Country Bears Dark Ride: Never Built Disneyland Part 2

Henry and Sammy Critter Country 500 Country Bears Dark Ride Disneyland Concept Art

You won't find the Country Bears in Disneyland anymore (aside from the occasional meet and greet) but that wasn't supposed to happen. There was a plan that supposed to replace the Country Bear Jamboree and still keep the characters as a part of Walt Disney's original park.

Welcome to Never Built Disneyland. Be sure to go here to check out other entries in this series. Today we are discussing a proposed replacement for the Country Bear Playhouse attraction in Disneyland.

The Country Bears was about as popular in Disneyland as it was in the Magic Kingdom in the late 1990s. The problem was in Disneyland it took twice the space as there were two theaters for the attraction. This meant it was up for removal.

The Imagineers were not going to let the bears go without a fight though. They developed a full concept for a ride that would reuse the animatronics from the ride in a race-themed dark ride called the Critter Country 500.

Country Bears Dark Ride Critter Country 500 Concept Art Disneyland

The basic idea behind the ride was that the bears from the Country Bear Jamboree were going to be racing each other in custom vehicles.

Not all the Bears would be racing, with Henry and Sammy taking the announcer position and other bears likely taking other management positions, although which positions were never publically acknowledged.

Critter Country 500 Vehicle Concept Art Disneyland Country Bears

Unfortunately for fans of the Country Bears, the concept was beaten out by another bear, Winnie the Pooh.

The dark ride would use the same building and some of the basic infrastructure.

The Critter Country 500 was an original concept that reimagined a classic in a way respectful to the original vision and it would have been great to see fully realized. At least we have some publically released concept art so that we can get a feel for what this ride would have been, even if we didn't get a chance to ride it.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the other entries in this series here. Also, check out other explorations of canceled Disney rides in Attractions From Neverland.