While we usually hop around parks on our Land Exit Surveys, it seemed too convenient to pass up just moving from New Orleans Square to it’s next door neighbor, Critter Country. Theme parks are made up of sub-sections, generally called lands which is what Critter Country is. Since you’re reading a theme parks blog then I’m guessing you probably know that. Many of these lands are spectacular, some are far from it. In this series, we cover individual lands one post at a time and answer some questions about them.
While we won’t be diving incredibly deep into these lands, I’ll provide the basic information about the area and we’ll add in some of our opinions. We’ll also use these posts to talk about theme both throughout the land and within the park. All of the posts will use the same questions. Let us know in the comments if there are questions that we should add!
So far in this series we’ve covered:
- Disney California Adventure: Grizzly Peak and Buena Vista Street
- Disneyland: Mickey’s Toontown and New Orleans Square
- Magic Kingdom: Fantasyland
- Epcot: Future World West
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Sunset Boulevard and Toy Story Land
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Asia
- Tokyo DisneySea: Mysterious Island
Now we move on to Critter Country, home of some very interesting Disneyland history and some of the gosh darn cutest signs we’ve ever seen.
What is your short(ish) review of Critter Country?
Andrew: Critter Country takes up a miniscule amount of space in a big park but packs quite a punch while doing that. There’s some very fun attractions and the critter statues, signs and lamps make for an adorable land.
Michaela: I love Critter Country!!!! I love it. I need you to know that I love it. Critter Country is a land that celebrates all things animals, from woodland creatures to big fluffy bears, and it’s everything 7-year-old me cared about. There are two great attractions in the land as well as an adorable gift shop or two. It also has what I would argue is the cutest meet and greet in the park.
What’s in the land?
- Splash Mountain – One of the iconic Disney mountains, this log ride takes guests through Song of the South inspired scenes.
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – A Winnie the Pooh dark ride that starts outside before entering to see Pooh chase his honey dreams.
- Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes – A chance for guests to hop into a canoe and paddle around Rivers of America with a captain who has a dry sense of humor.
- Hungry Bear Restaurant – A counter-service restaurant serving American food with amazing signs and funnel cakes.
- Harbor Galley – Another counter-service option that has Lobster Rolls, other sandwiches and some delicious bread bowl options.
- The Snackin’ Place – A highly themed churro and lemonade cart.
- Critter Country Fruit Cart – This is a fruit cart.
- Pooh Corner – One of the cutest shops in the park, Pooh Corner has some sweet treats to go along with Winnie the Pooh merchandise.
- The Briar Patch – A Splash Mountain themed shop inside of a cute little wooden cabin.
- Winnie the Pooh Character Meet & Greets – I don’t always include meet & greets in these but I will always include Winnie the Pooh meet & greets. Eeyore is so amazing.
What is Critter Country’s backstory and theme?
Originally this area was problematically named Indian Village before changing to Bear Country in 1972. Finally, the area was renamed Critter Country in 1988 to be more inclusive to all animals. Kidding. While it was Bear Country, Country Bear Jamboree and the Explorer Canoes debuted, along with a few now extinct attractions. Both of those stayed once the land changed to Critter Country and Splash Mountain was added in 1989. Country Bear Jamboree would close in 2001 to make way for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which opened in 2003. It remains to be seen what will happen to the land once Splash Mountain closes.
The switch from Bear Country (which sounds delightful) to Critter added nests and burrows throughout the land, as well as the aforementioned statues. Critter Country is inspired by the quote from Song of the South, “Where the folks are closer to the critters and the critters are closer to the folks.” There are little details throughout the land, depicting the cute critters that inhabit the area. Bear Country was meant to invoke national parks in the pacific northwest and the area still has a bit of that with greenery and wood tones throughout the land.
What is your favorite part of the land? What’s the most memorable aspect of it?
Andrew: Well, Splash Mountain is almost certainly the best and most memorable aspect of the land. It’s a perfect dark log ride full of incredible animatronics and a wonderful (albeit problematic) soundtrack. That said, my favorite part of the land is the signs and statues. There are the beaver boys by the bathrooms, the incredible bear who holds the bathroom sign, there’s the Brer Fox and Bear statues. I could go on and list all of them because they are all so beautiful and amazing. Really quick shout out to the seating area of Hungry Bear because sitting there and watching the Mark Twain and Columbia pass by is perfect in every way.
Michaela: It’s very hard for me to pick something out of this land that I like the most, because every part is a gem in my eyes. Andrew is right, the statues are awesome, and so are the other tiny details that make this land so cohesive. There are wooden benches near the exit of Pooh that are shaped like different animals. The queue of Winnie The Pooh has a number of small (adorable) houses representing the Hundred Acre Woods’ inhabitant’s homes. The soundtrack that plays up and down the walkway is pure Splash Mountain and Winnie the Pooh melodies, some of the most cheery and inviting music in the parks. What really wins here in this land is the ambiance of pure childlike joy, backed by details that allow your imagination to run wild.
Are there parts of Critter Country you don’t like?
Andrew: Yes. Country Bear Jamboree was replaced. I like The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh plenty and it deserves to have a ride full of its wonderful characters. But replacing Country Bear Jamboree is a mistake no matter what comes in. So, I guess I don’t dislike any part of Critter Country really, I’m just bitter about what could have been.
Michaela: The one downfall of Critter Country is that it’s a dead end. You walk down quite a hill to get to Pooh Corner, and the only way out of the land is to walk back up that same hill. A lot of guests think you can reach Galaxy’s Edge through the land, and it can be confusing for some.
How does the land coincide and transition with the rest of the park? Does Critter Country make the park better or worse?
Andrew: The two lands surrounding Critter Country don’t make a ton of sense if you look at it on paper. New Orleans and whatever Star Wars planet you choose do have critters. But, they are all pretty different from each other. But the transitions couldn’t be better. New Orleans Square architecture flows seamlessly into Splash Mountain thanks to the river right beside it. Splash Mountain looking iconic from anywhere in the park certainly helps. Then the transition into Galaxy’s Edge is even more improbable but all the more enjoyable. Wandering through the forest feels natural to Critter Country and the path is long enough to make the transition feel organic. It’s beautifully done and reflects well on the land, which certainly makes Disneyland better.
Michaela: Of course Critter Country makes Disneyland better! It’s, uh, the cutest thing ever. The walkways between New Orleans and Galaxy’s Edge take their time to make the transitions seamless, and Splash is the water ride Disneyland needs to increase the diversity of attractions in the park.
Where would you rank the land in relation to the others in the park?
Andrew: This is really hard because I do love Critter Country at this point but Disneyland is full of great lands. I like Critter more than Toontown, Tomorrowland and Main Street but it’s not as strong as New Orleans Square or Fantasyland. That puts it on even footing with Frontierland, Adventureland and Galaxy’s Edge to me. Goodness, Disneyland is incredible. Today (because I’d probably change my mind tomorrow), I’d put Critter Country 5th on the list, above Adventureland but just below Frontierland and Galaxy’s Edge.
Michaela: Critter Country and New Orleans are my two favorite lands in the park! Honestly Critter might be my number one and I am not ashamed. Long live Critter Country!!
What do you think of Critter Country? Do you like our Land Exit Surveys? Would you add anything? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Interested in a trip to Disneyland Resort? Check out our Planning Guide to help you along the way! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Land Exit Survey