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More Muppets?

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 10:21 PM

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The Walt Disney Company is currently in negotiations with EM.TV & Merchandising AG (the German entertainment consortium that currently owns the Jim Henson Company) to purchase certain portions of the Henson corporation. Not the entire Jim Henson Company, mind you. Just the rights to the Muppet characters themselves as well as the 600 or so hours of motion pictures and television programs that JHC has in its film library.

So -- should this deal actually go down -- what would this acquisition mean to the Disney theme parks? Well, for starters, the Imagineers are hoping that -- once this deal is finally signed off on (which could come as early as the tail end of April / the first few weeks of May) -- that they can immediately begin work on changing DCA's defunct "Superstar Limo" into "Miss Piggy's Superstar Limo." Where guests will board a stylized version of a limousine for a trip through a Muppet-ized version of Tinsel Town. This revamped ride would come to its conclusion when Disneyland Resort visitors would arrive at the big Hollywood premiere of a film starring the one, the only Miss Piggy.
So what exactly would this proposed change-out of "Superstar Limo" involve? Well, as of this moment, the plan is that the ride system for this Hollywood Pictures Backlot attraction is supposed to remain the same. Likewise the ride vehicles and the track layout. Thankfully, the rest of this much maligned DCA attraction is slated for demolition. The ride's original 2D sets will be torn out and those minimum-tronic figures of Drew Carey, Regis Philbin, and Cher are headed straight for the recycling bin.
Look for "Miss Piggy's Superstar Limo" (provided that it actually goes forward) to feature a whole new set of sets, not to mention a wide selection of full-sized Muppet figures. More importantly, expect this radically revised version of this Hollywood Pictures Backlot attraction to have all the style and wit that the original "Superstar Limo" lacked.
Mind you, this all depends on Disney actually being able to close the deal with EM.TV to acquire the Jim Henson Company. And -- given that the Mouse has managed to screw up this deal several times before -- well ... I won't actually believe that the Muppets have become part of the Disney family until I see the Kermit the Frog walk-around character strolling around DCA, signing autographs for tourists.

Once that happens, I'll feel better about telling you all about the "Miss Piggy's Superstar Limo" clones that are reportedly headed for Disney-MGM in Florida and Disney Studios theme park in Paris. Not to mention how the "Days of Swine and Roses" character show may be end up revived for staging inside the "Goofy's Beach Party Bash" theater at Disney's California Adventure theme park.


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