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Walt Disney Imagineers Talk The Country Bear Jamboree Reimagining at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on October 18th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


“The bear band bears will play now, in the good ol’ key of G – Zeke and Zeb and Ted and Fred and a bear named Tennessee.”

Who doesn’t love the Country Bear Jamboree, the toe-tapping country music show that stars the Five Bear Rugs band and friends, that has entertained guests since the opening of Magic Kingdom Park in 1971.

Country Bear Jamboree recently underwent a refresh that included some behind-the-scenes reengineering, changes to the theater, and more. In this video, shared by Walt Disney Imagineering, Imagineers Lauren Murphy, Pete Carsillo and Kareem Patterson, walk you through what you can expect next time you head for a growling good time at Grizzly Hall.

What’s your favorite part of this classic attraction? Tell us in the “comments” section below.

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

37 Comments 5 Replies

1

Patrick on October 18th, 2012 at 7:12 pm

My favorite part of the Country Bear Jamboree was the “peanut gallery” jabs exchanged between Max, Buff and Melvin throughout the show. Unfortunately all of their lines were cut in this recent refurbishment. I hope their periodic joking will return.

2

MARY on October 18th, 2012 at 7:21 pm

This is great, but as an annual passholder, I’m wondering if anything new is coming to EPCOT soon. I’m excited for the New Test Track, and the future of Walt Disney’s experimental prototype community of tomorrow.

3

Nicholas on October 18th, 2012 at 7:22 pm

While it’s disappointing that there’s less colour commentary, I’m glad to hear that Disney’s committed to this fun, classic show.

4

Mark on October 18th, 2012 at 7:47 pm

So many magical memories of mine were created in Grizzly Hall… I would come here all the time as a child, and my family would always clap our hands, stomp our feet, and try to keep right with ‘em! I love all the songs and witty banter. My favorite part of the show is the song “Devilish Mary”. It’s a classic and hilarious song that I just love singing along with! I have missed these wonderful bears since the attraction went down for refurbishment and I’m so happy they’re back! I’m going to see them tomorrow! Thank you for all your hard work, Imagineers! Putting so much labor and effort into the maintenance of a decades-old attraction tells me that you truly care about the quality of Magic Kingdom and about your guests’ experiences in the parks, and that is why I am a Walt Disney World fan!

5

Philip on October 18th, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I like how they refreshed all the animatronics, aesthetics, costumes and lighting, but I think they cut a little too much from the show.

I understand that guest attention spans aren’t what they used to be, but I think they overdid it on the edits.

I agree with the first comment that a couple of the 3 heads’ lines should be put back in. I also think that “Fractured Folk Song” should’ve been retained along with some of the other bits of interaction between the characters.

But I still want the Xmas and Vacation shows to return, even if those versions have to be trimmed down slightly. It would be nice if restoring the other shows is the next part of the plans for the attraction, following this latest rehab (and it hopefully won’t require as much downtime now, due to the upgraded technologies).

6

Linda on October 18th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I have always loved the little bear holding his teddy bear & just looks around & never says or does anything else. He’s so cute!

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on October 19th, 2012 at 9:56 am

He was always my mom’s favorite, too. :)

7

Wendy on October 18th, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Love it! So excited about what Lauren said, “I want our guests to know that we do care about our classic attractions and we really make an effort to keep them up and to bring them new magic.” I want our Imagineers to know that I’m glad they are making that effort!

And hey, since we are talking Country Bears, I’d love to see the Christmas show again someday – just sayin’.

8

Drew from CA on October 18th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

While I applaud the top to bottom refurbishment of the show, the cuts made to the show are very disappointing.

9

Joey on October 18th, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I like the physical enhancements, but I’m disappointed at how short the show has become. The interstitial material added to the character of the bears and of course was where the three heads really shined and provided some nice breathing room in between songs. It didn’t have some of the pacing and timing issues Tiki Room had where edits were a little more understandable.

10

Lisa from WI on October 18th, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I love Big Al’s song! He’s so sad, but so serious. And the baby bear, too! I can’t wait to see the new show and to say hello to Max again!

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on October 19th, 2012 at 9:56 am

Big Al is my absolute fav.

11

Jim on October 18th, 2012 at 9:38 pm

“As soon as I can find a ladder, I’ll be right up…”

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on October 19th, 2012 at 9:56 am

:)

12

Tim on October 18th, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Why were songs and dialogue cut?

13

Kristina from FL on October 18th, 2012 at 10:05 pm

My favorite part was always the Christmas show, but alas, it’s been years since I’ve seen that version of the Jamboree.

14

Friend on October 18th, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Wouldn’t it be “GREAT” to have the Country Bear Jamboree back at Disneyland in Bear Country which was named after them. It helped make Fronteirland what it was.

15

Friend on October 18th, 2012 at 11:19 pm

It complemented the first Splash Mountain so well at Disneyland.

16

Paul on October 19th, 2012 at 12:28 am

Now, I have even more reason to go back to see the Bears now! Can’t wait!

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on October 19th, 2012 at 9:57 am

I hope you enjoy the changes.

17

Richard on October 19th, 2012 at 5:58 am

I wish they would update the music as well.

18

David from FL on October 19th, 2012 at 7:22 am

Any chance of bringing back their Christmas Show. It’s been gone for quite a while and might catch on with new visitors.

19

Judson on October 19th, 2012 at 8:46 am

Looks great! We changed our schedule to be there the day before it closed in Aug so that we were sure to see it. My daughters didn’t want to miss it!

20

Colleen from TX on October 19th, 2012 at 8:53 am

So happy to see it getting some TLC. Hope to see it for another 40 years.

Big AL has to be the best part of the show. Hands down.

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on October 19th, 2012 at 9:57 am

I love the terrified look he has on his face. Too funny.

21

Lynn on October 19th, 2012 at 8:57 am

The County Bears have always been one of my must see favorite attactions over the years since I was a little girl and I am so happy to be able to share it with my little girl now. I can’t wait to see the new make over when we come. 19 days and counting :)

22

Jon from TX on October 19th, 2012 at 9:10 am

BIG AL! You don’t have to be a Johnny Cash fan to fall in love with his hairy sound-alike bass guitar pickin’ Big Bear twin. I fell in love with the character at Disneyland when the attraction first opened. And although it’s joined the list of “gone-but-not-forgotten at Disneyland, it is always a great pleasure to sing along and enjoy at Walt Disney World. I had a souvenir glass mug with Big Al artwork on it when I was a kid. I drank from that mug for years until the image of Big Al wore completely off. Last time I saw the show in Florida, the announcer said it was OK to take pictures during the finale. I got a good shot and painted a portrait of my favorite blue bear, Big Al. “Thar wuz… B-LOOD on the SAD-DLE!”

23

Tami from MN on October 19th, 2012 at 9:19 am

This show is pretty good but it cannot compare to what it used to be like back in the 70s. The show was performed in the original Country Bear Hall and the actual characters would come on stage and perform the show. Now that is the Country Bear Jamboree that I wish would come back!

24

Kim from TN on October 19th, 2012 at 9:45 am

I hope it hasn’t changed too much. My son, Logan, insists that we see CBJ (as we call it) at least 3 times (sometimes more) per day. He has autism and will be very upset if the show has changed too much. We were just there in January and we leave December 27th for another two weeks. I can’t wait to see it.

25

Susan on October 19th, 2012 at 10:57 am

I’ve missed the Country Bear Jamboree since they closed it in Disneyland. Really looking forward to seeing it again when we get to Disney World. Some of the other above spoke of a Christmas show… Would love to see that as we will be there starting Dec 2nd!

26

Kevin on October 19th, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I remember when they had it at Disneyland. Wish they still had it.

27

Angela on October 20th, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Oh my goodness I hope they do the Christmas show! I think it would be great! why should Disneyland have all the fun with that one?

Favorite part: At the final number where everyone is singing the same song and Big Al is still singing “Blood on the Saddle” ….cracks me up every time!

28

Christopher from CA on October 20th, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Bring this attraction back to Disneyland, please! Also, please bring back the Christmas Special…..It shouldn’t take that much work to change it over.

29

Kristy on October 21st, 2012 at 6:50 pm

I like the new look of the bears.. aside from liver lips. But I do think too much was cut.

30

Wendy from CA on October 22nd, 2012 at 9:29 am

Zeke is my favorite!

31

Yasmijn on October 22nd, 2012 at 10:38 am

I just love the bears and really appreciate that they decided to give the show some tlc. Though I do think too much of it was cut and will definitely miss the three head banter, I am really glad that they didn’t just get rid of it because lets be honest with the attention span of kids nowadays, it’s pretty amazing a show like this still exists!

32

Diane on October 22nd, 2012 at 10:38 am

Can’t wait to see it ;-)

33

kathy on October 22nd, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Well, the Country Bear Jamboree is a classic . It demonstrates that attractions can be high quality, innovative, imaginative and fun without twists, turns, fright, or fear. True, it has been around for a long time but considering it was a fun attraction with audio animatronics way before its time, it should be a staple attraction just as much as others. It is disappointing that it was shortened because it was a place of sheer enjoyment with great audience participation, laughs, singing along, and a place of respite for a few minutes to relax and have some sit-down, toe-tapping fun. Hopefully , it will go back to the longer show, which we all love, as well as go back to the Christmas show so all attendees can feel the joy of the holiday season in a way that is entertaining without the use of pyrotechnics, , fast speed or ultra- contemporary music.

34

Pam on October 22nd, 2012 at 8:27 pm

I really wish that this classic attraction would return to Disneyland Park where it began! I have such great memories of it from my childhood.

35

Erica on October 23rd, 2012 at 12:15 pm

@Pam – The Country Bear Jamboree opened in Walt Disney World on October 1, 1971. It opened in Disneyland in March of 1972. It is an original Walt Disney World opening day attraction, not a Disneyland original.

36

Denise on November 4th, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I love Big Al. He was my dad’s favorite as well and he always evokes a great memory of my dad completely immersed in the show.

What I also love about this, and all of the Disney animatronic attractions, is that even if someone isn’t looking where they are SUPPOSED to be looking, the figures not currently featured still move, react and interact. While this seems to have been lost, or at least occurs to a lesser degree since some remodels (The Enchanted Tiki Room comes to mind where on my last visit only the spotlighted characters seemed to show signs of life. And also in Country Bears where the moose, deer and buffalo were too still when not highlighted — thereby diminishing the magic) it is still a more encompassing and magical experience when the imagineers take the time to realize that not everybody focuses on where they should be and that the magic should continue even if the darkened part of the show.

37

Audrey on November 5th, 2012 at 12:18 am

Looking forward to seeing “the bears” in December. It’s always been a family favorite and a Disney classic!,

37 Comments