I love Disney six ways to Sunday, but sometimes I think my beloved conglomerate really misses the mark. In the parks, I put those attractions that don’t really tickle my fancy onto a very (especially relative to what the parks offer) short “Disney Skip List.” You can read about what landed It’s Tough to be a Bug on this list here, but in this post, we venture over to Hollywood Studios to discuss the “bizarre in a not-so-charming way” Muppet Vision 3D.
I’ll be honest with you (aren’t I always?), but I didn’t realize the Muppets area of Hollywood Studios even existed for an embarrassingly long period of time (looking only at my more recent Disney trips as an adult, since summer 2015). Galaxy’s Edge is likely to change this, but the area has recently been quiet and off the beaten path, especially with the closure of Streets of America.
It was a particularly cold and busy day at Disney in December 2017 when Ben and I wandered over this way and my new fiancé (he had proposed the day prior) hung his head in shame when I looked around wide-eyed at the space, shocked it existed. I think he called me a bad Disney fan, but I might have imagined it after seeing the look of judgment painted across his face. Yeah…not knowing a whole quadrant of a park existed is pretty bad.
The reason we went to Muppet Vision 3D is because, like I mentioned, the parks were PACKED. (I strongly discourage anybody from going to WDW during the week between Christmas and New Years. It’s bad news.) We’d never experienced Muppet Vision 3D together (I had no recollection of ever experiencing it) and it was something to do without waiting over two hours in line. If only I’d stayed in the dark on this one…
History of this Disney Skip List Inductee
Muppet Vision 3D first opened when Hollywood Studios was still MGM Studios back in May of 1991 (making this show older than I am and while some things age well – like moi (ha! I have so much grey hair…) – this show soured like old milk). The attraction is primarily a 15-minute long 3D video with some of Disney’s classic 4D elements (such as real animatronics, light changes, bubbles, etc.).
What the attraction really is is a 15-minute mind trip where viewers mentally bounce along the most bizarre and corny (and not in a good way) spectacle that should have stayed in the 90s. For reasons unknown (but I’m going to say it’s because Disney realized this show’s gotta go), Muppet Vision 3D is only available from 10am-6pm daily. Check here for current times (or just don’t go).
This attraction also popped up in Disney’s California Adventure in 2001, but it mercifully closed in 2014 after a respectable 13-year run. For reasons I cannot fathom, it’s endured the test of time in Florida and survived when the gorgeous Great Movie Ride was ripped out. (There are some great mysteries in the world that we may never solve. What’s the real purpose of Stonehenge? Why did Muppet Vision 3D stay around this long? Comparable difficulty of question, if you walk me.)
The video starts with Kermit taking guests on a tour of the research facilities that develop Muppet Vision 3D, where we all encounter familiar faces (Swedish Chef, Miss Piggy, and Fozzie Bear to name a few). The characters try to catch a giggle with bad jokes (claiming to avoid “cheap 3D tricks” and then slapping you with cheap 3D tricks). The delivery just falls flat and the self-deprecation is sad or cruel (poor Fozzie and Beaker…).
Things really take a turn when you meet Waldo, the Spirit of 3D, a mayhem-causing representation of spastic energy that feels like that gnat on a humid day that won’t leave you alone. The whole bizarre experience left me wondering exactly what I had just sat through. As a positive, you do get 15 minutes to sit down and escape whatever element of nature is outside. Even though it’s on this Disney Skip List, it’s got at least this redeeming quality.
I know the Disney Skip List can be sad, but there are so many great attractions to more than make up for the duds! I think the most similar show to this attraction is Mickey’s PhilharMagic at Magic Kingdom. The shows are of comparable length and both offer a video presentation with 4D elements. Where Muppet Vision 3D is disjointed, archaic, and a bit slapstick, Mickey’s PhilharMagic is eclectic, energetic, and amusing. You’ll never find that show on my Disney Skip List. If you’re over in Hollywood Studios for the day, it’s doubtful you’ll trek all the way over to Magic Kingdom just for a better show.
Within Hollywood Studios, there are plenty of other shows that are much more deserving of your time and attention!! Because each offers seating for a large audience and adheres to posted showtimes, you can also enjoy these other shows with little to no wait! I will admit that two of the shows are outdoors, so you will have to face the elements (and risk delays or closures due to weather). Also, all 3 are longer than the 15-minute Muppets, but I contend Muppet Vision was kept short to avoid attendee riots.
1. Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular
The Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular has people running, jumping, and climbing; volunteer participation; fighting; explosions; and general high-intensity action for about 25 minutes. This presentation is an absolute blast (ha. I’m so punny) and the audience participation makes a little bit of it unique every time. It’s even more fun when they call your friends on stage! Guests get a peek into how the stunts are done while seeing scenes and characters they know and love.
2. Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage
This condensed retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast story brings the beloved story to life with live performers, singing, dancing, and general merriment for about 25 minutes. Time constrains mean you won’t get the whole film, but you’ll get familiar songs and real-life representations of favorite castle residents. A talented cast makes sure the story never feels rushed and you can leave with a little tickle of nostalgia.
3. For the First Time in Forever: a Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
I have a confession here — I’ve ever enjoyed this attraction live. But I feel like I have! I’ve seen so many clips of this show and read so many rave reviews of it that it feels so familiar! With Hollywood Studios undergoing the renovations it’s currently dealing with, it’s simply a half-day park for me. I haven’t been able to fit in the Frozen Sing-Along live, but I can’t wait to enjoy it soon. This show is indoors (yay air conditioning!) and about 30 minutes long. Incredible cast members make magic during each and every showing. Who doesn’t want a safe space to belt out Let it Go?
Disney has some incredible offerings and I’ll sing their praises with all the spare breath I’ve got, but some trips are improved when you cut certain attractions. Sorry, Kermit, but Muppet Vision 3D is simply past its prime. What do you think? Is Muppet Vision 3D a must-do for you? Fight for it in the comments below, or reach out on Instagram @castleboundkim!