The Demise of Bear/Critter Country
Hey everyone, you may recall the first thread I made on this topic a while back. It was entitled "Critter Country's future doomed?". I now have a very detailed description of how this all went down and the answer to this question.
Back in 1972, a new land called "Bear Country" opened in Disneyland, it was the 7th land to be added to Disneyland. Bear Country was composed of one main attraction "Country Bear Jamboree", an attraction of course, only composed of Bears due to its relation with the land's name. Teddi Berra's Swingin' Arcade was among the attractions in this new land, being based on Teddi Berra from the show. Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes also premiered in this new land but has neverreally fit into this land's theme since it has nothing to do with bears or critters and roamed the Rivers of America, so technically, it has always been part of Frontierland. The dining areas and shops included "The Mile Long Bar"(AKA. Brear Bar) and "The Golden Bear Lodge"(AKA. Hungry Bear Restaurant) and "Ursus H. Bear's Wilderness Outpost", all three having the Coutry Bear theme. An icon of the land was the waterfall with a small wooden bear statue fishing, it made a small stream that passed the Coutry Bear Jamboree into the Rivers of America.
Back in 1989, "Bear Country" was renamed "Critter Country" to help fit in with it's new premiere attraction "Spalsh Mountain", due to it containing various critters such as racoons, rabbits, birds, possums, porcupines, etc. The Country Bears still fit in with the new name since the land was still based on forest animals. Dining areas and shops based on the new attraction were "The Brer Bar" (formerly "Mile Long Bar"), "The Briar Patch", "Baraby Owl's Photo Studio" and "Crocodile Mercantile"(Formerly "Ursus H. Bear's Wilderness Outpost"). The Golden Bear Lodge was renamed "Hungry Bear Resteraunt", but nothing changed, and was still based on the Country Bears by depicting drawings of them ont the restaraunt walls.
Aroud the 1990's, Pooh made his way into Critter County. First, being "Pooh Corner"(Formerly "Crocodile Mercantile") and later in the hub of Criter Country, "Pooh's Thotful Spot" was added, a Pooh Meet n' Greet area. The land still had the Critter/Bear feel to its, just until 2001 when the Country Bears closed for good. In 2003, Bear/Critter Country lost it's soul. "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" was added by replacing the Country Bears. Pooh Corner changed from being just a shop into a Pooh mall by replacing Teddi Berra's Swingin' Arcade and Brer Bar and connected it all, making it a huge Pooh Corner. The stream that once passed the Country Bear Jamboree, was filed with miniature houses belong to the various characters in Winnie the Pooh. The waterfall area which makes this stream is not as open as it once was. It is harder to see since the little Country Bear bridge exit where you could see it was made into the ending track to the Winnie the Pooh ride. The little fishing bear statue is now all cracked and faded, the middle of his arm has been tore off.
Now, some of you may like some of the Pooh additions and think that Critter Country's future is not doomed. BUT, answer this, what does Pooh have anything to do with Bear/Critter Country. The theme of this land for thirty years was based on animals. The first era was based on bears. The second era was was based on all sorts of different animals thanks to Song of the South and America Sings. The third was based on Pooh and friends??? Pooh and friends are not animals, there plush toys, some may forget that. They, in no way have any animal instincts, they are simply toys in a show. Gopher and Owl may be real, but they are lesser known characters. Every time I go to Disneyland, I no longer go to Critter Country as much as I used to. I only go to Splash Mountain, but can no longer watch a country bear show or play a few old games at the arcade. I view Critter Country as I do Toontown. There both especially for kids. I know it has Splash Mountain, but still. I believe that the history of Bear/Critter Country is now dead, it no longer has a soul. This land has forgotten that it was once dedicated to wilderness and animals. Ever since Pooh moved in, it has been dying a slow and painful death and someday, its deed has already been handed down to Pooh and friends.