011 October 15, 2015 – Muppet*Vision 3D

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Hi, and welcome to Memory Thread number 11 in the WDW Pensieve, Join us for a bianural visit to Muppet*Vision 3D!

The Muppet*Vision 3D Sign. Photo: Disney Parks Blog
The Muppet*Vision 3D Sign. Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Sorry for the break between episodes, sometimes the real world keeps us from what we want to do most. But rest assured, I do intend to keep publishing episodes. I’ll try to stick to a more consistent schedule from now on.

During our annual trip to Walt Disney World, back in March, we visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While wanting to take a break but be entertained at the same time, we caught a showing at Muppet*Vision 3D.

Muppet*Vision 3D is a 3D film attraction directed by Jim Henson. The attraction features Kermit the Frog guiding park guests on a tour through Muppet Studios, while the Muppets prepare their sketch acts to demonstrate their new breakthrough in 3D film technology. The show, however, completely unravels when Dr. Bunsen Honeydew’s experimental 3D sprite, Waldo, causes mayhem during the next portion of the show.

The attraction—which opened as Jim Henson’s Muppet*Vision 3D on May 16, 1991 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (then Disney-MGM Studios)—utilizes the 3D film in conjunction with Audio-Animatronics, special effects, lighting, and a live full-bodied performer.

The show was among the final Muppets projects with the involvement of Henson, as well veteran Muppet performer Richard Hunt and one of the last times they performed their characters. Henson died in 1990, before production of the film was completed, and Hunt died in 1992.

Before being seated in the theater where the film is shown, guests enter a large room filled with Muppet “props” and boxes with comical and humorous labels. Above guests’ heads are sets of three television monitors, where the pre-show featuring several Muppets is shown.

Constantine, the villain from Muppets Most Wanted, was added to the pre-show at beginning of March 2014 to advertise the new film.

Announcement Screens in Queue. Photo: Muppet Wiki
Announcement Screens in Queue. Photo: Muppet Wiki

The audience is repeatedly reminded to take a pair of 3D glasses from several containers around the room before entering the theater, which is modeled after the theater depicted on The Muppet Show.

The show begins with a tour, given by Kermit the Frog, of Muppet Studios, where many of the Muppets are preparing for segments in the show to follow the tour. Many 3D effects are performed at this point by various characters, mainly Fozzie Bear.

Muppet*Vision 3D re-introduces Waldo C. Graphic, the world’s first computer-generated Muppet, (who first appeared in The Jim Henson Hour.) Waldo is “created” by Dr. Honeydew and Beaker during a demonstration of three-dimensional imagery in the ‘Muppet-Labs’, but proves uncontrollable and wreaks havoc throughout the remainder of the film, especially when the ending patriotic number by Sam Eagle is reduced to shambles.

Aside from the Muppets on-screen, there are also a number of in-theater Muppets, mostly audio-animatronic, that interact with the show. Statler and Waldorf heckle from a balcony near the screen, an orchestra of penguins rises into sight to perform, and the Swedish Chef “operates” the film projector from the booth above and behind the audience. Bean Bunny (who first appeared in The Tale of the Bunny Picnic) leaves the film at one point after being blamed for ruining several scenes (mainly Miss Piggy’s musical number) by Sam the Eagle. Sweetums (who is a live full-bodied Muppet) comes out into the audience to search for him having already done so on screen.

At one point in the show, there appears to be computerized bubbles blown, and real soap bubbles blow from the ceiling. At the end of the show Swedish Chef tries to destroy the now out of control Waldo, who has destroyed the film and is all alone on a blank screen, by firing a gun at him. After missing several times (shooting holes in the screen and even the theater wall), the Swedish Chef resorts to using a large cannon. This blows-up the theater, tearing a hole in the main screen, as well as “revealing” some bricks and sheetrock throughout the main theater, revealing what’s on the “other side” of the screen—guests at a Disney Park. At this point, Kermit comes on the back of a fire engine through the hole to apologize and conclude the show.

It's in 3D!! Photo: Muppet Wiki
It’s in 3D!! Photo: Muppet Wiki

In the final part of the film, Waldo appears behind red curtains and then shape shifts into Mickey Mouse, so no one would recognize him. However, he turns back into his true form when he gets sucked up by a vacuum from Muppet Labs. Statler and Waldorf make their final comment and the film ends.

Now, with that rundown of the history of the attraction complete, please be sure to put on your headphones to properly experience the binaural audio of our visit to The Muppet Studio through Muppet*Vision 3D.

I really appreciate you taking time out to share my family’s Walt Disney World memories.

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If I don’t have it in my recordings from earlier this year, we’ve already got our next trip planned to WDW in 2016. As of the recording of this podcast, we’re 162 days away from going back home. I’ll be recording new binaural audio during that trip and I’ll be sure to try to fulfill any requests at that time.

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Well, that will do it for memory thread number 11 in the WDW Pensieve. Once again, I appreciate you sharing our memories with us.

Thanks for listening and we’ll see y’all real soon!

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