The Country Bear Jamboree has been missing from Walt’s original Magic Kingdom for some time now but there are reminders here and there, like this sign for Big Thunder Ranch. I can still remember the first time I saw it as a child. I was mystified. That was a feeling that began from the moment you entered the queue. I wondered where we could be going, across a stream and deeper into the woods, with music twanging in the distance. It was a trail I was eager to follow. The show was great but, for me, the payoff came when they sang Ghost Riders in the Sky. This little cowpoke was hooked.
It wasn’t meant to be, I suppose. It lost popularity and, in time, was replaced with a different bear singing a different song (No hard feelings, Winnie. I like you and Tigger, too). But I miss it and I don’t know if I’ll ever understand why people fell out of love with Big Al and the gang. Audio-animatronics still blow me away every time (whether I’m in a moving vehicle or not) and it’s hard to imagine anything topping a band of bluegrass bears.
Sometimes, when walking by the Enchanted Tiki Room, with its short lines, I wonder if it will go the way of the Country Bears. I hope that it doesn’t but then, my tastes aren’t always the majority’s.