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The Muppet*Vision MGM Studios fountain
The original entrance sign above California Adventure's version

Muppet*Vision 3D is a current attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney/MGM Studios) in Walt Disney World, Florida, the main feature of which is a 3D film that was the last project directed by Jim Henson. The attraction, which opened on the first anniversary of Henson's death on May 16, 1991, has since been duplicated at Disney's California Adventure at the Disneyland resort in California, which opened its own version on February 8, 2001.

The attraction, which has occasionally been billed as Muppet*Vision 3D 4D due to its pioneering in-theater effects, is billed as a tour meant to showcase Muppet*Vision, Muppet Labs' newest technology. The attraction is sponsored by Kodak.

Contents

The Show Building

The show building and queue for Muppet*Vision 3D are the only portions of the attraction which contain significant differences between the Walt Disney World and Disneyland versions.

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, the attraction is housed in a brick building with a clock tower, on top of which is perched a yellow hot air balloon with Kermit the Frog's face on it. The building, which was designed to match the surrounding New York Street area (now the Streets of America), anchors a plaza that was originally intended to be the center of the park's Muppet Studios subsection before the 1990s merger between The Walt Disney Company and The Jim Henson Company fell through. (Other attractions in this area were supposed to include The Muppet Movie Ride and The Great Gonzo's Pandemonium Pizza Parlor.) At the center of the plaza sits a fountain featuring statues of Miss Piggy dressed as the Statue of Liberty, Fozzie, Gonzo, Animal, and assorted rats and fish "filming" a scene from the attraction.

Instrumental versions of classic Muppet songs were recorded specifically for use as ambient music in the plaza and queue of Muppet*Vision 3D in Walt Disney World. These include "Bein' Green," "Mahna Mahna," and songs from The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, and The Muppets Take Manhattan.

At Disney's California Adventure, Muppet*Vision 3D was an opening day attraction in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot section of the park. There, the attraction is housed in a reproduction of a soundstage. The attraction's sign, which hangs above the entrance and features a giant statue of Kermit, was recently changed, removing Jim Henson's name and adding drawings of Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and Beaker.

For Disneyland's 50th Anniversary, a photomosaic of Kermit as the Scarecrow and Piggy as Glinda from The Muppets' Wizard of Oz was situated near the attraction's entrance.

The Queue

Both exterior queues feature a variety of jokes and references to the Muppets, some of which can be found in both locations, including posters of the Muppets spoofing classic movies. At Disneyland, the queue features a replica of the Swinetrek crashed in the pavement outside the show building, as well as a cannon not unlike those used by Gonzo in his ludicrous stunts.

Once inside, the queues become more similar and are meant to depict the lobby of Muppet Labs. The gags and references continue at the unattended security desk, by which hangs a photograph of Link Hogthrob in his "Bear on Patrol" uniform. A sign indicates that the key is under the mat, and, sure enough, if lifted, the mat reveals a key to the building embedded in the concrete floor.

Both queues end in a holding area designed to look like a storage facility for Muppet props. Although the specific props are different in each park, some examples of the gags to be found include a net full of Jell-O (Annette Funicello) and flat, plywood fruit in a box marked 2D Fruities. Other props include a photograph of Fozzie from his Kermitage Collection photo shoot, Miss Piggy's costumes, and crates full everything from Gonzo's Stunt Props (and Really Weird Stuff) to Bunsen's inventions (a tongue inflator?).

It is in this room that the audience is treated to the pre-show film.

The Pre-Show Film

The pre-show film of the Muppets preparing for the main show is presented on four sets of three interconnected televisions situated above the audience in the prop room.

The proceedings are supervised by Scooter, who attempts to organize the backstage crew while dealing with interruptions from the cast. Fozzie presents a new singing group called The Three Ds, who flub "By the Light of the Silvery Moon;" Bean Bunny attempts to bring Miss Piggy props for her big musical number; Sam the Eagle offers a safety spiel, deeming stopping in the middle of the row unpatriotic; and Rizzo the Rat tries to pass as Mickey Mouse.

While, for the most part, the footage is the same on each of the three screens, the film occasionally "breaks" into three separate videos for the purpose of a gag. In one instance, Bean Bunny is karate chopped "offstage" by a displeased Piggy and is sent flying from the rightmost screen to the leftmost one. In another, three apparently identical shots of a dancing Gonzo are shown to be distinct from one another when one Gonzo's flower pot falls off his head, and the other two Gonzos comment on it.

A scrolling LED screen that hangs below the television sets features additional jokes, including a reference to The Mickey Mouse Club, while counting down to showtime.

David Gumpel directed the footage. [1]

3D!

At the end of the pre-show, the audience is ushered into a reproduction of the Muppet Theater from The Muppet Show, complete with audio-animatronic versions of Statler and Waldorf in their box. After the members of the audience, including the two curmudgeons, are instructed to don their purple 3D glasses, Nicky Napoleon and His Emperor Penguins play an instrumental version of "The Muppet Show Theme" from the pit, and the curtain rises on a door that reads "Kermit the Frog Presents: Muppet*Vision 3D." The "3D" from the sign, which starts to float over the audience, is revealed to be attached to a pole that Gonzo operates through a hole in the door. The show's resident weirdo is briefly chastised by Kermit, who promises the audience that, even though the Muppets will be demonstrating their newest three-dimensional technology, they will not be stooping to cheap 3D tricks like the one Gonzo just enacted.

After introducing an animatronic Swedish Chef, who, reprising his role from The Muppet Movie, is operating the film projector from the back of the theater, Kermit is interrupted by Fozzie, who is intent on demonstrating the first of several cheap 3D tricks, the kind that Kermit was so hoping to avoid. These include a snake nut can and a flower in his lapel that, through the use of in-theater effects, squirts real water onto the audience. As always, Statler and Waldorf take this opportunity to heckle the bear, telling him that he's not even funny in 3D.

When Kermit finally introduces the creators of Muppet*Vision, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker, he finds that they are unable to control their invention, which backfires, injuring Beaker and releasing Waldo C. Graphic, the world's first living 3D effect. After Waldo performs several 3D tricks of his own, such as blowing himself up, bouncing on audience members' heads, and producing millions of tiny versions of himself, Bunsen instructs Beaker to suck him up with the VacuumMuppet . This also backfires and instead sucks up not only the Labs but everything in the film except for Waldo, who flies off.

Kermit appears and introduces Miss Piggy's number. The audience is treated to a lovely lake and garden scene where Miss Piggy sings her "little" song, "Dream a Little Dream." She is, despite her best efforts, "assisted" by Bean Bunny, who has been trying to help with her musical number ever since the pre-show. His special effects, which include blowing 3D bubbles that are mixed with real bubbles blown into the audience, do more harm than good, as Piggy tries to get rid of him. Bean then hands her a water ski rope that drags her off into the lake.

Sam the Eagle, who is preparing a musical number of his own, appears and tells Bean to go away. Bean, crushed, turns around to leave the movie. He ends up in a pitch black area outside the garden scene, where Waldo appears trying to find his way out of the movie. Bean decides to run away with Waldo, when Gonzo shows up and asks Bean what he's doing. Bean tells him he's leaving the movie, forever, and Gonzo asks him if he can get him a sandwich. It is not until Bean and Waldo leave that Gonzo realizes Bean is not coming back, and he freaks out and runs off to find Kermit. Sweetums then walks across the screen playing paddleball.

When Gonzo finds Kermit and Fozzie, the three of them organize a search party for Bean. Kermit tells the audience that if they see a rabbit, to holler, and he and his friends then call out for Bean. A walk-around version of Sweetums walks around the audience, holding a flashlight while calling for Bean. Spotlights acting as flashlights shine across the theater searching for Bean.

When prerecorded voices of children say that they see him in the balcony on the left, an animatronic Bean Bunny appears in the box opposite Waldorf and Statler's. Kermit asks him to come back, but Bean agrees to stay only if he is given something to do. The "something" they settle on is allowing Bean to light the fireworks for Sam's big production number.

Sam's big production number, "A Salute to All Nations (But Mostly America)," begins, starring Muppets patterned after the dolls featured in the it's a small world attraction in the neighboring Magic Kingdom theme park. Dolls dance, dressed in clothes decorated with stars and stripes, and waving flags from countries around the world. A large band of dolls plays marching music (featuring the 1812 Overture and Stars and Stripes Forever).

But of course, these are the Muppets, so not EVERYTHING will run smoothly! Things begin to go haywire when the three-hour finale is cut down to a minute and a half, and one of the dolls gets a tuba stuck on his head and starts running around for help, bumping into others and knocking them over. Bean shoots off the fireworks, and breath-taking fireworks shoot off into the skies, and animations of fireworks exploding appear up on the ceiling. Waldo then appears as a rocket and flies around Miss Piggy outfitted as the Statue of Liberty, causing her dress to fall down.

Waldo then crashes into the orchestra of penguins, exploding into flames, and shooting out as a rocket back into the screen. The orchestra is now on fire, and Sweetums yells for the Chef, telling him to stop the projector. Sweetums then puts out the orchestra fire with a bucket of water, but the angry penguins think Sweetums was the cause of their trouble. A red and white cannon rises out of the orchestra pit, aimed at the monster. Sweetums, freaked out, tells the audience to duck. The cannon fires, and instead of hitting Sweetums, misses and hits the Chef's projection booth in the back. The projector breaks, causing the film strip to go off balance and rip apart, leaving the screen blank. The Chef, however, is angry at the penguins and Waldo.

The Swedish Chef takes out a large blunderbuss and shoots at Waldo several times, hitting the screen instead. Waldo teases the Chef, and turns into a target. Waldo then realizes his mistake, as the angry Chef puts the gun away and instead takes out a huge cannon! The cannon sticks outside the hanging booth in the wall, and Waldo tells the audience to duck. The Chef fires his large cannon, and BOOM!! The cannon shot is so explosive it practically destroys the inside of the theater!

When the smoke from the cannon fire clears, Statler and Waldorf are crouching in their box, holding white flags and saying "We surrender! We surrender!" The penguins are back under the floor, Sweetums is still standing and says "What an explosion!", and runs backstage, and the Swedish Chef and his dangerous cannon are gone from the projection booth. The theater lies in ruins. Holes are blown in the walls, and the screen is now gone, leaving just a back wall.

A large Muppet Labs firetruck then backs up through the back wall of the screen, and perched on the back ladder of the truck sits Kermit. Park guests and a costumed character Pluto are seen in the background.

Kermit bids the audience farewell, telling the audience that he hopes they liked this presentation of Muppet*Vision 3D and hopes they'll come back soon. He then ensures us that the theater only suffered "minor" damage. The firetruck drives up out of the back wall of the screen and the curtains close, when 3D Waldo reappears once again, this time turning himself into Mickey Mouse before the VacuumMuppet behind the curtain sucks Waldo back in, finally ridding the audience and the show of him.

Bean, still in the box to the left, comments that the ending was cute. Statler, who is back sitting in the balcony on the right, asks if they have time to go to the bathroom before the next show. Waldorf tells him they can't, the old fool, they're bolted to the seats!

The curtains to the balconies shut, and the show is over. The audience leaves and puts their 3D glasses in the special bins as The Muppet Show theme plays, saying good-bye to the audience.

Translations

Two international dubs of the film have been created. At the Disneyland Resort there are wireless translation headsets that allow guests to enjoy the show in either Spanish or Japanese. The audio experience is part of the "Ears to the World" programs which is currently offered on three popular attractions - “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience," "It’s Tough to be a Bug!," and "Muppet*Vision 3D."

Guests hear a translation in Spanish or Japanese recorded by character actors who "reflect the excitement and spirit of the English recording".[2]

The show has also been adapted for the hard of hearing and visually impaired. Disney's Handheld Device provides "assisted listening" and "handheld captioning" for guests with hearing disabilities. The device also provides "audio description" which gives narrated audio to guests with visual disabilities by describing visual attraction elements, such as actions, settings and scene changes.[3] Guests with visual or hearing disabilities can obtain handheld devices at the Guest Relations offices.

Digital Update

In Development: This section contains information on an upcoming and currently unreleased item.

In 2009, it was announced that Muppet*Vision 3D would receive an update at both the Florida and California parks. The film will be remastered and reissued in Disney Digital 3D. Additionally, a new pre-show and other queue area updates are planned.[4][5][6]

New Muppet parody posters were added to the queue in October 2009, including the spoofs Hammah Montana, Pirates of the Amphibian, High School Mayhem, Wild Frogs, and BEAK•E.

David Gumpel, director of the original pre-show, reported on his blog that he directed a new version of the preshow in November 2008 for the updated attraction. [7] Gumpel did not indicate when the new pre-show was expected to debut.

The Gift Shop

The Stage One Company Store, which is situated at the exit of Muppet*Vision 3D at the Disney's Hollywood Studios, specializes in merchandise featuring the Muppets. Although the entrance to the attraction is somewhat staid, the facade of the gift shop is decidedly more zany, with a canopied entrance that gives the appearance of entering the mouth of a giant Muppet.

The store has carried exclusive Muppet*Vision 3D merchandise, including PVC figures, a poseable figures set, plush toys, and pins. It has also carried action figures from Palisades Toys, as well merchandise featuring the characters from Fraggle Rock.

Among the store's many props are sets of lockers reminiscent of the ones that Kermit and his friends used as beds in The Muppets Take Manhattan in the entrance way, and a recreation of the second floor balcony of the Happiness Hotel from "The Great Muppet Caper".

When the store first opened it had two full rooms of Muppet merchandise. The main room was a recreation of the Happiness Hotel lobby, and the second room depicted the Muppet Babies' nursery from The Muppets Take Manhattan.

A few years after opening, however, the Muppet merchandise was removed entirely from the second room. The room has since been used to sell various Disney branded apparel, but the Muppet Babies' nursery window still remains.

At Disney's California Adventure, a stand outside the theater sells Muppet merchandise. The stand was originally called Rizzo's Prop and Pawn Shop, but was renamed the Studio Store when Monsters, Inc. merchandise was added.

Trivia

  • The costumed actors who perform Sweetums in the live portions of the show are trained by the Jim Henson Company for authenticity. [8]
  • The movie parody posters in the queue at Disneyland include Jurassic Pork, Frumpy Old Men, and Pigs in Space: The Movie.
  • The rear half of a crashed motorcycle is embedded in the wall above the entrance to the soundstage in Disneyland's version of the attraction. The hole in the wall above the motorcycle suggests that the motorcycle belonged to the Great Gonzo.
  • In Walt Disney World, the fire truck used in the film's final sequence was situated around the corner from the attraction's exit. It has since been removed to make way for the Stage One Company Store.
  • The Statler and Waldorf audio-animatronic characters have a third arm. When they surrender and are waving white flags, the arm being used is attached to the inside of the box. [9]

Gallery

The show

The Muppet Theater

Walt Disney World exterior

Walt Disney World pre-show

Disney's California Adventure exterior and pre-show

Credits

Cast

Directing John Henson, who's performing Sweetums.

Pre-Show

Muppets:
Gonzo, Scooter, Rizzo the Rat, Sam the Eagle, Fozzie Bear, Camilla, Bean Bunny, The Three Ds, Roy, Chuck, Penguins, Whatnots
Background Muppets:
Cows, Quongo, Luncheon Counter Monster, Pink Frackle, Dark Green Hunchback Frackle, Goldfish

3D Movie

Muppets:
Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Zoot, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, Waldo C. Graphic, Bean Bunny, Sweetums, Sam the Eagle
Background Muppets:
Janice, Scooter, Toy Soldiers, Penguins

Audio-Animatronic

Muppets:
Statler and Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, Bean Bunny, Nicky Napoleon and His Emperor Penguins

Live

Muppets:
Sweetums

Performers

Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Waldorf, and the Swedish Chef
Frank Oz as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Sam the Eagle
Dave Goelz as Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and Zoot
Richard Hunt as Scooter, Statler, Beaker, Sweetums, and Chuck
Jerry Nelson as Camilla
Steve Whitmire as Waldo C. Graphic, Bean Bunny, and Rizzo the Rat
John Henson as Sweetums (puppeteering only)
David Rudman as Roy and Max
Len Levitt as Toy Soldiers
Rickey Boyd
Kevin Carlson
Rick Lyon
Steven Ritz-Barr
Allan Trautman
Mark Bryan Wilson
Wayne Allwine as Waldo's impersonation of Mickey Mouse

References

  1. Bhaktivision, Inc. David Gumpel's CV
  2. Disney Experience Offered in Multiple Languages
  3. Handheld Device Adds Audio Description
  4. Muppets at D23: Movies, DVDs, and Merchandise News!
  5. The Muppets at D23
  6. D23 Update: Special Muppets Presentation
  7. David Gumpel's Blog
  8. Ayers, Brad The MuppetCast show #26
  9. MouseTunes fan podcast, 1/28/07

External links

  • An Officially Unofficial Muppet*Vision 3D Page
  • Tough Pigs Soapbox: Secrets of the Third Dimension
  • Video and transcript of the official opening at Disney's California Adventure
  • Laurent Linn's designs for the Stage One Company Store facade


Muppet Movies

This article uses material from the "Muppet*Vision 3D" article on the Muppet wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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