Friday, August 5, 2011

Country Bear Jamboree

Welcome back to another edition of Designerland's theme park attraction typography case studies. This week we'll be looking at one of Walt Disney World's classic show attractions, the Country Bear Jamboree.
The Country Bear Jamboree was originally designed for Disney's Mineral King Ski Resort by Imagineer and show designer, Marc Davis. As we know, the Disney's Mineral King Ski Resort never made it off the drawing board, but Marc still felt the show would be a perfect attraction for Disney World's opening day back in 1971. The Country Bear Jamboree became an instant classic amongst east coast vacationers—it became so popular that WED Imagineers brought the show to Disneyland on the west coast. Over time, the Imagineers toyed around with seasonal overlays but quickly changed the show back after guest attendance declined. Sadly, Disneyland's show was shut down due to the lack of interest. Today you can find the original classic show at the Walt Disney World Resort and at Tokyo Disneyland, which is the only version that still hosts three seasonal overlays.

When looking at the typography from Country Bears Jamboree, we notice all the display fonts have a western theme, which fits the location of the attraction within the parks. Under the generic umbrella of western display fonts we can dissect them even further into a few categories: Wood Type, Tuscan, Iron Work, Slab Serif, Spurred, 1800's and even 1970's. Most of the typefaces used throughout the signage are the more stereotypical western looking fonts (similar to those found in other surrounding Frontierland attractions), while others are straight from the 70's with their curvy flared serifs, stems and descenders. Those 70’s looking western-like fonts are both whimsical and funny to reflect the Country Bear Jamboree show.  Also, we have to remember that attraction was created during this era. I've tracked down the typefaces that still exist today. While other fonts can be found within the attraction, many are custom, hand-drawn fonts which were most likely created by show designers at WDI.

Well that does it for this week’s case study. Check back on Monday for another Retro '71 shirt concept and thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend.