JOE INSIDER - What You've Been Missing / Muppet*Vision 3D

Joe Lane uncovers a treasure trove of Muppet treats hidden outside Muppet*Vision 3D at the Disney-MGM Studios and shares the wealth.

Written by Joe Lane
Published: February 8, 2005 at 12:10 AM

JOE INSIDER - What You've Been Missing / Muppet*Vision 3D
Tuesday, February 8, 2005

With the newest and biggest Muppet production slated for a May 2005 release, its seems appropriate to take a look back at the 3D attraction which opened May 1991 at the Disney-MGM Studios. Most of you who have seen the Muppets in all their 3D glory will likely remember a lot of the puns and sight gags that are scattered outside and inside the attraction, but believe it or not there's a horde of Muppet-style goodness outside the theater that people rarely ever get to see anymore.

Muppet*Vision 3D
The entrance to Muppet*Vision 3D at the Disney-MGM Studios.
Notice the smiling water tower on the roof.

Sure, people who take the time to look around outside Muppet Labs will notice a few clever things: the eternally half-finished paint job that covers the old warehouse, The Great Gonzo hanging from the hands of a giant clock in a tribute to actor Harold Lloyd, the ice cream sundae planters that sit atop the wall to the right of the attraction entrance. There's even a billboard dedicated to Miss Piggy on the backside roof of the theater across from Al's Toy Barn near the San Francisco skyline.

Muppet*Vision 3D

In its early years, the line for Muppet*Vision stretched a pretty good distance and wrapped around the side of Muppet Labs, disappearing between the show building and the facade for the San Francisco portion of the newly renamed Streets of America. It is here, in the dark shade of a queue rarely traveled, that we find a collection of forgotten gags and treasures.

Just to the right of the main entrance, beyond the stroller parking area, you'll probably catch a glimpse of the large, blue pipe that extends out from the wall and bends downward at a ninety degree angle. This, combined with a little chalk art, makes a cute rendering of everyone's favorite blue weirdo Gonzo sporting a pair of 3D glasses. You'll also likely have noticed all the little Muppet-ized objects: air ducts, power conduits, rain gutters: nothing is sacred in the Muppet universe.

Muppet*Vision 3D Muppet*Vision 3D
Ice cream sundaes in the planters and a 'Hidden Gonzo'.
You can find these on the wall to the right of the theater entrance.

Muppet*Vision 3D
A sample of the many items that have become Muppet-ized.

Then there's the movie posters for 'future' Muppet Labs 3D films: The Bride of Froggen-Schwein, Moi, Jane, Follow The Feet and Superbeaker II, to name a few. At least a dozen mock posters based on famous films and movie genres are displayed on the outside wall of the theater.

Muppet*Vision 3D

Muppet*Vision 3D

Muppet*Vision 3D

Muppet*Vision 3D

Muppet*Vision 3D

On the opposite side of the queue, a fence keeps guests from wandering into the inner workings of the fake street facades. Here, there's a varied collection of framed memos posted by Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker featuring interactive experiments including "The Phantom Fingertip Phenomena" and "The Tongue-&-Ear Theory". There's even a collection of blueprints demonstrating the proper way to wear your 3D glasses and 5 Reasons To Return Muppet*Vision 3D Glasses When You Leave The Theater ("1. They do not work outside the theater.")

Muppet*Vision 3D
"The Natural Law of Human Wave Generation"

Muppet*Vision 3D
One of the many memos detailing the outrageously
simple concept of getting from HERE to THERE.

Muppet*Vision 3D
If you can't understand how to watch a 3D movie
after this demonstration, you're hopeless.

One final piece of work: the queue reaches its end once it has run the length of the building, at which point it doubles back to the entrance. Here, a portion of the fence has a number of holes drilled in it with painted words proclaiming "Whatever you do, do not look through here!" A blatant invitation. Inside is a Muppet-ized water pump, an entertaining diversion and yet another example of how creative the Imagineers and Muppet masters were when it came to designing the queue for the attraction.

Muppet*Vision 3D Muppet*Vision 3D
Told ya not to look.

Today, this section of the Muppet*Vision 3D attraction is not commonly open to the public: the queue rarely sees large enough numbers that guests are directed into it, and it is often blocked off to discourage the adventurous Disney explorer from finding hidden treasure in the form of small touches from a truly creative crew. It's just another example of what you've been missing.

For more details on the Muppets and their madcap antics, check out the recently launched official Muppet website.

Readers' Opinions

From Anthony Murphy on February 8, 2005 at 8:18 AM
Excellent Report!
From Dan Babbitt on February 8, 2005 at 10:04 AM
The Muppet show is one of my favorite attractions and have to do it at least one time everytime I go down there! But i dont understand the second meanings of the props inside the preshow area for example there is "A NET FULL OF JELLO" which is obviously the name of the actress! (if you say it fast) If any one knows what others are inside could you post it thaks!
From Joe Lane on February 8, 2005 at 10:17 AM
You are correct sir. The actress you speak of is Annette Funicello, the most popular mousketeer in The Mickey Mouse Club of the '50s.

Speaking of the Muppet*Vision pre show, I've always enjoyed Gonzo and Rizzo's Mickey Mouse gag, where Rizzo appears dressed up as the Big Cheese himself ("Hello, how are you, welcome to my park!").

From Justin Smith on February 8, 2005 at 2:44 PM
Wow I remeber going to the one in California and I loved all the great movie gags. But when I went to the one in Florida I was disappointed since I didn't see any gags. Now I know their are lots of great gags you just have to have an open eye. I'll look for those and more gags when I go back. Thank for the great report.
From Robert OGrosky on February 8, 2005 at 10:24 PM
Ive also really enjoyed this show and usually see it at elast twice per visit.
The pre-show is good with Sam the Eagle and ive always liked Rizzo the Rat playing Mickey Mouse, it is very funny!!!This show stands up much better than HISTA IMHO,

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