I had so much fun working on my last post that I decided to do another animal-themed post today. That one was all about elephants; today’s is about the “bare necessities.” Yep, we’re talking about bears. So, forget about your worries and your strife and enjoy this list of things to do in Walt Disney World if you love bears.
1. Country Bear Jamboree
If you love bears and country music, have I got the attraction for you! This opening-day attraction at Magic Kingdom is corny but fun, and full of bear-related humor…
2. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Next up is the beloved Pooh bear. As I mentioned in my post on reading, I love how the book pages are integrated throughout this attraction, as we follow this bear-of-very-little-brain on his quest for honey.
3. Splash Mountain
Here we have our first bear villain: Br’er Bear, who, along with Br’er Fox, is determined to catch and eat Br’er Rabbit. Lucky for Br’er Rabbit, his hunters aren’t so smart. (Note Br’er Rabbit’s location in the photo.) Br’er Bear tends to foil Br’er Fox’s schemes by getting himself caught in their own traps.
4. Duffy the Disney Bear
Never heard of Duffy the Disney Bear? He’s only been in the U.S. parks since 2010, but he’s been a popular character at the Tokyo Disney Resort for several years. My nephew has a book in which Duffy is simply called “the Disney Bear,” and the story is that Mickey’s teddy bear came to life during a day in Magic Kingdom. Duffy’s backstory has since been changed, and now it’s that he was made by Minnie for Mickey when he was going on a sea voyage (which is why Duffy is dressed like a sailor). You can meet Duffy in Epcot near the Mexico Pavilion, and, of course, you can buy your own plush Duffy to take home.
5. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
As soon as I thought about bears in hotels at Walt Disney World, I rememberedthis totem pole at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
The bear at the bottom is named Humphrey and was featured in several Disney shorts in the 1950s and more recently in shows like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He appears on a lot of merchandise sold in the Mercantile at the resort.
You can find out more about Humphrey on Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Fan Site. In addition to Humphrey, you’ll see representations of other bears throughout Wilderness Lodge, including in its logo. There are even bear tracks in the sidewalk near the bus stop. Some say that if you look at the lodge from the boats, it looks like a bear face, although I have trouble seeing it.
6. The Tree of Life
As you might expect, there are bears carved into The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom, but I don’t have any photos to help you on your hunt this time. I did find this great shot on Flickr of a grizzly bear catching a salmon. Have fun trying to find it yourself!
As I mentioned in my post on snow, there’s a scene toward the end of Maelstrom in which you encounter some polar bears.
8. Muppet*Vision 3-D
We can’t forget everyone’s favorite bear comedian: Fozzie Bear! You can see him with the frogs and dogs and pigs and chickens and things in Muppet*Vision 3-D in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
● ● ●
Wow, there are even more bear-related things to do in Walt Disney World than there are for elephants, and we still haven’t even met the bear of “Bare Necessities” fame: Baloo. (His appearances aren’t listed in the Times Guides, but you can often find him in Animal Kingdom.) We also haven’t listed any live bears; unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any at Animal Kingdom.
Still, a bear-themed day in Disney World is going to be a long one, with all four parks and a resort represented. I’d start in any park except Epcot, because Maelstrom is in World Showcase, which opens later than the rest of Epcot, and Duffy’s appearances don’t start until late morning. Your quickest stop will be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, because you just have Muppet*Vision 3-D to see. At Animal Kingdom, you’ll want to take some time to look for bears in The Tree of Life, and if you’re lucky, you might also bump into Baloo. By mid-afternoon, you’ll want to head over to Epcot to meet Duffy and ride Maelstrom. Magic Kingdom can be your last park stop (for Country Bear Jamboree, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Splash Mountain), because from there you can take the boat to Wilderness Lodge. Spend your evening exploring the lodge and finding bear merchandise in the shop. Don’t forget a picture with Humphrey!
Who is your favorite bear on this list?