There’s Been a Citrus Uprising   Leave a comment

The following post  was set to be published on March 31, 2012. I was instructed to hold off on posting, as any Orange Bird-related content could cause Team Disney Orlando (TDO) to reconsider his return.  Even through the real ‘revolution’ happened a while back, it’s points are still valid today. In fact, Progress City, USA published an article (published after this one was written) that brought up many of the same points.

So, without further ado, enjoy:

“There’s Been a Citrus Uprising”

This past Monday (March 26), Twitter erupted with what I have called a ‘revolution’ and ‘revelation’.  The entire week,  people were discussing and arguing over classic ice cream treats, quality-loving  ‘Cults’, and the return of a certain ‘little’ bird. These discussions have, or at least should have, brought us all together as Disney Park enthusiasts.

My First Citrus Swirl 

 #1- The Citrus Swirl
A few weeks back, the Sunshine Tree Terrace snack bar adjacent to Tiki Room began selling the famous ‘Citrus Swirl’. This frozen ice cream and orange treat was previously sold at this location, but ceased many years ago. It’s return was looked at as a very big event to people. The return of an old classic! Exactly what many people had been wanting the Magic Kingdom to do for years.I’ve tried the Swirl, and found it to be pretty good. I wouldn’t have five of them each day, like some people would, but I will have one every so often. But why is the return of the Swirl such a big deal? Disney fan Epcot Explorer wrote a wonderful article on his blog explaining why. According to him, “The return of the Citrus Swirl is indicative of attention to detail and that there are people in places that remember the unique qualities of the Vacation Kingdom and are brokering for their return….Small fixes, small victories, and small steps to pave a path for greater change in Walt Disney World.” The latter part of this quote would become a very important and central idea to Monday’s discussions….

#2- The Cult of Citrus
What stuck out the most in Monday’s ‘revolution’ was the use of the hash tag “#CultofCitrus”. The so-called ‘Cult of Citrus’, originally coined to describe a picture of Orange Birds figures ‘worshiping’ a large, lit-up Polynesian Village glass, has been used on twitter for a long time. Typically used when discussing Orange Bird pictures and Citrus Swirls, this ‘Cult’ was never really a serious thing until Monday. The discussions of what the return of the Swirl were often ended with the hash tag, creating a link between the Cult and the idea that the Swirl brought back quality. This idea evolved even more through the day, ending with the Cult standing for doing things like supporting small changes, such as the return of the Swirl, that bring back quality. This is a fantastic stance to take. We all love the parks, and should wish for their quality to go up each day. We complain about it ‘declining by degrees’ and rally for its ‘incline by degrees’, and that is exactly what this Cult is doing. Sadly, many are opposed to these ideas because of the Cult’s connotation with worshiping the Orange Bird. Many people despise the Orange Bird for the popularity he has gained (even I have begun to dislike what he’s turned into, but that’s another story).  This is a silly stance to take. Many of these same people agree that WDW would benefit from quality additions. So a silly little character is going to hold them back and cause them to call the Cult crazy? Such a shame, as they should be spending thier energy on helping support quality instead of laughing at and calling names at those who like a bird. I feel that I summed it up well when I tweeted “I think that if we all come together-with or without a cult name- we can support all of these small improvements. Whether we like or loathe the Orange Bird, we can rally for some great progress.” Progress…..

#3- The Bird is Back!

On Thursday (March 29)  night, the new signage for Sunshine Tree Terrace was circulating the web. In addition to it’s bright, funky, retro looking style, a certain silhouette was just visible on top of it. After going missing for years, the Orange Bird had returned to the Sunshine Tree.

Orange Bird in silhouette on the back of Sunshine Tree Terrace’s new sign

This news created much hoopla…and a bit of uproar. Many people were outraged that this character would be placed back in the park. They argued that he was stupid and had no place in the park, was only there to make money, and was only catered to a very small percentage of people.  Quite frankly, I cannot understand their issues. The Little Orange Bird is a cute, harmless character. He always has belonged to the Sunshine Tree, he had just gone missing. His return is very similar to the return of Figment to the Imagination Pavilion in 2002. Classic, iconic, lovable character who had gone away was now back home. He couldn’t be back only for profit, either. WDW had been pumping out Orange Bird merchandise for years before the interest in him was reignited. Plus, a simple silhouette isn’t enough to have everyone know who the Bird is. The most ridiculous claim is that he shouldn’t be used in a sign that serves a purpose because only ‘0.01%’ of people know who he is. If that was case with all establishments,  I’m sure Pecos Bill’s would scare away masses of people, as many don’t know who Pecos Bill (who is prominently featured on the signage) is. No one would dine at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe since this ‘Cosmic Ray’ guy doesn’t exist anywhere else. 

Really, we as Disney Fans should be impressed with this change. We have effected what they’ve done in the parks. Our rallying for the Orange Bird brought him there. If we can rally for more great additions to the parks, who knows what we can get?! Whether you like or hate the Bird, you should realize that we now have the power. We can affect the parks. We should be proud. 

If anything, this last week’s events should have brought us together as Disney fans. We shouldn’t waste time arguing, but rather to start communicating on what we want done to improve our parks. I think that if we all stay calm and don’t fight, we can accomplish much.


He’s even prominently displayed on a new poster!

Today,  April 17th, the Orange Bird has returned to the Magic Kingdom. A triumphant return, indeed. We’ve rallied for it, and it’s great to see the crazy amount of things they’ve done. Not only has he appeared on the signage, but he’s on a brand new poster (which is weird, since eateries don’t typically get posters) and loads of new merchandise (even an ear hat!). They even dug out the original figure, spruced it up, and created a crate (with a Horizons L’Orange reference on it) for him to stand on. And that’s just for one small eatery!
D23 even got in on the act, and in a big way. Robert Sherman and the D23 choir got together to sing new renditions of the classic Orange Bird songs (which were written by the Sherman Brothers), pulled out loads of Orange Bird artifacts, and discussed the history of the bird (as if we didn’t already know it by now).

The amount of respect and reverence Disney is showing for what was effectively the most obscure character is astounding. As I said in the original article, we should be proud. Congratulations, guys. Even if you hate this bird with a passion, you must admit: We’ve changed WDW history.

Let’s rally for Imagination next.


You can follow me on Twitter and on Facebook. Cheers of jeers, please leave a comment. 


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