Will it be Barack Obama or John McCain – not only as the next President of the United States but the newest addition to Disney’s Hall of Presidents attraction located in Liberty Square at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom? Disney Imagineers are preparing for the new arrival as only one of the presidential candidates will get to address visitors each day in the theme park once the animatronic attraction undergoes a renovation.
In fact, Disney will close the 37-year-old Hall of Presidents for an extended refurbishment. The attraction will remain closed for more than eight months so Imagineers can update the hall’s aging light, sound, mechanical, projection and show systems, just as they have done in recent years with other “classic” Magic Kingdom attractions such as It’s A Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.
“We’re about to get a new president. And so, since we have to shut down the show anyway to welcome No. 44, we’re going to take the opportunity to . . . refurbish the attractions and the facility and also kind of wave the magic wand around a little bit,” said Pam Fisher, senior show writer for Walt Disney Imagineering.
The show has always featured a speech by Abraham Lincoln. In the 1990s, Disney began adding a second speech by the current president. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush recorded their addresses, and Disney hopes to entice the next president to do the same.
“We’ll do everything in our power to make it so,” Fisher said. “We’ve been really lucky so far. It is quite an experience to arrive in the White House and actually be present when the president records his speech for the Hall of Presidents.”
Furthermore, when the show reopens next July 4, a third figure, George Washington, will also be given a speaking part.
The only question that remains is who will fill that 44th spot? We should know after the polls close today, which remind me to remind you to get out and vote.