It's time to get things started with the Muppets in Liberty Square

October 10, 2016, 10:30 AM · Ready for an American history lesson on your next Walt Disney World visit? Maybe not, but what about a history taught by the Muppets?

The Muppets Present Great Moments in American History has opened in the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square. It's a street show, with the Muppets appearing live out of the windows above the Hall of Presidents and the Heritage House store, so it's not anything you need to queue for in advance. Fastpasses aren't even available for it. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't stop by and take a look.

Starring Sam Eagle, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and The Great Gonzo, the performance runs two different shows: one about the ride of Paul Revere and another about the Declaration of Independence. And since these are the Muppets, chaos and silliness reign, despite the best efforts of Sam Eagle to keep the proceedings appropriately dignified and respectful. Here's the Declaration of Independence show:

I grew up adoring the irreverent history lessons taught by Mr. Peabody on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show, so I'm all in with Disney assigning the Muppets to bring some laughs to Liberty Square. It's a far better use of their humor than taking on the inner workings of the TV industry, as everyone saw when their recent ABC sitcom bombed.

If that's not enough good news for you, here's another update from Liberty Square — the spicy chicken waffle sandwiches have returned to Sleepy Hollow Refreshments. The sandwich that propelled this walk-up snack window to the top of our reader ratings for Disney quick-service restaurants disappeared from the menu last winter, inspiring only slightly less outrage than your average 2016 Presidential debate. But now they're back, and the combination of a spicy chicken waffle sandwich and an extended Muppet sketch sounds like one of the best low-key meal-and-a-show combinations anywhere. Sign me up.

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Replies (8)

October 10, 2016 at 9:09 PM · Humm.... can't say I'm a fan of this. Seems so out of place.
October 10, 2016 at 11:40 PM · Liberty Square itself is so out of place. It's an overtly political land that diminishes the escapism of a Magic Kingdom visit. I'm supposed to be leaving the world of today (as the plaque on the tunnel states), yet I'm in the Hall of Presidents with the modern presidents speechifying while the audience cheers and jeers. No thanks... rip out the whole land for something else.
October 11, 2016 at 5:22 AM · This is in reply to Tony Perkins' comment above mine that begins with: "Liberty Square itself is so out of place." Unlike Disneyland, which carries the personal imprint of Walt Disney, the Magic Kingdom and the rest of Walt Disney World in Orlando opened in stages long after Walt's death. Liberty Square is one of the few places in the Florida development that carries Walt's personal imprint.

It was a longtime plan of his to include a Liberty Street at Disneyland with shows and attractions to celebrate American history. Although budget and space limitations nixed Liberty Street at Disneyland, like so many of his ideas, Walt held onto his plans looking for the right opportunity when they could be fully realized.

The opportunity came with the 1964-65 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York, when Disney was tapped by several fair sponsors to build attractions which later found a home in Disneyland. Many people know It's A Small World, sponsored by Pepsi-Cola and UNICEF, was one of those original fair attractions. So was General Electric's Carousel of Progress.

Few know that the State of Illinois was also a sponsor. Its attraction, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, later became a fixture on Disneyland's Main Street. But Walt had always planned Mr. Lincoln to be just a preview of a greater Liberty Street attraction to honor all the U.S. presidents. Although it never found a home at Disneyland, Walt's idea was fully realized in today's Hall of the Presidents at the Magic Kingdom park in Orlando.

- Brian from Florida

October 11, 2016 at 5:26 AM · I've never been a fan of any puppets. I especially found the "fun" of the Muppets never being "funny" at all. But i really really like the spicy chicken waffle sandwich and I'm glad to hear it is back. Sadly this year my vacation plans do now allow a visit (being from Germany i think the shortest visit has to be 3 weeks to pay off) but i hope the waffle sandwich will stay for at least next years Halloween.
October 11, 2016 at 3:15 PM · @Brian from Florida
Actually during Walt's time, a lot of themes were proposed for a second "street" behind Main Street including Edison Square, International Street and even a Chinatown. None of them came to fruition, including Liberty Square, because they didn't work thematically (there was plenty of space, that wasn't a problem). Walt and the Imagineers nixed all those ideas, so putting it into Florida's WDW doesn't honor Walt at all.

Lincoln works because he's from the 19th century fulfilling the theme of Main Street and the escapism of a Magic Kingdom park. Hall of Presidents doesn't work because it ruins the escape of an MK by bringing the politics of today into the forefront. I don't want to Bush or Obama (or Clinton or Trump) when I go to a Disney theme park. I go to escape all that nonsense for a day. It would have worked better as a reenactment of some event from the 18th century like Knott's does at its Independence Hall show showcasing the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

October 11, 2016 at 3:39 PM · I think the Hall of Presidents actually does a great job at being educational and non matter who the current President is, the speech is always careful to not tread any political waters.
October 13, 2016 at 5:02 AM · So are the puppets controlled by real puppeteers, or are they animatronics?
October 13, 2016 at 3:59 PM · I got the chance to watch the Declaration of Independence show and it was very entertaining. In answer to the question it appeared to be puppeteers controlling the Muppets. I've always had a soft spot for The Muppets so this show worked well for me and is a good way to take a not so serious look at history. I was also delighted to bump into Bunsen and Breaker in their "Mobile Muppet Lab" vehicle just behind Spaceship Earth at Epcot. It was another amusing show with some funny audience participation.

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