History of the Orange Bird: Little Known Disney

History of the Orange Bird

Orange Bird Merchandise Disneyland

The Magic Kingdom had a special mascot for Adventureland. It never spoke. It was never mentioned by name. But still, it was widely popular.

The Orange Bird was the mascot of the Sunshine Tree Plaza when the Magic Kingdom opened. It was sponsored by the FCC, a Floridian orange juice promoter, and wanted Disney to make a character for them. The result was the Orange Bird.

The character could not make a sound, only communicating through thought bubbles. Its head was a cartoon of an orange.

For the first decade of Walt Disney World, the Orange Bird was a main feature of Adventureland. It was prominently featured in a restaurant and had a walk around character.

This bird took on a life of its own beyond the Disney parks. Numerous commercials, ads, books, and other products were made using the character.

Eventually, a song was written for the character by the Sherman Brothers and it was sung by Anita Bryant. Unexpectedly this move would be the beginning of the end for the lovable and popular Little Orange Bird.

The song gained popularity and Anita Bryant and the Orange Bird were now connected in almost all media appearances, often with Anita interpreting the Orange Bird's thoughts.

Anita Bryant became involved in a protest against a pro-LGBT piece of legislation in Florida, leading to a boycott and subsequent removal of Anita Bryant from the FCC's payroll.

The Orange Bird would remain a part of Disney World through the mid-1980's until the FCC ended its sponsorship. The Orange Bird was then removed. Not a trace was left in the Magic Kingdom of the former Adventureland character.

This might have been the end of the character, left only in memories and some leftover video footage, if not for a place far from the Magic Kingdom.

Tokyo Disneyland is not operated by the main Disney company and often adapts itself to Japanese culture.

Disney Orange Bird Dress

The Orange Bird was chosen to help honor the Japanese holiday Orange Day, and it was a massive success, despite having no introduction prior to this in the park. It has remained a constant presence in Tokyo ever since.

This caused Disney to test merchandise in Magic Kingdom, where it was and continues to be a success. The character returned to its former home in the Sunshine Pavilion and even spread to sell merchandise at Disneyland, where it has never been featured in any way.

In the end, it is Tokyo Disneyland that saved the Little Orange Bird from obscurity, bringing it back without the political scandal, just as a lovable cartoon bird.