The Hall of Presidents Trump Animatronic Delay Not Politically Motivated

in Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

President Trump

In his new book, “Team of Vipers” former senior White House aide Cliff Sims reveals some of the back and forth that took place as Disney added President Trump to Walt Disney World’s Hall of Presidents following his election 2 years ago. As Disney fans and longtime readers of Inside the Magic well know there was an unusually long delay in the reopening of the Hall of Presidents after President Trump was elected.

Back on January 17, 2017, the Hall of Presidents closed and did not reopen until December 18, 2017. This 11-month closure was well beyond the initially projected project end date of June 30, 2017. So what happened that required an extra 5 1/2 months to complete the update? And was the delay politically motivated? Given what we know now it doesn’t appear so.

Depending on perspective some of the more common guesses about the delayed open range from a specific desire by Disney to censure or silent the President with a non-speaking role to others speculating that it was due to some specific political action taken by the President. These theories lined up backers on both sides and led to some heated debate in Disney fan circles.

The confusion grew when an interview from Vice was released, which Inside the Magic detailed here. Vice claimed that Trump’s communication team was combating Disney Imagineers regarding specifics of the speech. In fact that Vice report fueled additional speculation because their initial report was quickly retracted.

The retraction was noteworthy as many noted that Vice Media is owned by The Walt Disney Company. Furthermore, the retraction was messy with Vice first issuing a partial retraction later followed by a full retraction. Additionally, Disney issued an official statement refuting the claims from Vice.

To say these factors created drama is putting it mildly. But what if there was no politically charged argument from either President Trump’s camp nor Disney? Could there actually be a more reasonable explanation for the excessive 11-month delay?

Hall of Presidents

Well according to Cliff Sim’s new book “Team of Vipers” it appears there was and it all had to do with SKYSCRAPERS???? As Mr. Sim’s details to the Daily Beast who received an advanced copy of the book.

In fact, it appears according to their report the President may have actually been excited to record his voice for the Hall of Presidents and wanted to add a little Pro-America bragging not to mention some personal bragging on the side. Speaking of the President’s duty to record his voice for Disney, Sims claims it “was a presidential duty that filled the President with unusual boyish excitement.”

The President’s initial version of the speech reportedly included the claim that America “invented the skyscraper” along with the brag “Which of course I know a thing or two about, right?” referring to his real estate business.

As such the Vice story appears to at least be partially right because as Sims confirms the Disney’s Imagineers eventually rejected that recording as they felt a skyscraper isn’t really an invention rather it is a very tall building. Ultimately Cliff Sims removed that line from the President’s speech so that it could be re-recorded into the speech we have today.

Where the Vice story was wrong is a difference of opinion about skyscrapers hardly matches the level of conflict that was inferred. But despite what many of us assumed, it is not too surprising this misinterpretation occurred given just how passionate both sides of the political spectrum were then and now. If anything the debate over how to represent the President at The Happiest Place On Earth was simply the warm up to our current political climate with disagreements on many more important issues than skyscrapers.

Does this new revelation change how you feel about the Trump Animatronic in The Hall of Presidents? Let us know in the comments below.

If you haven’t seen the Hall of Presidents, be sure to check out the full video or this history of this great attraction that was near and dear to Walt Disney’s heart in this inside look. Setting political opinions aside it truly is an amazing attraction that should give all Americans great pride.


  1. Avatar

    Tommy T.

    I feel like there’s something missing her – why would 1 line of a speech cause a 5 and a half month delay?

    Also, Kurt, if you’re going to own and operate a website focused on Disney Parks, you should probably note that “The Happiest Place on Earth” is Disneyland and that Walt Disney World is “The Most Magical Place on Earth”.

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      Kurt Schmidt

      Tommy good point there could be some additional factors prompting the delay, but I’m guessing the decision to revise the statement wasn’t made lightly and it could have resulted in months of discussion. Was that enough to create an 5 1/2 month delay, I’m not sure. We could still use more information from those with first hand knowledge.

      As it relates to the Happiest Place vs Magical Place point, my intent was to suggest visiting Walt Disney World should be a happy activity and the assumptions many of us made robbed us of the happiness that should exist. Nevertheless you are 100% right, Disneyland’s tagline is “The Happiest Place on Earth” while Walt Disney World’s tagline is “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”

      Thanks for reading the article and making some great points.

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    When I took the Behindthe Scenes tour at WDW they said it was a problem with the old technology and the new technology in the DT animatronics. Could be romur….could not be.

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    kathie vancura

    Will he be removed if and when there is an impeachment? Is there a policy in place yet for that?

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    David D

    This is supposed to be a place where you leave the real world stuff outside. We heard booing when he came on, which is a shame (many really disliked President Obama, but I would have been upset if people booed him), sorry Kathie,you are part of the problem, keep politics out of Disney. BTW his likeness is horrible IMO.

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    Danny Bereza

    Did they remove Clinton or even Nixon. First it won’t happen and even in the most extreme circumstance that your dream was realized does not change the history which you will have to learn to live with He is the President of the United States

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    Roy Emond

    Two impeached presidents are in the show, Johnson and Clinton.

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    Denise Giardello

    As likenesses go, his is the worst. Looks like his hair on Hillary’s head. They were probably certain she would win and just tweeked him a bit. They couldnt figure out what to do with it, that’s what took so long.

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    Syl R

    First of all, when you start out by saying, its not political, it probably is. For one, it looks nothing like the President. Rumor has it, you thought Hillary was going to win and you already had her ready to be in her position. Two, how many times did you change Obama’s speech? I’m looking forward to seeing him when we go in 2020 and I hope you redo his facial features and make him look more true to life. He is our President, respect that!??

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    I had a really hard time not booing at Agent Orange. The only reason I did not do it was fear of getting banned from the parks.

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