From Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel:
Had a mini-sneak-peek at the revamped Hall of Presidents this afternoon at Magic Kingdom. Showing us around — but not the whole presentation — was Eric Jacobson, senior vice president at Walt Disney Imagineering. Here are some tidbits he shared about HoP, which is set to reopen officially on July 4:
+ The front room/pre-show has been reorganized a bit. Some of the presidential portraits have been replaced, and the imagery has quotations beneath them. A new display area features dresses from three first ladies: Elizabeth Monroe, Edith Roosevelt (Mrs. Teddy) and Nancy Reagan. (The silk dresses of Monroe and Roosevelt are reproductions).
+ Reagan sent a selection. “Mrs. Reagan actually — at the Reagan Library — picked out six dresses for us to rotate through the collection,” Jacobson says. “She picked them out herself.” Her outfit will change every six months, but she’ll start off in a black-sequined number. The gown area is flexible. “Maybe some day we’ll have one of Michelle Obama’s outfits in here,” Jacobson says.
+ New wording has been placed on an interior wall. It now reads “Welcome to the Hall of Presidents, a Celebration of Liberty’s Leaders.” Outside, the building gets its first marquee (still covered, as seen in photo above. Photo by Joe Burbank, shot Tuesday.) (Previously, there was merely a sign in the planter.)
+ The film, now narrated by Morgan Freeman, is a bit trimmer, and the Animatronic section expanded. “That’s what they [park guests] come to see,” Jacobson says.
+ The emphasis of the attraction is more about the history of the presidency and the presidents as people. Before, it was more of a history lesson, and this change will help distinguish the Hall from the American Adventure presentation at Epcot.
+ The film still will end with the Space Shuttle as the curtain rises to reveal the presidents.