As we celebrate Presidents’ Day today, many Atlantans are enjoying a Walt Disney World vacation. Hopefully their day will include a stop at The Hall of Presidents, one of the classic attractions at Walt Disney World. This attraction showcases the brilliance of Disney Imagineers and their work with audio-animatronic figures.
This multi-media production features audio-animatronic figures of all 44 of our Presidents. Each are introduced and several speak to the audience. Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all recorded the audio for “their” dialogue in the production.
First opened in 1971, this attraction is updated each time a new President is elected. President Obama’s figure, the most dynamic and lifelike of all of the presidential audio-animatronics, made its debut at the attraction on the 4th of July 2009. Imagineers studied countless hours of video of President Obama speaking to ensure that the figure’s facial expressions, mannerisms and gestures matched those of the President’s natural habits when speaking to the American people. Click on the video at the left to see a clip from the show.
The Hall of Presidents is one of the attractions in the Magic Kingdom today that was directly inspired by Walt Disney himself. Walt Disney listed Abraham Lincoln as one of his heroes. For Disneyland, Walt envisioned an attraction to be called “One Nation Under God” at Disneyland Park. The idea for the attraction was very similar to The Hall of Presidents as we know it. As plans for Disney World were in the works, Walt had the idea for an attraction featuring wax figures of the U.S. Presidents, an idea that grew to wanting these figures to be animated. Imagineers began working to develop technology to allow this to happen. Their first animatronic figure, that of Walt’s hero Abraham Lincoln, was unveiled at the 1964 World’s Fair as part of a show called “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln”. Plans for the Hall of Presidents at Disney World continued after Walt Disney’s death in 1966 with Imagineers expanding on the show Walt Disney created for the World’s Fair.
Guests visiting The Hall of Presidents enter in to a rotunda style waiting area lined with presidential portraits and featuring personal memorabilia from several presidents. Some of the items include President George W. Bush’s cowboy boots worn to his inauguration, dresses worn by First Ladies Edith Roosevelt , Elizabeth Monroe and Nancy Reagan and personal artifacts from Presidents Gerald Ford, Franklin Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover and George Washington.
The Hall of Presidents show runs 25 minutes and begins every half hour. The 700 seat theater is located in the Liberty Square section of the Magic Kingdom.