Country Bear Jamboree Origins
The Country Bear Jamboree was originally slated for installation at Disney’s Mineral King Ski Resort, which was a project Walt Disney was working on in the mid 60s. The thought behind it was that the ski resort would need a show of some sort, and since it is the mountains, a bear themed show would fit in perfectly with the lodge and the concept. As a result, Walt Disney assigned the project to Marc Davis, one of Walt’s Nine Old Men.
As the story is told, one day Walt Disney walked into Marc Davis’ office, where Davis was working on drawings for the Country Bear Jamboree. Walt took a look at the drawings and laughed because he loved how it was working out. Then, on his way out of the office, he turned and told Marc Davis “Good-bye.” — which was something he never did. A few days later, on December 15, 1966, Walt Disney passed away, and that meeting with Marc Davis was the last time that Marc Davis would ever see Walt Disney on this planet.
Plans for the ski resort dried up with Walt’s passing, but as you all know, Walt Disney World continued on, and it was decided that the Country Bear Jamboree would be an opening day attraction at the Magic Kingdom when it opened. When it opened, the reviews were so favorable that it was immediately decided to put a version of it at Disneyland — this is one of the few attractions that I know of that opened at Walt Disney World before it opened at Disneyland.
The Country Bear Jamboree is not an attraction that I need to see every time we are at Walt Disney World, but it is one that I enjoy watching every couple of years or so. The audio-animatronic characters, coupled with the the atmosphere of the show, and the music, just adds up to an attraction that is full of country goodness! Additionally, if you are visiting the Magic Kingdom during a hot summer’s day, getting in out of the heat is well worth it!