14 June 2008

Walka-walka this way

An occasional reference to Disney-MGM Studios can still be found here or there. For instance, I was still able to find these slates available for purchase at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in April. This is not entirely startling, considering Disney has merchandise they would rather sell than discard and that pieces of history in Walt Disney World seem to be forgotten rather than removed. This is all well and good, but what should one make of a reference, or rather multiple references, to a piece of the park that never actually existed?

Did you catch the phantom history? No?
How about now?

These crates and barrel, found deep within the bottomless bowels of detail in the MuppetVision 3-D queue, more specifically in the preshow area, all sport the same destination: Muppet Studios. Perhaps this is a misstep by the dedicated professional that designed them. After all, Muppet Labs at Disney-MGM Studios could very well get tangled, mangled, misconstrued and come out the other side looking like Muppet Studios. This would be an easy assumption to swallow, if not for the fact that the equally tangled and mangled relationship between Disney and the Muppets includes a Muppet Studios.

Throughout the 1980s there were several opportunities for the Walt Disney Company to combine forces with the Jim Henson Company, first under Ron Miller and Roy Disney and later under Michael Eisner. These deals were all left closed due to reasons ranging from the control of Sesame Street to Jim Henson’s untimely death in 1990. Many, though not all, of the planned collaborations would come to see daylight including Disney-MGM Studios’ shows Here Come the Muppets, Muppets on Location: Days of Swine and Roses, and MuppetVision 3-D.

MuppetVision 3-D was the last film directed by Jim Henson, though he never saw the completion of the attraction, which was planned as the anchoring attraction in a land that would occupy the space between Echo Lake’s Star Tours and the Streets of America’s New York Street. The land was to be called Muppet Studios, and it would have housed not only MuppetVision 3-D, but also the Muppet Movie Ride and the Great Gonzo’s Pandemonium Pizza Parlor. The Muppet Movie Ride was to have been a parody of the Great Movie Ride with Muppets adding their own personal flair to classic films. The Great Gonzo's Pandemonium Pizza Parlor would have featured an interior dining space full of Muppet gadgets and props, video screens throughout the restaurant would show guests how Gonzo, Rizzo, and the Swedish Chef were running amok in the kitchen, and the occasional explosion of smoke and chicken feathers would have completed the experience. Though the Muppet Movie Ride never came to fruition, a pizza parlor was eventually added to this area of Disney-MGM Studios under the guise, and with reduced theatrics, of Toy Story’s Pizza Planet.

The addition of Muppet Studios to the Disney-MGM Studios would have been seamless as, in 1990, the Wonderful World of Disney aired a special entitled to Muppets at Walt Disney World. During the special, the audience learns that Walt Disney World is on the other side of the swamp, Paradise Swamp, that Kermit grew up in.

Sadly, since the Walt Disney Company acquired the Muppets in 2004 there has been little mention of rezoning Disney-MGM Studios or Disney’s Hollywood Studios to include a Muppet Studios, but that doesn’t mean that it has been forgotten.


Unknown said...

till have high hopes that we will see some of thes ideas for this area.

Ed South said...

Those are some great unrealized plans for the Muppets! Seriously though, I think Kermit and the gang could anchor their own park. Even with just the one attraction though, it's nice that Jim Henson's legacy has a place to live on and touch thousands of people each day!

DD said...

Hey this was really interesting! Waka Waka!

Princess Fee said...

Wow, some of those plans would have been fun and amazing if they were actually turned into concrete... I do love the Muppets - and think a new generation would love them too!
As for the Clapper-boards, I still have my one from my 1993 trip!