In honor of Earth Day on April 22nd, Disneynature is releasing another new documentary, Bears. This new movie will follow a bear family for a year as the young cubs learn life lessons. Seeing the commercials for this movie got me thinking about all of the bears in the Disney family.
Winnie the Pooh
Let’s start with probably the most famous Disney bear of all. Coming from the books by A. A. Milne, Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood are a childhood staple. He may be “stuffed with fluff,” but he can be quite courageous when needed. We’ve all joined in on their adventures (often in search of “hunny”) and learned about friendship along the way. Pooh and Piglet’s friendship in particular, never fails to warm my heart.
Carefree and fun-loving Baloo is Mowgli’s best friend in The Jungle Book and he taught us all about the Bare Necessities (which, thanks to writing this blog post, I have had stuck in my head for three days). For the most part, Baloo is playful, but he can be very protective of Mowgli. He is probably the most popular character from the movie and in fact, became the star of his own TV series: TaleSpin.
Koda and Kenai
These two bears from Brother Bear started out with quite the complicated relationship, but eventually became as close as brothers. Koda is the playful and talkative one, while Kenai is moody and serious. I think they both learn a lot from each other.
Harris, Hamish, and Hubert
Oh the triplet brothers from Brave. Definitely can’t forget them. Merida’s young brothers are always up to some sort of mischief, which is what caused them to become bears to begin with. Although they don’t stay that way forever, you can still see the brothers as bears in the Festival of Fantasy parade.
Betsy mentioned Br’er Bear in her post about bunnies and rabbits as the antagonist to Br’er Rabbit in The Song of the South. Teamed up with Br’er Fox, the two keep getting outwitted by Br’er Rabbit and you can see a lot of their foiled plans in the Splash Mountain ride at the theme parks.
Big Al, Liver Lips, Wendell, Trixie, Terrence, Henry, and the rest of this musical gang have been entertaining guests at the Magic Kingdom since the park opened. There was also a version at Disneyland up until 2001. The popularity inspired a movie in 2002, but that wasn’t very successful. They remain pretty popular in the Magic Kingdom though, especially with fans who grew up with the show.
This jokester of the Muppets is Kermit’s best friend. He’s very often the target of Statler and Waldorf’s heckling, but he keeps trying with his “wocka wocka” tagline! Fozzie always struck me as very loyal, especially to Kermit and though he may be slow to catch on most of them time, I think he is a friend you can count on.
Humphrey the Bear
Humphrey was created in 1950 and appeared in several Disney Animation cartoons at that time. Humphrey is kind of a big and goofy bear that lives in a national park and tries to steal food from the visitors. He doesn’t speak, but he does make different grunts to express emotions. His shenanigans are usually spoiled by Donald Duck or the park ranger. He got to be so popular that the animation studio created a series just for him, but unfortunately the studio stopped producing the short films soon after that. He later appeared in other shows like Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers and House of Mouse. If you’re looking for him these days, you might want to check out the Wilderness Lodge.
Honorable Mentions: Little John from Robin Hood, Gummi Bears, Duffy, Lotso, Bear in the Big Blue House
When I first started writing this post, I was surprised by how many bears would be on this list. It was fun to rediscover some old favorites like Humphrey! Did I forget any of your favorite bears?
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