It was about a quarter after 7pm on Thursday Night, March 21st, 2013 when Colin Farrell decided to drop-in at the Gasparilla International Film Festival’s red carpet at the Cinebistro in Hyde Park Village, FL. Thirty minutes before he hopped off of a plane from LA in hopes of supporting his friend Ante Novakovic, director and co-writer of “The Fix”.
Arrived home from Denver to find my @musemonthly package waiting for me! This description has me dying to read it:
“How to describe this book? Imagine it is the end of the world, and Tolkien, Beckett, Mark Twain, and Miyazaki (with Icelandic sagas and Asterix comic books stuffed under their arms) are getting together in a cabin to drink and tell stories around the last bonfire the world will ever see.” -Le Magazine Litteraire
<b><p></b> <b>bighit:</b> *releases bts' wings world tour trailer*<p/><b>me:</b> <p/><b>bighit:</b> <p/><b>me:</b> <p/><b>bighit:</b> <p/><b>me:</b> take all my money<p/><b>bighit:</b> lmao thanks<p/></p><p/></p>
The last time THIS happened, it was big news and lots of blogs covered it and
Disney, themselves, heralded the event with lots of new merchandise and new
media. This time around, though, the Disney community simply seems quietly
relieved and used to Disney’s rather slapdash way of resurrecting history and
monetizing it. What am I talking about? The second return of the Orange Bird to
Adventureland. Yes, the second return. Yes, he was gone again. Yes, this is one
of the strangest stories in WDW’s nearly 45-year history.
As I alluded to, when the
Orange Bird returned in 2012, there was quite a lot of pomp and circumstance
about the whole thing. There were tons of blog posts in the fan community, and
Disney began producing Orange Bird merchandise and really shining a spotlight
on the character and his role in Adventureland. This time, not much of that has
occurred. I seek to remedy that, with this post. While the usual tweets and
forum posts were made, I hope to record this little incident here, if just for
my own purposes in noting that it happened. If I’m lucky enough to have readers
that reference this essay in the future, so be it.
Orange Bird and original Sunshine Tree Pavilion Poster, 2012
On March 12th 2015, the
Disney Parks Blog announced that the Sunshine Tree Terrace would be switching
menus, names, and locations, with Aloha Isle. The move was mostly done for
operational convenience as the original Aloha Isle location sold Dole Whips and
was located at the front of Adventureland and frequently created a bottleneck
with its long lines. With Dole Whips moved toward the back of Adventureland,
there was more room for a queue and less of hassle for guests trying to make
their way around the Magic Kingdom. The (unjustly) less popular Citrus Swirl,
meanwhile, would be moved to the front of the land where it would cause less of
an operational obstacle.
While the menu and name switch was
done overnight, the thematic elements that needed to travel less than 100 yards
took more than two months. For 79 days, the Orange Bird was not in the Magic
Kingdom, leading some fans, such as myself to fear for the worst. After all and
despite assurances, it wouldn’t have been the first time the something in the
Vacation Kingdom disappeared when we had been told it was coming back.
SpectroMagic, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, and Disneyland’s PeopleMover/Rocket
Rods were all seemingly set to return, why would the Orange Bird’s removal end
any differently? Thankfully, it did.
On May 29th, Orange Bird
was placed back in Adventureland, in the facility formally named Aloha Isle. A
new poster in the Walt Disney World Railroad Station and a new sign for the
newly re-named Sunshine Tree Terrace accompanied him. Personally, I found that
both the new poster and the sign are not as impressive and detailed as the
versions that Disney created in 2012 for the Orange Bird’s first return, but
who am I to complain when the original 1971 Orange Bird figure is back on
display in Adventureland? Of course, the bird is not in the same place as it
originally was, but at least a bit of unique and Florida history survives on.
Original Sunshine Tree Terrace, 2012. This facility is now called Aloha Isle.
As these things go, The Orange
Bird’s second return garnished criticism from some in the fan community. Some
found that the move was a ploy to push new merchandise (a new lithograph of the
poster was produced, along with a plush toy and a t-shirt) and to create
“scarcity” for the Orange Bird, since he was gone. Truthfully, I find that line
of thought, first, overtly cynical, second, far too coordinated for Disney.
Rather that being totally planned out as a way to get fans to buy Orange Bird
merchandise because “OH NO HE WAS GONE AND NOW HE CAME BACK”, I have a
hypothesis that the operational changes associated with moving around the
locations sparked a few ideas in the merchandising department to just simply
make new stuff to sell since the Orange Bird was going to have to be moved,
anyway- A ‘cause and effect’ scenario, rather than a large and concerted effort
to move the bird, create the shirts, put back the bird, and sell the shirts based
on fan reactions. It’s far more logical to envision one department reacting to
another’s actions than them actually working together. Disney’s corporate and
operational structure is a many-headed hydra; one head does not know what the
other is doing. Orange Bird was moved by one part of the company, while another
saw that and did something related to that, I believe. If anyone has evidence
to the contrary, I’d be very interested in hearing it and sharing it. Also:
Disney fans are Disney fans. We buy and collect stuff. If new Orange Bird
merchandise were being released, we’d buy it anyway. I mean, Disney is a
company that releases merchandise from attractions that have been gone from the
parks for nearly 30 years and that merchandise sells out within minutes.
Nostalgia and history sells.
2015 Orange Bird Shirt, baring the new poster design
So, once again, The Orange Bird is
back. Thankfully, his absence was a short one, this time around, unlike his
nearly 20-year disappearance that ended in 2012. Hopefully his reign from his new perch in
Adventureland is his home for a very long time and this footnote in this
strange saga in Disney World history is the end of the story.
Amusingly enough, The Orange Bird popped up in Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto on March 28th, when the Polynesian Village’s new tiki bar opened. While not the original figure, the reference is very much appreciated. I’ll be writing more about Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto soon. My thanks to the fine folks at TouringPlans for allowing me to use their picture.