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.