Last week, we reminded you all about the Muppets’ long history at the Disney theme parks, including the attractions of the past as well as all of the proposed plans (that we know of) for what could’ve been.
And now, for the second half of our feature, everything else! If we’ve already covered everything that is, everything that was, and everything that could have been, we’re left with all the stuff our twisted imaginations could come up with.
So here’s our wild speculation about all the new Muppet attractions that could someday come to Disneyland or Disney World. And if the Disney Imagineers don’t pick out at least a few of these, then I’ll be handing in my letter of resignation. Yes, I know I don’t work for them. It’s a metaphorical thing.
I wish I could take credit for this joke, but it comes by way of our pal Jimmy M. on the ToughPigs forum. Considering the fact that Disney’s Animal Kingdom will soon feature a whole bunch of Avatar stuff (which wasn’t a very good movie to begin with), they’re obviously willing to let one of their franchises take over portions of the park. (Besides, if they want weird blue aliens, Gonzo is always available.) So why not everyone’s favorite unspecific animal, Animal?
The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow features such attractions as Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Mission: Space, and more, all themed around science, technology, and the future. If that shouts any two characters, it’s Bunsen and Beaker, who should star throughout the park creating science experiments, teaching kids about physics, and making stuff blow up.
Just imagine: Right before you take the faulty elevator to the top of the Tower of Terror, you’re warned by everyone’s favorite hotel manager that the cables are liable to break, which makes a bit of sense because nobody really pays to stay at the hotel, and they can’t afford the repairs. The same goes for the broken light bulbs, retracting Murphy beds, and that taxi cab stuck in the kitchen.
The Muppets’ resident ghoul could also take up residence with his spooky cohorts at the Haunted Mansion. He’s got the ideal creepy voice to invite you in, he’d make a fashionable addition to the graveyard, and he’d make a perfect hitchhiking ghost. Although I’m guessing he’d be quite the match for the murderous bride.
On my last Disney trip, I reluctantly visited the Country Bear Jamboree for the first time. Due to the hokeyness and the awful film (with puppets provided by the Jim Henson Creature Shop!), I assumed it would be a waste of time. Oh how wrong I was! The show is hysterical, the songs are catchy, and the bears are animated with some state-of-the-art animatronics. And when you think of slow, backwoods, awkwardly hilarious bears, you’d better be thinking about Bobo. He’d fit in great, and he’d likely have a secret talent at scratching a washboard.
The Matterhorn is a really fun ride, but the extra thrill comes with spotting the Yeti, who claws at you several times as you spin through the caves. And you know what would be double the fun? Unexpected Sweetums! Just imagine him jumping out to startle you, and as you pass, you hear him shout, “Come back! I just wanna go to Hollywood!”
Look, if Pepe had his way, he’d be flirting with every Disney Princess found at the park. But since we’re only choosing one Princess for him to latch his many arms to, we’re expecting him to chase after the one where he’ll have the advantage, being one of the few characters who can breathe underwater. Yes, he’s going to be Part of Ariel’s World, whether she likes it or not.
Dave Goelz has provided the voice of Figment in the Journey Into Imagination ride since 2002, allowing us to see a rare non-Muppet character performed by the great Goelz. But we want them to go one step further by forgetting the Figment puppet altogether and letting Dave take over the role himself. Just slap a little purple face paint on him and let your imagination do the rest! That’s how imaginations work, right?
Aerosmith can suck it. Let the Electric Mayhem take over the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and get the (perpetually late) band to their gig via a fast-moving music-filled thrill ride! Travel across golden teeth and golden tones with Dr. Teeth! Go for a psychedelic trip with Janice! Or miss the whole thing by making like Zoot and taking a nap!
One Man’s Dream is an interactive museum exhibit dedicated to the life of Walt Disney. And yeah, I know he was a pretty cool guy, but I know another cool guy who could fill a museum with his innovative ideas and fun characters. No joke, Disneyland or Disney World would be a perfect spot for a Jim Henson retrospective. Because that one man had a dream too, and it’s about singing and dancing and making people happy.
If you’re staying at the Contemporary Resort, the Monorail can take you straight there! But sorry, Beauregard can only take you as far as the lobby.
At Disneyland’s Cars Land, there are all sorts of anthropomorphic cars, some of which don’t even show up in the movies. So why not slap some faces on cars from classic films? Get a live Herbie the Love Bug, or a murderous Christine, or a sunglasses-toting Bluesmobile! I’d love to see Fozzie’s studebaker get the Cars treatment, which would definitely get more than a $12 trade-in at Mad Man Mooney’s.
The bird-filled Enchanted Tiki Room is missing one famous bird. (No, not Iago or Zazu… That didn’t go so well last time.) The Muppets’ resident fowl, Sam the Eagle, would make a great addition, even if his only contribution is to pop his head in every so often to remind them that they’re all weirdos.
When the Pirates of the Caribbean ride got updated with animatronic characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, I was shocked (shocked, I say!) that Disney passed up the opportunity to add in characters from their other popular pirate movie, Muppet Treasure Island. It could’ve been as easy as including Dead Tom amongst the skeletons, or Angel Marie alongside the marauders. Personally, I’d love to see Clueless Morgan, Polly Lobster, and Mad Monty in the prison cell, trying to coax the key from the mangy dog.
Wait, Disney has something called a “Laugh Floor” and Fozzie Bear isn’t invited?? This injustice will not stand! I insist that they give America’s third favorite bear comedian a chance to bomb on stage with a bunch of freaky monsters! One squeak of his fart shoes will have kids giving the minimal amount of polite laughter, helping to bring a little power to Monstropolis. Every little bit counts!
For the life of me, I don’t understand why Disney hasn’t done anything with the wonderful TV special The Muppets at Walt Disney World. They own all of the properties, it’s a great showcase for both the Muppets and the theme park, and it’s actually good! So if they’re not going to release it onto DVD, I suggest they screen it at the parks. Sure, nobody will want to take 45 minutes out of a very expensive day at Disney World, but it could be a good alternative for people who just need to get out of the heat for a little while. Plus, due to the geography-bending that the characters do as they seemingly teleport all over Disney World, it might even promote more Park Hopper ticket sales so fans of the special can visit the same attractions as the Muppets in one day.
Okay, so it’s unlikely that any of these things might actually happen. But the lesson we’ve learned from this bizarre experiment is that the possibilities are prevalent for more Muppet representation at the Disney parks. The opportunities are out there! And hopefully by the next time (or the first time) you get to visit a Disney theme park, your day will be filled with Muppety fun.
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by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com