United States President Joe Biden is headed to Disney World. Or, at least his animatronic replica is headed there. The mechanical Biden will join the other 45 presidents of the United States at the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Following Biden's inauguration today in Washington, Disney World has closed the Hall of Presidents for maintenance. This last happened in 2017 following the inauguration of Donald J. Trump. The exhibit opened again in December of that year, debuting its animatronic replica Trump and updated lighting effects and lobby area.
This has been the typical process for installing a new president after an inauguration since the Hall of Presidents debuted when the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971. The 25-minute exhibition includes a film titled The Idea of a President and a roll call in which each president is named and makes some sign of acknowledgment at the audience. Each president since Bill Clinton has recorded a speaking role for the attraction.
Per the Disney World website, the exhibit is described as taking place in a "stately theater" with 3 digital projection screens and a stage. "Watch an original film—developed by a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian—that tells the dramatic story of the nation’s founding. Learn about the formation of our Constitution and the hard-fought struggles along the way—such as the American Revolution and the Civil War. Listen to the stirring words of John F. Kennedy echo through the theater and watch Abraham Lincoln—in attendance on stage—deliver his Gettysburg address."
The Hall of Presidents is a successor to Walt Disney's Great Moment with Mr. Lincoln exhibit at the 1964 New York's World Fair. Disney originally intended to populate the Hall of Presidents with wax figures but discarded the idea when the figures did not meet his standards.
Though Disney World confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel that it is installing a new Biden animatronic, it has not publicly stated what other changes are in store for the Hall of Presidents or when the exhibit will return to operation. The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando is the only Disney theme park with a Hall of Presidents exhibit. In recent years, some fans have called for Disney to replace the installation with a Muppets exhibit.
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