Monday, June 17, 2019

Here is the Truth About WDWNT Rumor of a Removal of WDW Country Bear Jamboree Show

If you've read the post below you already know that WDWNT has posted a rumor that WDW beloved Country Bear Jamboree show will be removed and replaced by a Toy Story AA "marionette" show. Disney fans were quickly infuriated that Disney thinks to remove the Country Bear Audio-Animatronics show that many consider, and for good reasons, as part of Walt's legacy.

So, as you can imagine i wanted to double check as quick as possible if there was any truth in all this and here is the truth. First, the WDWNT rumor is TRUE. Yes, i know that many of you think that rumors coming from WDWNT are not reliable but in this case it appears that they're right. But there is a big "but" as it's more complicated, as actually it's still undecided what the final choice will be. Bob Chapek, as we know, is eager to introduce modern IPs in the parks and is for a renewal of less known IPs. Although the Country Bear Jamboree has its roots deeply in Disney history and is a lovely attraction - designed by Marc Davis and approved by Walt before his death - it’s based on less known side characters. But Country Bear Jamboree is somewhat like the Enchanted Tiki Room or the Carousel of Progress, it's an attraction so deeply considered as part of Walt's legacy - even if it opened at WDW first and after Walt's death - that it's seen as a "hands off" attraction, you don't touch it, period. Actually there is a Disney rule that i can't disclose here in details which forbid to remove forever some attractions part of Walt's legacy, built during Walt life and in some cases even after his death. These are "hands off" attractions, they can't touch them. Now, fans are not the only ones to be angry of this proposal to remove the Country Bear Jamboree and actually, from what i've been told, many more people in the “house” consider that there is a big chance that the Country Bear Jamboree will stay instead of being removed. Internal voting on this is over 80 percent in favor of keeping the attraction, which is good news. Now, about this supposed Toy Story AA marionette show i didn't have any confirmation on it. I've seen in some readers comments that in fact the puppets show is going to Disney's Hollywood Studios in a new dining location, which woud be a much better idea as they have a Toy Story land there. And by the way, instead to remove it they could update the Country Bear Jamboree show a little bit, not specifically on the Audio-Animatronics but on the lines, on some jokes that can be outdated and could have eventually a fresh update, which won't cost that much and would be smarter than to “throw the baby with the bath”, as they say.

Now, here my take about all this: in my post below i said that some attractions should be considered as the State does for historical monuments. I remember 20 years ago, during an interview at WDI, telling to the interviewed Imagineer that the funny thing in a town like L.A that didn’t existed 100 years before and which is not like our centuries-old European cities, is that Disneyland became in fact like a historical monument. The Imagineer laughs and told me that i was right. Now, the point is that guests coming at DL or WDW are not only coming to see Mickey and the gang or attractions based on new IPs, a lot of them are also coming for what they consider as Walt's legacy. Also, children are not coming by themselves in the parks, parents are the ones who bring them. And these parents are also coming to find back memories of their own childhood, and the Country Bear Jamboree is one of them. In addition - and always in the “historical” section - there is a few attractions which are an important part of the history of Disney's beloved Audio-Animatronics technology, and there is at least four of them that should not be changed or removed: the Tiki Room, the Abraham Lincoln AA at DL Opera House, the Country Bear Jamboree and the Carousel of Progress ( i don’t count the big ones like Haunted Mansion, Pirates of Caribbean, Jungle Cruise and It's a Small World which won’t be removed ).

It don't looks to me that difficult to don't remove these attractions which also have a low operational cost as they don't need dozens of cast-members. And trying to make these beloved attractions disappear little by little is just like shooting yourself in the foot ( in french we would say “to saw the tree branch on which you’re sit” ). Disney Parks had a President some years ago who destroyed some of Disney fans most beloved attractions - remember Paul Pressler who destroyed the 20000 Leagues Under the Sea ride at the Magic Kingdom and the highly loved Horizons at Epcot, and more? Yes, the guy who then went to Gap, almost destroyed the company so they had to fired him.

As Walt said, Disneyland is about the past, the present and the future, and it’s highly important that some elements of the past are not removed from Disneyland because in real life, contrary to what people think, past, present and future are not divided, they all exist together at the same time. It’s not only symbolic, it’s just the reality. So, whether Disney execs like it or not Disneyland has became a historical monument. The problem is that it is both a theme park and a historical monument at the same time, so they need to find a way to preserve both, one for economic reasons and the other because it is a legacy. Will they need space for expansion in the future? Sure they will. But the Country Bear Jamboree has not a big show building, they’ll hardly put a ride in it, all they can do is to change the show which apparently they’re trying to do. But for what? A Toy Story marionette show? REALLY? Don’t they think there is enough Toy Story IP in the parks? Can’t they even come with a better idea? Because, whatever this puppets show will be, i can tell you that it won’t have the charm that the Country Bear Jamboree have. No one would make a show like the Country Bear Jamboree today but the reasons why it won’t be done is also why it has such charm, it has something that bring you back in times where technology was not as perfect as it is today but also in an era which still had innocence.

As someone once said, Disney parks are places with a unique mix of innocence and corporate cynicism. Disney needs to sell merchandise, and more, to cover the huge cost of the attractions and operations and we all understand this and accept that the merchandise shop at the exit of a ride is the price to pay. Still, at the end of the day guests leaving the parks will remember mainly the part of innocence as WDI Imagineers are so gifted to find back something of the true childhood spirit. Destroying attractions like the Country Bear Jamboree which not only have the charm of the times when it was created but also the innocence of the era is where the real crime is. Additionally, it shows how the people in charge of the parks and resorts don’t have any insight and don’t get it because if they had at least a bit of insight and knew what life is really made of, they wouldn’t even think to remove the Country Bear Jamboree. Let's hope now that they will finally understand what a huge mistake it would be to remove this beloved attraction.

Go ahead, post your comments below or on WDWNT to make sure that Disney knows your opinion about all this before it's too late.

If you’ve not seen it since a while, here is the full WDW Country Bear Jamboree Show.

And, from Toy Story 2 here is the "Woody's Roundup / Woody watches his TV Show” on which is supposed to be based the AA marionette show rumored to replace the Country Bear Jamboree.

Picture: copyright Disney


Chris said...

Having just seen that Knott's Montezuma's Revenge is gaining historical landmark status, I wonder if we could pull off getting Country Bears (which is older and arguably more historic) such status, thus preventing Disney from closing it.

GoSteve0001 said...

Country Bears Jamboree is a fun show that goes back in time and gives a nice break from the other attractions with less crowds. Also the dance they do outside at different times of day is fun as well. They should keep this as it is a great historic Disney show attraction.

Anonymous said...

If the Country Bears is considered "historic" and not to be touched, then why was it removed from Disneyland?

Anonymous said...

The rumor is not true and you know that! You're just as big a liar as WDWNT and are clearly just as hungry for clickbait! Stop it!

Alain Littaye said...

To Anonymous 1: It was accepted by Imagineers to remove the CBJ at Disneyland because the original version at WDW would stay untouched.

To Anonymous 2: Actually i promise you that i don't lie or fall into any WDWNT "clickbait plan". What i do is to double check with my own good sources ( and certainly better ones than those of WDWNT ) to know if there is any truth or if it's simply false or BS. Believe me, if there was nothing true in WDWNT rumor, i'll be the first to let you know here.

Nic Kramer said...

I really think they should keep it as it is (mostly). It would be an awful idea of closing it during the park's 50th anniversary. I also think they should get a better park president that doesn't originate from marketing. There's a BIG difference between a Disney Store and Walt Disney World (trust me on that).

Also, save the marionette idea for "Studios" as part of a restaurant. That would barely (pun not intended) attract much crowds as a stand alone attraction.

Anonymous said...

This is why I fear Bob Chapek replacing Bob Iger as CEO. PLEASE NO! His interview about the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge was tone deaf, he doesn't know what Disney is really all about. The person who got rid of Disneyland's Country Bears, Paul Pressler, was also a merchandising man who was not considered a 'Disneylander' and wanted to make every space revenue generating. What happened last week at Disneyland? They put merchandise in the Main Street Cinema! The only past leader who showed he cared about Disneyland was Matt Ouimet, but he's probably long out of the running for CEO.