Disney's Hollywood Studios saw a large number of attractions close on April 3, but surprisingly the Muppets 3-D attraction has missed the chopping block. With Star Wars and Pixar poised to take over large chunks of the park, many assumed that this dated 3-D film would be closed.
The nearby Pizza Planet closed earlier this year with no confirmation of whether it will reopen with similar branding or not. The construction walls around Pizza Planet, coupled with rumblings from industry insider Jim Hill
, point to the arcade and pizza restaurant returning as a Muppets-themed dining experience.
Often theme parks will use construction walls as a way to showcase what is happening behind them. With the Pizza Planet walls, we see numerous references to Muppets and none to Toy Story. The work permits for Pizza Planet also have the location listed as the “Muppet B Complex.” It’s unknown if this is a new designation or an older one from when there were plans for a Muppets dark ride.
The walls are just part of the reason why some are now speculating on the Muppets rebranding. With Disney now in full ownership of the I.P., they’ve been trying to find a course forward with it. This included a star-studded movie that flopped
and a prime time comedy that saw its showrunner replaced
halfway through the first season.
While the widespread appeal of the Muppets is still very much up for debate, in the parks they’ve proven to be popular.
Pizza Planet isn’t the only place having the Muppets move in; the nearby Mama Melrose sit-down restaurant also is rumored to be receiving the Muppets. Jim Hill has suggested that at least one of the two dining options would include one themed to the Swedish Chef's Cooking School, and the other may potentially be called "The Great Gonzo's Pandemonium Pizza Parlor." The two new restaurants and the 3-D attraction would then make up a newly themed area that would be known as "Muppets Courtyard."
A potential meet-and-greet may also be included. There’s no indication if those would involve screens, such as the one with Crush in Epcot, or physical characters.
The Muppets gift shop has remained popular, so it would be expected that more Muppets merchandise would be available in the new courtyard, potentially via an outdoor cart.
Based on announcements, permit dates and reliable media reports, the new area looks to be opening in phase with the Pizza Planet opening in November
, just in time for the Thanksgiving crowds. If the rumors are true, Mama Melrose’s should close sometime around then.