Something is Afoot….and It Is Definitely Green

Something is Afoot....and It Is Definitely Green kermit-the-frog-feature

Muppet fans, something is up at Walt Disney World. I have a sneaking suspicion that we might hear a big announcement in the near future. Perhaps wishful thinking, but I don’t really think so this time around. Why? Because for the past few months, The Muppets have been everywhere. Stores throughout the parks have been filled with anything and everything Muppet-related, including sweaters and plush toys…

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Crocs and bucket hats…

cookie jars, pins……and so much more. When you couple together this whirlwind of merchandise along with everything else “muppety” during the past year, I truly think that Disney is sending a signal to fans that something new and exciting is on the way.

They’re Here, There, and Everywhere

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We last had an in-depth discussion about our beloved Muppets in an article back in September of 2023. There we discussed a number of topics including how the last Destination D23 event was full of Muppets, from start to finish. A cavalcade of our cherished characters from Kermit the Frog, Scooter, Bunsen Honeydew, and many more joined Chairman of Disney Experiences Josh D’Amaro on stage to congratulate Dave Goelz on his 50 years as a performer with Muppets Studios.

Since then we have seen many more sightings at the parks, including Muppet Labs at the Brew-Wing booth during the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Additionally, Kermit and Miss Piggy were featured in a new stage show during Disney’s first-ever holiday Jollywood Nights at Hollywood Studios. Furthermore, Muppet Vision 3-D received a sprucing up with the installation of new seats, and the Miss Piggy statue in the nearby fountain was refurbished.

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Miss Piggy and Kermit topiaries were vibrantly on display during the 2024 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. The Muppets were also showcased at the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts as the “Rainbow Connection” show returned to light up Spaceship Earth each evening.

Special Documentary on Disney+

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The newer Disney+ documentary is about the incredibly imaginative Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets. This is a must-see event for all of us steadfast fans. Filmmaker Ron Howard takes us on a journey to further explore Jim’s creativity, ambition and artistry. A focus on materials from his personal archives and interviews of those who knew him best keeps us on the edge of our seats.

Time For Big Announcement (or Two)

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All of this Muppet mania has to be leading up to something. In our last article, we discussed some possibilities, including a potential retheme of the Rock ‘n Rollercoaster ride to The Muppets Mayhem. This particular idea is now off the table since The Muppets Mayhem show was not renewed on Disney+ for a second season. I think this is a signal from Disney that their main focus going forward will be with Kermit and Miss Piggy as the leaders of The Muppets. No doubt, the rest of the gang is highly regarded by us all and they definitely serve as a dynamic and crucial supporting cast to the famous duo.

Bring Back the Merchandise Store

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This one is a no-brainer. The store has been sitting vacant and unused for far too long. This was always such a popular place where Muppet fans enjoyed shopping for unique merchandise.

The Stage 1 Company Store opened its doors again on May 1 for a limited time to exclusively sell merchandise to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Hollywood Studios. Thankfully many nods to the Muppets remain inside, including humorous signs about chickens and a large Miss Piggy mural on the wall. There is absolutely no reason this store should not stay open once the anniversary celebration concludes and rededicate itself to Muppet merchandise. Oh, and guess who hosted the anniversary celebration ceremony? Kermit and Miss Piggy, of course. The Muppet sightings just keep on coming.

Room to Grow

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Reestablishing the Stage 1 Company Store should be just the first (and easiest) change. Disney should open the store to all things Muppets to then announce, and get us excited about, what the future holds for this area of the park. As you look from different vantage points in and around Grand Avenue, there is room to expand (and/or rearrange) to make way for something new. The store sits right in the middle, but an eventual relocation would be worth gaining a new attraction.

Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano has long since felt out of place in this Muppet-dominated area. It’s time to take this odd combination of former Streets of America meshed with Muppets Courtyard and officially designate it as Muppets only. We need every square inch of this area working for a purpose rather than just random inefficient uses of space and empty facades.

Where to Go From Here

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The tough decision is what to do about Muppet*Vision 3D. Honestly, I love it and many others do as well. It is an iconic piece of history (and Jim Henson’s last film and voicing) that must be preserved in some form or fashion. However, I don’t think just a 3D movie is enough to give the iconic Muppets their proper due. In a perfect world, there would be room for both Muppet*Vision 3D and an additional attraction, but I doubt this is the case. Hopefully, if it does have to give way for something new, elements of the existing movie can be utilized within the attraction itself or in the queue.

New Twist on the Movie Ride

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We need something more. I still contend that a highly immersive and imaginative slow-moving dark ride available for all ages is the best way to go. Consequently, building a new version of The Great Movie Ride reimagined as The Great Muppet Ride would be the highest honor for both our beloved characters as well as for Hollywood Studios. Riding through scenes from a variety of films like The Muppet Movie, Muppet Treasure Island, The Muppet Christmas Carol and more would be phenomenal. The sky is the limit in terms of animatronics, puppetry, and perhaps even some versions of live entertainment.

New Rendition of an Old Favorite?

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After looking back at some old photographs from past trips, a new idea occurred to me. What about a newly-imagined rendition of the previous Universe of Energy ride at EPCOT? It was an attraction that combined both film viewing and a slow-moving dark ride. The audience rode in “traveling theatre cars” from room to room, and finally into a diorama spotlighting animatronic prehistoric creatures. I remember just how immersive this ride felt, all of your senses taking in the sights and sounds so close to you. This attraction was built in the 1980s, so imagine how much more it could be today with advances in both ride and animatronic technology. Guests could view a short film about hijinks related to The Muppets preparing for a television show or movie (similar to the current queue for Muppet*Vision 3D) and then literally ride into the hilarious antics of a working set!

Final Thoughts

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There are a variety of ways to go with the future of The Muppets area and I look forward to any upcoming announcements. One last thought – speaking of The Muppet Movie, it just celebrated its 45th anniversary. Movie theaters across the country hosted special screenings of this quintessential classic. Wouldn’t the film’s 50th be a great time for Disney to announce a new attraction to honor The Muppets? Truthfully, any time is fine. I’ll be waiting with great anticipation as I’m sure you will be as well.

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Finding fun and informative ways to provide Disney goers a unique perspective on the information they seek about the parks, resorts, food, history and so much more. Been bringing kids to Disney from toddlers to teens, so plenty of parent tips will be given.

Happiest with a pineapple Dole Whip float in my hand and an Orange Bird hat on my head.


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