Just under a month ago we posted some never-before-shared images of the fan-favorite Florida Orange Bird. It was said that we doubled the number of Orange Bird photos on the web. Even if that were true, today all of that changed. Not only has Disney been generous enough to share lots of un-seen history... they returned the original Orange Bird figure to its home in Magic Kingdom's Sunshine Tree Terrace!
A D23 mini-event was held this morning and fans were not disappointed. Disney could have released a plastic Orange Bird button and we fans would have been pleased. But they went much further. SADLY none of us here were able to attend. We invited friend of the blog Chief to go in our place. Great images and details from Chief are found over at Fresh Roasted Corn. Something to note: The word "Florida" doesn't seem to be used anymore as part of the "Orange Bird" title.
To add to the killer merchandise and beautiful new Sunshine Tree Terrace decor, a great video was released about how the return of all this orange goodness came about. From this "D23 Presents Armchair Archivists: The Orange Bird" video (watch below), we bring you the following images.
Video of the costumed Orange Bird interacting with guest... EATING CITRUS SWIRL.
Look in the background!! A shot of the animatronic bird. Until hours ago only one other photo existed online.
How wonderful is this old photo of a Sunshine Tree Terrace cast member. Check out the Orange Bird cups and those great old cash registers. Is that a Florida Orange Juice logo on his shirt?? The same one seen on the sticker above? Fun.
Oh those wonderful yellow and orange umbrellas, tables, and chairs. Hey Baloo. Who's that on the far left? King Louie? Check out the "Traders of Timbuktu" sign on the right.
The animatronic Orange Bird!!! In speaking with my pal Hoot Gibson a number of times in the last couple of days I learned a many things about this. Apparently the original 1971 figure was static but stood on a moving swing. This is the same figure restored and reinstalled as part of today's event. Shortly after, a robotic version on a "perch" (below) replaced the swinging bird. This version moved his little leaf wings and his head. Soooo... could there be another Orange Bird out there collecting dust?? Let's hope Hoot shares more on the subject. (Did you know Hoot is largely responsible for increased Orange Bird awareness in recent years? Along with Mike Lee of Widen Your World).
Our Twitter pal Jason Grandt played a huge part in the whole project. Here he shares a little about the restoration of that cute little 1971 original Orange Bird figure which was discovered in a drawer at WDI Glendale!
I believe Kevin Kidney found these shots of the original sculpt. How great is this??
And some behind-the-scenes scenic work. Looks like the scenic shop at the Hollywood Studios backlot.
Even legend Richard Sherman joined in on the action, helping the "MeloD23 Singers" sing a couple of Orange Bird songs that he and his late brother wrote. He also shares some history.
Thanks Melody Dale for hosting. Thanks Steven Vagnini for the history lessons.
Hooray for Becky Cline (Walt Disney Archives Director).
Special contributors the the video include: Richard Sherman, Kevin Kidney, Walt Disney Imagineering, Diego Parras, Jason Grant, Dave Hoffman, the MeloD23 Singers, Jim Wilber, Marshall Bowen, and others. Thanks gang.
Sticker image from Sam Howzit.
Video footage of today's event by Lou Mongello can be found here.
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