On Sunday — Earth Day and Animal Kingdom’s 20th birthday — the park’s re-imagined bird show launched. UP! A Great Bird Adventure takes the place of Flights of Wonder and features the characters Russell and Dug from the Pixar movie, as well as the feathered stars.
Those who have seen Flights of Wonder will be familiar with many of the birds and their actions in the show, but the addition of Russell and Dug adds more of a storyline — and a few jokes — to the educational program. During the new show, the duo discovers birds from around the world and learns about their natural behaviors.
The host of the show explains that we are seated inside an aviary in Anandapur, India, for this 25-minute show. Russell is a fellow wilderness explorer who has brought along his canine friend Dug to view the birds. As a lovely parade of birds comes into the open-air theater, Russell and Dug compare them to their friend Kevin, a female tropical bird that is 13 feet tall. Audience members see a variety of species of birds from Hornbills of Africa to Crowned Cranes (one named Frasier) from Uganda to the American Bald Eagle.
During UP! A Great Bird Adventure, there are two interactive segments in which audience members can participate. A pair of guests is selected randomly by cast members while they are waiting in the queue outside the theater to walk on stage and help with a bird demonstration. The second opportunity is given to guests sitting on either end of the first few rows of bleachers in the center seating section. Both segments require the participants to be comfortable with birds momentarily perching on their arms.
UP! A Great Bird Adventure is a pleasant way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Animal Kingdom. For UP! Fans, it’s one of the few places at Walt Disney World to see Russell and Dug. The other is at their meet-and-greet location at the front of the park near the entrance to It’s Tough to be a Bug! The pair alternates interacting with guests daily. Their exact schedule changes, so be sure to check the Disney Parks app or a paper Times Guide.
For those who want to take home a concrete memory of the show, outside the theater a souvenir cart is stock with UP! Merchandise. Look for T-shirts, including one depicting Dug and his famous “Squirrel!” line, pins and MagicBands. My favorite is the plush Dug wearing his cone of shame (surgical collar) from the movie. Golden retriever Dug and cute kid Russell make this show just a little more lovable.