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Little Orange Bird: My Walt Disney World Collection

 

Orange Bird WDW Radio Disney Collections photos by Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons

I have many Disney collectibles, but none that are as sweet and precious to me as my collection of Orange Bird souvenirs. Orange Bird and Mickey Mouse were my first Disney Parks loves: I grew up in the 1970s with hugs (and photos) from each those characters. Those sweet interactions marked my trips to the Magic Kingdom with imagination and affection. I distinctly remember Walt Disney World as a place where “you went to the Tiki Room and drank from the Orange Bird sippy cups.”

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It was easy to fall in love with Orange Bird. His big round head was soft and fuzzy, and his flappy green wings were made for hugs. I got so excited to see him when I was a child, that I would often bump into his belly and fall down. I can recall the catchy Sherman Brother’s “Orange Bird” song with ease: (I had it on vinyl!)

“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”

Orange Bird WDW Radio Disney Collections photos by Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons
I re-crafted my Orange Bird sipper to make a handbag for my costume. My version of Orange Bird was a hit at “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.”

 

The Orange Bird character was developed in the late 1960s by Disney in partnership with one of the park’s founding sponsors: the Florida Citrus Commission. Upon opening in 1971, the Orange Bird became a symbol of Florida and Orlando proper – his sweet face adorning road signs and travel brochures that welcomed guests to the Walt Disney World Resort. Orange Bird stood as a symbol for the corporate sponsorships that Disney forged to support the park and to promote Florida’s commodities.

Orange Bird’s image thrived through the first decade of the park and he became the unofficial mascot of Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom. His popularity dwindled during the 1980s with a rebranding of many park attractions. Park nostalgics and 1st generation fans, who brought their own children to the resort, embraced Orange Bird’s return in 2012.

Orange Bird is a popular feathered friend and, over the years, souvenirs with his likeness (both vintage and reproduction) increased in popularity with Disney fans.  As a fan of this charming signature character, I want to share my top five places to hunt for Orange Bird collectibles.

Orange Bird WDW Radio Disney Collections photos by Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons

Top Five Places To Buy Orange Bird Collectibles:

Disney Springs – The Marketplace & The World of Disney:

Orange Bird home goods are in abundance at Disney Springs, including dishtowels, salt & pepper shakers, ceramic figurines, pins, pitchers and juice glasses. His cute little face can be found on MagicBands, Vinylmation figures, t-shirts and 3/4 inch buttons. Disney Insiders circulated a rumor that an Orange Bird Tsum Tsum will arrive in the Fall of 2016 with the upcoming Adverntureland Tsum Tsum series.

The Sunshine Tree Terrace:

Orange Bird’s signature treat, the citrus swirl, can be found at this Adventureland refreshment stop. Once home to the Aloha Isle Refreshment stand, the two locations swapped spaces in 2015 to accommodate the eager (and burgeoning) population of Pineapple Dole Whip fans. Orange Bird fans can still see the refurbished figurehead that returned to the Adventureland location in 2012 after a 25+ year hiatus. The crown jewel of my nostalgic collection is the signature Orange Bird Souvenir Cup: a globe-shaped plastic drink holder, modeled to resemble Orange Bird’s head. The cup can be purchased and filled with your choice of soft drink or water.

The Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Gift Shop:

This Moana Mercantile, second-level store (close to the Monorail exit), is a great place to find Orange Bird merchandise. His connection to all-thinks-Tiki and Adventureland make him a natural fit for this Polynesian-themed shop. It is where I found my stuffed animal version of the Orange Bird (a doll that is close in size to the to Adventureland masthead character).

Ebay:

At the popular online auction site, you can find everything from newly-made collectibles to vintage cards, tin trays, road signs and even ashtrays emblazoned with Orange Bird. You can even find the original “Orange Sippers” sold at Sunshine Tree Terrace. These 1970s versions are round, orange, and are emblazoned with the Mickey Mouse face, rather than the head of Orange Bird.

Pinterest:

Pinterest is great place for Orange Bird craft inspiration. I love this site for both photos of vintage pieces as well as handmade, custom-crafted souvenirs. Pinners post photos of everything – from their handmade purses to piggy banks crafted from their Orange Bird Sippers. I reviewed dozens of photos of handmade Orange Bird costumes on the site. With the help of a glue gun and lots of feathers, I crafted my own Orange Bird costume, headpiece and hand bag. Check it out for your own source of souvenir inspiration!

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(All photos from the author’s personal collection.)

Do you love the little Orange Bird?  What is your favorite souvenir?

 

Kristin is a food writer and social media manager in the great State of Maine. When she is not seeking out the next-best-thing-she-ever-ate, she is busy planning for her runDisney vacations and cooking with her family. She can be found at @kafcooks.

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