Welcome back to Disney Extinct Attractions. My name is Cole Geryak, and I’ll be your tour guide today as we make an unofficial rainbow connection.
Today, we are going to make a quick stop to talk about my favorite type of humor: dad jokes. I think there is nothing funnier than silly jokes that only a dad would laugh at (part of the reason I think I’ll make a great dad one day). And there is no better home for dad jokes than the Jungle Cruise. With talented skippers, every single journey on this attraction is simply puntastic.
So now that you’ve seen that I’m secretly a 45-year-old man trapped inside the body of a young adult (My favorite decade is the 80s), we are ready to travel back to a time when hypothetical me was just born. It’s time to meet the Muppets!
The Jim Henson Company and the Disney Company both have a similar goal in mind; to provide family-friendly entertainment, while also providing lessons that educate people without them even knowing it. Therefore, it seemed like a match made in heaven when discussions regarding Disney purchasing the Jim Henson Company began in the late 1980s. Jim Henson loved the idea and would have remained involved with his company in a creative position. Unfortunately, Henson passed away in 1990 before the negotiations could be completed, and the deal ultimately fell through (though Disney did finally acquire the Muppets in 2004).
Theme park fans did not have to suffer, though, because the rough agreement that Disney and the Jim Henson Company had made allowed them to begin work on Muppet-themed attractions that would be placed in what was then known as Disney-MGM Studios (Disney’s Hollywood Studios today). The attraction that would really come to represent the Muppets in the Disney parks would be Muppet*Vision 3D, but the Imagineers needed time to create the new extravaganza, paving the way for Here Come the Muppets to fill that Muppet-less void.
Here Come the Muppets opened on May 25th, 1990, a little more than a year after the grand opening of Disney-MGM Studios. The show was located in the Animation Courtyard Theater (where the Voyage of the Little Mermaid now plays) and helped welcome the Muppets into the Disney theme park family.
One of the most interesting notes about the show is that it was always intended to be a temporary show to hold over guests while Muppet*Vision 3D was in production. The Imagineers behind the show put a lot of work into it, though, and it feels like a Disney-calibre show, not something you would see at a little local amusement park. I have to commend them for putting true detail into something that they knew would not be around for very long.
That’s about it for the history of the attraction because it was in the park for so short of an amount of time that not much is written about it, so I’m going to dive a little deeper into the actual show than I normally do to make up for that lack of information.
I think the above picture is really cool because you can see the puppeteer as he controls Rowlf and get a really interesting look at how the production of a Muppets film works.
Speaking of Rowlf, guests waiting in line could enjoy a preshow of Rowlf and Sam the Eagle having a conversation, while Rowlf attempted to serenade guests with his piano playing skills. The fact that the designers of the show went out and included a preshow really helped the attraction feel more permanent and shows the dedication to story that Disney is famous for in all of its experiences.
With that fun preshow to excite guests, the main show would then get underway. In the show, Kermit was trying to organize a musical revue with all his Muppet friends, but they were all late, so he has to use a video to call them (complete with a couple of cameos from Lily Tomlin and Mickey Mouse himself) to tell them to get over there pronto.
Framing the show in this way created a fun dynamic between Kermit, the video screen, and the audience, while allowing for some bold entrances (you’ll have to watch to find out.). Eventually, the whole gang arrives, and we do get to see the promised musical revue full of popular songs, mostly from outside the Muppet music library. But I don’t want to go into more detail because you can watch it for yourself right below.
The coolest thing about the entire show to me is that they used people in walk-around character outfits (characters suits that people walk around in to meet guests) as the Muppets in the show.
To see these beloved characters in a larger than life form completely fascinates me especially because the costumes are so awesome looking. It is odd to see your favorite Muppets in this bigger form, but overall it ends up working really well because it would have been extremely difficult to have puppets as the stars of the show. The costumes allowed for a lot more movement from the characters, plus the mouths moved helping the Muppets really come to life with that added bit of reality. It may not really be that cool, but it certainly caught my attention and was the coolest aspect of the show in my opinion.
Overall, I enjoyed the video of the show a lot more than I thought that I would. While not Disney’s greatest show, it kept me very entertained with its great songs and awesome cast of some of the most famous Muppets.
But alas, the show was doomed to end from the beginning because, as I mentioned earlier, it was created to be a temporary holdover until Muppet*Vision 3D opened on May 16th, 1991. Here Come the Muppets’ run lasted a few more months until its closure on September 2nd, 1991, when the Voyage of the Little Mermaid took over the theater. Not all was lost though because a couple weeks later, Muppets on Location: Days of Swine and Roses opened near the Muppet*Vision 3D theater, so the live action walk-around Muppets did get to live on for a little while longer.
I also heard that the costumes of the Electric Mayhem Muppets still exist as decorations in the Soundstage One Shop at the exit of Muppet*Vision 3D, but I could not find a second source to confirm this or pictures of it anywhere, so if any of you could confirm that or even have pictures of them there, I would love to hear about it and see the pictures, giving credit where credit is due of course.
So with that, the Muppets are taking their final bows and exiting the building, to move on to their new adventures in the Disney parks.
Maybe they’ll go and visit the attractions that will be the topic of next week’s post, which happen have to do with these clues.
- This attraction was an opening day attraction at a park that is celebrating its anniversary next week.
- This attraction was narrated by a Disney Legend.
- This attraction was replaced by an attraction based on a Disney Animated Classic.
I hope you all enjoyed this post because I had a lot of fun revisiting this awesome show. If anyone has any memories of it, I would love to hear what it was like in the flesh.
Thanks for reading and have a magical day!
Cole Geryak is a college Disney fan making his way through the world. He has ridden every single ride in Disneyland in one day, all while wearing a shirt and tie. Imagination is his middle name, and his heart truly lies in the parks.