Patriotism in the Parks – Hall of Presidents

Presidential Seal at the Hall of Presidents
Presidential Seal

In honor of Election Day this week, I thought it all together fitting and proper to continue the Patriotism in the Parks series with a look at the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom. This attraction focuses on the Presidents of the United States of America and the path to freedom through the American Revolutionary War. There is a ongoing joke that each election year the Imagineers at Walt Disney World secretly hope the incumbent wins so they don’t have to change the attraction to add a new president. I’d like to take a closer look at this classic Magic Kingdom attraction to highlight some features. If you are interested in my previous posts in the Patriotism in the Parks series you can read about Memorial Day and Flag Day.

Here is a video from the Disney Parks YouTube channel that talks about some of the technology and additions in the latest incarnation of the Hall of Presidents:

httpv://youtu.be/T1J4Wachgcw

This Magic Kingdom opening day attraction has been a favorite of mine for years. I love being able to sit and watch the story of our founding fathers in air conditioned comfort for a nice break of just over twenty minutes or so. My friends even tease me occasionally (every time) about reciting the Gettysburg Address along with Abraham Lincoln during the show. I blame my 9th grade English teacher Mr. Mullen for making us memorize and recite it in front of the class that year. Amongst our friends we also have a tradition of thanking President Millard Fillmore. Recently, I was engaged in an interesting conversation with the dead president via twitter. It was quite amusing! Apparently there is a bot that scans twitter for the name “Millard Fillmore” and tweets at people who mention him.

The show was inspired by the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction that debuted at the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York City. The attraction then was installed at Disneyland in 1965. Later, changes were made and Lincoln was removed, but he has been back on Main Street U.S.A. since 2009. I was able to see this show for the first time a few months ago on my Disneyland trip, which you can read about here, and it was very interesting seeing elements lifted from both the Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents and the American Adventure at Epcot.

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

Hall of Presidents features audio-animatronics of each of our 43 presidents as well as a film narrated by Academy Award winning actor Morgan Freeman. The film begins shortly after the American Revolution around the time of the Constitution in 1789 and goes up through present day. In between, much ground is covered from the two plus centuries of American history. Most prominently featured are segments about George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama.

Colonists
Colonists
Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence
Washington Crossing the Delaware in the Hall of Presidents
Washington Crossing the Delaware
George Washington in the Hall of Presidents
George Washington
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson at the Red Eagle Tavern in the Hall of Presidents
Andrew Jackson at the Red Eagle Tavern
Westward Expansion
Westward Expansion
Lincoln - Douglas Debates in the Hall of Presidents
Lincoln – Douglas Debates
Abraham Lincoln in the Hall of Presidents
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln on the brink of Civil War in the Hall of Presidents
Abraham Lincoln on the brink of Civil War
Bombing of Fort Sumter
Bombing of Fort Sumter
Mr. Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address in the Hall of Presidents
Mr. Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address
Moving into the Industrial Era in the Hall of Presidents
Moving into the Industrial Era
Teddy Roosevelt in the Hall of Presidents
Teddy Roosevelt
Social Progress with Teddy Roosevelt
Social Progress with Teddy Roosevelt
FDR faces the Great Depression in the Hall of Presidents
FDR faces the Great Depression
JFK our youngest elected President
JFK our youngest elected President
JFK and the Washington Monument in the Hall of Presidents
JFK and the Washington Monument
Ronald Reagan addresses the Challenger Disaster in the Hall of Presidents
Ronald Reagan addresses the Challenger Disaster
George W. Bush post 9-11 in the Hall of Presidents
George W. Bush post 9-11
The American spirit will prevail
The American spirit will prevail
New frontiers lie ahead
New frontiers lie ahead
The Presidents of the United States of America in the Hall of Presidents
The Presidents of the United States of America
George Washington center stage in the Hall of Presidents
George Washington center stage
George Washington speaks in the Hall of Presidents
George Washington speaks
Barack Obama speaks in the Hall of Presidents
Barack Obama speaks
The Presidents in the Hall of Presidents
The Presidents

I love how this attraction highlights some of our greatest moments in history through montage in the video, but also doesn’t gloss over darker times in our past like the Civil War and Great Depression. This is a great snapshot of American history and always imbues me with a sense of pride and appreciation for what we have achieved in this great nation of ours. Do you have a favorite part of the Hall of Presidents? Do you have a favorite President? Have you cheered for Millard Fillmore? If not, what are you waiting for?

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