Disney has confirmed a closure date for the famed Country Bear Jamboree animatronic show at Walt Disney World. The current version of the Magic Kingdom musical revue will have its big send-off on January 26th, 2024, including a cast member party. Starting January 27th, the attraction will be closed for a major update and reimagining to make the show more ‘culturally relevant’ in modern times.
Today, the Disney Parks Blog announced that the updated show, called the Country Bear Musical Jamboree will debut this summer. Extensive upgrades to the animatronics, as well as continued production on the new songs in Nashville, may suggest a late summer opening more specifically.
On the new show, Disney says it “pays homage to the Opry-style shows of Nashville” and feature Disney Studios intellectual property songs sung in styles such as “bluegrass, pop-country, Americana, [and] rockabilly.”
Disney is reassuring long-time Country Bears that “the Country Bear Musical Jamboree will include easter eggs from the beginning to the end including a familiar tune fans may remember.”
In truth, the new show, will consist entirely of Disney intellectual property songs from their catalog of animated films, with one notable exception. One song from the existing show will survive. The rest are being axed as part of Disney’s efforts to be more “culturally sensitive.”
According to a source with direct knowledge on the project, an Iger-instituted committee five years ago deemed this particular show “problematic,” as lyrics in most of the classic songs “perpetuate outdated stereotypes.” Similar complaints were levied at Splash Mountain, Pecos Bill’s, as well as Frontierland as a whole, which Mickey Views believes will either be downsized or outright replaced at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in the future.
This ‘cultural sensitivity’ driver, combined with a cost-cutting initiative on the part of Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle to eliminate hydraulically-actuated audio animatronics, resulted in the green-lighting of this long-discussed Imagineering project.
On the bright side, the existing animatronics are being upgraded to modern servo motors, ensuring the Country Bears will be around for a long time to come. In the event the new songs are poorly-received, the infrastructure is still good, so further tweaks can be easily implemented.