The Muppets Disney Journey

The Muppets feels like an institution that’s been around forever. But it’s been a bumpy road and here we take a look from how Disney first got involved right up to the Muppets Now series coming to Disney+ in July.

Disney first gained the distribution rights in 1991 for the Muppets following Jim Hensons death. Disney were then able to distribute all Jim Henson creations up until that time and this lasted until 1997. They gained rights to The Muppet Show, Muppet Movie (1979), The Great Muppet Caper, Muppet Babies and other specials.

Disney would produce more Muppet features still combined with the Jim Henson label. These include Muppets Christmas Carol and Muppets Treasure Island. Also at this time Disney opened Muppet Vision 3D in Hollywood Studios (Then MGM Studios).

Disney hadn’t yet acquired full rights so other non Disney productions where made like Muppets in Space.

Between 1998-2003 The Muppets sat in limbo  eventually rights went back to the Henson family. Disney swiftly decided to buy the full rights in 2004. From here on out Disney relaunched The Muppets and they steadily rose to stardom again.

During the Disney tenure Muppets TV specials where still featured. But the big move was two new Muppets movies. The first since 1996. The Muppets (2011) (which opened to huge success and even won an Oscar for the song “Muppet of a Man”.) It was followed with a sequel Muppets Most Wanted (2014) which wasn’t as good but still did well.

With The Muppets back on the big screen successfully Disney tried to get them on TV. The Muppets (2015) on ABC was kind of a mockumentary format, it didn’t go down well and was cancelled before the end of the first season. Muppet babies (2018) was relaunched on Disney Junior and has done well since.

Now The Muppets are making their move from TV to solely streaming on Disney+. Clearly moving with the times. Muppets Now will be an episodic unscripted series with special guests. We are super excited and hope it delivers that spark we have seen in film but not through a show since the original Muppets Show.

Bonus Fact: Muppets Moments in History was a story show from 2016-2019 in Liberty Square. If you were walking past Hall of Presidents in Liberty square at the ride time of day you’d see the in 2nd floor windows performing a historical reinactment, in their own slapstick way. It has officially closed but does reappear for special occasions.

Do you love the Muppets as much as we do? How do you think Muppets Now will be? Would you like to see more of them in the parks? Let us know in the comments.

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