Our recent vacation – All Disney, all the time – had us on a themed cruise ship, a mouse-owned island and saw us in two Disney theme parks, The Magic Kingdom and Disney-MGM Studios. The latter park is home to one of my (obviously) favorite attractions, Jim Henson’s Muppet Vision 3-D.
I’ve probably visited this attraction a half dozen times, but never before with a small child. Our daughter Raelyn loved every minute of it.
Like most Disney rides, the pre-show is almost as good as the main event. In this case, guests are staged in a “backstage” area at the Muppet theatre awaiting a presentation of new 3-D technology from Muppet Labs.
The entertainment is delivered by a series of 3 side-by-side monitors displaying familiar Muppets from Fozzy and Gonzo, to Sam the Eagle and Bean the Bunny preparing for the event. They take full advantage of the 3 screen approach, often having characters walk between monitors or, in the case of Gonzo, having 3 separate performances.
Overall, the back story is excellent and perfectly-themed. I loved walking past the “dressing rooms” of the theatre, waiting in the cavernous “backstage” amid boxes of Lew Zealand’s flying fish and Miss Piggy’s wardrobe, until eventually being summoned to the theatre for the presentation. Rae loved it too, commenting on the “funny guys” on the television and hopping expectantly upon entering the main theatre.
Inside, it’s a great experience. Animatronic Statler, Waldorf, Swedish Chef (manning the projector and a cannon) and Bean. Also, there’s a live actor player Sweetums.
Onscreen, it’s the usual 3-D fair, hosted by Kermit and supported by Fozzy, Miss Piggy, Bean, Sam and, of course, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker. The two scientists create a living 3-D effect, a CGI 3-D thingamabob (whose name I’ve forgotten) who screws up the whole show along with Bean.
In the end, a large whole is blown through the theatre through the magic of 3-D and the aforementioned animatronic Chef with cannon. Folks are ushered out of the theatre and onto the MGM backlot.
Added bonuses for all Muppet fans:
- A rotating metal sculpture of Miss Piggy atop a Muppet-themed fountain in front of the attraction
- Dressing room doors in the pre-staging area, just like on the show
- Hearing Jim Henson’s voice again. The show was produced before his death.
There you go. Jim Henson’s Muppet Vision 3-D.
It was such a huge thrill seeing Raelyn react to the 3-D effects and laughing at the Muppets. Just one small sliver of all the fun we had at Disney last week. Seeing joy through the eyes of a small child really makes you appreciate childhood and your own life so much more.