The Country Bear Jamboree at the Magic Kingdom

Melinda touched on it last week and I wanted to delve a little deeper into the Country Bear Jamboree in the Magic Kingdom's Frontierland. Recently reopened after having been closed for refurbishment. Disney knows that rehabs can put fans of an attraction on edge. Though it's important to keep everything in good shape, most guests want their favorites to remain the same. To redesign the Country Bear Jamboree, Imagineers went back to the original concept design and sketches by Disney Legend Marc Davis to inspire them in giving our old furry friends a fresh new look. It was important to them to preserve what made the bears so special to begin with.

Come in and set a spell at the Country Bear JamboreeCome in and set a spell at the Country Bear Jamboree
Walt Disney had originally had Marc Davis working on concepts for the Bears as an attraction at the ill fated Mineral King development. Walt had looked over the characters and told Davis that loved them. However a few days later Walt passed away, leaving the concepts as they were. With the end of the Mineral King project, Imagineers working hard to develop Walt Disney World decided that the attraction would be a good fit for Frontierland. Imagineer X Atencio and musical director George Bruns were brought on board to pull together the score. From the first opening day of the Magic Kingdom in 1971, the fun loving Country Bears were a hit with guests.

The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is the only place in the United States that you can catch a performance of The Country Bear Jamboree these days, and Disney was dedicated to keeping the show close to what generations have in their memory. Imagineering gave a head to claw make over for the entire cast of bears with upgraded the fur, skins, and style. "Blingin' Teddy Beara has even more sparkle than ever. In addition to sprucing up the bears, the stage and theater has gotten spruced up as well with new sets, benches, curtains and backdrops.

Original Concept Art by Marc DavisOriginal Concept Art by Marc Davis
Apart from the cosmetic changes, Imagineers spent a considerable amount of time updating the show technology with new audio animatronics as well as making some changes to the script possibly as part of the "Added Capacity" program. The show that was playing prior to the rehab has been shortened by about 5 minutes. A few songs have been removed, and others offer a truncated version. Banter between the bears also underwent some small changes. By making these programing changes, they've created shorter wait times and increased the opportunity for more guests to enjoy the show throughout the day.

Curious? Take a look at the new show with this video posted by our friends at on their YouTube Channel.

Did you watch the video? What did you think about the updated show? Have they taken to much out, or did they do a good job in retaining the spirit of the Country Bear Jamboree while freshening it up? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.


J wrote on Thu, 11/01/2012 - 17:02:

J's picture

Didn't watch the video, but what differnce does shorter wait times and increased the opportunity for more guests really mean anyways? If I am going to see the Country Bears, I expect to wait in the lobby for a litte bit. It's never too long. If you want to see the Country Bears durring the day, you can. It isn't that hard. Even durring peak season, you really only have to wait for the previous show to finsih. I appreciate them taking care of the bears to make sure they are in the best condition they can be in, but I still don't see what is better about a shorter show.

Jennifer wrote on Sun, 11/11/2012 - 20:39:

Jennifer's picture

After viewing the new show/video (and remembering my past Jamboree experiences) I think the Country Bears were definitely in need of a (long overdue) refurbishment.

Some of the songs were shortened/deleted -- which, to me, was actually a blessing because I did find that the previous show just dragged along. But, the new show seems to have a better pace without losing the essence of the past.

Whatever the reason to shorten the show, the Bears deserved a make-over!

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 11/12/2012 - 12:44:

Kristen K.'s picture

Thanks so much for your feedback Jennifer! Glad. To hear that you thought the new show was good :-)

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