View Full Version : "Muppet Mobile Lab" Slated for DCA ***Updated with Preview!
02-01-2007, 05:02 PM
L.A. Times Article (http://www.intercot.com/discussion/showpost.php?p=1210820&postcount=14)
Promotional Photo #1 (http://www.intercot.com/discussion/showpost.php?p=1210820&postcount=14)
Promotional Photo #2 (http://www.intercot.com/discussion/showpost.php?p=1210827&postcount=16)
Disney Link—The Official Disney Desktop Message Center, has announced that the Muppet Mobile Lab began previews at Disney's California Adventure earlier this week. Muppet Mobile Lab
On Feb. 27, Muppet characters Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker unexpectedly greeted Guests at Disney's California Adventur®.As part of Disney's Living Characters initiative, Walt Disney imagineering Research and Development is 'playtesting' its 'Muppet Mobile Lab' featuring the classic Muppet characters. This next step in the evolution of Disney storytelling technology represents the first-ever, freeroaming Audio -Animatronics ® characters able to interact with each other as well as Guests. The Muppet Mobile Lab is not currently scheduled as a permanent attraction in any Disney park.Video of the Preview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owJGRvo0y_g)
Walt Disney Imagineering is reportedly close to debuting its next fruit of the "living character initiative".
The Muppet Mobile Lab is next in a line of "autonomous" audio-animatronics (AA), like Lucky the Dinosaur.
The mobile lab features both Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker as interactive characters.
If development stays at its current pace, it is expected that the Muppet Mobile Lab will debut at the Hollywood Backlot area of Disney's California Adventure in Spring 2007.
JimHillMedia obtained this picture (http://www.jimhillmedia.com/mb/images/upload/Muppet-Mobile-Labs-web.jpg) of the AA supposedly during a test run at Walt Disney Imagineering.
02-01-2007, 06:17 PM
I love the Muppets! :kermit:
It would be great if this drew a bigger audience over to Muppets 3D. :beaker:
02-02-2007, 04:10 PM
I'm not too keen on the Muppets. I used to watch the show but i cannot for the life of me associate Muppets with Disney. :confused:
Paradise Pier Pinocchio
02-02-2007, 04:49 PM
Can't wait to see this out at the parks.
02-02-2007, 07:34 PM
My two favorite Muppets!!!! Probably won't be there in March though :( Guess I'll have to visit again next year!
Beaker is great! id like to see this too
02-03-2007, 10:09 AM
Huge Beaker fans in my household too. :beaker:
This looks very cool. :waycool: Thanks, Jason.
02-03-2007, 10:33 AM
Wow! This is sweet! I'm a huge mark for the Muppets. Thanks for the info!
02-05-2007, 11:25 AM
I used to watch the show but i cannot for the life of me associate Muppets with Disney. :confused:
I like the Muppets, but I also feel the same... The Muppets just aren't Disney to me. I do think the mobile lab is cool.
02-22-2007, 12:18 PM
I agree the Muppets aren't very Disney, but they are huge pop icons to many and Jim Henson was a very creative man. I'm glad to see that Disney is keeping the Muppets "alive." :fozzie:
02-22-2007, 12:45 PM
I hope they come to WDW like Lucky did. I love Beaker.
This sounds and looks very cool. It may help me convince DH that we need to make a trip to DLR as he is a Muppets fan.
03-01-2007, 08:07 PM
Original Post Updated with Preview info
03-02-2007, 09:28 AM
These Wireless Robots Try Not to Act Remote
The audio-animatronic Muppets roam a Disney theme park "seeing" and "talking" to visitors.
By Kimi Yoshino | Staff Writer
March 2, 2007
Watch out, Mickey Mouse. The Muppets may be sneaking up on you.
Walt Disney Imagineering this week debuted its latest, cutting-edge creation: free-roaming, interacting audio-animatronic Muppets capable of "seeing" and "talking" to tourists — and without a human puppeteer in sight.
Disney's most advanced robotic creation to date makes the costumed, mute Winnie the Poohs and Donald Ducks seem like felt-covered relics, though Disney executives are quick to reassure that the beloved, autograph-signing cast isn't going anywhere.
"This is an incredibly compelling and powerful way to experience the characters," said Bruce Vaughn, vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering's research and development division.
"They are fully aware of the people in their presence and can call you by name. It is a 100% live experience."
The technology is vastly more sophisticated than Disney's first venture into audio-animatronics with the Enchanted Tiki Room birds in 1963 and Mr. Lincoln in 1964.
In their first appearances at Disney's California Adventure this week, bumbling scientist Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his meep-meeping sidekick Beaker joked and chatted with guests. The Muppets could see the color of the clothes the kids wore and the lollipops they licked — casting a slight Big Brother vibe over the proceedings. They maneuvered in a silver, egg-shaped roving laboratory outfitted with flashing lights, spinning signs, confetti cannons and smoke and water sprayers.
"That's amazing!" said Adam Young, 27, a tourist from Canada.
As Beaker and Honeydew encouraged people to do the hokeypokey, Young scanned the park, high and low. He twisted around, his eyes darting in search of the human manning the controls. "I'm trying to figure out who was driving it. It's crazy."
One boy walked away with this question: "Do you think there's someone down there talking, Dad?" His father shrugged.
Never wanting to divulge their secrets, Imagineers waved it off as "Disney magic" and "pixie dust." In reality, a live puppeteer who can see and hear everything reacts from afar.
The Muppet Mobile Laboratory will be roaming the streets of California Adventure through Sunday, before it heads back to the shop for more tweaking.
During this week's initial testing phase, a team of Disney techs and Dave Goelz, the original voice of Muppet characters such as Dr. Honeydew and Gonzo, were behind the scenes in Anaheim. The goal is for one person to operate the characters from as far away as Glendale, the headquarters of Walt Disney Imagineering, the theme park design and development arm of Walt Disney Co.
Through its Living Character Initiative, Disney is trying to improve interaction between characters and YouTube-watching, Nintendo Wii-playing guests. In 2005, the company introduced "Turtle Talk With Crush," a real-time animated show that allows the "Finding Nemo" character to chat with fans.
In 2003, Disney scientists and engineers built Lucky, a 20-foot- long dinosaur that could smile, grunt and burp. It was the first time an audio-animatronics creation was unleashed into the park, instead of tethered to an attraction, such as the swashbucklers in Pirates of the Caribbean. Lucky has since gone into hibernation.
Dr. Honeydew and Beaker, which were purchased along with the rest of the Muppets in 2004 from Jim Henson Co., can be removed from their roving lab and put into theater chairs, on rides, or in any other setting. No nearby operator is necessary.
The portable, wireless technology also allows Disney to bring to life nontraditional characters. Most of the Muppets, for example, are too small to be portrayed by a human in costume.
Disney is considering using the technology to bring other characters, including those from Pixar movies, to its parks.
"With prior audio-animatronics, you see the figure standing, but there's a huge infrastructure backstage and all sorts of machines," Vaughn said.
"I think what you'll ultimately see is a lot of characters that we haven't been able to deliver before."
Mulitmedia on the L.A. Times Site (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-disney2mar02,0,3107781.story?track=ntothtml)
03-02-2007, 09:31 AM
Muppet Mobile Lab Promotional Photo
03-02-2007, 09:33 AM
Muppet Mobile Lab Promotional Photo
03-02-2007, 02:36 PM
I hope the Laboratory is out in July. :beaker:
03-02-2007, 04:05 PM
I hope the Laboratory is out in July. :beaker:
Me too Carol! Those pictures are awesome, Jason!! Thanks for posting them! :thumbsup:
03-04-2007, 12:50 AM
I love the Muppets, no matter who owns their rights or where they are. I can only hope that WDW develops something similar, as I have no clue when I will ever be able to get out to DL.:(
03-10-2007, 04:16 PM
That is beyond amazing, one giant leap for imagineer kind :thumbsup:
03-11-2007, 12:01 AM
Oh my goodness, I can't believe I may actually get to see this while I am there :cloud9:
03-23-2007, 04:31 PM
This looks really cute. i like the idea of these street shows! They really make a place like disney unique in that there is always somehting going on! So much fun!:mickey:
03-24-2007, 03:23 PM
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