Author: Kendall Foreman
After the time has passed to play the music and light the lights, the Muppets leave the theater and get on with their lives just like everyone else. They have joys to celebrate and sorrows to endure, and evidence of both can be found in one of Walt Disney World’s greatest Easter eggs inside of an Easter egg.
On its surface PizzeRizzo seems like a fairly basic counter-service location, with several rat and mouse related puns scattered throughout, but hidden details await discovery by anyone who grew up watching The Muppet Show or any of their various TV specials.
For example, a glass-encased bulletin board serves up more than just pizza puns with nods to Rowlf the Dog’s frequent appearances on The Jimmy Dean Show, Gonzo’s Royal Flush from the 2011 film The Muppets, the Mahna Mahna Muppets, Lew Zealand the boomerang fish thrower, and many others.
However, the [Swedish] chef’s kiss of callbacks comes on the notice board between the entrance doors to Rizzo’s Deluxe Supreme Banquet Hall on the second floor. It announces the event being held that day, the marriage of “Gil & Lil, Daughter of Will & Jill, Son of Phil & Bill”. This is clearly a callback to the three frog characters, Bill, Gil, and Jill who work for Ocean Breeze Soap in The Muppets Take Manhattan.
While this nod alone is a fantastic deep dive, it merely serves as the first layer of a double-layered detail. When viewed from the right angle, it can be seen that the backing for the display case underwent a bit of fading during the banquet hall’s last event. It can be seen that PizzeRizzo had previously held the “Pa Otter Memorial Service with tribute performance by The Frogtown Hollow Jubilee Jug Band”. This reference is to the 1977 Christmas television special, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. While this does not quite jibe up chronologically with the events of the special (Emmet’s father passed away before the events of the show and the jug-band’s formation occurs partway through the show), it is nonetheless a fantastic hidden gem of a detail and a double deep-cut for Muppet fans.
What is your favorite Easter egg in PizzeRizzo in Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
Photos from the author’s personal collection.
Kendall has been a member of the WDW Radio Team since 2013. Today, you can read her work on the WDW Radio Blog or hear her join Lou for a number of WDW Radio podcast episodes. Kendall’s affection for Walt Disney World began with her very first family visit in the 1990s and has continued with each magical vacation since. Follow her on Twitter @kl_foreman.