(Orange) Bird is the Word   Leave a comment

He’s cute. He’s fluffy. He’s orange.
He’s none other than the Orange Bird. And he’s taking over the internet.

The Orange Bird is an odd little character. Head of an orange, wings made of leaves, can only speak through thoughts of orange smoke. Originally created to be the mascot of Florida Citrus Growers (who sponsored the Sunshine Pavilion), he appeared in a few commercials and as a walk-around character in the park.
Over the years, he fell into obscurity. He was seemingly lost, gone forever. He was still remembered and known about, but only by a very small number of people.

As of late, he left obscurity and has become something of a craze.  Everyone loves him; from Imagineers to simple fans. Doodles of him show up all over twitter each day. Merchandise of him sells on Ebay for ridiculous amounts.
But why, many wonder, is he so popular now? I think the answer is quite simple:

  • He’s Cute
    Cuteness, no matter how much you think you’re immune to it, can be addicting. The silliness of the idea that there’s a bird who’s head is an orange and leaves for wings is downright cute.
    Even for everyday park visitors, seeing a shirt with the Bird thinking “Think Orange” on it is simply adorable. Take a look at the number of women’s shirts they made with him on it in recent years. It sells because it’s cute.
  • He’s Retro
    Back when the Bird was ‘resurrected’, the community was all abuzz for the approaching 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World. They loved getting their hands on anything and everything retro.
    Unlike Epcot, the Magic Kingdom didn’t really have a mascot-like character. The Orange Bird surfaced, becoming that character. And why not? He was obscure, he wasn’t in the parks anymore, and he was cute.
  • He’s Simple to Draw
    There’s no denying it: anyone can draw him.  He’s a circle and curves. Nothing technical or difficult.
    Figment used to be the ‘everyone-wants-to-draw-him’ character, but have you ever tried? It’s a little more difficult than drawing the Bird.
  • He’s Able to Fill Any Role
    Draw the Orange Bird. Now draw him snorkeling.  Now draw him driving a car away from an angry lion. Draw him as Abe Lincoln. Go ahead, try to name one thing the Orange Bird wouldn’t be able to be.
    This is an effect of the cuteness. He can  be anything and everything. He’s often times presented as curious and youthful.  Because of his inability to talk, his emotions and thoughts are often portrayed through his facial expressions, allowing you free control over him.

The Bird is very popular for all of these reasons, and probably a many more. The fact that nearly a year after he still resurfaced he’s still an everyday topic just shows how popular this character is.
Will we ever see him back in the parks one day? I’d certainly hope so. He’s make a nice addition to Adventureland.  Those who would rally for him are numerous, and some of them even work for Imagineering…..But for now, he may remain in a state of limbo, like Dreamfinder. He can still sell merch, pull on heartstrings, and bring us orange thoughts. And I’m fine with that….for the time being.

That’s my bit for the week. Hope you enjoyed. 
You can follow me on twitter @Imagineer2017. If you’d like some history on the Orange Bird, I’d suggest Widen Your World’s article on the Sunshine Pavilion.  If you’d like orange doodles, I’d suggest following Imagineer Jason Grant on twitter
See you all next time, and remember to Think Orange! 

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