Flights of Wonder was an atypical exotic bird show. The show highlighted the natural behaviors of Parrots, Cranes, Ravens and other birds in a whimsical yet inspiring way.
The show begins with a voiceover that references the Maharajah’s and the majestic species that guests will soon see in the show. While the different “acts” in the show change regularly, many standard acts can be found from show to show, a standard show layout can be found below:
After the voiceover, several species of birds (mainly macaws) fly over head and then an animal caretaker/trainer walks out. The trainer is led out by a Trumpeter Hornbill and the trainer shows the natural behavior of how the Hornbill catches insects in the wild. However, in the show, this behavior is shown by catching grapes through by the trainer as well as a member of the audience.
Following the Hornbill, the trainer attempts to continue the show but is interrupted by a tour guide named Guano Joe. We quickly learn that Guano Joe is a famous explorer and he’s leading his tour group to the show. In typical tour guide fashion Guano Joe proudly waives his tour flag while standing on stage.
When the trainer recognizes him as Guano Joe he/she invites Guano Joe to join the show but he is very reluctant as he has F.O.B. (Fear of Birds). Throughout the show, Guano Joe provides a bit of comedy while the trainer introduces the different birds and their behaviors.
After being chased by chickens (guinea hens), Guano Joe agrees to stay after a Raven steals his tour flag. The next act requires another volunteer as an African Gray Parrot has been “trained in math”. The volunteer and the parrot are given math problems where the answers are always 4. The parrot is trained on verbal cues and has been trained to mimic certain noises it has heard. When the trainer says the word “three” the parrot will always say, “four”.
An alternative to the African Gray Parrot is a similar act featuring a Yellow-naped Amazon Parrot (either Groucho Or Keeto). The keeper will typically discuss the Yellow-naped Amazon Parrot’s ability to mimic sounds that they’ve heard and the demonstration may feature speaking, singing and other animal noises.
The next act features a Pied Crow and it’s a bird show act that should be very familiar. An audience volunteer will hold out a dollar bill and the crow will fly over to the volunteer, take the dollar and fly it back to the trainer. After the trainer jokingly pockets the money, he/she returns the dollar bill to the crow who then flys it back to the volunteer, drops it in the volunteers hand and flies it back.
The next act is another one that allows guest volunteers to take a photo of a bird in flight. Different bird species are featured during this segment, varying from show to show. Species include a Great Horned Owl (J.J.), Barn Owl, Milky Eagle Owl, or a Southern Brown Hornbill.
Following this act, they bring out a Black Vulture (Webster) or King Vulture (Baby Elvis) to scare Guano Joe. The vulture is then followed by a Harris Hawk. The Hawk flies over the audience only inches from their heads.
The dialog between the trainer and Guano Joe continues as they discuss how hawks eat mice and rats. Several mice and rats walk around the ledge of the stage unbeknownst to the trainer and Guano Joe as they let the guests know that, “Thankfully the rat problem is behind us.”
The next act features an East African Crowned Crane that flies over the audience. Once on stage, Guano Joe overcomes his Fear of Birds by feeding the crane. This transitions into a discussion about conservation and conservation success stories.
The show ends with another trainer bringing out a Bald Eagle that poses for photos. After explaining that the Bald Eagle is now off the endangered species list, the Raven returns with Guano Joe’s tour flag, now covered with holes. The ending message promotes the World Wildlife Conservation Fund and several birds fly overhead.
Additional acts that rotate in and out of the show include a Yellow-naped Amazon Parrot that can sing, a Red-Legged Seriama that instinctively slams a lizard against a rock, a sulphur crested cockatoo (Pogo) that responds to verbal queues, and the flight of an Andean Condor.
Some birds featured in the introduction and ending of the show include Spectacled Owls, Green-Winged Macaws, Blue and Gold Macaws, Hyacinth Macaw
Guests of all ages.
Flights of Wonder typically does not require a Fastpass+ reservation except on the busiest days of the year.
Winged Encounters is a smaller scale version of this show.
Attractions in the park that feature live animals are as follows:
- Animal Encounter – Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- It Was All Started By a Mouse – Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight – Discovery Island
- The Oasis Exhibits – The Oasis
- Discovery Island Trails – Discovery Island
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail – Africa
- The Maharajah Jungle Trek – Asia
- Affection Section – Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- The Tree of Life Exhibits – Discovery Island
- Siamang and Gibbon Exhibit – Asia
- American Crocodile Exhibit – Dinoland U.S.A.
- Habitat Habit! – Rafiki’s Planet Watch