Orange Bird back at Disney World, a victory for trufans

The Orange Bird, mascot of the Florida Citrus Growers and one-time Adventureland icon from the opening days of the park, has been relaunched at Walt Disney World after a campaign by Disney parks fans and their sympathizers in the park. A source close to the company says, "People had to REALLY fight the system to make this happen, and were almost laughed out of the company for wanting to try. A lot rides on the success of this line." Disney parks management is in a perpetual three-sided war between engaging with its trufans, maintaining margins, and trying to engage people who visit rarely, if at all.

Soon after his unveiling and introduction in Magic Kingdom, the Orange Bird was recognized nationwide through his association with Florida citrus growers. The character was seen on billboards, television advertisements, and a wide assortment of Orange Bird products that could be found throughout Walt Disney World and the Sunshine State.

But the Orange Bird’s permanent home was in Adventureland, where he swung from a branch of the fabled Sunshine Tree. For many years, park guests could pose for pictures with a strolling character, designed by Disney Legend Bill Justice. Sadly, in 1987, the Orange Bird left the Magic Kingdom when the Sunshine contract with the Florida Citrus Commission expired.

Today, after a quarter century away from his Magic Kingdom home, the Orange Bird has returned, allowing a whole new generation of guests to experience this classic Disney character. “With the 40th Anniversary for Walt Disney World, we thought this was a nice way to bring a slice of 1971 back to the park… bringing back the original figure is a great way to do that,” Jason said. In honor of this milestone, several teams within The Walt Disney Company have come together to celebrate the Orange Bird’s return. At Magic Kingdom Park, the original Citrus Swirl—along with new refreshing offerings—is available once again at the Sunshine Tree Terrace. A whole new array of adorable Orange Bird merchandise will roll out in the months ahead. And the Walt Disney Archives has dug deep to uncover rare documents, photos, and stories that illuminate the character’s origins.

D23 Tweet Meet Reveals the Return of the Orange Bird to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World


  1. Do they REALLY think that if they just don’t mention Anita Bryant that no one will notice? This character went away because that cute little song was sung by a hard core anti gay activist who pretty much ruined it. I had the album as a child and I can still hear her singing it in my head. 

    1. can you REALLY not separate the two? a small animated bird from anita bryant? the gay community seemed to get over the whole coors beer thing and enjoy their coors light just like the rest of america.

      1. Coors has extended benefits to same-sex partners since 1995; Anita’s still anti-gay.

      2. No I REALLY can’t.  Sorry. You must REALLY be a better person than me.  I am not offended by the bird, but I will automatically think of that crazy woman when I see it or hear the song.

  2. I brought home an Orange Bird stuffed animal from Disney and it’s been abused by generations of cats over the years.

  3. I remember having a Floriade OJ….That’s A Big 10-4 on my door all the way through to college. That brings back some good memories.

    1.  “Finishing the design off is our loved (not overused) vintage distressing. ”

      Sorry guys, vintage distressing is definitely overused.

  4. Am I the only person who’s disturbed by this?

    A bunch of  “People had to REALLY fight the system to..” bring back a commercial/corporate mascot.  Way to use your activist energy! 

    What next on the agenda? 
    Bringing back Monsanto’s mascots – the Calypso Tomato Man and his sidekick Jean Jacques Desmaïs?

    Disneyland IS an evil place.

  5. I thought, is this as much of a big deal over an insignificant thing as it seems?

    But seeing the comments of the anti-gay, pro-corporate positions this apparently evokes, the answer is ‘no,’ I guess.

    Was it really dropped due to its association with Anita Bryant?

  6. I understand Disney-whatever is a cultural icon, but visiting any of the Disney places is financially impossible for me. I am thinking a three-day visit, with transportation to crazy gun Florida or similarly crazy southern California, food, lodging, and admissions would ding me and my wife over 2500 dollars. There are many other more personally meaningful ways for me to blow that level of money. Jeebus, I could replace much of the house technology for that.

    1. Yeah, I’m basically never going to be able to visit these places again (I was seven when I went to Disneyland, 41 now) but it’s nice to hear about now and then. If it’s not to your liking, there’s lots of other stuff on BB. 

  7.   My only exposure to Anita Bryant was a joke in a Truly Tasteless Jokes book:

    Q: Why did Anita Bryant stop promoting orange juice?

    A: Because she heard they were fruits.

    No wonder they avoided mentioning her.

  8. Do they have have those little plastic orange shaped juice containers with the straw and green top at the FLA turnpike stations? As a kid you weren’t officially in FLA and close to Disney until had one of those on the road trip. 

  9. Considering the current political/cultural climate in the US, I’m not surprised a group of people fought to get an anti-gay mascot back.  They’re trying to get a lot of things back to those halcyon days.  And by halcyon, I mean hate-filled.

  10. Funny thing about the Orange Bird: he was adopted as the mascot for my favorite gay-owned restaurant in South Florida. 

    As for the orange-shaped containers at the Turnpike service plazas, I’m afraid they’re gone– along with  the weird bubble-shaped machines that would mold wax figurines of seahorses and astronauts for kids . The service plazas themselves are much less appealing now — they’ve been “upgraded” with banal buildings that lack the futuristic flair of the original Sixties-era structures.

  11. The orange cups are back too. As for the whole Anita Bryant/ anti-gay mascot is nonesense. I’m gay and I am freakin’ happy the Orange Bird is back. And if it matters, sans Anita. However, to call the Orange Bird representative of anything anti -gay is silly. Let’s just enjoy the cute little bird, and the great Citrus Swirl that came back along with it.

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