Billion Dollar Question- will Critter Country at Disneyland be annexed into New Orleans Square?

February 12, 2023, 7:37 PM

A billion dollar question regarding Tiana's Bayou Adventure at Disneyland Park. Will the existing Critter Country become part of New Orleans Square as a "Bayou" themed expansion of New Orleans Square? Will they close the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and potentially re-theme that to Princess and the Frog or Pirates of the Caribbean as well? Let me know your thoughts here!

Replies (16)

February 13, 2023, 3:08 PM

Pooh remains popular, so I can't see retheming that ride as any top priority for Disney, though with the character turning into public domain, I would not blame Disney for moving away from Pooh eventually.

But I think that re-naming the land at least immediately around the flume ride as New Orleans Square or the Bayou is pretty much a given at this point.

As you suggested, however, that raises the question of what to do with the rest of now-Critter Country. To be fair, Disneyland pretty much wrecked the thematic cohesion of the area when it evicted the Country Bears in favor of the very British Pooh and friends. The Hundred Acre Wood looks right in the context around Splash Mountain... if you ignore the whole bit where that wood is supposed to be on the other side of the Atlantic.

February 14, 2023, 8:03 PM

That's a good point, Robert! There are many people who really like the Winnie the Pooh ride. I can't say that I'm one of them personally. Definitely, I can only imagine the current Critter Country will become part of New Orleans Square/ a bayou area. It seems like it wouldn't be too complicated to rename the land and reskin some of the shops to more of a New Orleans Square Bayou extension. It would be strange to have Critter Country's anchor attraction annexed off into New Orleans Square while Pooh remained the sole attraction of the land.

Oh definitely, it would've been nice and made more sense thematically if Disney kept the Country Bears rather than evicting them for Pooh. Pooh is based does not fit in the back woods of the Pacific Northwest. It would've been better off in Fantasyland, like other, superior versions of the ride. I have fond memories of the Country Bear Jamboree as a kid.

What's interesting is that some are speculating that the parking lot behind the current Splash Mountain at Disneyland could be a future home to Pandora, should Disney announce a west coast version of the AVATAR land instead of a smaller scale Tomorrowland exhibit. But that's a slightly different topic.

Edited: February 14, 2023, 9:02 PM

What parking lot behind Splash Mountain? That's more like a road with a broad shoulder back there, unless you hop Disneyland Drive over to the old Downtown Disney lot, where there's some actual space for expansion. And Disney can't build an attraction on that until DisneylandForward passes.

The Pooh ride frustrates me. It should be designed for little kids, but the ride vehicles are so bulky that small children have a rough time seeing anything from them. That just makes the whole thing a bit of a waste.

I would love to see Disneyland call a do-over on that space and create a new experience that would fit within the lower Mississippi bayou theme that they are creating for the flume ride.

February 15, 2023, 12:43 AM

I do wonder if Disney pulls the trigger on redoing that area but again, Pooh so popular hard to see it moved.

Edited: February 15, 2023, 11:46 AM

You’re absolutely right, Robert! I checked a map and yes, it is that lot over Disneyland Drive. However, considering there is a bridge at Downtown Disney over Disneyland Drive, Disney shrewdly hid Disneyland Drive from Downtown Disney so it’s really hard to notice. Should DisneylandForward pass, I bet Disneyland could build a themed covered bridge connecting the park to a possible new Pandora land from Critter Country. Bob Iger did imply in the earnings call he wants to go big. He mentioned Pandora and Galaxy’s Edge and wanting to increase park capacity. But we’ll see exactly what comes out of the AVATAR announcement soon.

Absolutely. If only we had the Pooh’s Hunny Hunt from Tokyo, or even the slightly better Magic Kingdom version of the ride, then the ride would be more worth keeping.

Absolutely! I would really love to see more New Orleans Bayou/ lower Mississippi theming there. Of course they must keep the Fowler’s Inn and the Harbour Galley restaurant at all costs, and that would fit even better into New Orleans Square than Critter Country and could easily be incorporated. I’m also curious if Pooh could potentially also be rethemed to Princess and the Frog, but it would be even better to see a Country Bear re-theme of the ride, a similar idea to what they had when they brought Knott’s Bear-y Tales back in the form of an interactive shooter ride. But of course not an interactive ride, but say, a Country Besr Dark ride retheme of Winnie the Pooh. But it could also be another Princess and the Frog themed attraction?

We’ll see when Disneyland announces Splash Mountain’s closing date and what will happen to Pooh and the rest of Critter Country. We’ll also see what Disneyland wants to do with AVATAR.

February 15, 2023, 12:06 PM

@MaxicKingdom - They're already giving PatF a major attraction. Given the current profile and popularity of the original film, I highly doubt they would double down on the IP with a second attraction. I think Disney will just need to ride this one out for the time being with the obvious discontinuity with an English forest in the middle of the Louisiana Bayou.

February 15, 2023, 12:17 PM

Maybe things have changed, but the only time Pooh's queue really surged while I was working there (bear in mind this was a decade ago) was when Splash went down. I won't deny that it had its fans, but I can't imagine there would be much of an uproar if it was replaced with a like for like attraction or was subsumed by either New Orleans or, better yet, Galaxy's Edge.

February 15, 2023, 12:25 PM

Hmmm, a Pooh isn't that much different in size or shape from an Ewok, is it?

Just sayin'....

February 15, 2023, 1:37 PM

Ewok's on Batuu???? Yub yub!

February 15, 2023, 2:10 PM

Russell, that is true that Pooh is a popular IP. Though people were really upset when they closed the Country Bear Jamboree back in 2001 and consider the ride to be lackluster. Those were the dark Paul Pressler/ Cynthia Harriss days of Disneyland/ Disney Parks management.

It would be particularly cool if they turned that into a new Country Bear ride. Fans would love it and it would still fit in New Orleans Square more than Pooh.

February 15, 2023, 3:17 PM

Oh bother...

Edited: February 15, 2023, 3:41 PM

If Disneyland cares at all about thematic cohesion, I don't think there's any way Critter Country can remain as is. Splash Mountain exits at the very back of the area, so it would be incredibly weird to board in New Orleans only to disembark in a completely separate location. My gut feeling is we'll see something similar to what Disney did with Toontown, where Critter Country gets a cosmetic overlay to turn it into a Louisiana bayou but keeps the same elements. It's a pretty small area, so an aesthetic upgrade likely wouldn't be that expensive. It would also be easy enough to just wall off everything beyond Hungry Bear when Splash closes and reopen it with Tiana, and I doubt doing so would have much of an affect on park capacity.

February 15, 2023, 4:35 PM

AJ, you’re right. It wouldn’t make any sense to board TBA in New Orleans Square and then get off in the Hundred Acre Wood. It’s like Star Tours, where you board in Tomorrowland, end up in a different destination only to get off in Tomorrowland again.

February 15, 2023, 4:39 PM

Robert and Jacob, an Ewok forest would be the PERFECT transition from New Orleans Square/ Critter Country into the resistance forest of Galaxy’s Edge. I would be delighted to see Pooh rethemed to that lol. Hopefully Disney considers it!

Edited: February 19, 2023, 9:28 PM

I know this will never happen, but personally I wish they would move Winnie the Pooh over to California Adventure near Grizzly River Run. Space and logistic wise, probably not possible unless they sacrifice the Redwood Creek Trails, but I feel Pooh would actually get more foot traffic and be more popular over at DCA then it’s current spot. They could even rename the area a new Bear Country.
Then the Hundred Acre Wood part of Critter Country would be absorbed up by Star Wars.

February 20, 2023, 5:22 PM

I mean, any time you can retheme a ride to the 25th highest grossing movie of 2009, you gotta do it. Ironically, the 24th highest grossing movie of 2009 was G-Force, so maybe Splash Mountain can become a G-Force ride... Guinea pigs are critters, right???

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