Disney Florida Theme Parks Welcome More Muppets, MIA In Disneyland
Disney Parks Blog has announced two new Muppets-themed attractions are coming to the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme parks, both in Orlando, Florida. The first, “The Muppets Present … Great Moments in American History,” sounds like what the furry ones do best – put on a show!
The new show, led by patriotic Sam Eagle, will begin this fall outside of The Hall of Presidents located in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square. Here Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo, and the town crier of Liberty Square, James Jefferson, will share tales about the midnight ride of Paul Revere, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and more in a musical, humorous way that will be distinctly Muppet-like.
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Though the blog doesn’t mention it, the new show could be a new tactic to get visitors to visit The Hall of Presidents which operates often way below capacity. The new show is scheduled to begin in October of this year.
Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it was announced that the Toy Story-themed eatery, Pizza Planet, would be closed and then re-branded as PizzeRizzo named after Muppet vermin Rizzo the Rat. Since the restaurant is located near the Muppets Courtyard and the popular MuppetVision 3D Theater, and since the Toy Story franchise is in the process of getting its own themed “land” in the park, the change makes sense.
According to the blog, “Walt Disney Imagineering hid hints of Rizzo, his extended family and friends who have visited PizzeRizzo over the years throughout the two-story quick-service location. In addition to the expansive indoor and outdoor seating area, guests will be able to dine in a ‘cheesy’ banquet room, or take five in a special booth designated just for Rizzo’s celebrity friends.”
The opening date for the new Muppet restaurant has not been announced.
Meanwhile, the Muppets presence has been missing in action in Disneyland and California Adventure in Anaheim, California. In 2001, California Adventure got its own version of MuppetVision 3D (basically a copycat of the original), a presentation that is part live, part animatronic, and part film, but all Muppet. It too had been a fan favorite for years, but it was closed “temporarily” in late 2014 in order to present a Frozen-themed stage show to take advantage of the animated movie’s huge fan base.
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This summer, the Frozen show became bigger and better and was moved to the Hyperion Theater (replacing the live Aladdin show). Strangely, the MuppetVision 3D still remains closed and rumors are spreading on fan sites that it will never re-open. This is just speculation as Disney has yet to announce any definitive plans for the attraction.
The stalling of the re-opening of MuppetVision 3D might have something to do the ABC’s disappointing attempt to bring the furry ones back on prime time. While The Muppets did amazingly well the first couple of weeks it aired, it suffered from lower ratings each week ending with just a 1.7 rating for adults 18-49. Critics and parents alike complained that the show wasn’t family-friendly enough and that network had in turn made a more mean-spirited Muppets show that wasn’t in line with the character’s history and even the most recent Muppet movies, The Muppets (2011) and Muppets Most Wanted (2014). Currently, The Muppets franchise do not have much, if any, representation at either Disneyland or California Adventure parks.
[Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images]