Mitchell Stein – Since his very first appearance on The Muppet Show in 1976, it was clear that Sam the American Eagle was destined for stardom, but it was also obvious that there was more to this feathered fowl’s talent hiding beneath the surface. This winter, after four decades of speculation, Sam the Eagle will finally showcase his true, most unexpected talent exclusively at Walt Disney World: barbeque cook-offs.
This winter saw the opening of a brand-new Muppet-themed restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park in Orlando, Florida, titled the Regal Eagle Smokehouse, featuring the most regal eagle of all; Sam the Eagle in a centennial cook-off festival. Part of the experience will include Sam’s Centennial Cook-Off: A Salute to All Cookoffs, But Mostly Barbeque and possibly an appearance or two from the patriotic bird at some point (hopefully). With us Muppet fans being a greedy (and hungry) bunch, this news got us thinking about all of the other possible Muppet restaurant experiences we’d love to see. With the opening of the Regal Eagle Steakhouse, this will bring Walt Disney World to a total of two Muppet restaurants, along with PizzeRizzo in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, home of the long-running Muppet-Vision 3D attraction. Since there’s no such thing as too much Muppet stuff, we got into our armchair design role and started imagining some potential new Muppet dining experiences that we think Disney should explore next.
The El Sleezo Cafe
Walt Disney World is all about recreating memorable moments from your favorite Disney films, so why not visit the place that started it all – where Kermit and Fozzie first met! The El Sleezo Cafe is home to the toughest, meanest, filthiest pests on the face of the earth. It’s home to a variety of delicacies including frog legs fried and frog legs stroganoff and includes live entertainment every night. The best part of all: drinks are always on the house!
The Muppet Theater Canteen
Muppet-Vision 3D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios puts you right into the center of the famed Muppet Theater, the very home of The Muppet Show! Who wouldn’t want to get the full theater experience by also getting to go backstage and eating the fine cuisine of the Swedish Chef and Gladys the cafeteria lady? This would be the perfect spot to come to see their famous apple turn over, or even swing on by to watch the salad dressing.
Big Mean Carl’s Ceramic Cafe
Ceramic Cafes have been a recent trend all around the world – but now you can experience what that experience may be like if a Muppet ran one, that Muppet being the intimidating and hungry Big Mean Carl in particular. Located in the heart of Disney Springs, Big Mean Carl’s Ceramic Cafe invites guests to let their imagination loose and design beautiful ceramic creations to take as souvenirs, but don’t count on keeping it, because immediately after you’re done, your hard work will immediately be devoured by the cafe owner find itself deep in the belly of Big Mean Carl.
One of the best things about the short-lived 2015 TV series, The Muppets, was Rowlf’s Tavern – which gave Rowlf the Dog a role as the owner of the local tavern across the street from the set of Up Late With Miss Piggy. It was the place where Muppets would come to kick back after a long day at work or look for motivation from the bartending/piano playing owner. Rowlf’s Tavern would make for the perfect location for guests to visit – giving them the chance to get up close to their favorite Muppets. Who knows, if you’re lucky, actor Ed Helms might just stumble in for a spontaneous karaoke night – anything is possible at Rowlf’s Tavern!
Walt Disney World has got it all, except for one thing: a nighttime jazz club. Luckily, there’s a Muppet to change that! Zoot, the grooviest saxophone player to ever perform on the Muppet Show, has finally decided to leave rock n’ roll behind and open his first-ever jazz-club on the famed Disney Boardwalk. Giving guests the chance to peek into the absent thoughts of this famed musician, Zoot will play the blues and probably skip a few grooves along the way.
Pizza Twins Ristorante
When the Muppet gang needed to sneak into the Mallory Gallery to stop Nicky Holiday from stealing the fabulous Baseball Diamond, there devised an elaborate plan to get past the security gate; by having Kermit and Fozzie disguise themselves as pizza delivery twins delivering a pizza to the security guard, Mr. Henderson – even though he never recalled making the order. In an effort to make a modest profit after being fired by the Daily Chronicle, the identical bear-and-frog twins opened up a pizza dining experience in Epcot’s Italy pavilion where all the waiters wear cheap Groucho glasses and speak with really bad Italian accents. No matter what you order, you’ll be served a pepperoni pie whether you like it or not!
Flying Fish (with Lew Zealand)
Did you know that Walt Disney World has a table service restaurant called ‘Flying Fish’ and didn’t incorporate flying-fish performer Lew Zealand? This unmistakable lack of intellectual property in the Disney parks must be fixed immediately.
The Electric Mayhem World Tour
After playing countless gigs and performances at small bars and coffee houses across the country, the Electric Mayhem have finally found their latest and biggest gig yet; at Walt Disney World! Across from the current home of The Regal Eagle at Epcot sits a massive stage that should only be aptly reserved for the golden teeth and golden tunes of the Electric Mayhem – and would be the key performance in the outdoor Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Paying homage to Epcot’s goal of celebrating culture and progress, the Electric Mayhem will take guests on a journey through the (approximate) history of music, paying tribute to its greatest legends, both human and Muppet. With the Electric Mayhem rocking around the clock with a musical extravaganza, it’s sure to be a mellow and profitable addition to the park.
A Roast On an Open Fire
Disney Springs is home to restaurants and bars that add to a vibrant night-life of entertainment, but one thing still missing is an improv comedy club. More specifically, and to cater specifically to two very grumpy old men; an insult comedy club. After years of experience heckling an unfunny bear, Statler and Waldorf have become experts of insult comedy, and now you can get a front-row seat on the Disney Springs fireplace deck and become a victim of their heckling in their very first insult comedy club. If you happen to be a comedian bear, we’d suggest skipping this one.
The Brown Derby Celebrates The Muppets
Disney’s Hollywood Studios pays tribute to the golden age of Hollywood, a fantasy that never was and always will be. But why not pay tribute to some of Hollywood’s greatest performers in what never was; a tribute to the Muppets in the golden age of the magic store. The Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios is a tribute to the most iconic performers to ever work in this town, but what about the famed Muppets? With this re-imagining, the Muppets will finally get their respect in cinema history as the Brown Derby celebrates the most esteemed and famed characters to come from Muppet lineage. It’s an honor that Miss Piggy would find most fitting.