Ryan Dosier – Longtime readers of The Muppet Mindset know that it is a tradition for my family and I to travel down to Orlando and go to Walt Disney World. This year we didn’t get to make our trip in March, the usual time, but it was thankfully moved to just last week! Another tradition for me is to find all the Muppet stuff in the Happiest Place on Earth and come back here and write about it for you, my adoring (right?) fans! I’ll break down the Muppet finds park-by-park… so park yourself and read on!
EPCOT: The first park I visited was Epcot, Walt Disney’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (more or less) and home of the world’s largest golf ball! It was here that the heat of the summer Orlando sun first kicked my butt. It was not pleasant… but I was at Walt Disney World, so it was nigh impossible to be angry. Anyway… there was a surprisingly large Muppet presence in one area of Epcot, and that was the Imagination Pavilion gift shop, found as you exit “Journey Into the Imagination with Figment.” For Muppet fans who don’t know, Figment is a hyper purple dragon who originated at the Disney Parks and is voiced by none other than Dave Goelz! Because of this I found it wonderfully appropriate to see Muppet stuff in the gift shop.
But what stuff was there? I’ll tell you! They had plush, Animal drumsticks, the recent Disney toy set, and a few t-shirts. One of the shirts, which I later discovered came out that very day, is the one pictured at right. It. Is. Awesome. It was my first Walt Disney World purchase, and I’m actually wearing it right now. It features the eyes of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Animal, Rizzo, Beaker, Bunsen, Rowlf, and (awesomely) Sweetums! The shirt was $25 but it was, and is, totally worth it. We’ll get to the other t-shirt selections when we get to the Hollywood Studios section.
HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS: Oh, hey, look at that, it’s the Hollywood Studios section! How convenient. For the uninitiated, Hollywood Studios is the home of Jim Henson’s Muppet*Vision 3-D, my favorite attraction (duh) and one of the best things the Muppets have ever done. It was also here that I had one of the best parts of my trip, and that was meeting up with a Muppet fan! Muppet Mindset contributor and my friend Joel Swanson just happened to be hanging out in central Florida with his family at the same time! We obviously had to meet up, and Muppet*Vision 3-D was the only place two Muppet fans should go. Joel and I talked Muppets and watched Muppet*Vision 3-D together–the first time I’ve done so with a Muppet fan. It was awesome, and then we took the picture below and it was even more awesome. Thanks, Joel!!
But anyway… on to what you really care about: the merchandise. As seems to be a recurring theme at Disney these days, the Muppet gift shop was a major disappointment. Although the selection was much better than last year, it was still nothing to write home about (but apparently plenty to write on a blog about). They once again had the toy set, some recent books from the movie promotion, The Muppets and The Muppet Show on DVD, tons of plush dolls, some hats (including the AWESOME Sweetums hat at right), and a butt-load of t-shirts. The shirts were the best part, and I’ve got pictures of some of the best ones below:
The first three shirts were about $25 each, but the Kermit and Zoot shirts were $45! It was nuts! I guess they are part of some designer series, but still… crazy. Also crazy: Zoot headlining a t-shirt in 2012. If it wasn’t $45 I would have bought it! Also ever-present at Hollywood Studios, thanks to the Star Tours ride, were the two-packs of Muppet/Star Wars action figures! These were $20 each, so I only bought Bunsen and Beaker… but it was incredibly hard to restrain myself because Link Hogthrob as Han Solo is not only hilarious but inspired.
One last thing I found at Hollywood Studios was a candied apple designed like Kermit the Frog. It was very well made (and incredibly tasty). I found it at the Villains in Vogue gift shop down the road approaching the Tower of Terror for anyone looking!
And, unfortunately, this is where the article comes to an end because that was really about all of the Muppet stuff to be found at all four Disney parks. Animal Kingdom had nothing, as always, and the Magic Kingdom had the same stuff mentioned above, just much less of it. So, kids, the moral of the story is… if you’re looking for Muppets at Walt Disney World (merchandise, not the 1990 TV special), you will find it, but you won’t find very much of it. However, what you will find is all pretty awesome, quality stuff so… give and take I suppose.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, email@example.com