The Muppets may not have been having the best couple years when it comes to film and TV, as The Muppets: Most Wanted only earned a modest sum at the box office back in 2014 and the 2015 The Muppets TV series was cancelled after only one season on ABC. However, despite their recent troubles, it looks like these beloved characters are going to be making a big splash at Walt Disney World in the next few months. And while there are several Muppets-related developments in the works, there is one coming soon to Disney's Hollywood Studios that has recently been confirmed and detailed...
1. PizzeRizzo confirmed to be coming later this year to the Muppet Courtyard
Though we’ve known about it for some time, Disney finally confirmed yesterday that the former Pizza Planet quick service dining location (which has been under refurbishment for several months now) is being turned into a new Muppets-themed restaurant in order to fit in with the newly-created Muppets Courtyard land at this park. And as expected, this new dining location is being themed to everyone’s favorite rat—Rizzo!
As you might imagine (considering the name) PizzeRizzo will basically have the same menu items as the former Pizza Planet restaurant, with personal pan pizzas confirmed to be headlining the menu at this reimagined eatery. Though the announcement confirming this new restaurant did mention this dining location will serve “casual Italian-American dining” as well (so you might see some pasta or breadsticks on the menu in addition to classic pizza), PizzeRizzo is still very much going to be a classic pizza joint and won't be much different from Pizza Planet, at least in terms of cuisine.
However, the menu is where the similarities with the former Pizza Planet end. According to the official announcement, Walt Disney Imagineering has been working on overhauling the interior of this dining location, hiding “hints of Rizzo, his extended family and friends who have visited PizzeRizzo over the years” throughout the newly-reimagined dining area. In addition, there will also be special themed dining rooms, including one that will have a cheese theme and another one that has been “designated just for Rizzo’s celebrity friends”.
Though construction is still well underway on this new (ish) dining location, Disney has confirmed that this PizzeRizzo should be open sometime later this fall. Interestingly, the official Disney Parks Twitter account initially confirmed a September opening date for PizzeRizzo. However, that Tweet was quickly deleted and replaced with a generic “Fall 2016” date. Though it looks like we don't quite have a specific opening date yet, it is all but certain that this dining establishment will be open before the end of the year, which is definitely good news. And though it feels like we've been waiting forever for confirmation of this new restaurant at Disney's Hollywood Studios, even MORE Muppet-related changes are coming soon to Walt Disney World as well...
2. RUMOURED: The Muppets take the Magic Kingdom (well, Liberty Square at least)
Though Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the new home of the Muppets at Walt Disney World, it looks like these fan favorite characters may also be coming to the Magic Kingdom in the near future as well. According to inside sources, a new character experience is being developed for this park that would allow The Muppets to interact directly with guests right in the heart of Liberty Square in a whole new way.
According to those familiar with the development of this new character experience, The Muppets will soon be taking up residence on the second floor of the Heritage House where they will (literally!) be able to hang out (of the windows) and converse with guests walking below. As you might expect considering the location, the main topic of conversation will be U.S. history, with these characters engaging guests in some lighthearted discussions of history, with plenty of facts and humor thrown in for good measure.
Though we’re still waiting on an official announcement of this new character experience from Disney, guests who walk by the Heritage House right now can see work happening on the second floor of this location, which does lend a lot of credence to this rumor. It might seem a little weird to have characters in the middle of Liberty Square (which is traditionally a character-free corner of the Magic Kingdom), but considering this area is often under-utilized when guests aren't standing around waiting for a parade (or walking to the Haunted Mansion), this new experience could be a fun little diversion for guests, and perhaps provide an educational opportunity for visitors to this park as well.
3. Rumored: Could a Mama Melrose retheme and refurbishment be in the works as well?
Ever since the first rumor about the Muppet makeover of Pizza Planet surfaced, it has been hinted that after this new quick service location opened with its new theme, the other restaurant in the new Muppets Courtyard land would close to get a Muppet transformation of its own. Though no such plans have been confirmed by Disney yet, we’re hoping that with PizzeRizzo’s new approach to “casual Italian-American dining”, Mama Melrose will finally get some attention as well, especially since the permits that were filed last year cover both the Pizza Planet and Mama Melrose dining locations.
Only time will tell if any refurbishment for this oft-neglected dining location actually comes to pass but we'll be very interested to see what happens at this restaurant this fall, especially as this location was actually supposed to be a Muppets-themed restaurant (that included animatronic Muppet rats which would deliver food to guests’ tables) back when this restaurant was first constructed.
How do you feel about the upcoming Muppet takeover of Walt Disney World? Are you excited to see more of these classic characters at the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios, or do you think it is too much all at once?
Source: Theme Park Tourist
Banner Photo Credit: Matthew Cooper