Multiple Beloved Disney Characters Nearly Removed, Update Confirms Cutback

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle

Credit: Chris Dikos. Flickr

With so many changes coming to Disney’s Country Bear Jamboree at Walt Disney World in the next few months, many fans of the attractions are wondering what is going to leave the ride. 

Country Bear Jamboree at Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney

On January 27th, 2024, Disney shut down the Country Bear Jamboree at Magic Kingdom as we know it. While the ride itself is not leaving entirely, the show is getting a strong makeover, which will also affect the storyline of the ride, the characters, and the music that audiences have grown to know and love, leaving these future changes to be problematic and controversial to some.

Country Bear Jamboree’s closure was quite a big deal for fans because it is one of the few rides that opened with the theme park 52 years ago, in 1971. Country Bear Jamboree has a plethora of wild characters that are highly entertaining, while some are rather promiscuous and at times, a little vulgar, which has left the ride questionable for some, as the lyrics of the songs are not particularly family-friendly all of the time.

Among the notable characters is Henry, the affable host and master of ceremonies, whose amiable personality sets the tone for the show. Wendell, portrayed as a good-natured bear with a penchant for enjoying life, adds a touch of humor to the jamboree. Shaker, a laid-back and easygoing bear, contributes to the musical ensemble with his signature groove. The Sun Bonnets, a trio of cheerfully singing female bears named Bunny, Bubbles, and Beulah, bring a lively and harmonious energy to the stage. Big Al is a larger-than-life, low-energy bear that steals the show every time, and there are plenty more.

Big Al at Country Bear Hall
Credit: Disney (Edited by Inside the Magic)

One bear that was in the original show, named Liver Lips, will be undergoing a major change with a rebrand. He will soon be called Romeo McGrowl, and will sport a blonde wig. While many may not have known, Liver Lips is a term that can be found to be derogatory.

Jim Gordon took to Quora to share that, “It’s old American slang, perhaps popularized in the vaudeville era, an insulting or derogatory description of someone, taken from their facial features. It seems to have been originally a reference to an African-American, especially a trumpeter or trombonist but also came to apply to Jews. In the 1930s, Damon Runyon used the term as the informal name of a gambler/gangster, Liver Lips, in a 1935 film, “Hold ’em, Yale!”, and the short story of the same title, from his 1937 book More Than Somewhat.”

On the poster that Disney debuted for the new show, we can see Romeo McGrowl, Big Al, Wendell and Teddi Barra, Terrence “Shaker”, Ernest the “Dude”, and Trixie. Three characters that are missing in terms of photo appearance are the Sun Bonnets, Bunny, Bubbles, and Beulah, who are listed under Trixie.

Country Bear Jamboree new poster
Credit: Disney

Originally, the three bears had a whole song in the show called, “All The Guys Who Turn Me On Turn Me Down”, which had lyrics that adults chuckling while parents hoped that they did not have to explain what it meant to their kids. Now, the three are seemingly going to be background to Trixie, according to their positioning on the poster.

While some songs are said to remain in the show, this makes it very likely that the Sun Bonnets will not only have their song cut, but likely, their role reduced in the show, as they are second to Trixie. We do know that there will be a lot more Disney music used in the new show, with The Jungle Book’s “Bare Necessities” being confirmed.

Country Bear Jamboree at the Magic Kingdom
Credit: Brittany DiCologero, Inside the Magic

In the past, there were rumors of the show turning into a Toy Story-style marionette attraction, and while that never came to fruition, it may make sense to see some Toy Story songs make it into the show, as it would not only service a popular IP, but also, one that fits in quite well with Frontierland.

At the moment, Disney has not released any other information on the new Country Bear Jamboree show, outside the opening date being at some point this summer 2025.

What song do you think Disney would potentially keep from the original Country Bear Jamboree show? 

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