This Disney Opening Day Attraction Has a Tragic Backstory

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

Country Bear Jamboree

Credit: Disney

One of the few Walt Disney World opening day attractions still standing is Country Bear Jamboree in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom. A marvel when it first opened due to its heavy reliance on animatronics and synchronized singing and music, it’s now a great place to rest and get some A/C on a hot Disney day.

Country Bear Jamboree was an attraction available at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World until 2001 when it was removed from Disneyland to make room for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It has remained open at Disney World, to mixed opinions. There have been several iterations of the Jamboree, including seasonal overlays like Vacation Hoedown and the Country Bear Christmas Special. Unfortunately, the attraction has not had a seasonal overlay in recent years.

country bear jamboree
Credit: Disney

However, the history of Country Bear Jamboree is a tragic one, as it is one of the very last projects Walt Disney helped oversee before his death. Disney social media creator @thedapperdanielle shared the backstory on a TikTok video. Originally designed as an attraction for a planned, but never built, Disney ski resort in California, Country Bear Jamboree was an idea developed by Walt Disney with Imagineer Mark Davis. The ski resort and the Jamboree would be the final two projects Disney would work on before passing.


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♬ Chopin Nocturne No. 2 Piano Mono – moshimo sound design

According to Davis, the last time he spoke with Walt Disney was when they were going over Davis’s progress on the Country Bears attraction. They were laughing and having a good time until Disney claimed he was feeling tired and needed to head back to the studio. When leaving, Walt Disney turned back to Davis and uncharacteristically said, “Goodbye, Mark.” Disney reportedly never said “goodbye,” just variations of “see you later.” Disney would pass only a few days later.

country bear jug band
Credit: Disney Parks

After his passing, the Walt Disney Company would be unable to complete the ski resort plans due to California law changes. The Country Bears attraction had already begun production, so the company decided to move it to Disneyland instead. Although arguably outdated amidst ever-evolving, technologically advanced rides, Country Bear Jamboree is perhaps one of the last remaining opening day Magic Kingdom attractions, and is one of the last ties to Walt Disney himself. Next time you find yourself at Magic Kingdom, take some time to get some cool air and clap and sing along with the Country Bears.

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

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