In the Asia themed area of Disney parks’ Animal Kingdom, be sure to make time to enjoy the fascinating “Flights of Wonder” performance. As the name suggests, audience members can expect to be entertained in finest Disney form. This show is equal parts fun entertainment and serious education. Expect to see a variety of exotic birds showing off their natural abilities, to learn about birds in the wild, their conservation stories, and our responsibility to preserve the world for future generations, all with a funny entertaining twist.
Flights of Wonder Show at Animal Kingdom
The “Flights of Wonder” show begins with a trainer, Cassie, introducing the audience to the first bird. She is quickly interrupted by a “lost” tour guide, Guano Jane. Jane interacts with the audience and makes no apologies for interrupting Cassie, who invites her to stay for the duration of the show.
Jane has an obvious fear of birds and wants no part in the bird shenanigans. Then, a collared raven steals her flag, leaving Jane no choice but to stay awhile. Jane provides a lot of the humorous commentary for the show, while Cassie shares the educational facts and conservation commentary.
Cassie brings out multiple birds, shares interesting facts about each one, and has them demonstrate their unique abilities.
One of the standouts was a singing parrot, who sang multiple songs during his time on stage. The audience members are part of the show, making it engaging and entertaining for everyone. Throughout the show, but especially at the end, there’s a strong message about conservation and protecting the environment, not only for the birds, but for all of mankind.
What to Expect at Animal Kingdom’s Flights of Wonder Show
Spectators will see a variety of winged creatures, from a trumpeter hornbill to a collared raven, and many other exotic species of birds. The regal bald eagle makes a special appearance, eliciting an audible gasp from the audience. I imagine this was due to its sheer enormity because you simply don’t expect it to be so large and majestic.
Cassie showcases the rare talents of each bird. Most of their abilities are not taught, but rather their natural behaviors that would be witnessed in the wild.
One of the more interesting birds was the red-legged seriema, infamous for the unique way it kills its prey. Cassie didn’t use a real critter, but a rubber lizard instead. The seriema would grab the lizard and bang it violently against a rock, repeatedly, imitating what it would do to its prey in the wild. People in the audience laughed, but it was pretty intense to watch.
Over the course of 25 minutes, about 10 different species of birds take their turn on stage, showing off their skills. Cassie and Jane interact with them all.
What You Need to Know to Get the Most Out of the Show
The seating for the show is on benches in an outdoor amphitheater, under a large canopy tent. There is no air conditioning. In the heat of the day, the canopy provides nice shade from the elements, but when people start squeezing in, it can get quite warm and uncomfortable. I would recommend going to one of the shows first thing in the morning or late in the day.
The best seats in the house are in the front rows and on the aisles. The birds fly from the stage to the back of the audience several times during the show. Sitting on the aisle offers a chance their wings may brush against you. I was in the fourth row, center section on the aisle (left side as you are facing the stage), and I felt two of the birds feathers tickle me as they swooped past on their way to a trainer at the back of the amphitheater. It was quite an experience.
If you want to be part of the show at Animal Kingdom, sit in the first five rows, or bring a cute kid with you. There are several opportunities to come to the stage or interact with the birds, and each time that honor went to a child or someone sitting in one of the front rows. Another option for interaction is sitting on the bleachers at the back next to the trainers where you will be sure to get a close up view of the birds when they fly back and forth between the trainer and the stage.
If you want your choice of seats, try to arrive at least 10-15 minutes early. The closer it is to show time, the harder it is to find the seat you want.
More Than a Lecture
I don’t want to give away too much, but know that before I went, I was not overly excited about watching a bird show. Thankfully, Disney has created a show that is so much more than a boring lecture. There is entertainment, comedy, education, and demonstrations rolled into a magical, mystical adventure which is truly deserving of the name “Flights of Wonder”.
Since the show doesn’t last long, it is an easy way to take a rest between rides. Children of all ages at the show I attended were engaged from start to finish, although some younger ones had started to wiggle in their seats at the end when Disney starts to deliver the conservation and recycle message.
The conservation stories are a good reminder for all of us to take care of the environment and the animals. Hopefully people comprehend and embrace the message Disney is trying to send. I would definitely recommend making time for “Flights of Wonder” while you’re at Animal Kingdom, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
If you like this post, you might also enjoy: 10 Secrets of Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World and Consider Sustainability at Dinoland in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Have you found other places in the Disney parks that do a good job of combining education and entertainment? Tell us in the comments section below.