In February of 2001, my family decided to visit the park to see what it was all about. Needless to say, I remember my parents being embarrassed for Disney, particularly about the Superstar Limo. Ironically, my mom took a picture of Superstar Limo's facade and attached it to a funny caption in her scrapbook: "Superstar Limo - REALLY BAD. Probably won't be there very long." Boy, she was dead right.
Anyways, my most distinct memory (aside from Superstar Limo and the frightening Whoopi Goldberg statues in Golden Dreams) from that day was riding GRR. As a seven-year old kid with a vast imagination (not to brag), I couldn't wait to see a grizzly bear or something lurking along the riverbank. The second we started to enter that big cave, I was full-on expecting to see a Matterhorn-esque Yeti-bear or a Sasquatch in there. Nope. What a disappointment.
If the recent DCA remodel and Timber Mountain Log Ride have taught us anything, it's that there is potential for vast creativity and detail in the theme park realm, particularly a park like DCA 1.0 or Knott's a few years back (and to an extent, still in some areas of both parks). Adding some wildlife, Nature's Wonderland-type gags, and a bear or two would really add something to the rather bland raft ride. It's still a fun ride by all means, and a perfect cool down (rode it on a day with 70% humidity and 100 degree weather, absolutely dreadful weather). Adding animals would be a BIG bonus and a welcome addition.
And while they're at it...bring back the Country Bears.