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My Report: Disney World & The Muppets - PLEASE READ!

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by Vic Romano, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    Okay; so having been in Disney for ten days, I took lots of notes about all that was going on between Walt Disney World and the Muppets. In short, I was pleasantly pleased and extremely intrigued, so here’s my report about what you can expect from the happiest place on earth and our beloved Muppets who now reside there.

    Now I did my best to include as many photos as I could, and I took them all with my camera solely at Disney so you're seeing what I saw, so make sure you check all of them out!

    The Store outside Muppet Vision 3D
    Reports here at MC have led me to believe that there was little or practically NO Muppet merchandise at the store just outside the 3D theater. Now while the whole store isn’t overwhelmed with Muppet merchandise, it is well stocked, filling approximately 30% of the large store. The main items are clothing. There are some really hot t-shirts with images I’ve not seen around before. These graphics include illustrated Muppets as well as photo like images, there’s even a Pepe shirt! Here are some images of some of what they have:
    • A rack of shirts
    • Yet another rack of shirts
    • A cool Piggy shirt
    This particular shirt is of note due to it’s style. Disney has a line of gray t-shirts and sweat shirts that host Disney characters on the front with this style text underneath the image, like "tink" or "mickey." This impressed me because it showed Disney warmly accepting the Muppets as their own family now.

    Now a decent list of merchandise they carry include the t-shirts as well as handbags, wrist bands, two pieces of Disney’s highly collected pins (sorry the pic is blurry! :o ), Song book, TMS season 1 DVD as well as the 6 major Muppet movies, plushes, magnets and even 3 different coin presses from a coin machine (I got the Kermit one, I'll have to scan it for you later) as well as some other merchandise.

    Extremely Intriguing
    Now among these items are also some very interesting pieces like the sideshow busts and new Christmas ornaments (which can also be found in "Ye Olde Christmas Shop" in the Magic Kingdom and the Christmas store in Downtown Disney). But here’s the REALLY exciting thing that Disney carries: Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock stuff!!!!! The SS stuff is primarily DVDs and CDs while the only Fraggles merchandise is the Red and Gobo plushes, but this gives me a LOT of encouragement that Disney isn’t the evil splintering monopoly they’re often portrayed as here at MC. Granted it’s not a big collaborated project, but it does prove that Disney is open minded. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anyone who could give me a straight answer as to why Disney was allowing this additional Henson merchandise as no one seemed to know what I was talking about, but I stand here before you all today that this is very encouraging.

    Other stores
    Along with some of the merchandise carried at the MV3D store (mainly the plushes), other Muppet merchandise can be found around the resort. As mentioned there are the Christmas ornaments, but also intriguing as well in Downtown Disney are the Palisade Muppet figures! Now they only had Clifford, but an associate said that they did have series five on up and Clifford was all that was left, so Palisades was selling merchandise through Disney as well, lest anyone think that Disney was once again an evil empire hoping to squish all things Muppets.

    Disney’s big Muppet item however is a Kermit statue that I’ve heard light flittering about here on the boards, only now I have a picture! The Kermit statue is beautifully crafted and very solid. The flying bugs behind him actually blink a soft yellow light and create a lovely atmosphere around him. Kermit is solid with a soft fabric tightly applied to his body. Like wise, the log he sits on has a nice wood texture and the water beneath him is a clear light blue. It stands approximately 18" tall and Kermit's collar can be removed as it's only support is a small magnet button in the back. The statue is heavy and well designed and surprisingly not found in the MV3D store! However it can be found at "The Art of Disney" store in Downtown Disney, The animation store in MGM as well as several of the more prominent resorts. We had the luxury of staying in the Contemporary resort and were encouraged to see it proudly displayed in the main display window of the Contemporary’s main gift shop "BVG." They seem to be pushing this particular item very heavily, in fact, where ever I saw the saleable statue of Mickey, I saw the frog. Kermit’s price tag is a modest $150.

    The 3D Movie
    For those of you who have had the pleasure of seeing this magnificent ride, you know the magic that exudes from this last Muppet project Jim was part of. I can un-biasly say with great pride that out of EVERY attraction I saw at Disney, this one got the most excited reaction from the audience every time I saw it. Every joke was laughed at, every gag was noticed and every child and adult left with bigger smiles then I saw anywhere else in the park. This also proves that the Muppets still have it when they’re done right, they have staying power and this proves they can still be as popular as they were before if marketed properly.

    Hidden Mickey
    Many Disney enthusiasts know that Disney has a little thing called "Hidden Mickeys". A hidden Mickey is basically defined as the image of Mickey’s head hidden among a Disney attraction, resort or film (several hidden Mickeys appear in MV3D!). Hidden Mickeys extend beyond just Mickey and include other Disney characters too. In a new book published by Disney and available exclusively at Walt Disney World, a new hidden Mickey has been added to the "Star Wars - Star Tours" attraction in MGM in the form of a Hidden Kermit! After some searching and confirmation from a cast member, I found him! He’s made of wires and tubing and I got a picture of him here. He can be found while waiting in line for the attraction amongst animatronic robots and the "trash" they’re salvaging.

    It’s not all rose colored
    I’m not going all mushy here and saying everything was perfect, I did have a few gripes. Let’s face it, even if they rename the parks to Muppet World, we fans still won’t be satisfied, so I do have some issues. A lot of the animatronics were not up and running, but that was the case around a lot of the attractions all throughout the parks, not just the Muppets. Waldorf’s mouth was inoperable and the Swedish Chef’s cannon never protruded from the back either. I also remember the conductor penguin having the ability to move his mouth too, but that wasn’t working either.

    The other problem was how unknowledgeable the staff was about everything. No one seemed to know why Disney was carrying Henson and CTW merchandise as well as their acquired Muppets, nor were they aware of anything new that could be expected in the future as far as merchandise or attractions. Now I have been trying to get in contact with the Muppets Holding Company for well over four months now, leaving messages almost every other day at one point and still to this day have not received a response either by phone, e-mail or snail mail. If I have a problem with the Muppets thus far, it’s this Muppets Holding Company rather then Disney.

    Sadly, Kermit and Piggy no longer make appearances on the side for photos or autographs. No cast members had an answer for why that was either, but I assume it’s due to having few if not just one Kermit & Piggy costume that would require a high level of maintenance.

    But the most devastating is the removal of the painting of Jim and Kermit from the Hall of Fame garden in MGM. A small plaque noting Jim’s admittance to the Television Academy Hall of Fame is now there, but seeing that Jim had no bust displayed prior but rather that picture, I think that was a poor move on the park’s part.

    All around
    Muppet merchandise could be found almost everywhere except Epcot. Also, Kermit, Piggy and Sweetums were all featured in the "Stars in Cars" parade in MGM and personally introduced as they passed over the speaker system which is more then a lot of characters got. The whole FR and SS merchandise really got me very excited (btw - SS merchandise could also be found in Downtown Disney as well in the small but easily found Muppet section there). So if you consider my personal opinion worth anything, I’d like to say that overall, I think that Disney and the Muppets still have a very promising future. Be patient, I’m sure we can expect more. If you have any questions about Walt Disney World and the Muppets, I’ll do my best to answer.
  2. Frogster

    Frogster Active Member

    Wow, man! I loved the merchandise... the t-shirts are so cool. Great review, my friend.
  3. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Active Member

    This is excellent. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I might be able to go to Disney World this coming summer, so I'm glad to know all of these things!! Thank you.
  4. redBoobergurl

    redBoobergurl Well-Known Member

    Great report Vic! Thanks for sharing all the stuff you found! Sounds like you had a great time! I'm jealous!
  5. froggiegirl18

    froggiegirl18 New Member

    Thanks!

    Thanks for sending a positive report. Oh heads up I talked with a store representative at a Disney store close to home, and well he said that the Muppet Movie is going back in the vault..which when it comes out again will be even better (hopefully with more behind the scenes, I was rather disppointed when I found a copy this weekend, because of only one behind the scene interview with Kermit and Pepe..cute but I was expecting a lot more)..anyways yeah just wanted to let you guys know who for the few who don't have a copy.
    Wow those t-shirts are amazing..I should have sent you a twenty so you could have picked me up one. Thanks again for sharing a wonderful report.:)
  6. a_Mickey_Muppet

    a_Mickey_Muppet Well-Known Member

    hey gang,

    awsome review Vic! love it and true! :)
  7. pepestarr

    pepestarr New Member

    Great Review

    That was a great review Vic! The merchandise is great and I wish I could go there now. I think Disney is doing something to help the Muppets:)
  8. Marky

    Marky Member

    Cool of you to report all of this! Wow, imagine going to see the Muppets and Star Wars the same day... zoiks!

    but Vic... "Now I have been trying to get in contact with the Muppets Holding Company for well over four months now, leaving messages almost every other day at one point and still to this day have not received a response either by phone, e-mail or snail mail."

    ;)
  9. dizzyizzy

    dizzyizzy New Member

    I'm really glad that they have all of this! When I was there right after xmas, they didn't have nearly as many of the figurines that you showed. That's exciting that this was only a two month time span and they already are expanding their merchandise!:)
  10. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    I forgot to add that Muppet plushes were also available as prizes in the Contemorary resort arcade as well as the arcade just outside Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom.
  11. Katzi428

    Katzi428 Well-Known Member

    Great report Vic!:)
    Several years ago, I bought a Swedish Chef shirt from their store there. It has a college-like applique on the front the says Swedish Chef's Coolinary Academy on the front & him trying to give a turkey a bath on the back of the shirt.
    I also bought an 18" (approx) Kermit who has flexible arms & legs
  12. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    I have that Kermit too! Unfortunately, they no longer have any large plushes.
  13. I've heard that the reason why Kermit & Piggy are no longer doing meet-and-greets at Disney's theme parks is because the Henson family saw them and insisted that they be pulled (and that the Henson family still has say what Disney does and doesn't do with the Muppets).

    I've also been told that they want to take a new direction with them by having them appear as puppets (as we see them on television and in movies) rather than as full-body walk-around characters.
  14. Gonzo14

    Gonzo14 Active Member

    man, it's been 5 years since i've been there, i should go back sometime soon
  15. AWESOME REVIEW, A BIT JEALOUS FROM DOWN UNDER, HOPEFULLY ONE DAY I WILL GET TO GO TO DISNEYWORLD. LOVE THE PICTURES. DID U BUY HEAPS OF MUPPET STUFF.
  16. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    The full bodied Kermit and Piggy costumed characters still appear in the "Stars in Motor Cars" parade daily in MGM, so they're not completely retired. Interestingly enough though; the painted backdrop of a gazaebo in Springtime that was used for the Muppet costumed photo op is still there.

    As it turns out, I'll most likely be going down again for a three day weekend in December and then spending New Year's Eve 2007 there too, so I'll hopefully interact with some more knowledgeable cast members.
  17. Yoda Man

    Yoda Man Member

    I love to hear that. How much were the busts?
  18. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    I had hand-written all the prices for everything I found, unfortunately I lost that list. :o Sorry!
  19. Muppet Matt

    Muppet Matt Active Member

    Ohhhhhhhhhhh............... Now I want to go more than ever! :excited: What were the 3 different coin patterns?
  20. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    I still hafta' scan the one I got, but one was of Kermit (that's the one I got) one of Fozzie and I think one of Piggy, all with the MV3D logo underneath. In all honesty though, my memory's a little hazy of the other two coin presses.

    The coin press machines could be found EVERYWHERE in Disney, but the Muppets one was the only one of it's kind that existed in the MV3D store.


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