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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Muppets Mayhem Redo of Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster Proposed by Disney+ Collection Creators

There’s a brand new “rumor” that Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster goes to be rethemed to Muppets Mayhem, with the sequence co-creator fan the flames on this reimagining that many Walt Disney World followers would like to see occur. This covers the small print, why “rumor” is in air quotes, and engages in enjoyable armchair Imagineering about how Hollywood Studios might ‘reshuffle’ its Muppets and Automobiles lands to make this occur.

For starters, Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster Starring Aerosmith unofficially reopened at the beginning of summer season following its multi-month refurbishment. When the joys trip initially closed earlier this yr, rumors swirled concerning the period of the downtime–bolstered by building permits–that appeared it might final till Fall 2023. These indicated that Walt Disney World and third celebration contractors have been taking intensive time to deal with problematic facets of the trip system which have plagued Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster with downtime woes over the past a number of years.

With this prolonged closure, there additionally got here hypothesis that the theme of Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster would change. Walt Disney World by no means instantly addressed that, however implied that it was inaccurate by publicly stating that the “rocktastic attraction will resume its super-stretch limo rides in summer season 2023.” Effectively, now the trip has reopened and nothing has modified. It’s nonetheless Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster Starring Aerosmith, and though a few props and images of the band have been eliminated, Steven Tyler and co. are nonetheless entrance and heart.

So, if Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster reopened and it’s nonetheless Starring Aerosmith, it will appear to place these trip reimagining rumors to relaxation, proper? Flawed. For one factor, bifurcated closures should not unusual. Spreading work into a number of distinct phases permits Walt Disney World to schedule downtime on the most opportune occasions, and have rides out there after they’re actually mandatory. Right here, Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster reopened simply in time for the summer season season.

One other current instance of that is actually proper subsequent door, with the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. That trip was by no means added to the closure calendar final yr, nevertheless it had a ‘stealth refurbishment’ taking one elevator shaft down at a time and successfully lowering the trip to half capability. (That’s why it had the #1 or #2 highest common wait time at DHS for a lot of final yr.) With Tower of Terror, Walt Disney World timed the upkeep considerably strategically, and likewise paused the undertaking fully throughout peak season to permit the attraction to function at full capability.

Yet one more instance can be final yr’s winter refurbishment to Splash Mountain. Little or no was touched on present scenes, Audio Animatronics, lighting, and different facets of the attraction that will change when it was reimagined into Tiana’s Bayou Journey. Nevertheless, Imagineers did intensive groundwork to prep for the transformation a yr later. Suffice to say, Walt Disney World not dropping Aerosmith in the course of the current closure is hardly conclusive that it received’t occur anytime quickly.

That brings us to the most recent growth, which comes courtesy of Jeff Yorkes, co-creator of The Muppets Mayhem sequence on the Disney+ streaming service. Posting on Twitter in response to an article discussing rumors of a Muppets takeover of Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster, Yorkes stated: “Not gonna lie–this was completely a part of our unique pitch and is one other piece of this dream. Fingers-crossed that it occurs.”

Yorkes deleted the tweet inside hours of posting it, possible on the behest of somebody at Disney. Whereas not conclusive of something, it’s really a considerably optimistic signal that he’d be requested to take away the assertion. If this have been merely wishful pondering with no enamel to the rumors, Disney can be much less inclined to care.

This additionally isn’t the primary time in current weeks that there was notable dialogue concerning the Muppets taking on Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster. In response to a different tweet suggesting a reimagining, former Imagineer Kevin Vigorous stated, “if solely somebody had pitched that a couple of years with a full preshow script and remedy…”

To that time, it’s additionally once more price noting right here that the Muppets at the moment are below the purview of Walt Disney Imagineering, and have been for the previous couple of years. That’s possible how we bought Muppets Haunted Mansion (and why it was so good) and likewise explains the promotional appearances of the Muppet characters, together with Floyd Pepper from the Electrical Mayhem band taking a trip on Spaceship Earth simply final month to advertise the brand new Disney+ sequence.

As we’ve talked about repeatedly over time–even earlier than Imagineering took over the characters–there should be somebody excessive up at Disney who’s championing the Muppets. There’s no different rationalization for why they’ve been given likelihood after likelihood regardless of middling outcomes.

Now, along with the Muppets being front-of-mind for WDI, their newest outings on Disney+ have really been actually good. The Muppets Mayhem has the greatest critic and viewers scores of any of the characters’ exhibits or motion pictures for the reason that Jason Segel-led movie in 2011 that basically introduced the characters again into the highlight.

Earlier than we get overly excited and switch to the probabilities for an Electrical Mayhem takeover of Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster, let’s current the explanations for skepticism. First, though there’s an honest quantity of “smoke” right here, there isn’t a “fireplace.” Lots of people in Hollywood are Walt Disney World and Disneyland followers (celebrities–they’re identical to us!), and would like to see their initiatives or armchair Imagineering concepts come to fruition.

Specifically, Marvel’s Kevin Feige is a big and longtime fan, specifically of old style EPCOT Heart. It’s secure to imagine a few of the half-baked Marvel initiatives which have come to the parks are not ones for which he advocated. If Ryan Gosling had his approach, there can be no Haunted Mansion Vacation. John Stamos, Neil Patrick Harris, and Chris Evans in all probability would like to see one among their characters delivered to life at Walt Disney World. The listing goes on and on.

Extra to the purpose, we’ve heard about pitches like this earlier than–and plenty of of them have gone nowhere. It stands to purpose that the creators of Muppets Mayhem would need as a lot synergy as doable, because it will increase the probability of renewal or longevity for the present. That they introduced the thought to Disney, and even had discussions with Imagineering, doesn’t imply the proposal went anyplace. WDI has exponentially extra proposed initiatives than constructed ones. So nothing thus far confirms that that is occurring–the Muppets takeover of Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster needs to be handled with lower than rumor standing.

With that stated, there are a ton of causes {that a} reimagining of Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster not solely is smart, however is an inevitability sooner or later within the subsequent a number of years. For one factor, Aerosmith simply doesn’t have the identify cachet that they did within the late Nineteen Nineties when Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster opened. Sure, the band is among the many all-time greats, however not almost to the identical diploma with present park-goers.

For an additional factor, Disney is paying to license the band’s music and likenesses. There’s no indication as to how a lot that prices, nevertheless it’s a non-zero quantity. Within the time since Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster opened, Disney has gone on an acquisition-spree and develop into extra laser-focused on inner synergies. If the trip opened at the moment, there’s zero likelihood the corporate would look outdoors their very own portfolio.

Lastly, sticking with Aerosmith presents intercourse scandal danger. Days after the refurbishment was introduced, Steven Tyler was formally named in a lawsuit and is accused of sexual assault, sexual battery, and intentional infliction of emotional misery. Whatever the end result there, the allegations are unsettling. As a rock band from a “totally different period,” there’s a excessive chance that there are extra skeletons in Aerosmith’s closet that will not be perceived positively if ligitated within the courtroom of public opinion (or precise courtroom).

Merely put, showcasing a rock band from the Seventies is an pointless legal responsibility for Walt Disney World. Not simply Aerosmith…all of them. Between elevated social scrutiny and Disney’s family-friendly picture, it’s merely an pointless and imprudent danger. That is additionally why Disney has contingency plans in place that will permit the corporate to take away all references to Aerosmith in a single day. All of that is additionally why we’re extremely skeptical of “rumors” that Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster can be rethemed to Queen.

From my perspective, altering the trip is a fairly simple determination for Walt Disney World. Reimagining Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster isn’t just the secure transfer, however it will be cash effectively spent. It presents a possibility for Imagineering to simply inject new life in an attraction that’s inherently well-liked as a thrill trip, and would give the corporate one thing to market whereas in-between growth cycles.

(As of proper now, there’s completely nothing confirmed for after Tiana’s Bayou Journey, and even when the subsequent initiatives as a part of that $17 billion spending plan for Walt Disney World have been introduced at the moment, nothing would open till 2026 on the absolute earliest.)

Enter the Muppets. Years in the past, one among my concepts for a ‘Muppets Takeover’ of Disney’s Hollywood Studios was a Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster reimagining that includes nationwide treasures Dr. Tooth and The Electrical Mayhem Band and a redone entrance to Pantages Theater, Amoeba Data, or Roxie Theatre.

Another choice can be a “Nice Muppets Music Trip” that options these characters within the queue and pre-show, however encompasses a random trip soundtrack of precise rock music from a rotating roster of bands. That is a part of Cosmic Rewind’s recipes for fulfillment, would provide the specified disconnect between band and music, whereas additionally giving the coaster infinite re-rideability. It could additionally provide flexibility in altering out songs, seasonal overlays, and extra.

The most important downside with redoing Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster to characters from animated motion pictures, and one which I think has given Disney pause, is that it’s probably the most intense trip at Walt Disney World and has a peak requirement at 48 inches. I’m undecided to what extent this can be a concern with the Electrical Mayhem band, which might be most recognizable to folks over 40. However, they’re cute and colourful characters, and the viewers watching Muppets Mayhem on Disney+ virtually actually skews youthful.

Incredicoaster at Disney California Journey is a similarly-intense curler coaster that additionally has a 48″ peak requirement. Nevertheless, Disneyland has totally different demographics and Imagineering was backed right into a nook with a Paradise Pier reimagining. Toy Story Halfway Mania made Pixar the obvious alternative, and from there, The Incredibles is about as “grownup” of a Pixar film as there’s. There’s no such consideration with Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster, which is remoted from the remainder of Sundown Boulevard.

However, shifting the Muppets to the again nook of Sundown Boulevard has quite a lot of potential. Remodeling the doorway and queue to Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster might open up this space, which might be a bona fide Muppets Studio land. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy might be changed with one other Muppets attraction, and there’s in all probability additionally area for a restaurant, too.

No good concept in Imagineering ever dies, and maybe this might be the partial realization of the Muppets Studio land idea from many years in the past. That was imagined to characteristic not simply MuppetVision 3D, but additionally a Nice Muppet Film Trip, plus two eating places: “The Nice Gonzo’s Pandemonium Pizza Parlor” and “Swedish Chef’s Cooking College.”

As a lot because it pains me to say, I can’t see Walt Disney World shifting MuppetVision 3D given its age and recognition. Then once more, I can also’t see the corporate constructing a brand new attraction and restaurant from the bottom as much as create a Muppets Studio for that nook of the park. Then once more, I additionally didn’t anticipate Disney to maintain pushing ahead with Muppets ideas after repeated flops following the 2011 movie. Level being, stranger issues have occurred.

From Walt Disney World’s perspective, there’s additionally possible quite a lot of long-term worth in relocating the Muppets from Grand Avenue to some place else in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Given how little the corporate spent on redoing that space forward of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, it has at all times been a placeholder.

Initially, it was rumored to be a placeholder for additional enlargement of Galaxy’s Edge itself. Personally, I feel that’s exceedingly unlikely at this level. I’ve heard nothing that leads me to consider the corporate has any urge for food to guess larger on Star Wars within the theme parks. That might change if the timeline is modified or opened up and the land turns into extra well-liked, nevertheless it’s arduous to see occurring now. (I do suppose the dinner present can be introduced within the subsequent few years, however that’ll be on the opposite aspect of the land, behind Oga’s Cantina.)

Quite than Star Wars, I feel one other Pixar franchise is the extra possible candidate. Earlier than Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge have been introduced, Walt Disney World got here thisclose to greenlighting Automobiles Land. That’s a large success at Disney California Journey and a land with great endurance and merchandising potential; Walt Disney World getting a model of that also is smart.

Imagineering would wish to get artistic to be able to change Grand Avenue with Automobiles Land, possible placing the present constructing for Radiator Springs Racers outdoors the prevailing boundary of the park. They’d in all probability additionally wish to retool the secondary sights, however that’s doable. Automobiles Land can be a large hit, and might be a part of that aforementioned $17 billion enlargement.

So there you’ve got my armchair Imagineering, and what I hope a possible Muppet takeover of Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster would convey to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. To be 100% clear, none of that is credible rumor–it’s merely what I need to occur. (Effectively, not a lot the Automobiles Land half–I’m positive with that being unique to California. I simply suppose it is smart and is low danger.)

As for what I feel will really occur? Marvel. We coated this in our final piece about Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster reimagining rumors, so I received’t rehash all of that, however I feel probably the most believable retheme of the joys trip remains to be Marvel. These characters are extra becoming for a curler coaster and Marvel is one among Disney’s tentpole manufacturers.

Imagineering has already redone one model of Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster as a Marvel trip, and it will make full sense to try this once more–albeit with totally different characters, out of necessity. Marvel is simply too apparent of a solution for it to be anything. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind has already confirmed massively well-liked, and there’s an urge for food for extra Marvel at Walt Disney World.

Regardless of being one among Disney’s greatest manufacturers, Marvel characters presently have much less of a presence at Walt Disney World than do the Muppets. In equity, an enormous a part of that’s the Common contract, however there are nonetheless loads of characters that Disney might use. A thrill trip following the Cosmic Rewind template–with a mixture of music and humor–can be actually well-received, and might be completed with a reimagining Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster.

Nonetheless, we Muppets followers can dream, proper? (I really feel like there’s a track about that.) Whereas nonetheless fairly removed from occurring, this feels rather more believable than the “rumors” about Queen or different bands, and it’s inevitable that Aerosmith is changed sooner or later within the not-too-distant future, and possibly not with one other band. Doing so would breathe new life into the attraction and provide contemporary advertising potential.

On condition that…why not the Muppets? They’re evergreen characters which have a cult fan following, somebody high-up in Burbank clearly loves them, and they’re front-of-mind with Imagineering. It will not be the proper or most obvious alternative when it comes to synergy, however the very same factor might be stated about TRON Lightcycle Run. The actual fact is that thrill rides have an incredible quantity of inherent enchantment, so it’s not like Disney wants to make this the Wakandacoaster to ensure that it to be well-liked.

Disney might be strive for the other strategy, with a theme park attraction that pulls extra consideration to a somewhat-dormant franchise that has great potential. Once more, stranger issues have occurred. Right here’s hoping we get an announcement at Vacation spot D23 this fall. Within the meantime, begin enjoying Muppets Mayhem on loop to get these viewership stats up!

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Your Ideas

What do you consider a Muppet takeover of Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster? Suppose the Electrical Mayhem band can be a great substitute for Aerosmith? Ideas on potential bands, manufacturers, or tremendous heroes to switch Aerosmith? What would get your vote, so to talk? Suppose Disney is being coy, and a retheme has really been deliberate all alongside? Any questions concerning the present refurbishments at Walt Disney World? Do you agree or disagree with our evaluation? Any questions we might help you reply? Listening to your suggestions—even whenever you disagree with us—is each fascinating to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas under within the feedback!

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