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The Muppets are coming... to Disney's Liberty Square

July 28, 2016, 10:23 AM · The Muppets are coming! The Muppets are coming!

Kermit the Frog and gang will be presenting a new show in Liberty Square at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom this fall, Disney announced today. In keeping with the theme of the land, the new show will be called The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History.

Being a Muppets show, of course, no one should expect a dry, academically-approved recitation of America's colonial history. Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo, and, of course, Sam Eagle will join new character James Jefferson, "the town crier of Liberty Square," in telling stories from "from the midnight ride of Paul Revere to the signing of the Declaration of Independence," according to Disney World's press release.

With Disney moving away from non-fiction stories in favor of promoting its IP franchises at Epcot, it's refreshing to see Disney find a potentially wonderful compromise here — one that promotes the Muppets IP while still injecting at least a sideways look at real history. The new show will play on the street outside of the Hall of Presidents. (We're expecting some of the Muppets to appear in windows above the street, which should help ensure everyone has a good view.)

When I was a child, I loved the Peabody's Improbable History segments on the old Rocky & Bullwinkle show. I don't remember how many actual historical facts I picked up from watching (though I am certain there were at least a few!), but I do know that I learned from the show that history could be fun and entertaining — and that I wanted to learn more about it.

That is the value that the Muppets can bring to Liberty Square. A revolution is by its nature irreverent — you're rebelling, after all. A crew such as the Muppets can express the emotional spirit of a revolution in a way that entertains even as it gently informs. (Reflecting that convention-defying spirit is also one of the reasons why "Hamilton" has become such an immense hit on Broadway, with its hip-hop soundtrack and minority-led cast.)

The new Muppets show will debut in the Magic Kingdom in October.

Replies (17)

July 28, 2016 at 10:37 AM · The last movie bombed and the latest tv series was just cancelled, so I'm not sure I see the franchise potential here. But if it ends up being a good show, then meh.

July 28, 2016 at 10:41 AM · James, the Muppets will always be relevant. Anyone who's never even seen the Muppets knows who Kermit is.
July 28, 2016 at 12:02 PM · Waiting for Anon Mouse to point out the irrelevance of the Muppets franchise...

I think this is a clever idea, and I hope it gains some traction. I've always had a soft spot for the Muppets, though I can understand why people are frustrated with their current presence in the parks with a 4-D movie that hasn't seen an update in 10+ years, and I hope they can inject some fun into a part of the park that that could use a good jab in the side.

July 28, 2016 at 12:16 PM · One of my favorite moments with the Muppets is at DHS when Sam Eagle mentions that is "anti patriotic" not to move all the way down the last seat in the row or something like that. There is no better way to teach a little of American History with some fun tell by Sam Eagle. The Muppets will be always a big important part of Disney regardless thier movies or tv programs get cancelled.
July 28, 2016 at 12:31 PM · I heard that they are planning on install a Muppet INSIDE The Hall of Presidents. He will be a new Muppet with orange skin and crazy yellow hair.
The intent is to make a complete mockery of America and it's history. Even more offensive, with no regard to Disney tradition they are naming this new Muppet the "Donald".
July 28, 2016 at 2:14 PM · I can't remember the last time I've been this pleased with Disney Parks news. This has the potential to be a great little addition to the Magic Kingdom.
July 28, 2016 at 2:55 PM · @Russell: You want me to tell you something you already know? I'm flattered. It doesn't matter. You have to waste time to hear the Muppets characters tell a boring as heck history lesson in the outdoors in 90 degree humidity. It should be part of pre-show for an attraction you really want to see. The Tiki Room queue at Disneyland comes to mind where you learn about the Hawaiian Gods while waiting for the show doors to open. So maybe it should be part of the Hall of Presidents, but I suppose no one wants to hear Obama give a speech and for the next President, the toss-up between a Hillary or Trump screed is beyond torture.

The Muppets 4D needs an update. That goes without saying. I wonder why they can't just do a live Muppets show for anything new will be helpful despite the recent trashy television series and movies.

The Muppets can be Great again, but I'm not hoping. I didn't know the Muppets had a trashy beginning as someone pointed out.

July 28, 2016 at 7:18 PM · I think this is a really good idea. Muppets (on Sesame street at least) have a history of teaching kids things so you can imagine how this would be educational and have some jokes for adults.
July 28, 2016 at 10:50 PM · The more I think about this, the more I think a "Muppets Improbable History"-type show on the Disney Channel is the perfect vehicle for the franchise right now, instead of the wildly inconsistent thing they did on ABC this past season.

Or heck, just use the Muppets to reboot a Sesame Street-type kids show in the mornings, now that the original has gone to HBO and the wheels are falling off that production.

July 28, 2016 at 11:36 PM · Make no mistake, I enjoy the Muppets and am glad that they are being expanded. However, Disney likes to cash in on hot franchises, like Star Wars and Frozen. The Muppets just don't seem to be that popular anymore. I'm not saying it's a bad decision, just not one I really understand.
July 29, 2016 at 1:26 AM · Maybe this is a case where the content came before the IP. By that I mean that Disney wanted create a minor attraction about US history. Once that was decided, they looked at their catalogue of IPs and found the best fit: Sam Eagle.
July 29, 2016 at 4:29 AM · i didnt know the latest tv series was cancelled. i enjoyed it witty and clever.
July 29, 2016 at 5:42 AM · This is a great idea. I love the Muppets. And while the TV show didn't get renewed, the characters themselves remain popular in the culture (if not always at the box office or in ratings). And I especially love that it supports the theme of the area in a fun way. Look forward to it.

Quick point: The Muppets beat The Simpsons, Family Guy, and fellow newcomer The Real O'Neals by a million viewers a week. Those other shows all got renewed; what gets a pickup doesn't always have much to do with popularity or quality (which for The Muppets, was inconsistent).

July 29, 2016 at 1:52 PM · Is this a precursor to the eventual removal of Muppet Vision 3d to make more room for the Star Wars expansion in DHS? A way of still supporting the IP with the fan base before eliminating it elsewhere. I believe they did announce a Muppet themed pizza place near the theater too?
July 30, 2016 at 7:17 AM · I haven't spent much time in Liberty Square (just passed through because I didn't do attractions that were basically the same as my home park DL) but it seems to me like the Muppets would be really out of place. I couldn't imagine people being OK with a Muppets attraction in New Orleans Square. Maybe I'm wrong. What would be the difference between the Muppets doing American history and say Mike and Sully doing it?
July 30, 2016 at 3:49 AM · I always thought that a fully realized animatronic Muppets Ride would be great for Disney. Kind of like C3PO on Star Tours, you can do the character in animatronic form, and it will be like you are actually seeing them live.
The Muppets 3D movie is amusing enough, and has some cool animatronic work, but 3D movies just aren't all that impressive anymore (I now try to time my show-times at the cinema to AVOID seeing movies in 3D).
The Muppets are iconic. Kind of like Mickey Mouse. When was the last Mickey Mouse cartoon you saw? It doesn't matter how their TV shows or movies are currently doing. They'll come around again. And deserve their own full-out ride.
July 30, 2016 at 7:08 AM · B Goodwin-

"The Muppets are iconic. Kind of like Mickey Mouse. When was the last Mickey Mouse cartoon you saw? It doesn't matter how their TV shows or movies are currently doing. They'll come around again. And deserve their own full-out ride."

Very well said.

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