Bear Attacks!

Today we hit the midway point on the great T.T.D.T.P.C. list. Click here for the previous entires.

We have already seen fast food companies flock to the parks, the Funmeister get sent packing, icons being destroyed and George Lucas run amok. Today we get attacked by a bear.

6) Here comes Pooh!

Who would guess that a loveable, kindhearted stuffed bear from the 100-Acre Woods could wreak such havoc upon the Disney fan community while simultaneously taunting them with what could have been? We generally do not think of Pooh Bear as being a rabid and vicious monster but in the late nineties some park fans viewed his exactly as that.

WinnieThePooh_thumb

Rabid and angry… don’t underestimate the power of Pooh.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was one of the original attractions that opened with the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in 1971. In fact the original version in Disneyland opened with the park in 1955 so the history of Mr. Toad’s goes back to the very genesis of the Disney parks. Therefore it was no surprise when fans were shocked and angered by the announcement that the ride would be gutted and replaced with a simple Winnie the Pooh attraction in 1998.

mr_toads_last_scene

Yes, you really did end up in hell.

Whenever an existing attraction is removed it is bound to have folks upset but removing one of the most unique and irreverent attractions in Disney’s history from the parks; especially an original one was more than many fans could bear. Just imagine the Disney of today building a ride where guests drive recklessly (and perhaps drunk) through a town, go to jail and eventually smash headlong into a train sending them to hell. I just don’t see that happening ever again.

DSC_2678

The rehab a couple years ago at least made the front nicer looking.

Despite petitions and lots of fan uproar the ride did in fact close and Pooh moved in midway through 1999. One could argue that the Pooh attraction is more relevant to kids today and that the plywood cut-outs that made up most of Mr. Toad were feeling dated but most agree that overall this move was a net loss for the park.

cbj_florida2007ww

Hit the road Big Al.

Not content with destroying one beloved Disney classic Pooh soon set his eyes to the west. In 2001 Disneyland closed down it’s version of The Country Bear Jamboree to make room for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride… a modest dark ride which was different but largely similar to the Walt Disney World version. The ferocious bear had once again succeeded in killing a long-standing attraction. His appetite for destruction seemed unquenchable.

Neither Pooh attraction is actually offensive in any way and many enjoy them. However in both cases the removal of classic attractions (instead of simply adding the Pooh rides elsewhere in the parks) caused fans to think twice about the new comers.

pooh_front

Nice as it is the facade is the least impressive part of this attraction

Perhaps what made it an even tougher pill to swallow is that concurrently to the removal of Mr. Toad and The Country Bear Jamboree in the U.S. Disney was busy designing and installing a fantastic telling of the Winnie the Pooh story in Tokyo. Pooh’s Hunny Hunt opened in Tokyo Disneyland in September 2000. Unlike the domestic versions it did not directly replace any attraction (though the Skyway load station once stood where it was built) and utilized an innovative and exciting new trackless ride technology. With a budget of 130 million (in year 2000 dollars) it is a true E-Ticket attraction, it is one of the most popular rides at Tokyo Disneyland and regarded as one of the best dark rides in the world. Had something comparable to this been built at the U.S. parks fans would not have complained nearly as loudly as they did.

pooh_vehicle

The trackless system is hard to explain but it is very cool

Alas as Disney knows time moves on and today few guests complain about no longer being able to take a drunken tear through Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and out West the Country Bear Jamboree is long forgotten. It simply confirms that even hardcore fans will ultimately accept what they are given and line up for more.

Pooh is now thought of as a core ride in virtually all of the Magic Kingdoms (only Disneyland Paris is missing one).

Do you miss Toad or the Country Bears or is a simple albeit pleasant trip through the 100-Acre Woods all you need?

grizzly_1955242c

Bear on bear violence… Pooh wins

Click HERE for number 5

17 thoughts on “Bear Attacks!

    • Mr. Toad’s still exists in Disneyland Gregg but not in Walt Disney World. It’s removal caused a great deal of concern for many fans on the East coast.

  1. Well for that matter I wish they never removed 20K in the first place… but that’s a different story.

  2. I remember going to grad night in 2000, not having been to the park in 8 months or so and not really paying much attention to Disney online either, I was shocked when I turned the corner at the Tea Cups and seeing Pooh instead of Toad. Very unsettling and extremely disappointing.

    Toad was the better ride and while Pooh is fine I wish they had just built him a new ride over his crummy playground on the graveyard of 20,000 Leagues.

    I’m happy that Toad lives on at DL but, as you said, it isn’t the same but still great.

  3. Mr. Toad was our favorite ride at Fantasyland as a kid. I don’t have a problem with the Pooh ride and think it’s clever, but replacing Toad just seemed unnecessary given other spots where they could have added Pooh at the parks. I’m glad the Disneyland version still exists, but it isn’t the same.

    The Tokyo Pooh ride brings up a larger point about the comparisons between the U.S. parks and Tokyo. They are amazing rides overseas that are getting the best creativity from WDI. It’s sad that we aren’t seeing the same level of upgrades at WDW.

    • It is sad Dan but remember that Disney does not own the Tokyo Disney Resort.

      Going to TDR is very much like going back in time 30 years. The parks are run how they used to be here and you can really feel the difference.

      With that said Carsland was a cool addition, Avatar, though I don’t care for the theme, looks like it could be impressive and they still have Star Wars lurking out there.

  4. “Losing country bears no big deal” – if that is not a big deal, what is? Maybe they could tear down the castle and build a steel coaster in its place – to keep things “fresh” and “relevant to today´s audience”… Heck, it seems I´m still not over the loss of CBs… 🙂

    • More power to you Jones!

      I love the passion.

      At least the original Country Bears is still there in Florida albeit in a shortened state.

  5. I like the Pooh ride, always had a soft spot for him and I thought the variable track system was great (bouncing for Tigger, swaying in the flood).. but not at the expense of our classic dark rides or the Bear Jamboree. Can’t understand why it had to be an either/or proposition.. I’m sure they could have found the space to add Pooh in.
    The “death of the dark ride” syndrome is one of my biggest heartbreaks for post-Walt disney. They were the core of my childhood memories and still among my favorites today, we need more not less. I’d gladly give up that swinging roller coaster track for an entire ride full of the great animatronics and effects in the dark ride portions of the new Snow White mine train.

    • Charlotte-
      You of course hit the nail on the head.
      If they built new versions of classic dark rides using new tech I think all fans would love it.

      The short dark ride portion if the new Snow White ride is great. The coaster section is really just a kids coaster and nothing more. But Disney no longer makes decisions from the heart or for the fans and they have not for a long time. They make decisions based on all those surveys and focus groups they do.

      Somehow they determine that the average Joe wants thrill rides or ride through movies. They know they only need X number if attractions to keep people satisfied and there you go.

      At least we got the dark ride section of Snow White that we did!

  6. I hate the Pooh ride. It is the worst. Mr Toad was my favorite attraction and I was very sad to see it go.

    • I certainly like Toad better than Pooh as well Michael… if for no other reason than because it was just so freaking off the wall crazy. How that still runs in Disneyland is beyond me but I love that it does.

  7. Losing country bears no big deal.
    And while I miss toad was expected.

    The problem in both these cases is that they should have been replaced with something resembling the wonderful Tokyo version of the ride.

    Letting the park move forward is fine, but at least make the future truly seem more impressive then the past

    • I think anytime a ride or attraction is replaced by a clearly superior ride fans can accept it. Sure, there will be those who have cherished memories of the old ride but by and large people are OK with it. But when you make a parallel move or worse yet a step back then people rightly may be upset.

      In this case it could be argued that neither Pooh ride is an advance over what it replaced; that they were only added because they will sell a ton more Pooh merchandise then Country Bear or Mr. Toad merchandise. OK, fine… but I agree, then give us the GREAT version of the ride and it would be an all around win.

      These days it often feels as though changes are being made only for the bottom line while giving fans the bare minimum that will pass by and that is a shame.

  8. Pingback: Lucasland |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Website