What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you visit Walt Disney World? Fast-paced rides like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster? Creepy dark rides like Haunted Mansion? Maybe even the famous Cinderella Castle in the center of Magic Kingdom? All of these are good answers and what most people think of first when planning a Disney trip.
American history, on the other hand, might not even cross your mind when you visit the Disney Parks.
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While it may come as a surprise to some, American history is a crucial part of Disney Parks. Walt Disney was fascinated by both history and the future. This was a key component of the original idea behind EPCOT.
“EPCOT,” Walt explained, “will be guided by the new ideas and new technologies now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be finished. But we will always introduce, test and demonstrate new materials and new systems. And Epcot will always be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise…an experimental prototype community of tomorrow that will always be in a state of becoming will never cease to be a living blueprint of the future where People can actually live a life they can’t find anywhere else in the world.”
While EPCOT has certainly changed in both its design and aesthetic, EPCOT’s future is moving ever closer to what Walt originally created.
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But back to the actual topic.
Disney World offers many attractions that are both entertaining and educational. At the Magic Kingdom, guests can sit back, enjoy the air conditioning while giving their feet a rest while learning about the various presidents in the aptly titled Hall of Presidents.
Walt created Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln for Disneyland and then had the idea of expanding that idea at Walt Disney World Resort with The Hall of Presidents. The show was Walt’s idea, which is exciting as it’s an attraction he came up with and guests can only enjoy at the Magic Kingdom. However, Walt died before his vision came to life.
Walt Disney, of course, also had a fascination with railroads, something crucial to the early development of America as we know it today. Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have a railroad and train that guests can board.
When Walt died, Roy Disney, Walt’s brother, took responsibility for keeping the Disney legacy alive and growing, and he recalled how much Walt loved the idea of having The Hall of Presidents in Magic Kingdom. Because of this, Roy decided to make sure his idea came to life.
Now, almost 50 years later, the attraction still stands with fantastic animatronics and high quality technology keeping the show going.
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Unfortunately, due to the show’s political nature, some guests experience heckling, cheers, and general disruption from the show. The current political climate in America certainly has something to do with the increase in crowd “participation” during the attraction.
In the past, we’ve covered examples of situations where guests cheered after former President Donald Trump was announced at the attraction. This actually led to a cast member warning guests to calm down and not disturb the show.
A discussion on this very topic was sparked after a guest complained online about the show being suspended. The full post is:
“Hello everyone, first post here!
Me and my SO are on our trip to WDW and today is our first full day at Magic Kingdom.
In the morning we visited the Hall of Presidents, and to our surprise, at the end, as they were naming all the presidents, Trump got a big cheer, followed by someone shouting insults as Biden took his oath. What promptly followed was more people yelling “shut up”!
Our last trip was in 2019 (before Covid) but we never experienced that back then.
What are other people’s recent experiences with the ride? Did we hit a bad egg? Or does that happen more often now?”
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While this isn’t the most pressing issue facing Walt Disney World Resort right now, it’s sad that guest experiences can be marred by crowds that may interrupt the show. Guests are always encouraged to remain still and put away all phones and devices before a show begins at Walt Disney World.
Reactions to this post ranged from frustration, confusion, anger and laughter. Many called these interruptions, which some had encountered themselves, “embarrassing” and “twitching.”
A user said:
“The fear of things like this happening is why I can never bring myself to go in there anymore. The cheers and boos I’ve experienced a few times is so terrifying.”
“I can’t believe people pay hundreds of dollars for a trip to a theme park just to pretend.”
Another user put it bluntly:
“People are stupid. Just the idea of cheering for a politician like a sports team is idiotic. With an animatronic, even more so.”
Of course, Disney encourages guests to remain seated and not interrupt any of their live entertainment offerings. The Hall of Presidents has been a pretty hot topic in the Disney Parks community since the 2016 election. In fact, Disney fans didn’t hold back from offering their opinions on Disney’s Hall of Presidents attraction when Disney closed the attraction to make way for a new animatronic presentation of President Donald Trump.
A now-removed petition garnered over 15,000 signatures at one point, with “passionate” Disney fans wanting the theme park to break with tradition and not allow Trump audio-animatronics to speak inside the attraction. And when Donald Trump’s animatronics debuted, other Disney fans called for an overhaul.
Disney World continued with the planned renovation, and eventually a Donald Trump animatronic was added to the Presidential Hall. And more recently, Disney continued that tradition by adding our current president—Joe Biden—to the Liberty Square attraction.
It’s important to remember that Walt Disney World has a set of rules that guests must follow when visiting. The following activities are prohibited on the property:
- The sale of any goods or services, or the display of any goods or services, unless prior written permission has been obtained.
- The distribution of any printed or recorded material of any kind, unless prior written permission has been obtained.
- Interacting with other guests or interfering with operations while impersonating or impersonating a costumed person.
- Engaging in unsafe acts or other acts that could affect the operation of Walt Disney World Resort or any portion thereof.
- Unauthorized access or entry into backstage areas or performer-only areas.
- Unauthorized events, speeches, or the use of flags, banners, signs, or other material for commercial purposes or as part of a demonstration.
- Photographing, videotaping or recording of any kind or other activities for unauthorized commercial purposes.
- Unauthorized solicitations of any kind, whether commercial, religious, educational or otherwise, or engaging in any unauthorized commercial activity, including solicitations for money or other contributions or donations.
- Blocking sidewalk, entrance, driveway, patio, vestibule, stair, corridor, hall or landing.
- Hanging clothing, towels, bedding, or other similar items over or on balconies at a Disney Resort Hotel or fire-fighting sprinkler systems.
More about the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom below:
In the presence of the Presidents
Take a seat in the stately theater, which features 3 giant digital projection screens and a grand proscenium. Watch an original film developed by a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian that tells the dramatic story of the nation’s founding.
Learn about the creation of our Constitution and the hard struggles along the way – like the American Revolution and the Civil War. Hear the stirring words of John F. Kennedy echo through the theater and watch Abraham Lincoln – who is present on the stage – deliver his speech in Gettysburg.
The Presidents will see you now
Watch as the curtain rises to reveal stunningly realistic audio-animatronic recreations of all the Presidents of the United States – together for the first time ever. Hear a speech by George Washington and a recording of the oath of office of the Hall’s newest member, 46th President Joe Biden.
Are you wondering why there are 45 and not 46 characters on the stage? Because Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms as the 22nd and 24th President.
Originally conceived as animated wax figures, the Presidents didn’t meet with Walt Disney’s approval, so he commissioned Walt Disney Imagineering to create the first audio-animatronics character in human form.
The result was the groundbreaking Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, which premiered at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The Hall of Presidents built on the show’s legacy when it opened in 1971 and extended it to include all presidents.
Have you ever encountered any problems or interruptions at Walt Disney World?