I love classic Disney attractions and the Hall of Presidents is definitely a classic. It was one of the original attractions open on opening day of the Magic Kingdom. Another thing that makes the Hall of Presidents a classic is the fact that it is based on “Great Moments with Mr Lincoln” which Walt Disney and his Imagineers created for the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
The Hall of Presidents is updated regularly with each new US President being added. Other than the addition of new presidents, the attraction was basically unchanged from 1971-1993. In 1993 the script was changed, much to the chagrin of Disney and US History purists. The narrator was also changed from Lawrence Dobkin to Maya Angelou. For me personally, this major overhaul did not improve the attraction. Though I have visited Walt Disney World many more times between 1993-2009 than I did 1971-1993, I have entered the Hall of Presidents fewer times since 1993’s changes. In 2001 actor J.D. Hall re-recorded the narration previously done by Ms Angelou.
On July 4, 2009 the Hall of President’s re-opens after undergoing more updating. Yes, President Barak Obama gives a speech, as have the past two presidents. The new narrator is Morgan Freeman who has a much more commanding voice than Hall. The attraction has also been retitled: Hall of Presidents: A Celebration of Liberty’s Leaders. Other upgrades include Abraham Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address, and for the first time in the history of the attraction, George Washington stands and gives a stirring speech.
Though I am not a fan of President Obama, I am a fan of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, the Hall of Presidents and Walt Disney World. I am eager to witness the upgraded attraction and I hope the the minor historical inaccuracies of the last major upgrade have been fixed.
Here is video, direct from the White House website of President Obama recording his speech for the Hall of Presidents.
I must say, I find it hard to believe that he didn’t know what the attraction was or what it was about. No, Mr President, they are not wax figures, they are audio-animatronics. Please, do your girls a favor and bring them to Walt Disney World on vacation like most Americans. What are your thoughts? Any special memories of the Hall of Presidents? Leave me a comment and let me know.