Located in Frontier Land at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the Country Bear Jamboree has been around for a long time. It is one of the last attractions that Walt Disney personally helped create. And while the bears never made it to the Disney ski resort Walt had envisioned in Mineral King, they became an instant hit when the show opened on October 1, 1971, at Walt Disney World.
A charming cast of animatronic bears sings and stomps through a series of country and Western songs. On the plus side, it’s an air-conditioned refuge on hot days, and the remix of “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” and “Ole Slew Foot” is genius. (All pictures by Seth Kubersky)
The audio-animatronic bears appear throughout the performance on five stages, and some even descend into the show from the ceiling.
Ladies and Gentlemen, We Herewith Present the Cast of the Country Bear Jamboree!
You, the audience, are joined by audio-animatronic animal heads mounted on the walls who interact with characters on stage. There’s Buff the American Bison, Melvin the bull moose, and Max the whitetail buck.
The Master of Ceremonies for the show is Henry, a brown bear with a gray top hat; his friend Sammy the raccoon sits atop the hat to form the likeness of a coonskin cap.
The guitar-playing brown bear Liver Lips McGrowl gets his name, you guessed it, from his very large lips.
Also playing the guitar is a tall bear named Terrence. Big Al joins them playing an always-out-of-tune guitar.
Wendell, a golden brown bear, plays the mandolin, and the brown bear Ernest plays the fiddle.
Teddi Berra descends from the ceiling on a swing decorated with pink roses. She wears a violet hat and a pink boa around her neck. I always think about Ms. Piggy when I see her!
Wearing a blue tutu is Trixie, a brown bear who seems to have a crush on Henry the emcee.
The triplets Bunny, Beulah, and Bubbles form the singing Sun Bonnet Trio. Playing the piano is Gomer!
Zeke, Zeb, Ted, Fred, and Tennessee form the Five Bear Rugs band. Appearing with the band is Baby Oscar, a little brown bear who does not play any instrument but holds tight to his teddy bear.
Disney used many famous voices for the show’s characters: Peter Renaday voices Henry, and Thurl Ravenscroft voices Buff the Buffalo.
Some may think that the Country Bear Jamboree has run for so long that the geriatric bears are a step away from assisted living, but bear with me: It’s a classic and well worth seeing.
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids.