A few weeks back the Disney Parks Blog revealed information about a brand new area coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios called "Grand Avenue." As they put it, the area will "capture the spirit of present-day Downtown Los Angeles, showing vintage office buildings and warehouses representing the different vibrant districts and cultures of the city."
Included with the new area you'll find a pub called "BaseLine Tap House", a quaint little spot with an outdoor tree-shaded terrace for lounging with an industrial contemporary feel on the inside. The menus will focus on California wines on tap, craft ales, lagers, ciders and offer a few speciality cocktails. You'll also have a small bites menu to accompany the beverage offerings.
Fast-forward to earlier today when the Parks Blog went even further and released new information about the coming changes this fall. Muppet's Courtyard will become a new space called "Grand Park" and as we've already seen, the old Muppets Theater is now the Grand Arts Theater. PizzeRizzo and Mama Melrose will remain but they've been cautious not to say if any of the zany Muppet theming will be sticking around.
But enough about all the stuff they've already revealed. Let's get down to why I'm writing this post in the first place. Even though this whole Grand Avenue announcement seems to have came out of the blue and surprised everyone.. there's actually been signs, yes literal signs, letting us know that Grand Avenue was on it's way. Let's go explore...
Now hear me out, this will all make sense in a few minutes - I promise. Back on November 18th, 2016 a little pizza place opened up across the courtyard from MuppetVision. It's name, PizzeRizzo and it took over the old Pizza Planet spot.
There's always been an upstairs in the building so when Rizzo moved in, he turned it into a deluxe supreme banquet hall. Just outside that banquet hall you'll find a very suspicious but not so important enclosed bulletin board.
This bulletin board has been here since the start, just minding it's own business since November of last year. For 9 months nobody really paid much attentions to the details hidden within but stick with me. You're in for a surprise. Remember when I said there were literal signs posted about Grand Avenue.....
See what I'm saying? WDI put the announcement out there from the beginning. There are physical, literal, and now practical signs posted all over this board referring to Los Angeles & Grand Avenue. Then there's this little "smack ya in the face it's so obvious" reference on the coupon; "Celebrating the grand opening of the second famous original, PizzeRizzo with a free slice on me!" You might as well have Captain Obvious handing out those coupons. "LOS ANGELES LOCATION GRAND OPENING SPECIAL - 7th & Grand Ave." You sneaky imagineers, I should send you some flowers to your office in Glendale.
But if having the printed words in big bold font wasn't enough.. there's also a map. Yup. Signs, maps, you name it.. it's all been here in the open. These aren't new additions. Go check out what my friends at Mousesteps.com posted back in December when they visited. You'll clearly see that the photo's I'm putting up have been there, and this is not an update.
The final straw comes in the form of a map. If the giant bold block lettering on the coupon wasn't enough, the imagineers drew us a map.
BOOM. There ya go - case closed - we've been bamboozled from the start. However, this should teach us all a valuable lesson; always look up, down and around when you're in a Disney park. The level of detail and depth the imagineers incorporate into new spaces, attractions and resorts are often overlooked - but simply astounding.
And even though there's no direct reference to the Grand Park area that'll be replacing Muppet's Courtyard, it's still pretty fantastic to think how many hidden references we're thrown into this little slice of rat pizza paradise. Sometimes they're obvious, other times you might end up waiting 9 months. All I can say is.. well played Disney. Well played.