Briefly: I knew that our resident Muppet Historian, Matthew Kelly, was headed to Walt Disney World soon, and me being the Disney addicted man child that I am, I wanted to share all of the new stuff at the parks. Too much to text, I told Jonathan that I would be submitting an article about it. Here’s an excerpt from our daily staff emails.
Jonathan: We will also see a rousing article from BigYanks. What’s it called, Yanks?
Danny: It’s called “A Salute to All Things Disney, But Mostly The Muppets”.
Jonathan: Yanks, are you ready with that article?
Danny: It’s a glorious three-volume book!
Jonathan: You got a six paragraph limit.
The Muppets might be down, but they aren’t out yet.
The Muppets entered into a resurgence with the surprise hit of ‘The Muppets’ movie in 2011 written by Jason Segal. So of course the next logical thing Disney did was went ahead and green lit a sequel. This time with no Jason Segal ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ fell flat and wasn’t so well received. The film didn’t match any of the hype, charm or fandom of the first film. But still The Muppets where still in the spotlight and Disney gave the brand a second chance and went ahead with a television pilot.
The announcement of ‘The Muppets’ television show got the fans up in a frenzy and excited for something fresh. The show was being developed by Muppet Journeyman and ‘Big Bang Theory’ Co-Creator, Bill Pardy. The show brought the gang back taking on more adult themes that were similar to that of The Office and Larry Sanders Show. This left some die hards unsure what to think of it and the show was met with very mixed reviews. Some parents were even outraged that show wasn’t accessible to younger audience members, failing to realize this was a primetime show on a network, not the Disney Chanel. Even with plot changes made to try and bring the viewers it was too little too late and ABC cancelled it at the end of the season.
The Muppet’s Disney future was looking bleak.
Now news of Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studio were announced and rumors were swirling of what areas would be razed to make space. With ‘Muppets Vision 3D’ in close proximity of Star Tours it felt inevitable that the Muppets may have met their match at the theme parks. Then it was announced that the The Muppets were indeed staying and getting its own area at the park. The are would getting refurbished along with a name change, Welcome to ‘Muppets Courtyard’. One of the first changes coming soon is the conversion of the old ‘Toy Story Pizza Planet’ into the Muppets themed ‘PizzeRizzo’. The backstory being that Rizzo and has vast amount of family members are running the restaurant much like his French cousin Remy. With no other news of the fate of the remaining structures in the area, i’m hoping for an overhaul. If we can only get a updated ‘Muppet Vision 3D’ attraction similar to that of ‘Soarin’ over at EPCOT. That show is feeling very dated and the theater could use some sprucing up. This attraction was also the only way to see a living Muppet. It being a 4-D Attraction, Sweetums would make a quick appearance while the gang searched for Bean Bunny. Hopefully we can now get the characters back for meet and greets.
In another surprise move by Disney, they announced this fall, the Muppets will be at the Magic Kingdom Park, where they’ll take part in an all-new live show, “The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History.” The show will feature Sam Eagle, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo and James Jefferson, the town crier of Liberty Square. They gather outside The Hall of Presidents to present historical tales as only they can. From the midnight ride of Paul Revere to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Muppets appear throughout the day to share with Guests, their own unique take on the founding fathers and the birth of the United States of America. The Shows had their debuts this week and were met with high praise for keeping with the ideology of the Liberty Square area in a hysterical fashion.
Just one day later, the powers that be decided to dust off the cobwebs out of an old fan favorite and brought back the ‘Muppets Mobile Lab’ over at EPCOT. The mobile interactive show stars Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his lab assistant Beaker. The characters come to life by interacting with the crowd in simple hysterical experiments all at the expense of Beaker of course.
With such an unexpected push by the company at the theme parks the future is looking bright now for The Muppets. There is no denying that there is some money to be made with the brand but they were striking out in the movies and television department, the next logical step would be to bring back the nostalgia via appearances at the parks. I’m so ecstatic to be able to go back to the parks and catch a real life glimpse of the muppets. Heres to hoping that things take off and we get even more of The Muppets including photo-ops and special events.