Do you recognize this little fella? No? Perhaps he’s a new Disney character? Is he the star of the latest film?
Our feathered friend, Orange Bird, was actually created in 1970 as a mascot for the Florida Citrus Commission, a former sponsor of the Sunshine Tree Terrace at Magic Kingdom Park — a refreshment stand where you can find a delicious blend of vanilla ice cream and citrus slush. When the sponsorship ended in 1987, Orange Bird flew to retirement, much to the disappointment of his loyal fans.
28 years later, and two years ago this week, Orange Bird made a surprise appearance at the 2012 D23 Convention with the announcement that he will be returning back home to Adventureland!
To prepare for his happy homecoming, the original Orange Bird statue that proudly stood over the Sunshine Tree Terrace in the 1970s was located, deep in the Disney Archives in California, and shipped to Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando to be restored to its original condition.
Many adults have fond memories of spotting the Orange Bird while traveling through the citrus grove-lined highways of Florida, en-route to the Walt Disney World Resort. He found his way onto fruit stands all over the state and is still remembered fondly as an icon of Florida citrus.
The Academy Award-winning duo responsible for the beloved “Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room”, the Sherman Brothers, were asked to create an album of six songs describing the bird’s origin to introduce him to the world.
We took a look through our photo archives and found these juicy photos of the Orange Bird, hard at work during the construction of The Enchanted Tiki Room. We even caught the little guy striking a pose in front of his home at the Sunshine Tree Terrace.
Anyone else craving a citrus swirl right about now?