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Hello and welcome to The WDW Radio Show – Your Walt Disney World Information Station. I am your host, Lou Mongello, and this is show #169 for the week of May 9, 2010.

With the recent closing of Jim Henson’s Muppet*Vision 3D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for an unspecified update, it’s a great time to take a look back at the relationship between Disney and the Muppets, including the story of how the Muppets came to Walt Disney World in a variety of ways. We’ll tour the park and explore some of the secrets, stories and history of MuppetVision 3D, Muppet-based shows that are no longer here, the Disney-Henson marriage, as well as “The Muppets That Never Were,” as Jim Korkis and I wander the Studios and discuss some of the proposed concepts that never made it both in and out of the parks. It’s a fascinating live tour of the Muppets in the present, as well as a look back in time, and possibly even into the future of the Muppets in Walt Disney World.

I’ll have a few announcements, and then play more of your voicemails at the end of the show, so sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s episode of the WDW Radio Show.

You can email the show at or call the voicemail TOLL FREE at 888-703-2171.

Thanks for listening! Be sure to tune in next week!




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Listen to the Episode Below (1:28:17)
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15 thoughts on “WDW Radio Show #169 – The Muppets That Never Were in Walt Disney World”

  1. Lori T. says:

    LOVED the show! Really would like to see the Muppets expand in Hollywood Studios! My son isn’t horribly fond of pirates, has no use for the princesses (and neither does my two-year-old daughter, go figure!) and doesn’t get the whole Star Wars thing yet; but he LOVES the Muppets! They both always want to watch “The ‘Puppet’ Movie” and I think they’ll have a fit the next time we go to Hollywood Studios and there are Muppet elements there for them to enjoy; just wish there were many more! My older daughters have completely lost interest in the princesses (too old) but The Muppets never go out of style! Can’t wait to go back and look for those little nuances you’ve mentioned; again you’ve given me another item to look forward to!

  2. Laurel says:


    Just listened to show #169, the one about the Muppets, and loved it! However, it does make me quite disappointed that Disney did not go further with the Muppets in the parks. It makes me wish Walt was still with us. There are so many ways that the Muppets could contribute to the magic. I say they should bring back the old Muppet Show, but as a live version at the Studios. So often Disney is having concerts, showcasing new talent, or just trying to find a new way to include various Disney characters; why not include them in the Muppet Show? Could you imagine the buzz in the park if Mickey, Hannah Montana, or any other famous actor/recording artist was making a surprise appearance on the show? Just make a list of 8-10 standard shows substituting your special star, and rotating the show(s) by week or month. What if you never knew which show you would see each time you entered the theater? Am I imagining too much for the imagineers? I don’t think so, lets put this technology we have to work!

    Love the show, and keep up the awesome work!
    Laurel (momtink3)
    NW Ohio

  3. FrankVC says:

    Lou — You are so correct about the water. I moved from Long Island to Texas and no pizza, bagels or a good Italian deli here either. What’s with Mr. Banana’s Foster putting sour cream on his hot dog?

    In the new pre-show for Muppet vision I hope they don’t get rid of Rizzo doing his Mickey impersonation welcoming us to “his paaaarkk” That is the best part.

    Lou — the next food related show can be a DSI on the video conferencing kiosks they had at EPCOT when it opened to make dinner reservations. Remember those?

  4. Mark Vitek says:


    Long-time listener, first time to write. I love your podcasts, videos and emails. They make living sooo far from WDW almost bearable. I was saddened to hear that you won’t be able to fund-raise for MAW, but I look forward to the 24-hour show.

    Thanks for bringing us the Disney magic!


  5. Robert J. says:

    As always, great show, Lou! I love listening to Jim Korkis and his fascinating stories and little-known information!

    However (and believe me, I understand that I’m in the small minority here!), I for one am VERY relieved that most of the things mentioned never came to being. I listened in absolute HORROR as Jim described how close we came to seeing the Muppets actually take over Disneyland. I cannot believe that anyone would find it acceptable that Mickey and friends would disappear from the park for even one day, let alone an entire Summer, and be replaced by Kermit, Gonzo, and Miss Piggy. If that had happended on my vacation, I would have demanded my money back, turned around, and gone back to the airport. I guess I’m just too much of a Disney “purist”, but I feel the same way about the new deal with Marvel. The first time I see Spiderman climbing the side of the castle, that will be the last time I set foot inside a Disney park.

    Disney does seem to always find a way too make these “marriages” work. Star Wars fits at Disneyland because of the theming of Tomorrowland and Indiana Jones works in Adventureland. These also fit in Hollywood Studios in Florida because, well, it’s Hollywood! Even the 3D Muppetvision show is fine in California Adventure and Hollywood Studios for the same reason. But, please, let’s leave it at that. These characters just don’t fit anywhere else, especially the Magic Kingdom!

    Again, I realize everyone seems to love the Muppets and I am probably alone here, but I just had to get this off my chest!


  6. KevinZ says:

    Great show! Too bad we didn’t get the rest of the planned Muppet attractions. Muppetvision is one of my favorites that I find something new in each time. Also, really enjoy Jim’s knowledge about WDW on this show and previous. .

  7. GeoffK says:

    Once again, another great show. At least this one I was able to listen to without getting too hungry.
    I just wanted to say thank you so much for continuing to support Make a Wish. My love of all things Disney really started about 4 years ago when my daughter was granted a Wish to go to Disney World. She’s healthy now, but we continue to love the World and look forward to our trip each year.
    When you are talking about MAW, could you also mention Give Kids the World? I’m not sure how many people know about it, and it really added to my daughter’s experience while we were down there. Since Wish kids generally stay there when on their trips, I know any fundraising helps.
    Thanks again for a great show. It made me sad to think of all the things that could have been, especially Gonzo’s pizza place. Hearing the description of what it was planned to be, I think we would have left whatever park we were at that day just to eat at Gonzo’s. Hopefully in the future Disney can take some of those ideas and turn them into reality.

  8. WDWLocal says:

    IMO, Mr. Korkis got a bit too negative and pessimistic when he said that Disney’s vision changing to being more fiscally-responsible than being risk-takers, which is not entirely true.

    They DO still take risks here and there, after all.

  9. CastMember06 says:

    Great show appreciate everything you covered on this show, i am a huge muppets fan and wish this land had come to life, or still in someway does. i think pizz planet and the cars meet and great should be moved over to the pixar side and retheme with muppets stuff, yes i know it will cost money and such to do all this but it would be totally worth it… bring back the traditions of imaginaeering where risks were taken and people had the guts to stand up for what they believed in and not just see dollar signs.

  10. WDWLocal says:

    Reminder: those traditions ARE returning.

  11. FrankVC says:

    The Muppets even went out on DCL:

    Muppets Ahoy!

  12. Bruce says:

    Great show appreciate everything you covered on this show, i am a huge muppets fan and wish this land had come to life, or still in someway does. i think pizz planet and the cars meet and great should be moved over to the pixar side and retheme with muppets stuff, yes i know it will cost money and such to do all this but it would be totally worth it… bring back the traditions of imaginaeering where risks were taken and people had the guts to stand up for what they believed in and not just see dollar signs.

  13. jenny says:

    They currently are working on original muppet movie. In addition there are talk of a biographical movie about Jim Henson, and Dark Crystal 2. Hopefully with all this renewed interest in the muppets we will see some major changes to the studios and additional muppet themed attractions.

  14. Dave says:

    Just thought I’d bump this up because of the recent movie release. I listened to it and the recent WDW Newscast and can’t wait to see it again for the first time when I go down in a few weeks.

    In addition to all the great details that exist now and those that never did, it makes me wonder how much fun some of them would have been.

    It also made me a little sad thinking of what might have been had Jim Henson simply been diagnosed correctly and survived. I’m still in the process of listening to the podcast, so maybe they will mention it, but in discussing the contractual wrangling between Eisner and Henson – how long it took and how Henson felt about his end of the bargain, even though he wanted to sell only to Disney because he thought they would be good custodians of the franchise – Jim didn’t mention what was potentially the biggest sticking point, among many.

    Eisner constantly hounded Henson about and made announcements implying that Disney was in the process of buying the muppets INCLUDING the Sesame Street characters. This annoyed Henson to no end. I forget if it was in the Street Gang book or another story I read, but the normally quiet, seemingly easy-going, non-confrontational Henson yelled angrily at Eisner “Michael, there you go AGAIN!” and left the event they were attending. It was the root of a great amount of stress for Henson. Some say that it played into his exhaustion and death (ie, it made him physically weaker to fight against his infection), but that’s a really tough thing to prove and if you know how Henson died, you realize that the misdiagnosis of essentially a bad sore throat and his own reluctance to seek another opinion soon enough are what took his life.

    The result, as you’re probably aware, is that Disney got the muppets and Sesame Workshop (do you still think of it as the Children’s Television Workshop, too?) got to hold on to the Sesame Street muppets. I just find it fascinating how cute, loveable, happy fictional characters can be the cause of such real-world corporate bare-knuckled brawling.


  15. Chuck Zitta says:

    I’ve always enjoyed the Muppets. Remember watching the ‘Muppet Show’ back when I was younger on Saturday nights. Really had a great time listening to you and Jim go through some of the Muppet backstories. Too bad Disney is pulling the show to make way for the Star Wars expansion (though I am looking forward to seeing how that turns out). Hopefully they can find a new home for the Muppets. They definitely belong somewhere in the parks. Thanks again for another fantastic show, Lou!!!