The Orange Bird was created in 1970 as a mascot for the Florida Citrus Commission in exchange for them sponsoring the Tiki Room attraction at Magic Kingdom. Accompanied by singer Anita Bryant, the two appeared in ads for Florida oranges and Bryant narrated a record album telling the character's story. After the Anita Bryant ad campaign was dropped in the late 70s, the Orange Bird had a solo career and appeared in a few educational shorts in the 1980s such as Foods and Fun: A Nutrition Adventure and The Orange Bird and the Nutrition Bandwagon. Eventually, the bird would fade into obscurity when Disney and the FCC severed their ties in 1987.
Years later, at Tokyo Disneyland in 2004, the Orange Bird would experience a revival as the Japanese became infatuated with the character and the character received a lot of merchandising to coincide with Japan's annual Orange Day on April 14th of that year. The Orange Bird soon returned to appearing regularly on merchandise in the US as well.
Eventually, on April 17, 2012, the Orange Bird made a proper return to the Sunshine Tree Terrace.
Unlike other birds, the Orange Bird is incapable of singing or speaking and instead communicates with orange-colored thought bubbles. He is mocked by other birds as a result of this and Orange Bird generally looks for friends wherever he goes.
The Orange Bird appeared at Magic Kingdom as a walk-around character during that park's first decade. He would often be found roaming Adventureland, outside the Enchanted Tiki Room. A figure of the character was also perched in a spot behind the counters of the Sunshine Tree Terrace, which has since been restored to the location after having spent years in the Disney Archives.
"The Story of the Orange Bird" book and record
This Disneyland Records album was released around the time of the Orange Bird's creation. The record was accompanied by an illustrated book. The record and book tell the character's story, with Anita Bryant narrating.