Have you ever heard of the Moonshine Express? It would have been an awesome attraction.
30 years ago, before Splash Mountain came to Critter Country as a part of Disneyland, there was Bear Country. It was the same outdoors, woodsy theme, but there weren’t any little critters in town – only bears. This was the home of the Country Bear Jamboree – including its seasonal overlays – and Teddi Barra’s Swinging Arcade.
When the Imagineers decided they wanted to build a log flume at Disneyland, they picked a spot in Bear Country. To fit the bear theme, the flume was going to be filled with bears.
It was called the Moonshine Express. The idea was that you had the civilized bears just on the outskirts of New Orleans Square. These were the bears that performed in the Country Bears theater. But if you went deeper into the forest, you found the meaner, rough-and-tumble moonshiners. The bear sheriff enlisted the riders’ help in going after the moonshiners. Each rider was given a rifle to shoot the stills you’d find along the way.
About halfway through the ride, the moonshiners figured out what the sheriff was up to… and they weren’t happy about it! So they started shooting back! The concept is great.
More or less, it was a combination of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Country Bears, and Splash Mountain. But the Imagineers chose to build the Splash Mountain version instead, so we have to enjoy the three attractions separately.
Check out this podcast if you want to learn more!