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Sunday, February 16, 2020

5 Cool Facts about “The Hall of Presidents”

by Ray Keating
February 16, 2020

Monday, February 17, is President’s Day. And when it comes to U.S. presidents and the Walt Disney Company, one naturally turns to Disney World’s Hall of Presidents, where all 44 men who have served as U.S. president are represented.

The Hall of Presidents in 1971 (courtesy of Disney Parks Blog)

So, here are some interesting facts about The Hall of Presidents:

1. Originally intended for Disneyland – under the title One Nation Under God –  The Hall of Presidents opened in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square on October 1, 1971. (Dave Smith, Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia)

2. The President Lincoln animated figure debuted at the World’s Fair in New York City in 1964. Of course, that Lincoln journeyed to Disneyland to open Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln in 1965.

                                                       Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

3. According to D23.com, the research for The Hall of Presidents was considerable:

Luckily for the Imagineers, much of the pre-planning work for The Hall of Presidents had been completed in the early ’60s: They had done extensive research, written several scripts and created a detailed model theater. But even more daunting challenges were ahead for WED Enterprises — to create realistic and life-size figures of each of the presidents. They had already completed an amazing likeness of Lincoln, but could they achieve the same realism with 35 other presidents?

Over the fifteen year development of The Hall of Presidents, WED Imagineers referenced hundreds of paintings, thousands of photographs, 300-or-so periodicals and more than 600 books to give their prestigious vision the right attention to detail — and all this just accounted for the preliminary research! By making several trips to Washington, D.C., Williamsburg and other historical sites, writers, designers and painters sought to authenticate their work by soaking in the atmosphere of where our nation’s presidents worked and lived.

4. President Clinton recorded remarks for The Hall of Presidents in the White House in 1993. Clinton was the first to do so, and each president after him has done the same.

5. The latest update to The Hall of Presidents came to life on December 19, 2017. As reported by the Disney Parks Blog:

The history of innovation at The Hall of Presidents continues to this day. In addition to updating the show’s content, Imagineers have incorporated the latest in theatrical design and Audio-Animatronics technology. Landmark moments in history come alive on a panoramic 180-degree screen that transports guests across more than 200 years of the American story. High-impact projection, sound, lighting and other enhancements take guests into rare and indelible moments in history that helped define a nation. 

As has been the tradition with every new president since the attraction debuted, an Audio-Animatronics figure of President Donald J. Trump has been added to the show and features the latest advances in technology that enable smoother and more lifelike movements. President Trump personally recorded remarks exclusively for The Hall of Presidents, just as each sitting president has done for the attraction since the early 1990s.

                                         The Hall of Presidents re-opened in 2017 (courtesy of Disney Parks Blog)

As noted on the Disney Parks Blog, “The Hall of Presidents carries a legacy and passion for American history that has been part of Disney Parks for more than 50 years.”

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

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