Muppets Courtyard to be Renamed Grand Park

With the new Grand Avenue redevelopment of the old Streets of America, Walt Disney World has announced that the Muppets Courtyard will be renamed Grand Park.

Muppets Courtyard has had a short existence at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with it being named in March  of 2016, coinciding with the closure of Streets of America.

The current Muppets Courtyard will become Grand Park, an urban square off Grand Avenue surrounded by shops and restaurants like PizzeRizzo and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano.

The Muppets theater was recently renamed “Grand Arts Theatre” along with a brand-new marquee.

PizzeRizzo Gets Opening Date

Walt Disney World has announced that the new Muppet themed restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, PizzeRizzo, will open on November 18th.

The restaurant will serve personal-sized pies.  The décor is inspired by Rizzo, as well as his extended family and friends who have visited PizzeRizzo over the years throughout the two-story eatery.

Upstairs will be Rizzo’s Deluxe Supreme Banquet Hall, where there’s a wedding reception already in progress.

Entrees will be served with a side Caesar salad, and include personal-sized Pizza, available in four varieties—vegetable, pepperoni, meat lovers and cheese, as well as a Meatball Sub. An Antipasto Salad features a bed of Romaine lettuce piled high with tomatoes, Mozzarella, Kalamata olives, ham, pepperoni, salami and Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Desserts will include traditional Italian sweets like Cannoli and Tiramisu. Specialty drinks will also be available, including a non-alcoholic Peach Bellini, and a Wildberry-Basil Lemonade Limoncello in addition to beer and wine for adults.

Disney is Bringing Back ‘Muppet Babies’

The Muppet Babies are returning to TV for more make-believe adventures.

Disney has announced it has begun production on a reimagined version of the classic kid series. The series, which will be CG animated, is slated to air in 2018 on Disney Junior.

“Bringing ‘Muppet Babies’ to Disney Junior is a wonderful opportunity to reach a new generation of viewers and to creatively build on the innovative original series,” said Debbie McClellan, vice president of The Muppets Studio, in a statement. “We hope to engage and delight the nostalgic fans while also entertaining new kids, parents and diverse audiences through heart and humor as only the Muppets can deliver.”

The original series — “Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies” — ran for seven seasons from 1984-91 on CBS. The animated show followed Kermit the Frog, Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and their other pint-sized Muppet pals as they went on imaginary adventures within the walls of their playroom.

Disney acquired the rights to the Muppets in 2004.

The new show, geared toward children ages 4-7, is a co-production between Disney Junior, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media’s Content & Media group, and The Muppets Studio.

The return of “Muppet Babies” continues the trend of networks and studios digging into their content vaults to find shows with nostalgia value.

Disney is set to premiere a new version of “DuckTales” in 2017. Nickelodeon has a TV movie based on the “Legends of the Hidden Temple” premiering in November, a “Hey, Arnold” TV movie in 2017, and a TV special based on classic ’90s animated program, “Rocko’s Modern Life” in the works.

Muppet Mobile Lab Returning to Epcot

The much-traveled Muppet Mobile Lab is returning to Epcot this fall, with appearances reported to begin as soon as this week.

Muppet Mobile Lab is part of Walt Disney Imagineering’s Living Character initiative that began over 10 years ago.  Muppet Mobile Lab is the successor to Lucky the Dinosaur. As part of the shoe, Doctor Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker roll around on a Segway-type platform, performing interactions with guests around the park.

Although the Muppet Mobile Lab has appeared at Epcot before in 2007, it has since travelled around the world, to Disney California Adventure, Hong Kong Disneyland, and at various Imagineering presentations and events.

‘The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History’ Debuts October 2 in Magic Kingdom

Great news for all you Muppets fans out there! Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and The Great Gonzo arrive at the Magic Kingdom on October 2nd for the opening of their all-new, live show “The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History.” Hosted by James “J.J.” Jefferson, town crier of Liberty Square, and Sam Eagle, the fiercely patriotic American eagle who is forever trying to set a high moral standard for the Muppets, this wacky new show is set to take place several times daily, just outside The Hall of Presidents.

Throughout the day, J.J. and the Muppets share their own unique take on the founding fathers as they recount the tale of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, complete with an original song and plenty of humor. At other times, you may catch the Muppets’ version of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, presented in hysterical fashion as only they can.

If you like some hijinks with your history, be sure to check out “The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History” this fall at Walt Disney World Resort!

Muppet Vision 3D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Closed for Refurb

Muppet Vision 3D, the attraction at Disney Hollywood Studios that mixes film and live-action, is closed for “refurbishment,” according to Disney.

Disney did not indicate what is being done during the refurbishment.

Typically late summer is the time when theme parks perform maintenance before the busy fall and holiday season.

Disney did indicate that Muppet Vision 3D would reopen on August 22nd.

Walt Disney Family Museum Announces New Program – ‘Becoming Real: A Muppeteer’s Journey with Dave Goelz’

Meet veteran Muppeteer Dave Goelz who has been bringing life to puppets—including The Great Gonzo, Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, and many more—for more than forty years. Explore the process of creating a puppet character, feeding life and personality into it until it becomes real, to both the creator and the audience. Goelz shares his challenges, successes, and experience in creating life-like, lovable puppets, from concept to construction to performance.

DATE & TIME

Sat, Aug 13 | 1pm

COST

$18 members | $20 non-members | $12 student & youth members | $15 student & youth non-members

LOCATION

Theater

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Dave Goelz has been a principal puppeteer with The Muppets for forty-one years. His characters include The Great Gonzo, Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Beauregard, and Waldorf from The Muppet Show; Boober Fraggle, Traveling Matt, and Philo the Rodentia from Fraggle Rock; Sir Didymus from Labyrinth; Digit from The Jim Henson Hour; Rugby and Ditz from Jim Henson’s Secret Life of Toys; Stinky the Skunk from Jim Henson’s Animal Show with Stinky and Jake; Randy the Stupid Pig and Gary Cahuenga the Vent Dummy from Muppets Tonight! and Chip IT guy from ABC’s The Muppets.”

Goelz first started working for Henson Associates in 1973 as a puppet designer and builder and periodically had the opportunity to perform. The first highly-successful characters that he built were Animal, Zoot, and Floyd Pepper. Despite the fact that he had no formal training for puppeteering, he went on to perform characters on The Muppet Show. He eventually stopped building puppets and worked exclusively as a performer.

Walt’s Circle donors, Supporter and Friend level members may purchase program tickets for this program beginning Wednesday, July 20 at 10am by calling 415.345.6829 or emailing membership@wdfmuseum.org. All other members may purchase tickets beginning Thursday, July 21 at 10am, online or at the ticket desk. Tickets will be on sale to the public beginning Friday, July 22 at 10am online.

PizzeRizzo Announced to be Opening This Fall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Pizza lovers, rejoice! PizzeRizzo will open this fall in Muppets Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, in the former Toy Story Pizza Planet location.

Rizzo The Rat owns and operates the pizzeria, where guests can grab a pizza pie and a cold drink. Enjoy a casual Italian-American dining experience in a whole new way, through the eyes of the lovable, wisecracking Muppet.

Walt Disney Imagineering hid hints of Rizzo, his extended family and friends who have visited PizzeRizzo over the years throughout the two-story quick-service location. In addition to the expansive indoor and outdoor seating area, guests will be able to dine in a “cheesy” banquet room, or take five in a special booth designated just for Rizzo’s celebrity friends.

ABC Brings Once Upon a Time, The Muppets, and More Favorite Series to D23 Expo 2015

d23-expo-2015

Be among the first to learn the secrets of what’s ahead on ABC’s most anticipated new and returning fall series; hear from some of the fairy-tale residents of Once Upon a Time and the very talented performers from the new series The Muppets; and meet some of your favorite ABC stars in person during special signing sessions at D23 EXPO: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event, where all the worlds of Disney come together, August 14–16 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Panels and Presentations

The Magic Behind The Muppets
Friday, August 14, 10 a.m., Stage 23

Calling all Muppet fans! Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work with the Muppets? Here’s your chance to find out firsthand when ABC presents a panel on the magic and art of being a Muppet Performer. Join these creative artists and some of your favorite characters, along with a few surprise guests, for a rare and unforgettable demonstration of what it takes to bring these iconic and enduring personalities to life.

Once Upon a Time: An Evening with Snow White & the Evil Queen
Saturday, August 15, 6 p.m., Stage 23

Once Upon a Time’s savior has gone dark! As Emma Swan transitions into her role as the Dark One, join the resident fairy-tale characters as they cope with Emma’s new role and begin the search for Merlin. This is a journey that will take our heroes from the Enchanted Forest to Camelot and along the way bring many surprises, including Merida from Brave, as Once Upon a Time introduces its first Pixar character. Join co-creators and executive producers Edward Kitsis (LOST) and Adam Horowitz (LOST) along with series stars Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parrilla as they discuss the upcoming season of unexpected twists, evolving characters, new adventures, and new rivalries. This panel is sure to bring some surprises you don’t want to miss and an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming season premiere! The Q&A with this fairy-tale team will be moderated by D23’s Jeffrey Epstein.

On The Show Floor

Autograph Signings
Meet and receive autographs from some of your favorite ABC stars at the Disney | ABC TV Pavilion booth, located on the show floor. Following is the appearance schedule (subject to change):

Friday, August 14
12–12:50 p.m.
Dancing with the Stars pro dancers Witney Carson (Season 19 champion) and Allison Holker (Season 20 runner-up)

Saturday, August 15
4–4:50 p.m.
black-ish stars Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, and Marsai Martin

5–5:40 p.m.
Once Upon a Time stars to be announced

Sunday, August 16
10–10:50 a.m.
Fresh Off the Boat stars Randall Park, Constance Wu, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, and Ian Chen

5–5:50 p.m.
The Goldbergs stars Sean Giambrone and Hayley Orrantia

Once Upon a Time Snow White and Evil Queen Doll Collection
Limited Edition of 300, $129.95

Inspired by ABC Studios’ television series Once Upon a Time, this collection brings to life the beauty, magic, and charm of the iconic fairy tale characters from the show. Exclusively available at Disney Store at D23 EXPO.

Doll Collection Autograph Signing Opportunity with Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) and Lana Parrilla (The Evil Queen) 

Ginnifer and Lana will sign the Once Upon a Time Doll Collection, available exclusively at Disney Store at D23 EXPO. This autograph session will take place on Saturday, August 15 from 4–4:45 p.m. at the ABC booth on the D23 EXPO show floor, and is exclusively for those guests who have purchased one of the dolls.

Tickets for D23 EXPO 2015 are $74 for a one-day adult admission and $54 for children 3–12. Tickets for members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club are $65 for a one-day adult admission and $48 for children. Multi-day money-saving tickets are also available. D23 Members can save as much as $112 off the price of admission, based on the purchase of four three-day tickets at the D23 Member rate. For more information on tickets and the ticket pricing structure for D23 Members and general admission, visit D23EXPO.com.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios to host Muppets Most Wanted Signing with Matt Vogel

Muppets_Most_Wanted

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be hosting a special appearance and signing with Matt Vogel on Monday August 25th.

Matt Vogel is one of the principal Muppet performer.  He most recently played Constantine in Muppets Most Wanted.

Matt will be at Stage 1 Company Store for a special appearance and signing of the Muppets Most Wanted Blu-Ray and DVD from 4 – 5 PM.