Changes for the Muppets

Last week I spoke about the changes coming with Star Tours 2, but at D23 there was even more announced that I wanted to touch upon and share some thoughts.  While the big news for the Studios has to be Star Tours 2, there was some other news to sneak by that didn't quite garner the attention that R2D2 and his pals received, but it certainly warrants discussing and that leads us past Star Tours, down the path a bit to Muppetvision 3D.

The news that came out was that Muppetvision 3D would be digitally remastered and in today's day and age, any film we see that isn't digital generally looks lackluster (to say the least).  Let's put it this way, pull out an old VHS tape you have and find a VCR somewhere and watch it and you'll quickly see what I mean.  By no means is this huge news, but for fans of the attraction, it's great to see Disney giving some love and care to this beloved attraction.  Besides protecting the film for years to come, it also shows Disney recongnizes the value of this film and to Disney, this isn't some throw away attraction.  As Disney World fans, we know what it feels like when a great attraction is removed for one reason or another (Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Superstar TV, Horizons to name a few) and we lament it's loss.  With Disney giving Muppetvision the extra attention, one has to believe that the fate of Muppetvision is sealed for at least the short term.

In addition to the film being remastered, Disney will also update some of the props and gags in the queue line. What this means specifically, we don't know but the visual gags in the Muppetvision queue are classic and I am excited to see what Imagineers have up their sleeves when it comes to these new gags.  What's also intriguing is how much influence the Jim Henson Company people, of whom were acquired by Disney, will have in the creation of these jokes. Not to take anything away from the work Imagineers do, but when it comes to Muppets, I think it's best to leave the work to those who know it best.

That's the news that we've heard from Disney but I can't help but wonder what else?  I'm glad to have heard changes are coming but I think anyone who has been to the Studios recently will agree that there's plenty more room for improvement. The big eye sore these days has to be Sounds Dangerous.  The fact it wasn't open at all during this summer shows that it isn't "closed seasonally", but in fact closed for good. It's only hope of seeing another guest may be Christmas week but considering they didn't open it for July 4th, I'm not holding my breath.  While I'd love for Disney to announce the next step for this location, I suspect they are waiting for another American Idol Experience situation, where someone comes to Disney with a big bag of money looking for an attraction.

With Star Tours 2 and to a lesser extent Muppetvision changes being on the books and planned for the next few years, we know what to expect but the crystal ball remains cloudy beyond that.  I would think Sounds Dangerous and the Backlot Tour, Journey into Narnia and maybe even Soundstage One (the building adjacent to Toy Story Midway Mania) are all on the chopping block (or should be, at any rate) and so like an over-demanding parent, I'm pleased to hear about the progress we can expect, but still want more.  

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 by