A Salute to All Nations, but Mostly Pandora
Recently, The Forbidden Mountain has received thousands of emails asking my opinion on the recent announcement that Avatar will be coming to Animal Kingdom.
And I'd like to tell you how I feel. But I can't, because this is a family show.
However, I will say that Disney doesn't make these decisions lightly. Much thought goes into a major park expansion like this, and the planning is much, much more complicated than simply asking "What movie will bring us the most money?" and "Whose turn is it to get a new ride?" Since Disney attractions must of course be based on an already existent franchise, the question of "which one?" is a very delicate one. Which is why the very first time an entire land at Walt Disney World is going to be based on just one movie (it's true!), it's a movie distributed by 20th Century Fox. ...and rated PG-13. ...and you'll totally still care about it in 2016.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
What I really want to talk about today is The Muppets. Contrary to popular belief, Muppet Vision 3D did not open in 1989 with the park. It opened two years later in 1991, as is the very, very, very last thing Jim Henson actually worked on before he died in 1990. This was his last performance as Kermit the Frog, the Swedish Chef and Waldorf (the shorter one) before we got, as someone once said, "wrong-sounding Muppets."
But in 2004, Disney bought the Muppets. Not just the rights, not just a "Dry Clean Only" Sweetums costume (which is standing in for me right now, as we speak), but the whole franchise. Everything except Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock can now be used anywhere at Walt Disney World, for free, as much as they would like, forever. And what a franchise! Jim Henson started creating the characters before Disneyland even opened (it's true!), and CP's still squee every time a new YouTube video comes out because nothing else quite has that same warm, safe, friendly, funny feeling as seeing Statler and Waldorf heckle Fozzie Bear or hearing Miss Piggy do a karate chop.
So we're opening Avatarland.
Oops! I'm sorry, we're talking about the Muppets. And it's fine! It doesn't furrow my fleshy-firm brow that they don't have a land, but Avatar will. They already have a very solid attraction. Very solid. The most recent time I was able sneak in there and don my specially-made, three-foot-wide pink glasses, it was great! At last count, the only issues were the fountain outside not turning, some of the preshow tv's not having sound, the already raised penguin orchestra, the smoke when Waldo squeals his tires, the bubbles starting a minute early and ending five minutes late, Statler and Waldorf's mouths not moving, the Swedish Chef having his gun too early and then not moving, the left side of the theater already being destroyed when I came in (not my fault this time), Waldo's "football team" getting lost, Bean Bunny's mouth not moving, half the ceiling fireworks not working, the other half of the fireworks never turning off, Fozzie's squirting flower not squirting, the blown speaker behind the screen and the arrow that's supposed to hit Statler and Waldorf's box during the glorious three-hour finale. Also, Miss Piggy was not able to finish her song due to a water ski malfunction.
Awww! I love the Muppets!
If I may dust off an old hat, I'd like to award "It's Tough to Be A Muppet--3D" a childhood-crushing:
3.5 out of 5 Disco Yetis
And to "The Latest Thing That We're Pretending is a Potter-Killer," I give a rarely seen:
5 out of 5 Disco Yetis