Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

Rare Photos Found of Historic Orange Bird at Downtown Disney

posted on February 19th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Every once in a while, inspiration for a blog post seems to find me – and that was surely the case with this one!
Orange Bird at Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village (Now Downtown Disney) in the 1970s

Earlier this month, I was digging for photos in our company photo archive to run with a completely unrelated blog post when I came across these shots, which were taken at Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village in the mid-1970s (exact date unknown).

Those of you Disney history fans may be familiar with Orange Bird, the friendly little Disney character who was created to promote Florida citrus products at Walt Disney World Resort. Orange Bird originally greeted families at Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland, where guests could also buy citrus drinks and Orange Bird merchandise. The character disappeared from the park in the early 1980s – until last spring, when Walt Disney Imagineering and D23 partnered to return a historic Orange Bird sculpture to its original place at the Sunshine Tree Terrace.

Orange Bird at Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village (Now Downtown Disney) in the 1970s Orange Bird at Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village (Now Downtown Disney) in the 1970s Orange Bird at Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village (Now Downtown Disney) in the 1970s

 
So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a cluster of photos of Orange Bird taken in the mid-1970s not in Adventureland, but at Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village (now Downtown Disney). From what we can tell, the location was a shop formerly called Captain’s Tower, which is now home to Disney’s Pin Traders. At some point in this shopping area’s history, it featured a fresh citrus display highlighted with a sizeable Orange Bird statue and signage.

It’s okay, my fellow Orange Bird friends. Go ahead and geek out.


Read these posts to learn more about Orange Bird:

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Filed: Disney History, Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Resort

10 Comments 2 Replies

1

Dawn from DE on February 19th, 2013 at 9:07 am

I have a picture of me, sometime in the mid-70′s, with Orange Bird hugging me! Maybe someday they’ll bring him back as a character too!

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on February 19th, 2013 at 9:43 am

That must be a fun picture to have!

2

Brian on February 19th, 2013 at 9:31 am

Oh if only the statue could be found!

3

Erin on February 19th, 2013 at 9:37 am

SO CUTE!

4

Ryan from NC on February 19th, 2013 at 9:41 am

Being a native Floridian, I can remember seeing the Orange Bird painted on fences and on all sorts of roadside souvenirs. It’s always fun to me when an old-new spot is discovered where he used to hang out!

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on February 19th, 2013 at 9:48 am

Hmm, I have a fence in my yard. Think my HOA would mind? :)

5

Jennifer on February 19th, 2013 at 9:41 am

Thanks for sharing! He is so cute and my 6 year old son loves collecting his pins.

6

Corbett on February 19th, 2013 at 11:52 am

I agree with Brian. I have started a growing collection of Orange Bird memorabilia and am frightened with the amount of money I would pay to have that statue. Great find.

7

Noreen on February 19th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Is this what is now the pin station in DTD? I wish they would release more Orange Bird merchandise. I just love that little guy!

8

Tracy on February 20th, 2013 at 9:13 am

I agree with Noreen, somehow i missed getting a t-shirt, as they all just disappeared, especially the XL. Even if it was only a catalog item, at least those of us who cherish the fun icons could than get what we want. They came out with some neat mchdse and they should have let it slow cook, because the more i talk about orange bird and who he was while waiting in line at the SotMK terminal @ the STT, the more interest visitors seem to have in getting stuff. Nostalgia is good for sales and those of us who were kids in the 70′s @ the park are now finally getting to be empty nesters with disposable income!

9

Scott on February 20th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Bring Back Orange Bird!!! my granddaughter loves him.

10

Michael from NC on February 24th, 2013 at 1:34 am

NICE PICS. Great find. Glad Orange Bird is back – I’d love for all the merchandise to be available again. It was all sold out by the last time I got to the park.

10 Comments