See the species soar in Flights of Wonder

It’s such a joy when we cross off some rare attraction on the to-do list for the first time. In the case of a recent fall trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we finally made it to the Flights of Wonder show! The show had never been a priority, though I had read nothing but positive reviews.

Flights of Wonder begins with introductions to tour guide “Guano Joe” — you couldn’t miss his name because the bird trainer was obsessively addressing him by it. Apparently Guano Joe has an avian aversion and the trainer has made it her business to ease his fears by introducing him to a bevy of exotic species. Macaws, an African gray parrot, a crowned crane, a great horned owl and others came out to visit, perform tricks and in some cases even came swooping out over the audience to the back half of the theater. It is the trainer’s hope that by teaching Guano Joe (and us, the audience) about bird habits and behaviors, we will come to see them in a friendly and fascinating light. There is an underlying theme of conservation of the birds’ habitat throughout the show.

The ample theater is outdoors, but covered, which makes for a welcome break from the midday sun. And it’s scenic — the Caravan Stage is set against the backdrop of temple ruins that, according to Animal Kingdom’s backstory, were once part of the rule of a great Maharajah. The ruins have become the playground of these majestic birds.

Our kids loved the birds. They wanted to get down closer to the stage after the show to meet the various species. If you can spare the time, linger to take photos and ask questions of the trainers to gain a better understanding of the birds.

[Flights of Wonder closed at the end of 2017 to be replaced by UP! A Great Bird Adventure.]

Location: Find the Flights of Wonder show performed multiple times daily in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Walt Disney World Resort.

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