Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Return of the Orange Bird

The Orange Bird returns to the Magic Kingdom! 

Along with the Original Citrus Swirls (yum, yum), a variety of new merchanise featuring this adorable fellow is now available at the parks.  Disney Parks Blog features just a few of them.  I'm also told that his likeness is being show on a marquee under the train station at the front of the park.  This little guy is one of my earliest memories of the Magic Kingdom and I just adore him.  It warms my heart to see him back in the park where he belongs.  I think it may be time for research trip to check him out, don't you? 

In case you are asking "what is this Orange bird?  I've never seen him before", I'll provide a little history.  In 1967, Walt Disney and the Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) put together a plan for a FCC sponsored WDW attraction (a tropical bird show).  In the following years, WED Enterprises created the Orange Bird character to serve as the official mascot, and into the 80's he was a citrus icon available to meet in the park at the Sunshine Tree Terrace.  Merchandise and advertising were built around the Orange Bird and the campaign to have tourists buy more oranges and orange juice.  At one time, this character even had his own record (vinyl for you old-timers!), featuring a song composed by the Sherman Brothers.  If you ever went to the park in the 70's/early 80's, you can't help to not forget the orange bird.  Back then, Orlando was but a mere small town surrounded by orange groves.  The prescence of the Forida Citrus Commission and the Orange Growers was obvious. 

So what happened to the Orange Bird?  In the late 70's, the Florida Citrus Commission's spokesperson (Anita Bryant), feel into some controversy and the FCC quickly ended it's relationship with her.  And even though, the Orange bird survived the controversy unscathed, ultimately, the FCC and Disney ended their partnership is 1986 and the Orange Bird ceased to exist. 

"Orange Thought of an Orange Bird" by Richard and Robert Sherman
Little Orange Bird in the Sunshine Tree,
Won't you think of something sunny just for me?
Think funny thoughts or sunny words,
That will make me happy, little Orange Bird
He thinks beautiful orange pictures and beautiful orange words,
Though his little feet can't even make a squeak
All the thoughts he ever spoke appear in orange smoke,
That's what makes Orange Bird unique
When you're just about green with envy
Or gonna be feeling blue, And you could use
An orange thought or two, When you start in blushing pink
Or your temper turns you red, That is when the Orange Bird, Can see you through
With his beautiful orange feathers, And beautiful leafy wings
He's a fluffy little puffy sight to see, He can turn your frown around
When you see him looking down, The little Orange Bird up in the Sunshine Tree

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