July 7, 2009

History of the Hall

Opening with the Magic Kingdom on October 1st 1991, the Hall of Presidents is one of the original Magic Kingdom attractions.

The plan for the Hall of Presidents has been around since Walt Disney and his expansion plans for Disneyland. Originally he wanted a "Hall of Presidents" type attraction called Once Nation Under God. After Disneyland had become a huge success, Walt Disney proposed an extension of Main Street called Liberty Street at Edison Square. Walt originally wanted wax figures of all the U.S. Presidents, and later decided to try to make them animated figures. But the technology that Walt Disney wanted for this attraction did not exist or fully meet his desire. Walt Disney decided to collaborate with his fellow Imagineers of WEDway Enterprises to try to make the first Audio-Animatronic figure in a human form. It would be of Walt Disney's hero: Abraham Lincoln. With Abraham Lincoln as the main character he made the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln for Disneyland at the Disneyland Oprea House. Which was originally for the 1964-65 New York World's Fair.

After Walt Disney's death on December 15, 1966, plans were moving ahead for the (still under construction) Walt Disney World. Since there was going to be another Disneyland-style theme park, this time officially known as the Magic Kingdom, Imagineers that felt one of the various changes that would differ between Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom should be in one of themed lands. The Imagineers inferred that since Florida was close to the real New Orleans in Louisiana having a New Orleans Square in the Magic Kingdom was a bit superfluous. The old designs and concepts for Disney's Liberty Street at Edison Square were reviewed and revised, and what became of it was Liberty Square, that served as the alternative to New Orleans Square. The Imagineers also thought that, as a follow-up to "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln", they could finally create Walt Disney's concept of "One Nation Under God", and thus the "Hall of Presidents" was created. The original show had a movie that the main idea of the nation is not free from improvements. After the movie, the presidents had teh role call then President Lincoln began his speech, after his speech the show concluded with the curtain closing and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".

Up until 1993 the show remained virtually unchanged, other than the addition of the new presidents. In 1993, Eric Foner, a history professor at Columbia University, persuaded the Disney Company to change the Hall of Presidents. Foner rewrote the script and focused it more on slavery and civil rights. Another addition was the replacement of the old narrator, Lawerence Dobkin, with Maya Angelou. And then for the first time, the current president would make a speech.
In 2001, with the addition of George W. Bush, a new narrator was introduced, JD Hall, who replaced Maya Angelou. ALso at that time, the Bill Clinton anamatronic from 1993 was recycled and reused for George W. Bush, with Bill Clinton getting a lesser advanced one to stand in the back and knod his head.
On to the final and current Hall of Presidents today. In late 2008, the Hall of Presidents to prepare for the arrival of the new president. During the closure, this attraction went through an extensive refurbishment with upgraded audio and visual effects. Once again, the narrator was changed to Morgan Freeman., And on March 4, 2009, President Barack Obama recorded his speech in the White House Map Room. His speech includes his oath of office and a speech that the imagineers wrote regarding Freedom. Along with President Obama, a third president speaks now as well, President Washington, talks about the Oath of Office taht he and all of the presidents after him have taken. The show line up was redone as well. WIth the upgraded movie and adding pictures of Oklahoma City Bombings, 9/11 and Columbia, also when talking about the Gettysburg Address, the screen rolls up and the Audio-Anamatronic Lincoln resites the address "live" instead of it appearing on the screen. Then the screen rolls back down to finish the movie. Then, the roll call of presidents and George Washington speaks and introduces President Obama. Along with the redone show, the attraction got a new name, now it is Hall of Presidents: Celebration of Americas Leaders, one of the imagineers working on the project said that it is the HAll of PResidents still, but it is a place, the Celebration of Americas Leaders is now the attraction.... Since the newly redone show focuses on Americas Presidents and the struggles they have faced throughout the history of America....

As you can see this beloved and classic Disney attraction has gone through many changes, and many people and Disney Fans believe that this recent incarnation and redone Hall of Presidents is teh best and is no longer "boreing"....

Tomorrow we will do Pics and Pins of Hall of Presidents.... Stay Tuned....
Pics and Info from AllEarsNet.com and Wikipedia.org

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