Muppet*Vision Week: Disney World vs. Disneyland, pt. 1

Published: May 24, 2016
Categories: Feature

Muppet*Vision 3D opened at Walt Disney World in May, 1991 – 25 years ago!  The attraction was duplicated in Disneyland, and features Kermit and the Muppets showing off 3D technology, including a bizarre digital puppet named Waldo.  It is also notable for being the last Muppet production overseen by Jim Henson before his passing.  To celebrate this momentous occasion, we are dedicating a week of ToughPigs articles to Muppet*Vision 3D!

Back in 2011, I made my first-ever trip to Walt Disney World as an adult.  I’d only been there once before, and as poor luck would have it, it was mere months before Muppet*Vision 3D would debut.  So only 20 years later, I finally got to experience the wonder of Jim’s last project and a lost (to me) Muppet production.

While there, I took about 9,000 photos of every detail in and around the theater area with the intention of sharing them on ToughPigs.  Time went on, and I postponed and rescheduled and mostly forgot.  A few years later, I made my first visit to Disneyland, and I got to experience their version of the Muppet*Vision 3D attraction.  Once again, I took a billion photos.  And once again, I put off any sort of sharing.

I also visited each park once more to (you guessed it) take more photos, so the pictures you’re about to see are composited from anywhere between 2011 and 2015.

And now that we’re celebrating Muppet*Vision’s 25th anniversary, it seems like the perfect time to finally display all of those pictures!  It’s almost as if I planned it that way all along.  I totally did.  No, really.

We thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast the Walt Disney World and Disneyland versions of the Muppet attraction, so you’ll have the opportunity to see photos from both below.  Today, we’re starting with photos from outside the theater and just inside the entryway.  Later this week, we’ll continue with the journey through the elaborate waiting area, into the theater, and through the gift shop.

Now, come on!  Let’s go to Disney World!  And Disneyland!  We’re the luckiest kids ever!

Outside the Theater

Walt Disney World

As you’ll see below, the courtyard area (soon to be renamed The Muppets Courtyard) is full of gags and awesome visuals.  The hot air balloon, funny signs, spilled paint, and even an anvil, hanging precariously from a frayed rope.

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 The Fountain at Walt Disney World

The highlight of Disney World’s Muppet*Vision has got to be the fountain, complete with a spinning Miss Piggy Statue of Liberty.  One detail I’d never noticed before: The rats’ boat has a name.  “Wretched Refuse.”

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The Posters at Walt Disney World

Scattered throughout the courtyard are posters, posters, and more posters.  Some are straight-forward, and others are filled with puns.  It’s stuff like this that really make the Muppets Courtyard the sort of place you can spend hours and hours.  And also hours.  Who doesn’t love taking a little time out of their busy Disney vacation to do some light reading?

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The outside area at Disneyland is pretty different.  Rather than posters, they have full-scale models.  A crash test dummy Beaker, the remains of Gonzo’s motorcycle stunt, and lots and lots of barrels and boxes with more Muppet-style puns.  But the highlight is absolutely the crashed Pigs in Space ship, the Swinetrek, which is much smaller than it looks on TV.

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The Entryway

Walt Disney World

Just inside the door, you’re greeted with a vacant security desk.  Once again, puns galore!  Down the hallway to the theater, you’ll also pass several doorways that each have their own jokey jokes.  And as most people have already discovered, if you believe the sign that claims there’s a key under the mat, you will indeed find a key under the mat.  On one recent visit, we also spotted something that wasn’t part of the regular display: A dustbin with a drawing of Animal on it.  How appropriate.

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The entryway at Disneyland is pretty similar.  You’ve got your security desk, more Wanted posters, and punny doors.  Aside from the Muppet*Vision show itself, this may be the one element that’s most similar between the two parks.

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Stay tuned for part 2 of our Muppet*Vision photos as we continue our tour into the waiting area, through the theater, and exit through the gift shop!

Click here to crash your spaceship in front of the ToughPigs forum!

by Joe Hennes –

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Written by Joe Hennes

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