New Concept Art Revealed For Muppets Land That Never Was

Muppet Land Concept Art
Credit: Marcelo Vignali

It’s safe to say that Walt Disney World Resort has changed since it first opened more than 50 years ago. What started out as one theme park and three hotels is now four theme parks, two water parks, more than 25 hotels, and almost 400 dining locations. Walt Disney himself said that Disney would never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world.

theme park reservation removal

Credit: Disney

Nearly all of Walt Disney World’s theme four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — have changed over the years. But perhaps none of them have changed as much as Hollywood Studios. The theme park has not only undergone a name change (MGM Studios forever), but it has also seen a massive expansion. Hollywood Studios is home to popular areas like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land, as well as popular attractions like Tower of Terror and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway

Credit: Disney

Sitting right next to the entrance of Galaxy’s Edge is the iconic Disney 3D attraction, Muppet*Vision 3D. Disney teamed up with Muppets creator Jim Henson and opened the attraction in 1991. Muppet*Vision 3D is full of classic 3D effects, corner jokes, and explosions. It’s the perfect way to get your Muppet fix while at Disney.

But what if I told you that there was originally supposed to be a whole Muppets LAND in the park? Well, there was!

Muppet Land Concept Art

Credit: Marcelo Vignali

Disney artist and production designer Marcelo Vignali recently spoke with the website Tough Pigs, and revealed that Disney was all in on building a whole land themed around Kermit and his friends. There was concept art and everything.

According to Vignali, Disney was planning on creating a new ride called Muppet Movie Ride with Jim Henson. There was also going to be Great Gonzo’s Pizza Pandemonium Parlor, and the Hard Luck Café.

When Disney had partnered with Jim Henson in 1990, I was working with Imagineering. I had the privilege of working on the Muppet Studios (AKA Muppet Movieland) idea. I worked on the Muppet Movie Ride, Great Gonzo’s Pizza Pandemonium Parlor, and the Hard Luck Cafe… a play on the Hard Rock Cafe. Only, instead of rock and roll memorabilia, this fast food eatery would have Muppet memorabilia on the walls.

Back in those days there was no 3D software or AI… I was it. The architects brought me their plans for the space, the interior decorators would bring me their binder of swatches and polaroids of furniture and fixtures, and the writer would present to me the concept.. in some cases in a very entertaining pitch. And, the rest was up to me. I would flesh out the space and show them what this might look like. This was pre-internet, so there was no way to research some of these objects — I just had to wing it.

Muppet Land Concept Art

Credit: Marcelo Vignali

Walt Disney World Resort was not the only Disney Resort that was going to get a dedicated Muppets area. Disney was also planning on building a Muppets area at Disneyland Park in California, although an official spot was never announced. Muppet*Vision 3D opened and operated in Disney California Adventure Park until 2014. It then closed and was replaced with Mickey’s PhilharMagic.

Sadly, all of Disney’s plans for a Muppet Land came to an abrupt halt when Jim Henson died in 1990.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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