featured at Sunshine Tree Terrace.  The Sherman Brothers even wrote an album of six songs telling the story of Orange Bird.  Along with Orange Bird, singer Anita Bryant was featured in an advertisement in which she told the story of the little Orange Bird.  Anita also recorded The Orange Bird Song written by The Sherman Brothers.  If you haven’t heard this song, be sure to search YouTube for the video.  You’ll be glad you did!

In the 1980s, the Florida Citrus Commission’s contract with Disney came to an end.  This lead to  Orange Bird’s fade into obscurity; He no longer appeared in ads for Florida oranges and his presence was removed from the Magic Kingdom.  While some Disney fans never forgot Orange Bird, the younger generation of Disney fans grew up without ever hearing of this cute little  bird.

In 2004, Orange Bird once again rose to fame; This time in Tokyo.  Orange Bird was featured on many merchandise products in connection with Japan’s annual Orange Day.  As a result, the Japanese loved the character.  Since then, Orange Bird was also featured on Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary items before making his return to the Sunshine Tree Terrace.

photo credit: Sam Howzit via photopin cc

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Sean @DisneyDayByDay

Love the citrus swirl and the orange bird. When I was just a young boy, one of my souvenirs each year from Magic Kingdom was my Orange Bird cup. I was so happy to see him back so my son could also experience him and get his own cup.

How fun! Those Orange Bird cups are so cute!

Lisa Cameron

Thanks for sharing this bit of Disney history. I just had my first Orange Swirl and I have to say,I’m in love!

I haven’t tried an Orange Swirl yet. I’ll have to try one on my next trip. I had my first Dole Whip last year and it was amazing!

lori ketcherside

Ahhhhh. I think I need a citrus swirl, now. Hmmm I wonder if I can find a recipe?

I’m sure there is somewhere. I think we need to find it!

Mouse Ears Mom

I really enjoyed reading your post! I love Orange Bird and was thrilled to see him return to the park. Do you happen to know what made Disney bring him back?

Thanks! I think his popularity in Japan is mostly what made Disney bring him back to WDW. That’s also how we got Duffy at Disneyland and WDW; He was extremely popular in Japan before coming to the U.S.

Lynn Wiltse

My husband loves the little Orange Bird so we’re happy to see him in the parks!!

I love seeing him there too! I’m hoping maybe they’ll bring back the Orange Bird walk around character sometime!

Beth Green

I vaguely remember the Orange Bird from my childhood. I’d love to see him walking around the park! 🙂

Kimberly

So would I! He’s so cute!

Deb @ Focused on the Magic

I remember driving to Florida in the 70’s and it seemed that the little Orange Bird was everywhere. Such a cute logo!

Kimberly

I’m so glad they brought him back!

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