ORLANDO, Fla. – Grand Avenue, previously known as Muppets Courtyard, is home to a fan favorite (and perhaps dated) attraction.
Not only that, but the area is also home to a few hidden secrets that you probably overlooked on your last visit.
The attraction, which opened as Jim Henson’s Muppet*Vision 3D, debuted May 16, 1991, at what was Disney’s MGM Studios at the time.
The inside of the attraction is a perfect replica of the Muppet Theater from the classic TV series, “The Muppet Show,” complete with an orchestra of penguins.
During the show, Kermit and the gang take you on a zany tour through their lab to show off their brand-new movie-making invention.
As with any Muppet adventure, things go a little haywire when Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker unleash their own 3D specimen onto the audience.
The film was a collaboration between Jim Henson Productions and Walt Disney Imagineering. The final released film, also the last movie to feature his voice as Kermit, was directed by Henson.
While the park has seen some major changes, Muppet*Vision 3D remains a steady attraction inside the park so far.
Did you know?
Did you know Disney created a stage show in 1990 called “Here Come the Muppets”?
The performance, set inside the Theater of the Stars, was designed to generate more interest for the new Muppet attraction that was set to debut the following year. For reference, Theater of the Stars now holds the “Beauty and the Beast” stage show after the structure was relocated to Sunset Boulevard.
Does anyone have the time?
The clock in Grand Avenue isn’t your average timepiece.
Did you know the clock tower actually has four hands? If you look closely, you’ll see the hour and minute hand --but if you look even closer at the minute hand, you’ll see a familiar face hanging on for a ride. Gonzo must have gotten the idea from Peter Pan but executed the landing poorly.
Be back soon
If you’re planning on catching the show, stop and check out the ticket counter. As you walk into the building, you’ll pass the box office on your right. Sadly, the ticket attendant has stepped out, but (s)he left a note letting everyone know the key is under the mat.
Well, what are you waiting for? You know you want to look.
The Happiness Hotel
After the show, be sure to visit the Stage 1 Company Store. It may be a gift shop, but the store is loaded with hilarious, easily overlooked, Muppet references.
If you’re planning on making a purchase, be sure to look up when you’re at the register.
The upper-floor hotel rooms pay homage to the Happiness Hotel, the dilapidated residential hotel in London as seen in “The Great Muppet Caper.”
Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo are directed to the hotel after seeking free lodgings. You can’t beat the price when your options for payment are: credit card, cash or just sneaking out in the middle of the night.
Hanging across the balcony is a clothesline with pants and shirts left out to dry.
If you look at the clothes closely, you’ll notice a mouse might be missing his pants -- and we’re not talking about Rizzo.
Gonzo’s Royal Flush
Outside of Muppet*Vision 3D, adjacent to the Disney Vacation Club booth, you’ll see the restrooms.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: What’s so special about the bathrooms?
The answer, nothing. It’s a functional bathroom.
However, the design of the building is what we’re going to talk about.
If you watched “The Muppets” movie that came out in 2011, then you’ll know this is a replica of Gonzo’s toilet company. However, we think this reference can date back to the original “Muppet Movie.”
If you saw the 1979 classic, then you might remember the moment when we were first introduced to The Great Gonzo.
Everyone has to get his or her start somewhere, and it appears Gonzo was great at plumbing. Gonzo’s battered truck reads: “The Great Gonzo, Plumbing Artiste: The Prince of Plumbers.” It seems only fitting that a prince be close to his throne -- the porcelain one, that is.
Next time you’re strolling around Grand Avenue, look out for these creative references and you might even find one of your own.