One of the highlights of visiting the Walt Disney World Resort is getting to experience The Country Bear Jamboree. This show is currently only available at the Magic Kingdom and also Tokyo Disneyland. At one time, it was also shown at Disneyland where the current Winnie the Pooh attraction is.
The idea for this bear show was originally meant for Disney’s Mineral King Resort in California. Imagineer Marc Davis was assigned the project. A few days before his death, Walt Disney took a look at his progress and laughed at the characters. As he departed, he said goodbye to Davis. This was odd as Disney was known to not say that. It would be the last time Davis saw Disney. After Walt Disney’s death on December 15, 1966, work continued on this show. By now the bears had taken on a country angle.
While the show continued in development, the development of the Resort did not. Instead, it was placed in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World when it opened on October 1, 1971. It’s immediate popularity inspired Imagineers to bring a replica of the show to Disneyland in a new land called Bear Country. Because of its popularity in Florida, at Disneyland, there was added capacity for the show in the form of two identical theaters. The Country Bear Jamboree opened at Disneyland on March 4, 1972. With the continued popularity, a third iteration of the show was made for Tokyo Disneyland. This opened with two theaters as well along with more advanced audio-animatronics on April 15, 1983.
Through the years, there have been variations of the show that have been created. This includes the Vacation Hoedown in 1986 and the Country Bear Christmas Special. It marked the first time that an attraction was interchangeable seasonally at a Disney theme park.
Today The Country Bear Jamboree still shows at the Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland. The Disneyland version of the attraction closed on December 9, 2001. At the Magic Kingdom, the show is currently a few minutes shorter than the original. This current version of the show debuted on October 17, 2012. It continues to be popular (every time I’ve been there) and the Country Bears are loved as characters when in the parks (at Disneyland as well!).
I absolutely love this show and make it a point to catch it whenever I can. It is a fun connection with the past, has wonderful humor, and just is a feel-good toe-tapping show.
What do you think of The Country Bear Jamboree? What’s your favorite part of it? Who’s your favorite bear? Share your thoughts in the comments below!