This July 4th, after months of refurbishment to make major changes to the show, the Magic Kingdom's Hall of Presidents will re-open. The Hall of Presidents is one of the Magic Kingdom's original attractions, debuting on opening day October 1st, 1971.
During the extensive downtime, many changes have taken place. Most notable are:
- Doris Kearns Goodwin, a noted presidential historian, created what became a 20 minute documentary for the attraction narrated by Morgan Freeman. Goodwin remarked “Young children watch this, and you want them to feel a sense of identification with the president. This makes the president someone not so far removed from them.”
- George Washington will now have a speaking role during the show.
- Abraham Lincoln now will recite the entire Gettysburg Address.
- President Barack Obama is now represented and will have a speaking role.
According to Jacques Steinberg in an article appearing in the NY Times,
"The Obama figure is the result of attention to minute details by Disney sculptors, animators, engineers and even anatomists who pored over presidential photographs and video of him and then drew on the latest advances in robotic technology.
Thus the audio-animatronic Obama even purses its lips to pronounce its b’s and p’s in a way frighteningly evocative of the real one, and raises its hands, open-palmed, while shrugging its shoulders, in a way that can only be described as Obamaesque. "
Although Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had Audio Animatronic figures created based upon their measurements and their voices recorded for speaking roles during their tenures, the Obama figure promises to be the most lifelike yet.
Expect large crowds this summer after it opens as people clamor to see the changes to the attraction and show support for the very popular new President.