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:
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.
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.
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?Follow us for more updates: