Disney World Could Close Historic Hall of Presidents Due To Immature Guest Behavior

in Walt Disney World

Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square

Credit: Disney

A historic Walt Disney World Resort attraction, The Hall of Presidents, faces an uncertain future as guests exhibit increasingly immature behavior. Fans report disturbances and interruptions during nearly every performance of the 25-minute show.

Inspired by Disneyland Resort’s Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, The Hall of Presidents expanded on Walt Disney’s dream of an audio-animatronic tribute to the executive branch of the United States government. It opened alongside Magic Kingdom Park in 1971, making it one of the oldest Walt Disney World Resort attractions.

Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort as seen from an archway.
Credit: Disney

The Hall of Presidents is one of the only Walt Disney World Resort attractions that Imagineers must regularly update. The show inevitably shuts down every four to eight years while Imagineering crafts an audio-animatronic of the new U.S. president. The tradition started in 1993 with President Bill Clinton, the first to record the oath of office and a short speech exclusively for the attraction.

Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump subsequently recited the oath of office and individual speeches for The Hall of Presidents. President Joe Biden also lent his voice to the attraction, but his audio-animatronic is the first since Clinton not to give a speech after the oath of office. The White House shared this behind-the-scenes video of President Obama recording his lines in 2009:

The Hall of Presidents is inherently political, but it hasn’t always been politicized by guests. Millennials and older Gen-Z adults can remember their parents dragging them into the show for a patriotic history lesson in between a turkey leg and a ride on the Haunted Mansion. Even on vacation, you have to learn something, right?

That changed in 2016 with the election of President Donald Trump. As the United States became more polarized than ever, some guests took issue with the addition of Trump to The Hall of Presidents. Some speculated that Trump’s animatronic was a reskin of Hillary Clinton because Disney didn’t expect the celebrity billionaire to win. Boos and groans from guests weren’t uncommon during Trump’s four-year term in The Hall of Presidents.

hall of presidents donald trump animatronic
Credit: ABC

Months after the January 6 Capitol attacks spurred by President Trump’s unfounded claims of a stolen election, President Joe Biden took over the Walt Disney World Resort attraction. Now, upset guests jeer and boo at President Biden’s animatronic, too. (Ironically, The Hall of Presidents might be one of the only things guests on both sides of the aisle agree on.) Security cast members are often spotted standing guard during the show, a rarity on any other ride or attraction.

With the 2024 presidential primaries in full swing, Walt Disney World Resort fans once again discussed The Hall of Presidents. Many felt dismayed, arguing that “immature” Disney Park guests ruined the attraction and put it at risk of closure due to lower attendance.

hall of presidents joe biden animatronic
Credit: Disney

“I used to go to it often,” recalled Redditor u/osufeth24. “Then you started getting idiots who made it political by booing and cheering certain presidents that’s ruined it for me.”

“The real [gems] if you’re into history are the Presidential artifacts they have in the lobby of the theater,” u/Nostradomusknows replied. “Just try to ignore the yahoos who cheer and boo obnoxiously.”

“The displays in the lobby waiting area are great and very informative,” u/JLikesStats echoed. “…I like riding it when there’s a new president because that means there’s more animatronics! I went recently and there were no boos or hurrays but the party behind me applauded when Trump was introduced and scoffed when Biden did the speech.”

The Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom
Credit: Brittany DiCologero, Inside the Magic

Still, others found The Hall of Presidents a valuable addition to their Walt Disney World Resort vacations and didn’t notice any inappropriate guest behavior.

“The video that was redone in recent years is absolutely beautiful,” said u/No-Percentage-8063. “It presents the history of the office without being ugly and divisive. We went last weekend and had a great respectful audience and the security officer was not seen.”

“It’s an amazing technological achievement…,” u/Glad_Art_6380 wrote. “If you’re interested in history and true Disney/Imagineering marvels, you should make time to see it.”

Has another guest ruined your experience at The Hall of Presidents? Share your story with Inside the Magic in the comments. 

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