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Critter Country (formerly Bear Country) is one of the "themed lands" at Disneyland.

History

The area now known as Critter Country was originally named Indian Village.[1][2] From 1956-1971, this section of Frontierland featured Native American shows and attractions, including the Indian War Canoes.[2] The area was rebuilt as Disneyland's seventh themed land, Bear Country, which opened on March 4, 1972 .[3][4] The new four-acre land, Disneyland's first major expansion since the 1969 opening of Haunted Mansion, cost $8 million to build.[4][5] Located in the northwest quadrant of the park, Bear Country was themed to the forests of the Pacific Northwest.[3][4] Country Bear Jamboree, which opened three weeks later, was the new land's centerpiece attraction.[4][5]

Bear Country was also home to the Golden Bear Lodge, an eatery which was renamed Hungry Bear Restaurant in 1977,[2] the Mile Long Bar refreshment center, Teddi Barra's Swingin' Arcade, and Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes.[4][5] A cave near the land's entrance was home to a snoring bear named Rufus, who was the off-screen stage manager for the Country Bear Jamboree's holiday variations.

Bear Country was renamed Critter Country in 1988 in anticipation of Splash Mountain's January 1989 opening,[6][7] after a concept to merge Bear Country and New Orleans Square into a "Dixieland" was turned down.[8] Critter Country was inspired by a quote from the 1946 film Song of the South: "Where the folks are closer to the critters and the critters are closer to the folks."[6] The land maintained some of its bear themes while incorporating other critters with their huts, nests and burrows scattered throughout.[6] Some of the land's shops were renamed to de-emphasize the bear presence; for example, Ursus H. Bear's Wilderness Outpost became Crocodile Mercantile (which itself became Pooh Corner in 1996).[2] The Country Bear Jamboree closed in 2001 and was replaced two years later by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, after an attempt at pitching a dark ride based around the Country Bears titled Critter Country 500 was rejected.

On roofs of buildings, such as the Briar Patch Store, there are small-scale critter houses of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. Various types of trees have been planted to create a forestry atmosphere. Critter Country is somewhat small when compared to Disneyland's larger lands. This westernmost area features a single pathway that wraps around the footprint of Splash Mountain, starting near the Haunted Mansion and terminating in a series of shops nestled against the Splash Mountain show building.

During a 2016 refurbishment of Splash Mountain, the entire land briefly closed.

Attractions and entertainment

Future attractions and entertainment

Former attractions and entertainment

Restaurants and refreshments

Future restaurants and refreshments

  • Tiana's Place

Former restaurants

  • Golden Bear Lodge (1972-1977)
  • Mile Long Bar (1972-1989)
  • Brer Bar (1989-2003)

Shops

  • Pooh Corner
  • The Briar Patch
  • Professor Barnaby Owl's Photographic Art Studio

Former shops

  • Indian Trading Post (1962-1988)
  • Ursus H. Bear's Wilderness Outpost (1972-1988)
  • Crocodile Mercantile (1988-2003)
  • Critter Country Plush (1996-2003)

References

  1. Disneyland website
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Strodder, Chris (2012). The Disneyland Encyclopedia, 2nd, Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica Press, page 70–2, 119, 193. ISBN 978-1595800688. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Bear Country Coming to Disneyland" (October 7, 1971), p. G18. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "'Bear Facts' Start to Show at New Disneyland Feature" (April 12, 1972), p. 4. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Bear Country Opens Soon at Disneyland" (March 7, 1972), p. 14. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Galante, Mary Ann (July 30, 1988). "Disneyland's Bear Country to Get New Name to Match Its Critters". 
  7. Walt Disney World website
  8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5foBvEVfUCo


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