Shocking Facts About the Country Bears

Country Bear Jamboree Finale
Credit: D23

The Country Bear Jamboree is one of the most iconic audio-animatronic shows at Walt Disney World (second maybe to the Enchanted Tiki Room or the Carousel of Progress). But just as with all classic Disney attractions, it has a list of interesting facts and stories involving Imagineers or Walt Disney himself. And the Country Bear Jamboree is no different. So let’s explore some interesting and bizarre facts about the musical singing bears!

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They Were’t Made for Disney Theme Parks


Credit: V Mills

The Country Bears were initially designed for an attraction at a California ski resort Walt Disney was hoping to open in the 1960s. But after pushback from many environmentalists, the Resort was never fully developed. However, due to the amount of work invested into the Country Bears, they were not scrapped with the ski Resort. Instead, they were moved to the Magic Kingdom for its grand opening in 1971.

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The Current Show is Shorter than the Original

Country Bear Jamboree

Credit: Disney

The original show was 23 minutes long, including songs and dialog involving not only the bears but Melvin, Buck, and Max (the mounted animal heads). In 2012, the Country Bear Jamboree at the Magic Kingdom underwent a two-month refurbishment. When it re-opened, the new show was 5 minutes shorter, with two songs completed removed and other parts of the show trimmed down.

McDonald’s and the Country Bears?

In 1985, Disney offered Mcdonald’s the opportunity to sponsor the upcoming “On Vacation with the Country Bears” show. The new version of the classic attraction would eventually open as the “Country Bear Vacation Hoedown” and ran from 1986 to 1992. It never once received sponsorship from McDonald’s.

Disneyland Park Extinction


Credit: Disney Tips

The incredible popularity of the Country Bear Jamboree at Magic Kingdom led to the show being cloned for Disneyland in 1972. However, it closed in 2001 to be replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Due to its replacement, Disneyland Tokyo is the only other place to see The Country Bears outside of the Magic Kingdom.

The Country Bears Bomb

The Country Bears (2002) was a musical comedy produced by Walt Disney Pictures over 20 years ago. It starred Christopher Walken and Haley Joel Osment, with cameos by Sir Elton John, Willie Nelson, and Wyclef Jean. It didn’t receive many positive reviews and lost money at the box office.


Credit: DisneyPlus

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Other Interesting Facts

The Country Bear Jamboree was the first attraction ever to be duplicated at Disneyland Park. Before that, Disneyland Park had all the original attractions, and clones were being made in Orlando.

When Disneyland debuted the attraction, they built an entire land dedicated to it – Bear Country. It has since been named Critter Country (and perhaps will change again when Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens next year).

Voice actors used in the original audio animatronic show were also utilized for other Disneyland and Magic Kingdom attractions, such as the Hall of Presidents, the Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Credit: Disney

Next time you visit The Country Bear Jamboree, take a moment to marvel at the Disney classic’s magical history. And enjoy it – because you never know when Disney Parks may decide to shut it down and replace it with something truly un-bear-able, like a sing-along show themed to The Lone Ranger (2013) or Home on the Range (2004).

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About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)