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2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

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Published: January 5, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Today's attraction spotlight is the Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, the 13th seed in the Best Movie or Animated Show bracket of the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament.

The Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Disney's Hall of Presidents opened with the rest of the Magic Kingdom theme park in October 1971. But the original idea for the attraction came years earlier, when Walt Disney envisioned a similar attraction in a "Liberty Street" next to Main Street USA in Disneyland. Ultimately, Disney and his imagineers developed an Audio-Animatronic Abraham Lincoln for the 1964 World's Fair, which later came to Disneyland as Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

With a functioning human animatronic at last, Disney Imagineers recognized Walt's vision by designing the Hall of Presidents for the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square. In the original show, only Lincoln spoke, reprising his "Great Moments" speech, following a roll call of presidents, who mostly just nodded in acknowledgment as their names were called by a recorded narrator.

Starting in 1993, the current president has recorded a speech for the show. Today's version features Barack Obama:

The show includes a filmed introduction that reviews major conflicts and accomplishments in American history, leading to the presidential roll call.

What do you think of Disney's Hall of Presidents? Please share your thoughts in the comments. Voting begins in the tournament this March.

Readers' Opinions

From Manny Barron on January 5, 2010 at 3:40 PM
I like the Hall of Presidents. So far the best choice in this category. Depending on who it goes up against in the first round, it might pull off the upset.
From Anthony Murphy on January 5, 2010 at 8:49 PM
I like it, but I am suprised to find out that Clinton was the first one to record his speech.

The Obama figure is amazing. Always a good show to see the evolution of animatronics.

From Sylvain Comeau on January 5, 2010 at 11:41 PM
I haven't seen the updated version, with Obama. This is a pretty good attraction, but not popular enough to make any waves in this contest.
From Will Chilcote on January 6, 2010 at 11:21 AM
I detest this attraction. So boring. I like "Great moments with Lincoln" at Disneyland though.
From James Rao on January 6, 2010 at 8:06 PM
On previous visits, HOP was the best place to take a 20 minute power nap after a hard morning of park touring. From what I have read about the refurb, that statement is no longer true. I am anxious to see the new show, and have high expectations for it during my May visit.

Having said all that, I cringe every time someone boo's a President - regardless of his failures. And with Obama's popularity plummeting daily, I can only imagine the jeers that are going to be leveled at the latest Presidential addition to the show. Deserved or not, whatever happened to good old fashioned respect for the office?

As much as I hate to say it, I think it would be best if Disney got rid of the "roll call" altogether and had only Washington and Lincoln speak. At least those two Presidents are largely embraced by all citizens.

From Joshua Counsil on January 7, 2010 at 9:54 AM
The updated Hall is really outstanding. It impressed my entire party of eight Canadians, which is rare for a patriotically American show to pull off.

I hope that those who have experienced the new attraction overshadow those who haven't in the polls. The new version is a major improvement and, so far, is probably the most deserving in this category.

From 75.130.68.156 on January 7, 2010 at 3:51 PM
The Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is truly amazing! I love history, especially American History, and that fact made it so much more interesting to me. If you have respect for history then you too will enjoy it, but if you do not, shame on you! All in all, everyone from whatever country needs to see this- at least once in their lifetime.

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