Today at Destination D23 in Orlando, Josh D’Amaro announced changes coming to Magic Kingdom’s Country Bear Jamboree. The classic attraction will have a different show format than the irreverent original. This was announced alongside news of a new Pirates of the Caribbean Lounge and Hatbox Ghost news in Magic Kingdom. In this post, we’ll share the news and then add our commentary in the following days.
From the Disney Parks Blog:
Country Bear Jamboree will be getting new songs and the bears will be performing a new act!
Disney Imagineer Chris Beatty told the Destination D23 audience that when the show debuts, the bears will be reinterpreting favorite Disney songs in different genres of country music – like rockabilly, bluegrass, pop-country and other styles.
Imagineers are envisioning the new take as a homage to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and they’re working with Nashville musicians to get the authentic country sound. The popular attraction will continue to have the fun and friendly tone and same characters.
I mean, of course I don’t like this news. Country Bear Jamboree is my personal favorite attraction at Magic Kingdom and changing the classic show to something new and Disney inspired is the opposite of its current spirit. The songs in the current version are weird, absurd and hilarious. Disney songs, even with the Country Bears chaos thrown in, won’t be that.
That’s the gut reaction and my personal one. Another reaction, and I’m not trying to be as depressing as Thanos, is that this was all inevitable. Partially because of the reasons I outlined in the paragraph above and also because the attraction, much to my chagrin, isn’t super popular. While I could make a case that having rides and shows with walk up availability is exactly what Magic Kingdom needs, upgrading those spots is an obvious target.
When looking at Country Bear Jamboree in its current state, there are several jokes and songs that just wouldn’t be made by current day Disney. Singing about “every guy that turns me on turns me down” and blood is certainly not in the same tone as your Frozen and Beauty and the Beast favorites. That’s exactly what made Country Bear Jamboree unique and also why a change seemed imminent.
I’m very happy to see the beloved bears sticking around in some capacity. Getting rid of the attraction all together was under consideration, I’m sure. Henry, Big Al, Wendell and the others will still be there to drop in and say hello to. That’s the good news and, disappointment aside, I’m grateful for that.
The new show idea just doesn’t sound all that appealing to me. Stripping the bears of their humor in favor of those classic Disney songs just feels like making punk rockers put on a pop show. That said, I’m going to withhold more judgment until this come to fruition. Country Bears adding their spin to whatever songs chosen could be very funny and certainly might have more broad appeal than the current attraction. I’m too close to the subject though, to the point where seeing Henry without his top hat in the poster makes me shudder. We’ll continue to update this news as the reimagining takes shape.
What do you think of the Country Bear Jamboree news? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. If you are planning a trip to Disney World, then check out our planning guide. Looking for Walt Disney World tickets? Check out this site. 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. You can do all of that on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!