This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at recent theme park news via memes! Our motto here at the SAT 6 news desk has always been All The News That’s Fit To Print (and a Whole Lot More That’s Not). Today we continue our exalted tradition of excellence by checking out all the latest happenings at Disney and Universal. First up…
# 6 – The Muppets meet the Haunted Mansion
On any given day you could tell me that Disney just released The Muppets like a professional sports team does with a player they no longer want, and I would believe you. To me personally, The Muppets are the most underused IP today. They have a unique appeal that can reach multiple generations of family members. Their sense of humor is razor sharp and on point, while also being accessible to anyone. The Muppets walk on an entertainment tightrope that very few brands can, as most fall flat on their face. However, since Disney bought The Muppets they have had a very small impact on pop culture, and often seem to have just disappeared of the face off the planet for years at a time.
Those of us who follow theme park “rumors and innuendo” over the years have heard the plans of The Muppets having a bigger presence in the Orlando parks, only to be completely dropped or – in the case of the PizzeRizzo restaurant in DHS – budget cut to the point where it lacks almost all of the whimsical charm associated with the brand. This week we got a rare piece of good news, the announcement of a new Muppet special coming to Disney+ this Fall. Not just any special though, as The Muppets will be interacting with The Haunted Mansion! Finally we get to see more Muppets inside the theme parks we all love!
This wonderful news inspired DisTwitter to create some fun artwork, including this piece below featuring the Great Gonzo – in the Haunted Mansion’s “stretching” room..
I’m a huge fan of theme park mashup drawings, but the ones I love the most involve the “dog with a key” scene from Pirates of the Caribbean, and the stretching room portraits from The Haunted Mansion. Below we have Miss Piggy in one of the stretching room portraits, as drawn by the talented Hollie Ballard.
During the last week or so, one popular meme format has been people taking a photo of a Halloween Horror Nights entrance sign and photoshopping something fun on it, the idea being to tease a haunted house experience that will be used later this year in Universal’s HHN 30. Below we see a Johnny-on-the-spot quickly adding the Muppets Haunted Mansion special’s logo on to the screen.
# 5 – Heaven Needed a Phallic Structure
We’ll cover more of this next story in our annual In Memoriam article later this year, but we can’t skip over one of the most mind blowing changes to EPCOT since Horizons was replaced Mission: SPACE. Now, what many people might not realize is that the country of Morocco has pulled out of their sponsorship of the Morocco Pavilion in World Showcase. Disney itself now officially runs all aspects of this “country,” similar to how it runs the state of Florida. Despite thousands of Cast Members still unemployed and needing financial assistance, Disney instead found money to fix what many refer to as the “penis wall” in Morocco. This phallic looking wall has become a guest favorite for photo-ops over the years.
The vast majority of EPCOT park guests don’t even realize that this wall even existed. Although when seeing it, often times they will have the following expression…
The infamous wall was changed over to this weird door.
We are proud to announce that the artist @SonderQuest – fresh off his incredible Smislands of Adventure series of paintings – is going to debut his newest piece of artwork here. It features the former “penis wall” and the new “weird door” in the Morocco Pavilion.
# 4 – Universal Studios Japan Unveils 20th Anniversary Food
The SATURDAY SIX is staunchly in support of the “Be Fair To Florida” movement and we will strenuously object when theme parks outside of the Sunshine State get cool stuff that we do not have. Case in point, when overseas theme park blogger @TDRExplorer introduced to us the Universal Studios Japan 20th Anniversary next level bonkers food items.
First let’s check out the Back to the Future “DeLorean White Bean Paste Churro.” Keep in mind when looking at the photo below that this is the most NORMAL of all the food options. The base is a chocolate churro, with red and orange icing for the “flame” trails that the Delorean leaves behind once it hits 88 mph and travels through time. White bean paste, which is not a phrase often used for American dessert snacks, is the “smoke trail.” The Delorean vehicle is a piece of white chocolate, much like we would see just plopped on top of a cupcake here in the states.
This one almost feels like it should come with a NSFW tag. Visually, the E.T. “I’ll Be Right Here” chocolate crunch sundae seems less like comfort food and more like nightmare fuel. However, you can’t go wrong with anything based around vanilla soft serve ice cream.
This one is for the all time books. It’s weird enough to have any food themed to the film Backdraft, a movie about the dangers of firefighting, but the design of this Backdraft Super-Smoked Turkey Leg is to simulate a a burnt human corpse inside of a body bag. That’s called chutzpah.
As a longtime fan of the movie JAWS, for me the highlight of the 20th Anniversary items was the Jaws Dog. The idea itself is so insane that it is brilliant. A shark themed bun, ketchup for “blood,” and a hotdog. BRING THIS TO AMERICA IMMEDIATELY.
Our DisTwitter memesmiths weren’t going to let this one go. When we first found out that the JAWS Dog was coming to Japan, our Jaws shark at Universal Studios Florida was still going through a refurbishment. The shark’s iconic photo-op spot sat empty.
The good news is that Bruce the shark is back in his “home” at USF, and while getting there he gave several Florida drivers a moment they will never forget.
# 3 – The Snow White “Controversy”
It’s no secret that several media programs in this country are eschewing anything resembling news for what is essentially televised clickbait. There is a cottage industry built upon feeding the Outrage Machine, and they must keep feeding it no matter what. You may remember this year alone we got the ridiculous stories of Dr. Seuss books being “cancelled” (they weren’t), Mr. Potato Head was becoming gender-neutral (“he” isn’t,), and most recently “the woke left” destroying the Snow White ride in Disneyland.
The gist of this current nonsense is this: during the pandemic shut down, Snow White’s Enchanted Wish had a major makeover in Disneyland, with several improvements being made to this cherished attraction. Everyone who has ridden the attraction since Disneyland’s reopening seems to praise the experience. However, the Outrage Machine is constantly hungry, and to satiate it for one day a manufactured story about a “non-consensual kiss” had to dominate one particular section of media programs.
The silver lining to this absurd story is that it brought us the following meme, in which Prince Charming uses an air horn to wake up Snow White rather than kissing her.
# 2 – Boo Bash
Breaking News occurred yesterday as Disney announced that Boo Bash would be replacing Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for this year. For many of us, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary was a highlight of the theme park calendar. The candy trails, Boo-To-You parade, and an E-Ticket nighttime fireworks spectacular made for an incredible event. Boo Bash will unfortunately not have the popular parade or fireworks, and we will have to see if their replacements can fill those big shoes.
The good news is that the treat trails will be back, the Cadaver Dans will still be singing, and the Magic Kingdom will be open to midnight or later during the party nights (speaking as a Floridian, 7:00 p.m. in August is just about when the weather switches from unbearably hot to tolerable).
Our resident artists on social media got into the action, including creating a logo for Boo Bash using Disney’s absurd “HOME” design that we have featured before.
Theme park meme icon @Superweeniehutjr succinctly summed up the Boo Bash news.
Before we go to our next set of memes, let’s refer back to a meme from a couple months ago which went viral on all forms of theme park social media. If you’re in a Disney Facebook group, you saw this meme after the news of Disney discontinuing the Magical Express bus transportation.
WALK meme creator SuperWeenieHtJr applied his patented format to the official. Boo Bash photo from Disney
While another user had the same sentiments.
As someone who has been to both Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort since they reopened, I have found it fascinating to see a group of people try to make the case that Disney has been much safer than Universal during the pandemic. Most, if not all of these comments come from people who have something to related to Disney in their screen name. From the beginning, I think both Disney and Universal have been leagues above almost anywhere else you can go in Florida. Personally, I think Universal has done a better job overall at safety procedures. The amount of plexiglass WDW installed for indoor queues is looking worse and worse by the day, and Disney Springs might as well be like one of those Panama Beach party nights that the rest of the country uses to think all of us in Florida are jumping on cars and having midnight raves packed like sardines. I think for some it is unfathomable that Universal could be as good, if not better, than Disney at anything. The fact is Disney got rid of tens of thousands of front line Cast Members (and others) just to improve their bottom line along with their stock price. Universal didn’t. Disney just canceled their annual Halloween and Christmas events. Universal thought outside the box and created several workarounds that are probably going to end up helping their regular Halloween, Christmas, and Mardi Gras events for years to come.
Like everyone, both companies were dealt a bad hand with the coronavirus, but they handled it in very different ways. Neither company has been flawless, but to suggest Disney has been overwhelmingly better than Universal over this past year? I’ve gone to the Disney parks. I’ve gone to the Universal parks. I’ve stayed onsite at Disney. I’ve stayed onsite at Universal. I’ve gone to Disney Springs and I’ve gone to Universal CityWalk. For me they have both been really good with Universal having the overall edge. To say that Disney has been somehow better reminds me of the people who jumped through hoops trying to explain that Disneyland being a ghost town after Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened was actually a good thing.
# 1 – Bob Iger Takes a Photo
With our long national nightmare finally ending and Disneyland once again reopened to guests after a 9 month shut down, who else was there to greet them other than former chairman Bob Iger. Possibly the smartest man in the history of theme parks, Iger saw the looming pandemic and quickly stepped down on February 25th, saying “Yikes. Well, good luck with all that…” just a couple weeks before everything shut down.
Bob Iger was back in the park when Disneyland opened its gates to guests, and – just like us – grabbed his phone to take a picture of the people coming in. I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart that Iger is taking his photo in landscape orientation, and if he’s ever looking for a spot as an official Theme Park Photographer, I will gladly put in a reference for him.
This started an instant meme format.
Who among us doesn’t view The Land Pavilion as one of the greatest places on Earth?
This is Florida in a nutshell.
I had to show some love for Val the velociraptor.
Have to love the use of a former Theme Park Turkey of the Year nominee.
Not to mention The Guy Who Misquoted “A Bug’s Life” during an epic rant while being escorted out of the park for refusing to wear a face mask.
While we wait for the Tron coaster in Magic Kingdom and the Guardians of the Galaxy coaster in EPCOT to open in “TBD,” Bob is probably like the rest of us snapping photos of Universal’s Velocicoaster.
As a huge fan of the show The Office, I loved seeing Bob holding the Sabre pyramid. Epic callback.
Another had Bob ready for the reopening of the NBA Experience in Disney Springs.
Let’s combine multiple forms of pop culture with Bob Iger holding a basketball during a moment from next month’s Space Jam 2.
New chairman Bob Chapek was also at Disneyland welcoming guests.
So there you have it: The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Recent Theme Park News via MEMES! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles covering the latest from the Disney Outlet Stores. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, artist @SonderQuest, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.