Famous Disney Bears

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.

Disneynature Bears
Disneynature Bears

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.

Pooh
Tigger, Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore

Baloo 

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.

Baloo and Mowgli float
Baloo and Mowgli float

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.

Koda and Kenai
Koda and Kenai

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.

Brave triplets
Brave triplets

Br’er Bear 

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.

Br'er Bear and Br'er Fox plotting
Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox plotting

Country Bears

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.

Country Bear Jamboree
Country Bear Jamboree

Fozzie Bear

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.

Fozzie Bear
Fozzie Bear

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.

Humphrey
Humphrey

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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Wordless Wednesday – Just Before The Drop

Wordless Wednesday – May 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday
This Week’s Wordless Wednesday takes us to Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom where fun meets fear as you are just about to drop into the briar patch!
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Night Rides at Walt Disney World

Night Rides

Night at Walt Disney World is my absolute favorite time to be in the parks. The majestic appearance of Cinderella Castle, the way light reflects off of each of the triangular panels of Spaceship Earth, the Tree of Life illuminated from below, and the warm glow of neon on Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards are just a few of the reasons Disney parks after dark are simply amazing. I truly believe that the parks have two entirely different feelings during daylight and at nighttime. Come follow me while I explore the four theme parks of Walt Disney World to see some of the best rides to experience at night as they are completely transformed with different vibes from their daytime selves.

Castle and Partners
Castle and Partners
Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth
Tree of Life
Tree of Life
Hollywood Boulevard at night
Hollywood Boulevard at night

 

Animal Kingdom

Admittedly, this is the park I have spent the least time in after dark, mostly due to the fact that there are few times a year that you are able to see Disney’s Animal Kingdom after dark. Since the park is not open into the late night hours, usually not past 8pm or maybe even 9pm on the rare occasion, there are limited opportunities to experience attractions here at night. One such opporunity is during the Expedition Everest Challenge in May. This is a 5K through the Animal Kingdom followed by a scavenger hunt that takes you almost over the whole 5K course again. It is great fun and a unique change to get to see this gorgeous park late at night since the after party goes typically until 2am or so. For those that aren’t able to participate in this fun RunDisney event, the best attraction to ride at night is definitely Expedition Everest. The ride’s twists and turns and drops and backwards section seem even more thrilling when you can’t see what lies ahead. I strongly encourage any thrill seekers to make sure they try to do this at least once. It is not to be missed!

Expedition Everest at night
Expedition Everest at night
View from Everest at night
View from Everest at night
End of Everest tracks at night
End of Everest tracks at night

Hollywood Studios

Stepping into Disney’s Hollywood Studios at night, one can see how the extensive use of neon makes this park come to life. The heyday of Hollywood never looked better than under the fabulous glow of the bright neon colors lining Hollywood and Sunset. The crown jewel of the park at night is the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. It sits ominously looming over Sunset Boulevard, with its imposing exterior emblazoned with evidence of that fateful lightning strike. Much like Everest, part of the excitement of this ride at night is in the surprise and not knowing what is coming next. For those who have ridden Tower of Terror during the daylight, you can often tell when you are to the point of dropping by the telltale sliver of light peeking through the elevator doors ahead. Not so at night. This added element of surprise and not being able to anticipate when the drop is coming as well as during the day increases the adrenaline rush for me.

Tower of Terror at night
Tower of Terror at night

Epcot

My favorite park at night hands down is Epcot, and World Showcase in particular. The lighting softens from the often harsh Florida sun. Music wafts gently across the World Showcase Lagoon. Libations flow and guests are satiated by the phenomenal dining offerings presented by this park. Illuminations is a magical experience for me. But this isn’t about ambiance, food, beverages, fireworks, or even music. This is about Test Track baby! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) The newly revamped Future World attraction is incredible at night. I love the way the ride gives you a great dark ride inside and then whoosh! You are speeding around the track on a 45 degree angle pushing towards that top speed of 65 miles per hour. When you coming flying through those doors and into that night air, it is invigorating to say the least. Plus, the view of Epcot at night as you whip around the track is amazing!

Illuminations
Illuminations
Test Track at night
Test Track at night

Magic Kingdom

Spread out across the Magic Kingdom you will find fantastic examples of rides that I find are superior after dark. In Adventureland, the Jungle Cruise takes on a new mystique while exploring the Nile, Congo and Mekong Rivers. If you have never done this at night, what are you waiting for? The skippers corny jokes even take on a life of their own by lantern light. Just adjacent to the Jungle Cruise, the Magic Carpets of Aladdin provide a fun experience on your flying carpet that seems a bit more … adventurous (see what I did there) than during the day. Plus, it is a bit harder to spot the spitting camel at night, adding another element of adventure in trying to avoid it. Frontierland also plays host to two excellent choices for night rides. Both Splash and Big Thunder Mountains are far more exciting (in my humble opinion) at night. I love the moment on Splash right before you go down the five story drop when you catch that glimpse of the castle all lit up in all her glory. If you can try to time it right, Wishes as seen from Big Thunder is a transformative experince. It is one of my favorite views of the fireworks show.

Splash Mountain at night
Splash Mountain at night
Big Thunder at night
Big Thunder at night

Although it is entirely indoors, except for the queue, which is infinitely better at night (especially during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party), the Haunted Mansion is another great night ride. This Liberty Square attraction takes on an otherworldly and creepy ethereal feel to it when the sun goes down. I love when it is foggy and you can hardly see the tombstones in the graveyard and just barely catch the sound of the howling dog. Fantastic! Not to be left out is Fantasyland. Dumbo is so stunningly beautiful, especially now with the dueling Dumbos and the gorgeously lit fountains with alternating colors. I can stand in that queue transfixed by the serenity of changing lights and the soft sound of the water pouring out underneath the playful pachyderms.

Haunted Mansion during MNSSHP
Haunted Mansion during MNSSHP
Haunted Mansion pet cemetery
Haunted Mansion pet cemetery
Dumbo at night
Dumbo at night

Last, but certainly not least is my favorite land at night, Tomorrowland. The neon popping off the corner of seemingly every edifice is an inviting beacon to this part of the park. An attraction that I do not often do, but if I do will always choose to do at night is the Astro Orbiter. Sitting atop Rockettower Plaza, this spinning ride, similar to the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Dumbo, seems to fly even faster through the cosmos at night, especially on that descent. Saving the best (again, in my opinion) for last, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover is a 12 minute break from the hustle and bustle that usually is the Magic Kingdom. At night, you can admire the gorgeous neon of tomorrowland, view lights on the edge of Main Street USA and of course see the luminous Cinderella Castle transform from blue to pink to green to orange before your eyes. You can read more about my love of this attraction here in a previous post dedicated to this classic Magic Kingdom ride.

Tomorrowland at night
Tomorrowland at night

 

Have you done any or all of these at night? If so, what are your favorites? Did I miss any of your favorite attractions to experience after dark at Walt Disney World? If I have, please feel free to share your thoughts. Hope you enjoyed!

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The Magic Kingdom…Now with More Walls!!!

I have been spending a ton of time at EPCOT lately, so I decided to head over to the Magic Kingdom to see what I could find…

Main Street USA is buzzing with activity, as there are still several buildings behind themed skrims…

As you turn the corner to enter Adventureland, you get the immediate sense that there is a lot going on around here!

While the bridge at the entrance to Adventureland is undergoing a complete makeover, a smaller walkway is being used.

Over near the exit to the Swiss Family Treehouse, the stroller parking area is getting a facelift!

The last bit of skrim is still up between the Tortuga Tavern and Pecos Bill’s…

Walking over near Splash Mountain, I caught a picture of the new logs in action! I had the opportunity to ride Splash a few days ago, and I can only hope that they are able to work out the timing issues that the new lap bars have caused at loading.

The Liberty Square Riverboat is being refurbished…

There wasn’t much to see, but I headed over to Hanunted Mansion to see if anything was buzzing. The ongoing work is still going on behind these walls…I can’t wait to see it when it reopens…

Tomorrow I will be taking a look at Fantasyland, Toon Towns last days, and Tomorrowland.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this look around the Magic Kingdom!!!

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