Dear Disney, Close The Hall of Presidents

January 6, 2021, 4:58 PM · Dear Bob Chapek and Josh D'Amaro,

Given what has happened in Washington, D.C. today, it is time to close The Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

The United States Capitol fell today to insurgents incited by defeated President Donald Trump. Trump's Department of Defense initially declined to allow the National Guard to defend the Capitol after a request from the overwhelmed D.C. police. As a result, the insurgents prevented the scheduled certification of President-elect Joe Biden, in a planned interruption of a Constitutionally mandated function of the federal government.

Make no mistake. This is an act of sedition - of treason - against the United States government. It is a dark day for America, and The Walt Disney Company should not celebrate it by continuing to give Donald Trump a voice in one of its attractions.

Close The Hall of Presidents.

This attraction was intended as a patriotic tribute to the nation that cultivate Walter Elias Disney's dreams. It was a logical extension of the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction that Disney brought to the 1964 World's Fair for the State of Illinois, then later installed at Disneyland in California, where a version plays to this day. For years, Walt Disney World visitors enjoyed this inspiring presentation and walked away with renewed confidence in the enduring office of the Presidency.

But a misguided decision to allow the incumbent President a speech in the show tinged the show with contemporary partisanship. What was intended as a patriotic tribute now felt divisive to some Disney guests. I suggested last July that Disney should consider changing or removing The Hall of Presidents. What Trump has done now should leave Disney no choice. Unless the company wishes to insult patriotic Americans who cannot stand the sight of its Capitol being overrun by racist thugs, some flying Confederate battle flags, it must silence its Trump Audio-Animatronic and forever banish it from public display.

If Disney wishes to leave the Hall closed until that day when Trump is (I hope) convicted of treason and to use that conviction as an excuse for Trump's exclusion from a future roll call of Presidents, so be it. If Disney wishes to rewrite the show and reduce the number of Presidents depicted to cover Trump's absence, fine. If Disney wishes to reduce the show to an east coast installation Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and put all the other presidents into storage, okay. If Disney wants to remove the production entirely and repurpose the theater for Great Moments in American History Featuring The Muppets or a restaged production of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, that would be fine by me.

Bob and Josh, Disney did the right thing by removing Confederate flags from The American Adventure in Epcot. Disney has enjoyed a long history of supporting and celebrating America. It should not for one more moment continue to celebrate someone who has shown that he is willing to abuse the office of the Presidency to defile the Constitution, the Capitol, and the will of the American people.

Close The Hall of Presidents.

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