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Vintage Walt Disney World: Country Bears Catch the Holiday Spirit at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on December 22nd, 2011 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Most bears hibernate for the winter, but the Country Bears of Frontierland fame in Magic Kingdom Park used to like to celebrate the holidays before heading for their long winter naps.

County Bear Christmas Special - December 1984

County Bear Christmas Special premiered in December 1984 with the bears singing such holiday classics as “Deck the Halls,” “Let It Snow,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” as well as new original songs like “Hungry as a Bear.”

County Bear Christmas Special - December 1984

The entire theatre was fully decorated to get into the Christmas spirit including Max, Buff, and Melvin who joined in the holiday fun.

Max, Buff, and Melvin in the County Bear Christmas Special - December 1984

If you ask me, the holiday season was a little more bear-able when I could catch the County Bears performing their Christmas Special.

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Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

25 Comments 2 Replies

1

Amber on December 22nd, 2011 at 9:09 am

I love the Country Bear Christmas Special. Every December I ask if it is playing, and have been so disappointed the past few years to find the regular show playing instead. Thanks for featuring it today!

2

Chris on December 22nd, 2011 at 9:24 am

I definetly miss these extra holiday touches that used to be offered at WDW. Something so simple encouraged me to take the time to go visit the country bears during the holidays when I otherwise would have rushed past. Thank you so much for the trip down memory lane. :)

3

Devin from FL on December 22nd, 2011 at 9:27 am

Excellent photos! And thanks for your sentiment at the end! Wish they would bring back the Country Bears Christmas Show!

 

Nate Rasmussen on December 29th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Thanks and you’re welcome. :)

4

Philip on December 22nd, 2011 at 9:45 am

I concur with everyone else.

Please bring this great overlay back, WDW! The majority of its guests miss it and want it to return.

Some reassurrance that it will be back would be very greatly appreciated.

5

Danielle from FL on December 22nd, 2011 at 9:50 am

I know change is the only constant thing in life, but I MISS THIS SHOW SO MUCH!! I simply adored the Country Bear Christmas show. I hope someday it returns, I know it is not the most attended attraction in the park, but the Christmas show really put me in the holiday spirit.
Happy Holidays!

6

Scott on December 22nd, 2011 at 9:51 am

I used to love this version of the show, and I really wish Disney would bring it back. I agree with you, Nate — the holiday seasons was indeed better when the Country Bears Christmas show was running.

7

Philip on December 22nd, 2011 at 10:32 am

P.S.: I hope that Nate’s closing line in this article will be taken into serious consideration by Operations and Imagineering as a prompt to bring the CBJ Xmas Show back. The holidays were indeed more bear-able when that overlay was being presented and we should not be denied a chance to see it.

8

Edward on December 22nd, 2011 at 11:58 am

I miss this show as well. A nice seasonal touch. Maybe WDW will bring it back one day – we can dream, right? The Tiki Room came back…

9

Janus on December 22nd, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Loved the Country Bears ANY season. Please bring them back!!!

10

Michael on December 22nd, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I think the CBJ Christmas show was far superior to the normal CBJ. If changing the show out is too expensive to do annually, then just put in the CBJ Christmas show for the holidays next year and then leave the theatre shuttered the other 10 months of the year.

11

Philip on December 22nd, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Another thing: doing the change-out was also very beneficial to the Bears’ attraction for many reasons. For one thing, it allowed them to do annual refurbishments to the attraction to make sure everything was in fine working order.

All the more reason to reinstate it.

12

Constance from FL on December 22nd, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Please bring back, Country Bear Christmas and Country Bear Summer Vacation. I have noticed that every Christmas, a few more Christmas decorations and traditions are taken away.

13

Mary Beth from MA on December 22nd, 2011 at 3:28 pm

We have never seen the Country Bear Christmas. I also wish they bring it back. The pictures look wonderful. We enjoy the Country Bears and that would be great to see.

14

Philip on December 22nd, 2011 at 5:40 pm

I also forgot: the Xmas show was always very well attended as well. Unlike the regular show, the Xmas show always brought long lines to Grizzly Hall.

That’s yet another big testament to the Xmas show’s popularity and why it needs to return.

I really do hope that the increased capacity that the MK will be getting with the new Fantasyland will result in more seasonal overlays being introduced at the Florida park, including a return of the Bears’ Xmas show.

15

Jonathan on December 22nd, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Yes indeed, please bring back the Chistmas show! It was one of those touches that makes WDW so special. What year did it stop happening?

16

Blair on December 22nd, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I like the Country Bears, but the Christmas Special Country Bears is so good. I’m glad I was able to see it at least once (2005). Last year when we went around christmas, we were disappointed that it was just the original and not the christmas version. PLEASE DISNEY, bring it back the christmas edition just puts the country bears over the top and actually fills up, too

17

Thorsten from G1 on December 23rd, 2011 at 11:37 am

Jonathan, when visiting in 2008 I was told that the last show was in 2005. Other sources say that it was 2006. I can tell you for sure that I saw it in 2005 and that is has been dicontinued in 2008.

18

Alexis from FL on December 23rd, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I miss the Country Bears Christmas Show! I check every year to see if it will magically open up again, but it doesn’t. I have been told that it was over the rights to a Christmas song, I think Jingle Bells, and that it would be too expensive to take the song out of the show. Maybe someday it will open up again without Jingle Bells in it. Like the Tiki Room show that is very similar to the original. Thanks for posting the great pics!

19

Sean from CA on December 24th, 2011 at 12:22 am

I agree that the holidays were more bear-able when the Country Bear Christmas Show was being performed. Thanks for posting this.

 

Nate Rasmussen on December 29th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed the post.

20

Yoshihito from JP on December 24th, 2011 at 10:22 am

We still can see this special show at Tokyo Disneyland every year. Vacation Jamboree is also shown every summer. I love these shows!!

21

Gary from CT on December 24th, 2011 at 10:27 am

I agree, its the little things like this that I miss in the parks..Don’t get me wrong there are some exciting things happening at the parks but its the little things that warm the heart and put a smile on your face that I miss. Or maybe Im just getting old and nostalgic..lol

22

MARIAN on December 24th, 2011 at 11:31 am

I used to like the seasonal changes in the Country Bears. I also miss the arches of syncronized Christmas lights at EPCOT. Are they ever coming back? They were all part of the Disney Christmas magic. I loved riding through the lights on the monorail and stopping to listen to the music with the dancing lights while heading to the countries.

23

Walter on December 24th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I miss the Country Bear Christmas show as well, and hope it will return soon. Thanks for sharing these photos and story with us.

24

Robin on December 24th, 2011 at 4:00 pm

We were at Disneyworld the first weekend in December. I was so disappointed that they were not doing the Christmas show anymore. It was so cute to see everything all decorated for the holidays.

25

robert on December 27th, 2011 at 8:12 am

Holiday offerrings such as the Country Bears Christmas Special are things that I hope WDW will bring back to us soon… We were at Disneyland in 2010 and the Holiday overlays they offered were so Amazing!

25 Comments