“…but he was an even bigger fan of the Disney theme parks. Disneyland and Walt Disney World were, he said, “two of my favorite places,” and he made regular vacations to the two parks for decades, even making a point to visit the newly-opened EPCOT Center in early 1983, within months of the park’s grand opening. Putting himself and the Muppets in the hands of Disney then, would, in a sense, be like going on an extended vacation — one in which he would be expected to work and create, certainly, but then that was just the kind of vacation Jim liked best.” — from Chapter 15 of Jim Henson: The Biography
Let’s talk about this interview that Kermit did with The Disney Parks Blog back in February. It was eye-opening to read that Kermit wants more Muppet attractions in the theme parks just like all of us do. It gave me hope that something could happen in the future. (That’s kind of a clue!) Until the big news, I wanted to talk about one of my latest ideas. In fact, it makes me so excited that it’s even more upsetting that it will never come true. Oh well. Here goes some armchair (couch?) imagineering for you.
What if the Wonders of Life pavilion became the Muppet Labs?
I’ll admit I got the idea from a Muppet Show sketch. Every few episodes, Dr. Honeydew and poor Beaker starred in a segment where the scientist unveiled a new invention. “Where the future is made today” is the tagline and if that doesn’t say Epcot to you… I don’t know what does.
→ The center of the pavilion would be set up like Honeydew’s lab. Maybe include a timeline of “successful” inventions and also have an area that is incredibly hands-on for kids and adults alike. (Crafts, touch screens, etc.)
→ I miss Cranium Command so much, and I would love to see a similar show were guests hop between different Muppets and what it is like to live inside their brains. (I would even be up for a parody version of Cranium Command with Muppet counterparts.)
→ The big problem with Future World is the lack of things to do. Rides like Body Wars (and Star Tours in DHS) eat up a lot of guests at one time. (Plus, inside a pavilion you are shielded from the elements.) I would love to have a simulation ride where we are making some kind of trouble with the Muppets. (Maybe they are trying to solve problems in a theme park and keep messing stuff up.)
→ Let’s talk about that little theatre where “The Making of Me” used to be featured. I never saw it. (Whew.) This would be the perfect spot to play other Honeydew and Beaker skits, or maybe (I’m wishing) The Muppets in Walt Disney World — a special that everyone needs in their lives.
→ It would be amazing to see an area dedicated to puppetry and how it works, and how it is moving into the future. Not to mention, the creation of Waldo, everyone’s favorite 3D friend, which would help this pavilion tie into more Muppet fun in Hollywood Studios. (No, I don’t want the 3D movie moved from DHS to here. I also do not want to close up the Muppet section of DHS. Do not pass go and do not collect $200. My only exception would be if we got a new 3D movie in DHS and the old one needed a home.)
→ Science playsets, Muppet merchandise, and (!!) a Muppet What-Not Shop where guests can create their own Muppets and take them home.
→ Quick service that includes drinks sold in beakers (with glow sticks!) and some Muppet-y inspired desserts like banana creme pie. (Get it! Get it!)
(This is my favorite detail so it has to be a thing.)
→ Pipe in some wacky music tunes (some of the weirder ones like “Cabin Fever” from Muppets Treasure Island) but also have the Muppets conversing and things exploding from time to time. It would definitely make the place lively and fun because you won’t know who you will be hearing next.
Sure, we want more movies — yes. We want The Muppet Show reboot. But more of a presence in theme parks is imperative too. Not only is it one of the reasons that Jim Henson wanted to strike a deal with the Disney Company in the first place (legacy) but it’s a great way to introduce kids to the characters and make them remember so they aren’t scratching their heads when a new movie rolls around every three years. More presence = more knowledge = more excitement = more people wanting the Muppet franchise to grow and move forward.
Here’s to the future…
I’m starting to get upset because I want this to happen so badly. Disney World Gods, can you hear me?
What would you want to see in a Muppet pavilion? Or in a Muppet attraction in general?