"The Happiest Place on Earth" had a bit of a glaring problem. At least it was obvious to the suits watching the park and its traffic patterns. Marc Davis' sweet but amusing Country Bear Jamboree seemed to have run its course with park visitors. Numbers continued to decline.
The attraction occupied a big and beautiful wooded piece of real estate at Disneyland, just around the bend from the Haunted Mansion. It wasn't front and center as in the case of the attraction's location at Walt Disney World's Frontierland, but it was still a substantial chunk of the very small original kingdom. What to do?
The Imagineers with a soft spot for the attraction began coming up with some new concepts to save the Hillbilly bruins. Among the considerations were a small flume type attraction and a silly roadrace. Ultimately, even the terrific "Critter Country 500" with its rending by Christopher Merritt, couldn't save the bears from a quick and out of place swap out with another little cub. The singing bears were now only to be found in Tokyo Disneyland and at Florida's Magic Kingdom. Oh, Pooh!
(Concept art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)