This week we are back in my personal favorite park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This part of Walt Disney World is undergoing some major changes. Today we will see how that affects our friends, the Muppets. I’m calling today’s blog “A Salute to all Rides, but mostly Muppet Vision 3D.” (A little inside joke for those that have seen the show before.) It is time to put on those 3D glasses (in your mind that is), and join me as we go inside Muppet Vision 3D!
Let’s get started with our Know Before You Go Essential Facts:
- The show is located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- There is no height requirement
- Fastpass + is available
- The fright factor is 1 out of 5
- Guests may remain in a wheelchair/ECV
- Assistive Listening, Audio Description, Reflective Captioning, Language Translation Devices, and Video Captioning are available
- The show is 15 minutes long
- This show opened on May 16, 1991.
Those are the facts, now time for the fun!
Welcome to Muppet Vision Labs, home to your favorite little green frog and all of his friends. Muppet Vision 3D is a 3D show which incorporates classic 3D film antics, in theater special effects, audio animatronic muppets, and even an appearance by a real life Muppet. Together they bring their unique brand of chaotic comedy to life in this section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Kermit the Frog is, of course, your host and guide through the film as he introduces you to Muppet Vision Labs. The Muppets have been busy perfecting the art of 3D to bring their band of entertainers to life in a whole new dimension. Gonzo starts out the show with a classic 3D gag, but Kermit quickly jumps in to assure the audience that they won’t be stooping to all the worn out 3D bits. This comes as a great disappoint to Fozzy the Bear who had a whole new 3D act ready to show off. Don’t worry though, Fozzy will get in a couple of gags before Kermit puts the kibosh on his plans. A little warning, you may get a little wet during this part of the show. I’m not talking Kali River Rapids or Splash Mountain wet. You can leave the ponchos in the bag, but don’t be too startled when a few drops of water hit you. This is actually one of my favorite parts of the show as you hear kids and adults alike let out a little squeal.
After your encounter with Fozzy, Kermit escorts the audience over to the lab where the Muppets have invited the world’s leading scientists and inventors to help create Muppet Vision. Unfortunately, none of those brilliant minds accepted the invitation. Who does that leave? Who else but Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker! If you are a Muppet fan then you know what usually comes of Bunsen and Beaker’s collaborations. That’s right, mayhem! In Muppet Vision 3D that mayhem manifests itself in the form of Waldo C. Graphic, the spirit of 3D. If you listened to our episode on the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, you will be a little familiar with Waldo since we discussed his relation to that ride in the episode. Here in Muppet Vision 3D, he is the living embodiment of 3D technology. The funny looking bird-like character is very energetic and eager to break free from the confines of the lab. Beaker’s best efforts to contain Waldo fail spectacularly and the audience experiences a barrage of effects in sight, sound, and feel.
Once there is nothing left of the lab itself, Kermit reappears and continues the tour and the show. Ms. Piggy, Bean the Bunny, Sam Eagle, and a few others make appearances as the show goes on. In fact, Bean makes an appearance on screen and out in the theater. I won’t spoil everything here, but there is some audience participation as you help to locate the lost bunny. While all of this is going on you get some commentary from the peanut gallery up in the second floor box seats. Of course I mean Statler and Waldorf, the duo of old curmudgeons. They liven up the show by heckling Fozzy and offering the critical commentary for which they are so well known. Having these two audio animatronic Muppets out in the audience really helps to immerse you in the show. They aren’t the only two that get this honor though. In the very back the Swedish Chef is running the projector for the film. At Muppet Vision 3D he is in charge of editing and catering, with the modo, “Froom Quick Cuts to Cold Cuts.” During the show he converses with Kermit and some of the other characters on screen with his usual indecipherable babble. He also brings down the house in the big finale!
With so many things going on all around the theater, I want to take a minute and discuss where to sit. Statler and Waldorf will be up high at the front right of the theater, while Bean Bunny will make an appearance on the left side, and the Swedish Chef will be in the very back. There is also the orchestra of penguins down front that I haven’t even mentioned yet! So, with characters in every direction it is important to try and sit towards the middle of the theater so you can catch everything going on. This is usually pretty easy as the theater seats over 580 guests. Sam Eagle will try to discourage any attempt to stop in the middle of the row. He says, “Stopping in the middle is distinctly un-patriotic.” So as not to disappoint Sam I try not to be the first one through the doors. Let a few people in ahead of you and should be able to maneuver yourself towards the middle of an aisle. Unless you are going in peak season, chances are you won’t have any problem doing this. Muppet Vision 3D is not the exactly the draw of say Toy Story Midway Mania. Sadly, this show, now in its 14th year, is beginning to show its age.
That brings me to the future of Muppet Vision 3D. What is the future? Many have speculated and rumors abound, but no one knows for sure. As we release this podcast, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is on the eve of a major renovation. If you are unfamiliar with this news, be sure and check out our episodes on the D23 Expo Ride News. Next year construction will begin on Star Wars land and the expansion of Pixar Place. Many rides have already closed to provide the real estate needed for these two projects. About a month ago, some of the park’s zoning maps became public and we got our first look at just how much the landscape of the park is going to change. It is significant. Oddly enough, the line of construction bumps right up to Muppet Vision 3D. The show does not appear to be directly in the path of the bulldozers at the moment, but it is situated dangerously close to the line. Some believe the future of Muppet Vision 3D is tied into the success or failure of the new ABC show, The Muppets. At this time, that show has aired 10 episodes and is slated to finish its first season with another 6. The final 6 episodes of the season will be a bit of a reboot as there has already been a change in show runners. So, the response to the final 6 episodes may not only determine the fate of the ABC show, but it may also influence what happens to Muppet Vision 3D.
I’m hoping the last 6 episodes are just hilarious and the show gets picked up for a second season. I’m a Muppet fan and I have always enjoyed Muppet Vision 3D. It is a fun show that the whole family can enjoy together. While some of the effects are loud and startling, none are designed to be frightening. Unlike It’s Tough to Be A Bug over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the theater here is large and has high ceilings. You don’t feel trapped underground and there are no bugs falling down from above. The jokes may be a little corny, but hey, that’s part of the Muppets charm. Having said all of that, I would love to see this ride updated. Waldo C. Graphic looks a little dated and after you experience the show a couple of times, it can become a little stale. With two recent Muppet movies and a brand new t.v. show, there is a ton of material the Disney Imagineers can play with. I think it would be really cool if they kept the same theater but re-imagined the show with a new script and some new effects. Even better would be a new film every 3 years or so. How cool would it be if you could look forward to a new exclusive Muppet film every few years?
Who knows, if The Muppets t.v. show does really well, this part of the park could even expand with more Muppet excitement. Originally, this part of the park was going to be called Muppet Movieland and be home to much more than just Muppet Vision 3D. There were plans for a Muppet version of The Great Movie Ride, a spoof on the park’s central movie showcase. Also, you could have dined at a Muppet themed restaurant. Sadly, it was during this planning phase that Jim Henson passed away and those plans never came to fruition. Fortunately, Mr. Henson was able to direct this last project and Muppet Vision 3D was still created. The show has been bringing audiences laughs ever since.
With its future in question, you can’t afford to skip Muppet Vision 3D. When you go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, be sure to take in this family fun adventure, it may not be there next time! In addition to enjoying the Muppets in the show you can have a fun experience exploring the queue and pre-show area. After entering the building you will see an unoccupied ticket counter. There is a sign in the window saying, “Back in 5 minutes, key is under the mat.” This is a neat spot where you can actually encourage the kids in your group to be hands on. If they lift up the mat below they will discover there is indeed a key under the mat! Once you are inside the prop warehouse, which is the waiting area for the main show, you will be treated to a 12 minute film. There are multiple t.v. screens at the front of the room where Muppets move back and forth between the different monitors. This pre-show is not in 3D but features Scooter, Gonzo, Fozzy, Sam the Eagle, Bean Bunny, and my wife’s favorite Rizzo the Rat. They offer a little behind the scenes look at Muppet Vision 3D as the cast gets ready to perform inside the theater. The pre-show is not as entertaining as the main event so if you wander in towards the end of the show and are escorted directly into the theater don’t worry about having missed too much. On the flip side, if you are a huge Muppet fan you may want to hang back so you can explore the room for about 15 minutes while you take in the pre-show film. There are a number of different props in the warehouse, my favorite being a net full of Jell-o. See if you can figure out the clever Disney shout out there.
Well, that about covers the pre-show, the main show, and the reason you should go! I hope today’s blog has helped you better understand what you can expect with Muppet Vision 3D.
I want to thank you so much for stopping by today. I am truly honored that you have taken the time to join me today! I also want to say thank you to the WDW Magazine for featuring our podcast in their December issue. I hope you will check out this great publication as it is a rich resource for a variety of topics in Walt Disney World.
Finally, before I go today I have a small favor to ask. As we start to wind down 2015 I am looking ahead to 2016 and I want to know how we can make the WDW Ride Guide even better for you! I would love to hear your thoughts on things you enjoy, what you would like more of, or maybe something brand new you would like to see added. You can e-mail your ideas and thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to coming back next week and talking more Walt Disney World! Thanks again for joining me. Wherever you are, I hope you have a great week and until next time, make each day a ride worth taking!
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