Our restoration of Disney souvenir films continues with a look at Frontierland’s iconic Country Bear Jamboree. This attraction was the brainchild of Imagineer Marc Davis and was originally intended as entertainment to be offered at Walt Disney’s never built Mineral King ski resort in California near Sequoia National Forest.
The film opens with a view of the attraction entrance and exterior. Note the sign showing the two original sponsors Pepsi and Frito-Lay. This is of note for two reasons. First, because these were the only two sponsors the attraction ever had from 1971-1981. Second, this was a time when Pepsi co-existed in the parks with Coke, which has been the main soft drink supplier to the resort since it opened and sponsored attractions in the park at the same time. Some restaurants even offered both Pepsi AND Coke during Pepsi’s sponsorship days.
The attraction footage begins with the opening scene showing the bears in their original splendor. While you won’t note many glaring differences from the show you see today you may note today’s animatronics look a little more colorful. Some of that is owed to advances in technology of their synthetic exteriors. However, some of that is due to a 2012 refurbishment which controversially trimmed a few minutes from the show.
At that time several of the bears got completely new fur done in colors and hues more closely matching Marc Davis’s original concept art. As the scenes haven’t really changed over the years this film will seem very familiar to most of you.