If you have ever wondered how the free-flying birds of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park are cared for and why they are important, this show is for you.
Take a seat and join the park’s bird specialists for a behind-the-scenes look into the care and training that goes into maintaining these exotic feathered friends around the park.
Keep reading for our complete guide to Feathered Friends in Flight!
Feathered Friends in Flight Quick Facts
Description: Give your feet a rest and enjoy this entertaining show all about how the feathered in flight birds around Animal Kingdom are trained and cared for. Several birds will be introduced and brought to the stage to perform some flying stunts and will also interact with the crowd. You will learn what makes these birds unique and why birds are important to the Earth’s ecosystems.
Feathered Friends in Flight is located in the Anandapur Theater in Asia, near the Yak and Yeti Restaurant.
How to Watch Feathered Friends in Flight!
Feathered Friends in Flight! has a Standby Line and a Lightning Lane. There are daily scheduled set showtimes which can be found in the My Disney Experience app.
Do I need to use Genie+ at Feathered Friends in Flight!?
Genie+ is available at Feathered Friends in Flight! Since this attraction has set showtimes throughout the day, the Lightning Lanes will only guarantee you seating if you arrive within the arrival window, similar to Festival of the Lion King.
The show’s theater has plenty of seating, however, it is popular and Genie+ availability may run out before the last show of the day. If you want some great photos of the birds you should plan to arrive about 20 minutes before showtime to get a seat in the front and center of the theatre.
So, if this is a must for you and it’s a busy park day and/or you don’t want to line up early to grab a seat, Genie+ might be a good option, but it’s also not a top Lightning Lane priority.
Be sure to check out our touring plans for Animal Kingdom for more Genie+ advice.
Rider Switch/Child Swap
Since Feathered Friends in Flight! is appropriate for all ages, Rider Switch is not offered. Plus, Rider Switch isn’t normally offered for shows and reserved for rides.
You can learn more about Rider Switch via our handy guide.
What to Expect When You Watch
Guests are normally seated several minutes before the show starts. However, if you arrive before the theater has opened from the prior show, you will have to wait in an open-air queue in the sun.
The queue can be very hot during those higher temperatures and sunnier days. So, if you want to avoid standing in a line outside of the covered queue, you’ll want to plan accordingly.
The seats inside the Anandapur Theater are similar to the metal stadium bench seats found at most of the shows in the Disney World parks. There are no backs on the seats. There are three front and two back sections of seats in the theatre.
Although we recommend lining up early to get a seat in the front center section, the two back sections do have stands where the birds in the show fly to and from. So seating in these sections will still allow you to have a good viewing of some of the birds up close.
If there are members of your party who do not love birds, sitting in the back may provide a more comfortable viewing experience for them.
Since you are seated in a theater for this attraction, those in wheelchairs and ECVs may remain in them. Guests using wheelchairs and ECVs will be seated in a special area in the theater.
During the Show
If you prefer to experience Feathered Friends in Flight! without spoilers, make sure you skip over this section!
Due to the nature of this show and working with live animals, the birds described may change from show to show, but typically this is what you can expect to see.
Feathered Friends in Flight! begins with several birds flying over the audience onto the stage. Two of the bird specialists come out to introduce themselves to the audience. The first bird you get a close up look at is an African Trumpeter Hornbill. They are excellent at flying through trees. To demonstrate, two volunteers are asked to stand up and face each other, holding their arms in the shape of tree branches. The specialists call out to the bird and it flies through the guest’s arms.
Next another volunteer is asked to assist with a rocket launcher, shooting a grape high into the air to see if the hornbill bird can catch it midair. 3…2…1…the grape is launched and the bird catches it with such ease!
Another adult volunteer is requested to hold out a dollar bill straight out to their side. The specialists call out to a feathered bird to fly out and retrieve the dollar. Then the volunteer is asked to hold their arm out again, this time palm facing up so the bird can fly back out and return the money into their hand. Who knew you could get money back at a theme park!
The audience is asked to get their cameras out as the impressive Great Horned owl makes its way out to the stage. Watch amazed as the owl takes flight low around the theater. Learn fascinating facts about this species from its trainer as the bird flies and poses for pictures.
Be on the lookout for little critters that may make you squirm in the next segment as the specialists talk about rodents around the park.
Next is a demonstration of a training session where the specialists show how they teach the birds to build new behaviors. Treats are used as rewards to help reinforce the behavior the specialists want to see in the birds.
Mimicry in feathered birds like parrots is not as common as you think. The specialists show how a unique little Amazon parrot bird is able to mimic sound it hears over the microphone. The specialists caution the audience to not run home and try to train their birds to speak as most parrots will not talk. The vast majority of parrots never repeat what they hear, there are only few special birds who are able to do so.
One of the largest feathered birds of flight, the Marabou stork, makes its grand appearance next on stage. It takes flight around the audience with its impressive wing span before returning to the stage.
A humorous segment follows featuring the beautiful crowned crane who comes out and inspires the bird specialists to put on their own crowned crane hats. This lures the crane to fly towards them on to the stage.
The show ends with reminders of our collective relationship with feathered birds around the earth. The amazing and once endangered bald eagle comes out. At one time this feathered friend was heading towards extinction but conservation efforts paid off and changes were made, like stopping the use of toxic pesticides. These efforts caused the bald eagles numbers to rise, taking them off of the endangered species list.
The shows finale is a nice reminder that each one of us have the power and ability to help protect the wildlife around us. Additional conservation efforts Animal Kingdom is involved with are mentioned like the World Parrot Trust. Here many protective efforts are made to breed some of the exotic birds that live in endangered areas of South America and around the world.
The bird specialists sign off with a beautiful goodbye message: “May your hearts take flight and your spirits soar forever as you go outside and explore, finding your new favorite animal!”
Is Feathered Friends in Flight! Kid-Friendly?
This would not be a show for someone with fear of birds as the feathered friends fly over the audience several times. So while there could be some surprising moments, overall the show is very kid and family-friendly.
Kids and adults alike will really enjoy getting up close and personal with and learning how the birds around the park are cared for in this educational and entertaining show. We would recommend anyone who is hesitant about the birds to sit more towards the back sections of the theater out of the flight zone area.
Strollers are not allowed in most queues or theaters at Disney World, including Feathered Friends in Flight! You’ll need to leave your stroller in the designated stroller parking area at the entrance of the show’s queue.
Feathered Friends in Flight! opened in July 2022. It first originally opened as Flights of Wonder. That titled show closed on December 31, 2017. A new show called UP! A Great Bird Adventure opened in its place on April 22, 2018.
Up! A Great Bird Adventure was a similar stage show featuring exotic birds but also included characters from the Disney Pixar movie Up. The final performance of that show was on March 12, 2020 when the Disney World parks closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Feathers Friends in Flight! closed from September 11 through September 24, 2022 for a refurbishment and reopened September 25, 2022. This revamped show focuses more on the feathered birds around the park and the conservation efforts being made to help keep the birds safe in the wild.
Other Fun Details
- The Anandapur Theater is themed after structures seen in the actual Himalayan Highlands on the “trade route” towards Africa.
- More than 15 species of birds make appearances, including toucans, parrots, macaws, and an African eagle with a magnificent 7-foot wingspan.
- Audience participation is used throughout the show so be ready to volunteer you or members of your party.