Sunshine Tree Terrace
Altered WDW Snack Bar
Opened: October 1, 1971
Re-energized: April 17,
Influences evident in:
WYW acknowledges the
thoughtful assistance of
research on the Sunshine Tree Terrace
or for letting me know what was going on or both
All images copyright
The Walt Disney Company.
Text 2012 by
April 28, 2012 (new page for renovated snack bar)
As kids, my
brother Brian and me
didn't really understood our Dad's expression, "be careful what you
wish for, dummies." Only when we got older did our Mom
explain that she and Dad used to wish for children. Well, the joke's on everybody
else now because after years of wishing that the Orange Bird would come back to WDW, our sippy cups runneth over and
we're moving on to wishes for a Burger Chef on Colonial Drive.
Those of you who
felt similar affections for the Orange Bird over the years may, as of
this writing, still be sharing in the sense of surprise that
attended his return to the Sunshine Tree Terrace on April 17, 2012. It's
a case of extraordinary dimensions for modern-day WDW ... a small
gesture with large repercussions that one may be tempted to downplay simply because
of its acute unlikeliness. I mean, did it actually happen?
There's no penalty for pinching yourself.*
news is that, rest assured, it happened. The bad news is that if you don’t
have the sense to stop reading now, you’re in for a rundown of how
WYW measures shock value (one jolt at a time).
First of all, okay,
what ? In
less time than it takes Rhode Island Red to butcher a verse of Freddy the Freshman, the Orange
Bird phoenixed from the ashes of popculture purgatory to a
position of prominence at the top of a crisp new Sunshine Tree Terrace sign and in
the fully-overhauled snack bar's hearth ... mere inches from where he once hung out in the
1970s … and presiding over the also-recent return of the Citrus Swirl. Although the
Sunshine Tree itself isn't back (at least not yet) and the old STT's resplendent music
is sadly absent, the bird himself has come home, nearly 26 years after flitting away to who knows
where. Plus, it's
the same figure from the 1970s instead of some cockeyed re-imagining. For
sure others wished for this a long time ago and I even pleaded the case on
this site, but that was just out-loud-daydreamin',
homes; nobody was actually spectin' it.
Second, even though it appeared to come about fast,
it isn’t rushed or opportunistic in terms of quality. There is
merchandise, which is no surprise, but it's well
done. The choices made by the company in how to bring
the Orange Bird back are in great taste**, striking the perfect
tone between outright nostalgia and the realization that there is
potential relevance for something like this in today's WDW.
Relevance, that is, transcending a pin and extending to both a
beautiful Sunshine Tree Terrace poster below the Main Street Railroad
Station and a clever, custom-made STT citrus crate label as part
of the snack bar's decor. It's an ingenious nod to
the origins of the character that also makes the absence
of Florida Citrus Growers as sponsors virtually
inconsequential. While there was, yeah, at least
guy on a blog
who heard about all this and found it "a bit hard to get behind,” methinks that
guy will soon enough find his behind hard to get a
boot out of.
Strangest of all maybe is that while this
month's news smacks of something that prior to now could have only happened at Disneyland - where the
park's fan base has seen many gestures of respect over the years - this particular Florida
thing wouldn't even make sense in California. It's a move that has no apparent
end goal other than to acknowledge and perpetuate communal
good will felt toward a character that Disney
created for Florida (as
opposed to one created, like Big Al, for an attraction that
merely began in
Florida). There has only ever been one Sunshine Tree Terrace and
probably only ever will be one Sunshine
Tree Terrace in the entire universe - here where our toucans
spend New Year's Eve in the orange groves.
* There IS a penalty for pinching certain members of the MeloD23
Singers, but all the Doodletown Pipers are fair game.
It's hard to say exactly when
a plastic sippy
cup makes the leap from cheap to well-done, perhaps, yet the Orange Bird version is fun. $7
fun, in fact.