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  1. #1

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    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.
    "Walt Disney World may have more than Disneyland, but Disneyland has quality, and quality triumphs over quantity" -DL_CRAZE
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  2. #2

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    I agree...Critter/Bear Country's days are numbered. It isnt that sad for me, because I am not a huge fan of the woodsy parts of the park. I prefer Adventureland, Fantasyland ,and Tomorrowland really.

  3. #3

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    I dont really believe Critter Country is totaly doomed. I think that Country Bears was a bad attraction that needed to be replaced. Replacing it with a Pooh attraction seemed like a good idea at the time. The ride, to me is not that bad of an attraction. I also believe that Country Bears was not the soul of the land. The show was only getting around 10 people pershow. I think the Disney management would rather get 1000+ riders and hour than 50+. The pooh ride brings more people to the land then Country Bears ever did.

  4. #4

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    Why do you feel that Country Bears wasn't the soul of Bear/Critter Country, actually, to me, it was like the heart. And just like in 2001, its stopped beating and Critter Country died.
    "Walt Disney World may have more than Disneyland, but Disneyland has quality, and quality triumphs over quantity" -DL_CRAZE
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  5. #5

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    I felt that Country Bears itself lost its soul ever since the Vacation Hoedown replaced the Jamboree. But, with either one, how long can a show go on before becoming stale and in need of replacement?

    I think the major loss to the little land is the partial obstruction of the waterfall. The Mile Long Bar becoming part of PoohMall is also a sad loss. But the stream area is actually more appealing as the exterior of the Pooh attraction. And it's the first attraction where I actually prefer the exterior to what's inside as the actual attraction!

    Pooh may be pushing the limit of the theme ... but the characters are, after all, animal plush toys ... and I think the fantasy of Winnie the Pooh where the plush toy animals come to life kind of blurs the line between them being toys and being live creatures in the minds of the child (and adult) admirers of the Pooh characters.

    It's still one of the most atmospheric and beautiful corners of the Park, and I hope it will survive the Poohing down its gotten. Interestingly, I think it's suffered more Poohness from the Thotful Spot that always has a 20-minute line smack dab in the middle of the Land, rather than from the Pooh attraction that has a rather tranquil queue with a usual line-up of 5 minutes.

  6. #6

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    The waterfall is not in the nicest viewing area anymore, it is not in such in a remote area, and is a little blocked. In that area stands one of the last "Country"ish bears in Critter Country. In this picture, he looks pretty good, but now a days, hes all torn up and craked up.
    "Walt Disney World may have more than Disneyland, but Disneyland has quality, and quality triumphs over quantity" -DL_CRAZE
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  7. #7

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    The now blocked and obscured Critter Country waterfall.




    The old Bear Country: http://home.pacbell.net/jonvn/bearcountry1.html
    "Walt Disney World may have more than Disneyland, but Disneyland has quality, and quality triumphs over quantity" -DL_CRAZE
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  8. #8

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    I agree that Pooh has confused the theme of the area. It was based on a marketing idea that since so many people buy Pooh stuff that Disneyland HAD to have a Pooh attraction.

    I don't believe that the Country Bears were dead. In WDW the show goes on. I saw it in December, and most there had never seen it before. It was a big hit with the audience. Both kids and adults left smiling!

    Since it was a show, you could reprogram it to do many new shows at basically a low cost basis compared to other attractions. Maybe at a couple new performers and presto! You have a new attraction.

    The Pooh ride is very "poor" compared to WDW attraction. It is not Disney quality. I think it drags the image of Pooh down. You are less likely to like the character because of it. It is not a ride that adults like at all. When I was by last week, there was no line. You just walked right onto the ride. It has to be attracting LESS people than Country Bears did even in its last year, after performing for so many years the same show.

    The Pressler years were not about proper theming or Disney quality. It was able selling mucho merchandise at exorbitant prices. Unfortunately, they think that the public is stupid and cannot figure this out. :devil:
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  9. #9

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    The Country Bears seem to have been an attraction held dear by Disney fanatics and purists but had lost considerable appeal with the masses. Pressler figured a all new attrraction based on one of Disney's most popular characters (as far as merchandising is concerned) had better marketing appeal than a revamped Country Bear show. Also Pressler was always thinking merchandising and Pooh merchandise would sell ten times more than Country Bear merchandise.

    Pooh's fit in the Critter theme is undoubtedly edgy but there's other themeing in lands that's edgy also. The ride turned out pretty mediocre but maybe that's a blessing in disguise. The pathway to Critter Country is congested enough, it would be a nightmare over there if there was some super popular, major E ticket attraction there anyway.

  10. #10

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    I prefer the Country Bears to Pooh. The land just doesn't seem as, I don't know, special? To me it's just a place to push more Pooh, not something that the area needed.

    I had the Fisherbear as my avatar before this current one. Seems like he was somewhere near The Hungry Bear when I took this pic.
    "George Bush... is only for now."
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    Just because it's gone doesn't mean I changed my mind!

  11. #11

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    When they took out my Bears critter country died. I stopped going when Pooh moved in. You have no concept of how much I hate that Yellow thing. They are trying to make him replace Mickey as the Company Icon as well. It's really a shame when a bunch of little clueless kids control the company because they are too young to know quality and "love that big ol yellow bear". He is a pile of Pooh in what once was my favorite place to go for shade and a little bit of bear entertainment. I miss my bears so much. Thank goodness I have them on Video.

    I really, really hate Pooh and will ever, no never, step foot in Critter Pooh land again. Not even for Splash Mountain on a hot day.
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  12. #12

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    The newest land in Disneyland: "Pooh Country"

    The new sign should be coming out soon:

    Pooh Country: "A Hunny of a Place Since 2003"

    Haha

    I guess Mickey's Toontown will move from #8 and become #7 by replacing Critter Country in my list of best Disneyland lands in order.
    "Walt Disney World may have more than Disneyland, but Disneyland has quality, and quality triumphs over quantity" -DL_CRAZE
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  13. #13

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    Those Damn Huffalumps and Woozles. Once they invade a neighborhood, IT'S DONE FOR!
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  14. #14

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    If I really want to see the Country Bears, I'll just head back to WDW;
    I did enjoy their show, and it was probably time for them to go, but not to be replaced with what feels like a broken shopping cart push through a Disney store display window.

  15. #15

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    Ugh... I just wish it wasn't one big Pooh merchandising area. It's a nice little area; very picturesque when there aren't huge lines for the character meets. I don't like the ride at all (it lacks narrative! It's jumpy! It's... cardboard!), but the theming is nice. I think they still should do a re-think of the area after TL. Maybe add the Bambi ride ModHatter wanted.
    Well, light travels from the sun. Then, bounces off of our planet, and back into our eyes so we can perceive color. My body can intercept that light and dance around on it!


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