The History of Orange Bird
“Little Orange Bird, In the Sunshine Tree, Won’t You Think of Something Sunny Just for Me?”
Orange Bird has been a beloved icon in the WDW parks for many years. He is recognized as the adorable, small, “orange” bird in the Sunshine Tree Terrace in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland, on a mural in Disney Springs, and in Trader Sam’s. In recent years, Orange Bird has had numerous collections of merchandise and has been a key figure for EPCOT’s Flower and Garden Festival. He’s even got his own Fab 50 Statue.
Orange Bird was created by Disney in 1970 for the Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) who agreed to sponsor The Enchanted Tiki Room in Magic Kingdom. It was formerly known as the Sunshine Pavilion where the Enchanted Tiki Birds starred in Tropical Serenade presented by the Florida Citrus Growers.
It was suggested that Orange Bird would greet guests and welcome them into the show.
Orange Bird differed from other characters because he was unable to speak or even tweet. Instead, orange thought bubbles would appear above his head when he would “think orange thoughts.” This made him particularly shy but always in search of new friends.
In 1971, “The Orange Bird Song” was released. The song was written and composed by the Sherman Brothers, who also worked on songs for Mary Poppins, and sung by Anita Bryant, the spokeswoman for the FCC. This song introduces Orange Bird and has quite the catchy tune. He has also starred in a few cartoon shorts presented by Disney and commercials for the FCC. For example, in 1980, Food and Fun: A Nutritional Adventure was released and tells the adorable story of Orange Bird.
Disney and the Florida Citrus Commission ended their partnership in 1987. This change caused Orange Bird to disappear rather quickly from all of the Disney parks. It wasn’t until 2012 when he finally made his return to the parks in Magic Kindom’s Sunshine Tree Terrace.
Since then, he has become an icon for Flavors of Florida, with everything orange-flavored, and EPCOT’s International Flower & Garden Festival where he continues to get his own line of merchandise. Now if only they brought back his meet and greets!