Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Bear Country Construction, Part 3

Here are the last 3 snapshots showing some of the massive construction involved in the creation of "Bear Country".

This first one was taken while aboard the Disneyland Railroad, looking past what would become the Hungry Bear Restaurant toward the Mark Twain, chugging away on the Rivers of America. I wonder what that area in the lower left is, enclosed behind those brown wall panels?

This one is interesting to me, even though I have no idea what I'm looking at! What's that tunnel for? I'm guessing that it provided access between the park and the area outside the berm. Does anybody have a clue as to what that very large industrial shed was for? Was it a warehouse? Or a maintenance building?

More mysteriousness - those massive cement walls for instance; I'm not really sure what those were for. Of course we all still love "Crushed Stone Mountain", one of the most popular attractions at Disneyland. 

I hope you have enjoyed these photos of Bear Country construction!


Nanook said...


My vote for the "very large industrial 'shed' " is the Country Bear show building. LOOKIE HERE. The tunnel may very well be access to areas behind the berm.

Thanks, Major.

Pegleg Pete said...

Bring back the Bears! Sorry, I'm still sore about the loss of the CBJ at Disneyland. This has been a great series - thanks, Major! And thanks, Nanook, for the link.

Chuck said...

I concur with Nanook, and I think that the concrete-lined tunnel is the entrance to the CBJ. As you may recall, after you passed under the trestle and turner right over the covered bridge across the creek, the CBJ entrance proper looked a lot like a mine shaft leading into a hillside.

Those concrete walls in the last photo are probably retaining walls for the entrance to Bear Country. If memory serves, Rufus' cave was up the left-hand slope as you entered, across from this sign. I don't have any memory of the Indian Village, but this may have originally been the site of the pedestrian tunnel that was "daylighted" to improve visitor traffic flow for the massive crowds that never materialized for the West Coast version of CBJ.

I also agree with Pegleg Pete - this has been a great series! There's so little out there on early Bear Country, and I've never seen construction photos outside your collection. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Yes, the show building for CBJ. And the two cubes on top of the building contain the lowering/lifting mechanisms for Teddi Beara (two show theatres, two lifts).

Anonymous said...

...and the third cube is roof access (to get to the lifts).

Patrick Devlin said...

Boy, do I love me some construction photos. What a fine way to start off the day.

Steve DeGaetano said...

That appears to be the Bear Country railroad trestle in the last photo.

Anonymous said...

Great shots of a time of construction that I remember well! Agree with everyone above...that's the show building. KS

Anonymous said...

Late to the party, but I agree with all the comments so far.

Major, I believe the area behind the brown wall panels below is a retaining wall for the below-grade area of the restaurant. The dark brown panels look like protection board for waterproofing.

Agree that construction photos really are the best.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I have seen that aerial shot many times (and the book from which it was scanned), and yet… I sure didn’t realize that that particular building was part of the Country Bears. Thanks!

Pegleg Pete, it is curious that the Country Bears are still so popular in Florida, but (apparently) not so much in SoCal. I would love to know why. Is Florida more “country”??

Chuck, I did not remember that one entered the CBJ through a tunnel - I believe I only saw that show once - maybe twice. I certainly didn’t remember that it looked like a mine shaft! Thanks also for the info about the concrete walls and snoring Rufus’ cave.

Anon part A & B, great info!

Patrick Devlin, glad you enjoyed these.

Steve DeGaetano, yes, that is right - at least one of the other photos from this series has the DLRR crossing the trestle.

KS, info confirmed, thanks!

JG, your guess sounds very plausible. “Protection board”, that’s a new one to me. Wish I had more construction photos!

MRaymond said...

Does the WDW CBJ have one or two theaters? I heard they only have one. Maybe two theaters spelled its demise.

TokyoMagic! said...

Yes, this was a great series of posts! When Bear Country was built, they did create a small waterfall at the exit of CBJ and a "creek" that runs from it down towards the Rivers of America (running underneath the entrance bridge to CBJ and also underneath the entrance ramp up to Hungry Bear Restaurant). I believe that it dumps into the Rivers of America. Perhaps that "protection board for waterproofing" that JG mentioned was to keep the River from entering that creek area while it was under construction?

Chuck said...

TM!, that waterfall is (was? Is it still there after Pooh's arrival?) one of my all-time favorite Disneyland design elements. Not only did it dress up and add some tranquil, soothing action to what could very well have been a static corner of the Park, it also masked any traffic noise from the service road just on the other side of the berm, preserving the illusion that this was a remote corner of the Pacific Northwest. I can still remember the exact moment in my mid-twenties when it hit me what was going on here, and it just further reinforced the awe I'd held the Imagineers in since childhood.

Chuck said...

Looking at the photo Nanook shared again, I just noticed that the original engine house was still standing in late 1976 or early 1977, located in the lower, left-hand corner of the photo, just to the right of the parking lot. That got me wondering - how long did that thing survive?

Apparently, it hung on as a backstage machine shop or warehouse until the Star Wars Land construction overtook its site last year. Not bad for a nondescript machine shed that had outlived its original purpose by the late '60s.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, Disney put a pile of Pooh next to them, but the waterfall and the creek are still there! I hope they will continue to be there even after the Ewoks move in.

Dean Finder said...

MRaymond, the WDW version only has 1 theater. It was so popular that they doubled it at Disneyland.

I think your theory is correct. At WDW, we had a dual tracked Mr. Toad, which was removed for Pooh as well.

Chuck said...

Dean Finder & MRaymond, uh-oh. If that theory holds true, the Matterhorn is doomed.

Anonymous said...

@Tokyo, I think the creek running through will eventually be up against that concrete wall. I don't think the creek and the River are really connected. The creek just sort of disappears under the dining deck of the restaurant and is probably recycled back upstream since the creek water is much clearer than the Mississippi mud of the ROA.

Tne typical protection board of that era would have been an asphalt-impregnated wood fiber board about 1/2 thick, it's fairly brittle and has no waterproofing capacity, it's just present to protect the real waterproofing from damage by construction machinery or the pointy gravel in the backfill. It's sort of a sacrificial material as it decays over time after the soil is in place.

"...pile of Pooh..." >snort<


Anonymous said...

Hello, the last of the CBJ pics is the path leading into Bear Country. In the background left is the train trestle while on the right is the Hungry Bear restaurant.

This was removed when splash mountain was built. Further back in time there was a tunnel at that spot that would take guests to the Indian Dance Circle area

Connie Moreno said...

Hmmmm, when I was a CM in 2007/08, I was told there was an old tunnel that went waaaay back BACK stage and until recently, it was still there. Just seems odd to me that the entrance to CBJ would be such heavy duty concrete.