Country Bear Musical Jamboree

How ‘Country Bear Musical Jamboree’ Is Adding a Country Twist to Classic Disney Songs

Guests will be in for a knee-slappin’ good time when the reimagined Country Bear Musical Jamboree opens Wednesday, July 17, at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort. Inside the rustic Grizzly Hall, Audio-Animatronic® hillbilly bears will perform a medley of original and classic songs that, for the first time, includes a trio of countryfied Disney tunes.

The transformation of Country Bear Jamboree—one of the last attractions Walt Disney personally helped develop—was announced at Destination D23 in September 2023, and Disney Imagineers have been hard at work ever since to revitalize the attraction for guests.

“It was an honor to work on a show with such a legacy. It’s a show that means a lot to a lot of people, including myself,” said Jake Ellis, Principal Audio Media Designer, Walt Disney Imagineering. “One of the first memories I have at Walt Disney World was sitting on my mom’s lap in the back row at Grizzly Hall and watching the Country Bears perform.”

Country Bears Big Al and Wendell

In approaching the refresh, Ellis went on, “We knew that we wanted to keep the ethos of the bears, but we also wanted to rethink the songs in a way that was more diverse and had multigenerational appeal. Where better to look than the Disney catalog for those songs?”

With that in mind, Disney Imagineers turned to a few country music stars, including Mac McAnally for “The Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book, Emily Ann Roberts for “Try Everything” from Zootopia, and Allison Russel and Chris Thile for “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. The show will feature twangin’ interpretations of Disney songs in various genres of country music, including Americana, bluegrass, pop-country, rockabilly, and more.

Brett Swain, Director of Music Production, The Walt Disney Company, worked with each artist to reinterpret the songs. “He spun them up in this really fun way,” Ellis said. “I’m excited for my 3-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter to sit on my lap so I can introduce them to the Bears in their new form, and we’re excited for guests to experience the show.”

Emily Ann Roberts records “Try Everything” for Country Bears Musical Jamboree.

Roberts, who lends her vocals to Trixie St. Claire, shares his excitement.

“It’s so crazy seeing Trixie singing with my voice coming out,” Roberts said. “It’s something that I never, ever dreamed would be a reality in my life. And she just looks so cute! I could not be more thrilled with how everything turned out, and I’m so honored to be a part of it.”

Roberts’ rendition of “Try Everything” may sound different than the original recording, but its message remains the same. “Y’all can tell by the way I talk that I don’t sound anything like Shakira,” she said with a laugh. “When I was approached to record the song for Country Bear Musical Jamboree, I thought, ‘OK, we’re going to really have to put our East Tennessee into this.’ When I heard the new [country arrangement], it was so easy for me to get in the zone. I was so excited when I got into the studio and everybody told me to just sing it the way I would. I got to lean into my Appalachian and country music roots and just let her fly.”

“It’s been so neat being able to work with all these other incredible folks who are lending their voices and their talents to the Country Bear Musical Jamboree,” Roberts continued. “Everybody brings something different to the table, and that’s what makes it so cool. We have our own influences, and we’re all coming together to make something really special.”