View Full Version : WDW Rated & Reviewed - The Country Bears Christmas Special

Red Randal
12-28-2006, 12:34 PM
I was hoping to have this done in time for Christmas but, well, you know, things happen. It's still in time for Eastern Orthodox Christmas! And part of Kwanzaa!

The Country Bear Jamboree: Christmas Special

Intro: Originally designed for the Mineral King Ski Resort that Disney never ended up building, the Country Bears Jamboree opened with the Magic Kingdom in 1971. In the winter of 1984 a seasonal Christmas special premiered and ran for each of the following 21 holiday seasons before going on hiatus in 2006.

Queue: The inside of Grizzly Hall doubles as a holding pen…err, I mean, waiting area for guests before the show begins. In especially crowded times of the year the queue line spread outside.

Ride: Upon entering the theater, which is adorned with festive decorations, the mounted heads (Melvin, Buff, and Max) greet guests with some banter about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Henry, the ringmaster of the whole tribe of bears, welcomes us to the show with “It’s Beginning to look a lot Like Christmas.” Henry informs us that the Country Bears eat turkey and yams for Christmas dinner. See, I’ve always assumed it was salmon and berries.

“The 5 Bear Rugs” join us and perform “Tracks in the Snow,” a goofy little ditty that I have nothing at all clever to say about. Thankfully (or not, depending on how you look at it) Wendell, the Country Bears’ equivalent of Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel, rises up from a trap door under the stage to sing to us about the Christmas during which he got lost while hunting. And really, who hasn’t been there before? After the song, Henry warns Wendell to be careful with his gun. You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!

Trixie, the morbidly obese ice-skating bear, joins us to sing about how she is “searching for her honey.” I’m assuming she is looking for the foodstuff, for obvious reasons. Turns out I’m wrong, she is actually singing the “Hibernating Blues” because her “honey” is, well, hibernating. Trixie decides to settle for Henry and offers him a kiss under the mistletoe. Thankfully this proposition goes unanswered when the Rugs interrupt with a rendition of “Deck the Halls.” After some singing (and phlegm induced humor) Liver Lips McGrowl, the Elvis impersonating Bear heads onto the stage. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

Next we meet up with yet another yokel, this time a polar bear named Terrance, who sings “Blue Christmas” to a penguin in a block of ice. Still though, I can’t help but think he is more qualified than Rex Grossman to run the Bears offense. Next on the agenda is the Country Bears’ version of the Dixie Chicks, The Sun Bonnets. They save their anti-Bush administration tirade for the near-by Hall of Presidents and instead opt to do a rendition of “Sleigh Ride.” During the song, a slideshow of Country Bears Christmas memories plays on the screen behind them. This version of the song is actually a really good arrangement that with some tweaking could probably get airplay on Country music radio.

Next up is a fiddling bear named Ernest who is joined by the 5 Bear Rugs to sing a song called “Hungry as a Bear.” “I’ve got a mouth full of teeth and a belly full of air” he warns. See, if only Timothy Treadwell had that advice. Yeah, I know, that was uncalled for. Henry comes back on stage to herald the arrival of Teddi, who lowers down from the ceiling on a swing to sing “The Christmas Song.” Henry, apparently the most eligible bachelor in the wilderness, gets an invitation from Teddi to “come sign my cast.” It’s probably better for all if nobody even considers reading anything into that.

Melvin, Buff, and Max take a minute to ponder the possibilities of the New Year. Their high hopes are quickly dashed by the World’s worst New Year’s baby, Big Al…in a diaper nonetheless. He sings (if that’s the word for it) “Another New Year” to bemoan the loss of both his truck and dog. Henry comes back onstage one last time and, along with the raccoon in his cap, sings “Let It Snow.” Does anyone remember the old Walt Disney World commercials where they showed clips of sunny Florida while playing that song in the background? It used to end with Mickey hitting a golf ball from the top of Spaceship Earth. I think that commercial airing during the blizzard of ’93 actually convinced my parents to plan our first trip to Disney World. Anyway, I digress. The rest of the class joins Henry onstage (or, still from the wall in the case of the mounted heads) in a montage of Christmas songs to close out the show. Havoc, of course, ensues with the end result being the theater in darkness and only Big Al still singing “walking in a winter wonderland” ad nauseum.

Thoughts: The Country Bears Christmas Special was a cute holiday production that added a little something different to the Magic Kingdom around the Christmas season. It was also a difficult show to transcribe in the review with lots of little details and added touches you notice only upon repeat viewings. It’s a shame that the show is no longer with us. We can always hold out hope that it will return again someday. We’ll keep holding that hope near to our hearts, right around the same place we held Mr. Toad, Timekeeper, Horizons, Wonders of Life, and the Main Street Electrical Parade. Yeah. Right about there.

Overall Rating: *** ½

12-28-2006, 12:57 PM
I usually stay out of these polls but you hit a sore spot with me on this one ;) The Country Bear Christmas Show was a great holiday tradition at WDW. It was the only attraction that got a Holiday makeover and was also the only holiday attraction you could experience leading up to Christmas week at the MK without paying for the party. It was a fun experience that really got you into the holiday mood. I was really bummed when I found out they weren't doing it this year especially since I finally had the chance to make it down during the holiday season which is rare for me since I am a teacher. Hopefully Disney will realize that they took away something special and it will return next year.

12-28-2006, 04:04 PM
Sadly I've never been able to catch the Xmas version of this ride, but I love the 'normal' version of it. It's a shame that its popularity is decreasing.

12-29-2006, 10:47 AM
i like the christmas special better than the regular one..i hope disney decides to bring the christmas one back next year!! i wish we knew why they didnt do it this year!?!?!

07-10-2007, 09:32 PM
i like the christmas special better than the regular one..i hope disney decides to bring the christmas one back next year!! i wish we knew why they didnt do it this year!?!?!

The real reason why the CBJ holiday overlay didn't happen last year was because they needed to re-clear certain copyrights for some of the songs used in the show, particularly for "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", and they couldn't obtain them on time. It was not because of cost or attendance as other sources proclaim.

Red Randal
07-11-2007, 12:52 AM
Didn't expect to see this thread dug out of mothballs.

I've heard from a few sources (though, admittedly, none of them extremely reliable) that the special ended because of the costs (both financial and in terms of shutting down the attraction) of the changeover. I've never heard anything about it having to do with copyrights.

I hope you're right though, I'd love to see the show return for many holidays to come.

07-11-2007, 11:10 AM
1) I would really like to have the Christmas edition back.
2) Sure, it isn't the world's best attraction.
3) But, it is cute and adorable and timely.
4) I enjoyed it every year.
5) I hope they put it back.

07-12-2007, 10:53 AM
I love Country Bears Christmas!! It's one of the things we look forward to every Dec. We didn't get to go last year and we really missed it.

147 more days!!

07-12-2007, 11:04 AM
The family saw it Christmas of 05' and we really enjoyed it. Hopefully it will return someday.

Red Randal
12-03-2009, 04:45 PM
BUMP for the holiday season!! :santa:

07-17-2012, 10:13 AM
You just cant get enough of Big al!!!

steamboat willy
07-17-2012, 03:17 PM
I see that this is an old post, so I'm wondering if the Country Bear Christmas Show will be performing this year. - 2012. ? Anyone know if it has returned?

Main Street Jim
07-17-2012, 09:00 PM
The Country Bear Christmas show has not been performed since 2006. It has not returned.