Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Disneyland - Hungry Bear Moments

Along the Rivers of America in what used to be Bear Country sits the wooded and shady porch of the Hungry Bear restaurant.

It is one of the last, quaint reminders of old Bear Country. Indeed, it is one of the few remaining "out of the way" spots in all of Disneyland.
Downstairs you can sit around a table and watch the ducks float by---or feed them if you'd like. Even on hot days, this area stays pretty cool.

From this vantage point you can get a clear view of the Mark Twain steaming along, while waving at the guests on her lower decks. Her massive sternwheel plows through the water, which sparkles and froths behind her. Her steam engine puffs and chugs loudly as she churns ahead toward the bend.

To your left, you can peer into the woods of an America of long ago. In the farthest corner of the porch, the illusion that you are somewhere along an American river, near the forest, is all too convincing. Above you, a steam engine of the Disneyland Railroad rolls into view, clicking along on its way through the wilderness.
Across the way, Tom Sawyer's Island beckons, with children and adults clambering over its rock formations. There's the remains of old Fort Wilderness.

To your right, Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes still load up guests for a true, people-powered attraction. You watch as a splashy, out-of-synch bunch of paddlers glide by---with their exasperated guide and oarsman in the stern.

The area music softly plays bluegrass in the background.

It's a good spot. Relax and enjoy it.

There'll be plenty of time for Fast Passes and Fantasmic later.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mike:

I agree completely. This is one rare corner of the Park where you can just sit,enjoy the view, and feel miles away from the frantic pace. It hasn't changed since I worked the canoes 30+ years ago. I met my wife in the break area behind it (she worked the Hungry Bear as a seasonal).

Viewliner Ltd. said...

Happy Thanksgiving... wishing all the best for you and your family, Richard.

Katella Gate said...

Howdy Mike,

I agree 80% with you on the Hungry Bear... spots of the restaurant are beautiful and quiet, but it always seemed to me that this was the first big project at the Park that was not designed as well as it should have been.

Much of the building, especially the lower deck, has an industrial, warehouse feel that gave me the creeps. I've always hoped that it would get an update, but that hasn't happened so far.

The Blue Parrot said...

Burgers at the Hungry Bear was something of a family event in the 70's. I don't know why as I recall them being overpriced and dried out. Perhaps it was the exhaust from the grill that wafted over the line to the cash registers that made them seem appetizing?

Long before that lunch at the Park was Tuna burgers in Fantasyland, but that's another story...

Andy said...

I completely agree, it is a great quiet back corner of the park. There is always something to see but nothing to disturb that peaceful feeling. From the Mark Twain steaming by to the Disneyland Railroad off in the distance it is a great place to relax. Say hi to the cats for me...

Mike said...

Thanks for the comments, all.

Katella: you and I have a similar outlook. My post was purely offered from the viewpoint of "today's" Disneyland. There are precious few spots to just sit back and enjoy the Park. The Hungry Bear, though certainly no quiet corner of New Orleans Square, is still one of the few places to foot the bill in this regard.

That little path from Frontierland's north gate to Carnation Plaza Gardens is another such spot.

Same is true for Thunder Trail and the French Market.

Plaza Gardens, too, though it brings much pain to see it as it now is versus how it was. It needs a food service location and a paint job, for starters.

The fire station on Main Street is often quiet, as are some of the benches in front of the Main Street station on the DLRR.

The side porch of the Plaza Inn---ditto.

Tom Sawyer's Island provides some welcome respite, too.

Otherwise, you're likely jammed in with hundreds of your fellow guests.

*THE Disneyland Mom* said...

My family LOVES the Hungry Bear. We eat there during most of our park visits. It is the most peaceful place to get away to with the kids. There's almost always seating, it's plenty shady, plus the ducks keep the kids very entertained while we put our feet up. Love your site! I'd love for you to check out my site and blog.