It will soon be time to play the music and light the lights in the Disney Parks once again as they slowly begin to reopen and try returning to some semblance of “normal.” But things certainly won’t be what we’re used to for quite some time.
As we saw at Shanghai Disneyland, the park reopened with no parades, no fireworks and limited character interaction. This is obviously the right thing to do for cast member and guest safety, but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing. Live entertainment is my favorite part of visiting a Disney Park. The kinetic energy we see with the Disneyland Band marching down Main Street, U.S.A. or the Dapper Dans performing delightful tunes is what brings the Disney Parks to life.
It’s still a bit uncertain what we will and will not get once the domestic parks reopen, but perhaps a safe way to bring some live entertainment back into the parks could be with The Muppets.
I’ll preface this by saying that I’m a big Muppets fan, so perhaps this is a biased opinion, but I actually think it could work. The Muppets have obviously been part of the Disney Parks since the early ‘90s, but in 2016 we were introduced to “The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History” in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom.
I’ll be the first to admit that when I heard rumors percolating about this show, I didn’t quite understand how it would work. It seemed strange to take a land like Liberty Square and add the wackiness of The Muppets. But once I saw the show, not only did I love it, but it reminded me that one of the best things about The Muppets is that they are completely adaptable. As long as their zany sensibility remains, the characters make sense wherever you place them. That’s the beauty of The Muppets.
For the most part, it wouldn’t matter which park or land they were placed. The Muppets could either take on roles fitting to the land, as we’ve seen them do in numerous films, or even play the role of tourist. I could picture The Muppets popping out of windows on Main Street U.S.A. or performing on second story platforms/balconies/rooftops on Hollywood Boulevard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This wouldn’t necessarily be inexpensive or fast to produce, but I think it could be doable in a timely manner. Especially if it seems like a lot of live entertainment won’t be able to return for some time. I think the Disney Parks need some sort of live entertainment or else it just won’t feel like a proper experience.
The benefit of putting The Muppets in positions like this is that they’re far away from guests and social distancing could still take place. Crowds may gather a bit, but guests could remain six feet apart and these shows could be performed in the open air. A random “happening” like this would not only fulfill the desire to see live entertainment but also favorite characters. The shows could be kept short and “randomly” happen throughout the day in order to ensure that large crowds don’t form.
Who wouldn’t want to see some sort of “Pigs in Space” happening in Tomorrowland, Fozzie looking for his “natural habitat” in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Miss Piggy seeking fame on Sunset Boulevard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem performing near Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Kermit showing his nephew Robin around World Showcase? The possibilities are endless, and more importantly, safe during this unprecedented time.
So what do you think? Is this just too far out there or would you love it? If you like the idea, where would you like to see The Muppets safely perform?
Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com.