Muppet*Vision 3D is an attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios which debuted in 1991. It was the last major project that Jim Henson worked on before his death in 1990.
- The attraction is housed in the Grand Arts Theatre, meant to resemble present-day downtown Los Angeles, but was originally designed for the New York Street area (later called Streets of America).
- The plaza outside the attraction was originally intended as the entrance to Muppet Studios, a section of the park that would have been a parody of the rest of the park, which would have featured The Great Muppet Movie Ride and The Great Gonzo’s Pizza Pandemonium Parlor (which is now Mama Melrose). The idea was abandoned as merger talks between Disney and Henson fell apart following Jim Henson’s death in 1990.
- In true Muppet-parody fashion, Gonzo hanging off the minute hand of the clock outside is an homage to the iconic scene from the 1923 film, Safety Last!, a gag that’s been present since the attraction’s opening day.
- The extended outdoor queue of the attraction features Muppet Pipes, a tribute to the infamous pipes Jim Henson and crew painted at NBC Studios in New York.
- Also part of the extended queue is Muppet parody posters of both classic and contemporary films. Examples include “The Bride of Froggen-Schwein”, a play on The Bride of Frankenstein; “Star Chores”, a blatant Muppet rip-off of Star Wars; and “Pirates of the Amphibian: At Wit’s End”, a parody of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
- In the pre-show area, there are a number of visual references, gags, and puns. Our favorites include:
- A net full of Jello: say it quickly and you’ll say the name of Disney Legend, Annette Funicello. You can find it hanging from the catwalks above.
- A tribute to Jim Henson in the form of a portrait of his Muppet hanging in the rafters above. This puppet was originally created in 1971 for an appearance on The Perry Como Winter Show. The actual puppet can be seen on display at the Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited.
- The interior of the theater is meant to resemble the Muppet Theatre, setting for The Muppet Show and featured in The Muppets (2011). This re-creation is complete with a balcony featuring “life-sized” Statler and Waldorf animatronics.
- The pre-show and film were written by Bill Prady. Bill is best known as the co-creater of The Big Bang Theory and ABC’s short-lived The Muppets but got his start as a production assistant for the Jim Henson company.
- Waldo C. Graphic, the “spirit of 3D”, was named after the Waldo mechanism (whose name comes from a sci-fi novel about a disabled man who invents a similar item), a puppetry device used to remotely control mechanical puppets like those found in the TV series Fraggle Rock and Dinosaurs. A later version of this mechanism was developed and used to perform Waldo, a computer graphic, in real-time. You can find an original Henson Waldo and a Muppet*Vision press photo on display at the Jim Henson Exhibition in New York’s Museum of the Moving Image and the touring Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited.
- Waldo was performed by Steve Whitmire who performs a number of other Muppets in the 3D film including Rizzo the Rat and Bean Bunny. Steve took over the role of Kermit following Jim Henson’s death, making his big screen debut in the role in The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992).
- Waldo was designed by Kirk Thatcher who not only worked on a number of Henson projects, but also as a “creature technician” on Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983).
- During Sam Eagle’s A Salute To All Nations (But Mostly America), listen carefully and you can hear a line from the “it’s a small world” song as you see small world style Muppets march by.
- Don’t forget to check out the posters seen at the exit area of the theater. These posters show Muppets desperately advertising their post-Muppet*Vision gigs.
- This location is mentioned in our blog post: Top 10 Places I Want To Sit But Can’t: Walt Disney World Edition
- This location is mentioned in our blog post: A Tour of The Jim Henson Exhibit: Imagination Unlimited
Official Information: WaltDisneyWorld.com
Disney's Hollywood Studios