EDITORIAL: It’s Time to Close The Hall of Presidents

This post may contain affiliate links; please read the disclosure for more information.

Editor’s Note: This editorial contains the opinions of the author, Nathan Hartman. These opinions may or may not align with those of WDWNT LLC. Please feel free to voice your own thoughts in the comments section below.


Boom. Fingers have flown to keyboards. Some grit their teeth while others grin.

“He couldn’t be more right!”

“He’s just envious of who’s headlining the show!”

Rest assured that the idea of closing down The Hall of Presidents has little to do with who gets their moment to shine in the show, even if some will accuse of such bias anyway (without even reading the article possibly). But that politically sided gut reaction, to a Disney ride no less, is precisely why it’s time to say goodbye to this opening day attraction.

Downhill from the Start

There are few people in American history that exemplify the post-war boom of American innovation and culture like Walt Disney and he embraced the red, white, and blue every step of the way. There was never a question what side Walt was on. In 1947 he met with Joseph McCarthy’s Un-American Activities Committee and testified that Communists were the ones behind a strike at his studio.

While 80 of the “Hollywood elite” would denounce the hearings, friend and future Hall of President figure himself, Ronald Reagan also testified against the “red menace.” Reagan would go on to be one of the hosts of the opening of Disneyland in ‘55 and though the whole theme park was a gamble, families now flush with new jobs and GI bills embraced Walt’s new form of park entertainment.

From Main St. USA, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and even concepts like Liberty St. that never got off the ground, Disney always found ways to honor and evangelize the boot-straps American ideals that got him from a warehouse in Kansas City to the center of Hollywood. As the Carousel of Progress would later say…

”He himself was probably as American as anyone could possibly be.”

But as Disney reached his final years, America’s perception of itself had already begun to sour. By 1964, over 16,000 Americans had been deployed to Vietnam and, according to the Pew Research Center, the public’s trust in the government was taking a nosedive. In ‘66, Disney found himself in a hospital bed, working on an experimental city that he hoped could fix the ills of a country that no longer looked like the main thoroughfare of his park. He’d never see it through.

(C) Pew Research

By 1971, the Magic Kingdom opened and, with it, one of Walt’s last patriotic dreams – the Hall of Presidents. Basically a more robust “Mr. Lincoln,” the show concluded with a roll call of all presidents past and present, ending with Richard M. Nixon. In two years, this president would find himself embattled in Watergate and, from inside the Contemporary Hotel of all places, infamously told America he wasn’t the crook he’d turn out to be. It’s amazing to think that almost fifty years ago, there’s a good chance that somebody booed the animatronic of Nixon as his name was announced. 

For a long time, that was as much as one could do, but then Imagineering came up with an idea that rubbed their shoulders too close to those in power and blurred the lines between educational entertainment and pandering. In 1993, Bill Clinton was the first current president to give a speech in the show and the tradition continues to this day to the enjoyment of the party in power and the disgust of the other side.

Why is this so polarizing? One could say because the person who occupies the most powerful position in the world may have yet to prove his worth, but still gets to have the final say in a show featuring giants already deemed great by history. Current moods toward Presidents could be at all time lows and yet they get to be the show’s closer several times a day like clockwork.

But there are other reasons beyond a slipping of American morale and current show structure that mark this attraction as a thing best left to the past.

It’s a Bigger World After All

When the Hall of Presidents opened in ’71, the world was a much smaller place and, for the majority of Americans, access to the history of these men was regulated to the library. But in this digital era, the magnifying glass on the lives and decisions of these men is far greater and modern audiences have a much harder time accepting a show that honors them for simply holding a seat of power, their actions aside.

Some might go as far as to say there is an element of deification to the whole concept and certainly other artforms (especially the video game Bioshock: Infinite) have recognized this for satirization.

Motorized Patriot – Bioshock Infinite (C) Irrational Games

Beyond changing views of history, we must also remember that The Hall of Presidents came before the entirety of EPCOT and its take on history with “The American Adventure” – a show the features animatronics representing all walks of life, including those laid low by American expansion. The Hall of Presidents operated as edutainment before there was a whole park dedicated to such a thing and now, surrounded by a haunted mansion and some Muppets, it’s an odd fit for the park it now finds itself in.

The Hassle

Beyond any of the reasons above, one must ask a simple question – “Is any ride worth the need of police officers standing by?” When the attraction reopened in late 2018 in its current iteration, both park security and Orange County police were on the scene. Not to mention decorative spikes were added to the stage to prevent any guests from tackling the current robot-in-chief.

That’s a bad state of affairs and, while the show’s presence can be justified by some even with the hostile environment, from Disney’s perspective they must ask if this is all really worth it. Would anyone not go to the Magic Kingdom because their favorite show is gone? Probably not. Is it worth the press if an incident occurs? Probably not. Is it even the best of the two American history shows at Disney World? Probably not. Following in the steps of one of America’s greatest capitalists, they must ask what Walt would have done.

Never a Good Time

There is little doubt that the closing of the Hall of Presidents would make for another uproar. Another set of grit teeth and grins. Sure one could suggest reworking the show to once again not include the current president, but there lies the entire problem – from its origins onward, The Hall of Presidents has slowly grown out of sync with the public’s opinion of the office it showcases and the polarizing culture surrounding it. Instead why not provide entertainment that does what Disney does best – bringing people together?  It’s time to close the attraction, not because of who’s at the White House, but because of what could be in Liberty Square.

 


Read more from Nathan Hartman including…

EDITORIAL: 5 Parks Related TV Shows Disney Should Make

EDITORIAL: Four Reasons Why Animal Kingdom Is The Best Park at Walt Disney World

EDITORIAL: Five Fixes for Magic Kingdom (Over) Crowding

 

Works Cited

I don’t know about you, but there are times when planning a Disney vacation can be overwhelming! There are so many options, where to stay, when to go, is this the best price. So, I want to introduce you all to Cindy Minor and the team at Small World Big Fun. They will help you plan your Disney vacation for FREE. Contact them today!

About the author

Nathan Hartman

A sunshine state resident, Nathan is an avid Disney parks wonk as well as a university film professor.

Twitter: @somestuffisaid

102 Comments

Click here to post a comment
  • It would be great if they could put the Muppets in there… additonal scenery,music etc to add to their great moments in history stories.

    • Was just thinking that as I read this. The Muppet show outside is way better than the HoPs. Personally, I’d love to see them just move that show inside and add to it a bit. At this point no one is really going to the HoP to learn anything. It’s just some AC.

  • your points border from illogical to downright ridiculous. basically, the attraction must be shut down because 1. people are animals and can’t behave themselves, 2. nobody needs to learn anything in person since you can learn everything online and 3. nobody respects the office of the president. for point 1, i don’t really know what to say. there are other attractions in magic kingdom alone that have been known to throw ppl into fits of wild rage (it’s a small world comes to mind). so the answer, rather than to hold ppl accountable for their actions and reasonably prevent such nonsense is to shut it down for everyone? this is absurd

    regarding point 2, why not apply that thinking to everything? you can experience a nature hike via your laptop and vr, so no need to do the real thing. no need to do anything or go anywhere since you can get everything you need to out of a trip to a website.

    for point 3, it’s the highest office in our country. if you don’t respect it, you are in the distinct minority. as for me, i visit hall of presidents during every disney trip, and regardless of who the current chief is, whether i like him or not, agree or disagree, the show brings tears to my eyes every single time

    • Thank you so much for your response. It is very well stated and exactly what the majority are thinking. To close it is ridiculous and absurd. American needs to grow up and respect one and another and the office of the President no matter who it is.

      • When we return to a President that respects those whom they govern, then yes I think America will return to a common respect for the office being held.

    • I agree with you and thank you for posting this. I was reading this article and was why this person works for WDWNT with such a negative attitude about an attraction at WDW. I would not have been so polite or PC as you were in your response so thank you for that.

      We all have opinion but opinion as this article should be and should have been kept to himself and not posted out there. I realize he covers his a$$ but saying the opinions are of his and not WDWNT. But doesn’t anyone as WDWNT review articles before they get posted. If the author thinks the attraction should be shut down then I have the right to say that I think he should be removed from WDWNT staff.

    • I attended the attraction last week. No police, the auditorium was packed, quiet, then cheered and applaused at its conclusion.

    • AMEN!!

      (Also, you can also “go to work” via your VR headset with games like ‘Job Simulator’ so there’s actually no reason to even HAVE a real job!! And, see, that works out for people like US because with that “logic” that just means there will be one less person in the parks! And that’ll just make our visits less crowded! 😂😂)

  • “Flush with… GI bills”? Either you don’t understand what the GI Bill was or your ability to convey concepts through writing is very poor.

    The Hall of Presidents was intended to be a partial introduction to our nation’s leaders and has been a nice corrective toward the Howard Zinn view that all American history is negative history of oppression and exploitation. I’m not gainsaying Such oppression occurred, but for too many, that’s the only part of the story they hear. The lack of understanding of American history and our common values has lead to our political disharmony, which has lead to calls to close the Hall.

    A more fitting course of action is not to close the Hall, which isn’t going to happen, but to return its focus to President Lincoln. If we can’t get behind Abraham Lincoln, our country really is in trouble.

    BTW before anyone attributes my opinion to political bias, please note I am not a fan of either the 44th or 45th President

  • This is one of the more revolting articles that I have had the displeasure of reading. How dare you suggest the closure of this attraction that features the wonderful President Obama as well as the brilliant President Clinton! Such cretinous attitudes are the reason behind this polarization that you speak of. Obviously you don’t like Trump or this ridiculous idea would have never made it’s way to this site. Obviously patience isn’t a strong point for you, in 2 years we will be blessed with the presence of Bernie Sanders in this wonderful attraction.

  • The best way to do it is announce before the next election that the sitting president will no longer speak. It needs to be done before hand.

    This has been an issue since the Clinton years, where some of my-coworkers had Lewinsky jokes made at them and people were leaving cigars around the place

  • Rename it “Hall of Great Presidents of the United States”, so that Trump would have to be removed, but everyone else can stay. Problem solved.

    • So they have to then remove Obama, bush and Clinton a well right ? Because they were equally terrible. President Trump is actually doing a good job for our country. If you only open your eyes and broaden your perspective you might realize he’s a pretty good president.

    • If you had learned history, you would have learned that Lincoln was vilified by the press all thorough the Civil War but emerged as one of our greatest Presidents. If you had learned history, perhaps you wouldn’t make a comment like that.

    • Not every president that we’ve had has been “GREAT”, so way more than just Trump would have to be removed.

      However, doing so is so far from the intention of this attraction and; therefore, an absolutely ignorant thing to suggest!!

  • I do not understand what has happened to this website. I understand that Tom wanted to expand and be able to cover more parks, topics, and areas of the world. These editorials over the last few weeks have been downright silly and some of the reporting on entertainment topics have been mind numbing.

    A lesson in life is never to bring up a problem without also bringing up a solution.

    – Why not have a section here with a little armchair imagineering about what could go in that space?
    – Shouldn’t WDW NEWS Today just focus on news?
    – How about an update on the security situation at HoP? That picture is from the day it reopened.

    Sometimes more content does not mean good content. I feel like that is what is happening with this website. There is such a desire to put out content that the quality is falling in a major way.

  • I agree with Indy, plus I would add that for the adults in the room (which is the majority regardless of what the rowdy minority lead the author to believe), it DOES bring us together. It’s a reminder that we’ve had ups and downs, good presidents and bad, and that we get through it despite the hysteria of the moment.

  • BoP is a great afternoon nap location. Cool, quiet and dark.

    Keep HoP. The current (or recent) presidents should not speak except for the roll call. A minimum 50 year waiting period should be about right.

  • It’s a good idea, so in 2022 shut it down. Shutting it down now would only look like Disney is pandering to half the country.

  • I disagree. To close the show would be to disrespect our country and leadership. The fact that Disney respectfully educates all who choose to attend is more than enough reason to keep it. Respect is something sorely lacking today and I applaud Disney for leading by example. If someone finds this attraction uncomfortable then they should be adult enough to not participate in this one.

  • I don’t like Small World so I don’t go in. Why can’t you just not go in HOP if you think you’ll be triggered? You’re an adult, right?

    It’s not so hard.

    • It seems that most people don’t go in. (Heared that from numurous sources, the venue is near to empty during many show moments on any day… !?) Disney always eliminated attractions when the attendance went critical low.
      THUS, it’s time…. lol

  • Yeah, I felt the same way when Obama was in office. Funny how that works, isn’t it? The problem isn’t the attraction…the problem is people that have gotten so polarized and full of pure HATE that they cannot control themselves. I don’t recall the police having to be there when they added Obama to the show. Very telling that they did have to attend when President Trump was add. I have also never seen Disney do such a terrible job on an animitronic figure either. Perhaps you’re right, maybe it is best if they do close the attraction, since about half the American public seems to have devolved into whining 3 year-olds due to the outcome of an election. SMH

  • The Hall of Presidents is NOT an Attraction which I go to see every time I am in the Magic Kingdom.

    As someone who has been going to the Magic Kingdom every year since it opened, (my visit in Spring of 1972), I can truthfully say that I usually attend the Hall of Presidents only once or twice a vacation, unlike many other favorite Attractions of whimsical fun….

    However, the Hall of Presidents is an IMPORTANT Attraction.

    In a place where Mickey Mouse rules the Kingdom, I do not ever recall seeing Mickey within the walls of The Hall of Presidents…

    Not even during the Bicentennial Celebration, where Mickey was found in his Liberty tri Cornered Hat all throughout the park…..

    Because the Hall of Presidents was about paying homage to America, and it was a show to INSPIRE the meaning of America into the hearts of viewers, just as planting the seeds of Liberty.

    I have seen all the different versions of the Hall of Presidents, and I have not been a fan of several versions which varied from the original.

    Yet I still found the Hall of Presidents to be something which has the ability to inspire Guests who watch the show.

    From the beginning I felt it was a bad idea to give highlighted attention to the current President, as it drags too much reality into a show about the “illusions” of America.

    America was built upon dreams and ideals…. Reality never reaches the purest level of dreams and ideals….

    Yet we hold on to these illusions, and aspire to be everything which is part of that illusion.

    Indeed I noticed the security presence the moment I set foot into the Hall of Presidents to see the new show this past winter….

    And I made inquiries as to why this had become necessary, learning about several incidents of hecklers from the audience…

    and it reminds me of the scene I see when I go to a Court House, and there are ARMED OFFICERS standing around…

    There are Officers, and metal detectors, when you enter the Court House…

    When you enter Schools…

    And even when you enter Disney Theme Parks.

    What does that say about the world today??

    My minds eye sees with complete clarity, the ORIGINAL version of the Hall of Presidents, where in the main film presentation they showed the events of the Lincoln / Douglas Debates….

    As Lincoln spoke about the Slavery issue, he was HECKLED by shouters in the crowd.

    They called him a “no account know nothing”…. and a “Hillbilly Rail Splitter”…

    These people “yelling from the crowd” were images in the form of drawings, and part of the film presentation dramatizing the events of 1858.

    Lincoln became solemn in his speech and said, “you may not only defeat me for the senate, but you may take me out, and put me to death… but do not destroy the words which are written in the Declaration of Independence… If these words are NOT the TRUTH, then let us find the statute books where we find it, and TEAR THEM OUT. Who is so BOLD it do it?”

    and the hecklers from the crowd then yelled, “No one…”, “Not I…”…

    And Lincoln answered, “then let us stick to it then, and let us stand firmly by it”.

    How many Guests who watched the Hall of Presidents were INSPIRED by it??

    I cannot be the ONLY one who knows these words by heart from a version of a show which has not been seen for 25 years.

    Disney once CREATED STANDARDS….

    The WORLD stood in ADMIRATION and the very name DISNEY stood as a synonym for EXCELLENCE.

    Have things gone so far off track that Disney would even consider removing an Attraction HONORING America because some people have lost dignity and respect to act with decency during a show??

    What would the publicity be if the show was removed??

    Let us return to the VALUES of what Walt Disney World was founded upon.

    It was NEVER just an Amusement Park…

    It was about a Way of LIFE.

    So many would stand up and applaud at the end of the show, and walk out of the theater with pride that they are a part of America because of the Hall of Presidents; how could closing it be considered?

    What would go better in it’s place??

    Perhaps turn it into another restaurant like the Diamond Horseshoe, the River Boat as planned…

    Things are clearly on the wrong track.

    • It’s simple. You’re from a different era. (Me too, but that’s not the point)
      The far majority of CUSTOMERS (not guests, but blunt customers) right now, pay for (a) FUN, (b) non existing privilages (every upgrade experience is fake and just a different price level in the standard WDW show), (c) cheap Chinese merchandising, sold with 500% or more profit…
      Do you really think, this ACTUAL average customer is interested in “deeper values” (whether politically correct or not ?)
      Citation …..//
      It was NEVER just an Amusement Park…
      It was about a Way of LIFE.
      …..//
      >> the most essential word in those 2 phrases is ‘was’. It WAS, it no longer IS. It died ! (And Eisner was the big magician with the effective poison in this hyper-commercial process…)

      • Giwreh, Are we ready then to just give up?? Throw in the towel and concede that there is nothing left of the Magic Kingdom, and Walt Disney World as we knew it?? Are there NO Guests left who still seek the Magic and something more then mindless thrill rides?? Yes, much has changed and not for the better, but I still believe that there is still the old Magic living in places if we look for it. One place you will still find it is in my heart.

    • Great perspective. Thanks for your input. I appreciate your patriotism and align with your views. It’s not about tearing down a political party, it’s about supporting America and patriotism!

  • I think what he really wants to say is, “snowflakes are offended”. In the real world, and not someones basement, people deal with life everyday whether good times or bad so suck it up

  • To your last point, “…[HoP] slowly grown out of sync with the public’s opinion of the office it showcases and the polarizing culture surrounding it,” is exactly why we NEED HoP! Public opinion CHANGES. Just because something is popular now doesn’t mean it will remain so. As you stated, they didn’t close the attraction during Watergate!

    The HoP is in LIBERTY square, and rightly so as it showcases the epitome of freedom: free election of the highest office in the land. It pays tribute to those who have given their lives for our country to be and remain free, that each individual has a right to make his/her opinion heard through the election of their representatives, regardless of the “polarizing culture surrounding it.” If you don’t like your representative, then change him! Furthermore, the fact that everyone has his/her own opinions is the very reason we need elections and won’t achieve a Utopian society. Just think of the mess our country would be in if it was governed by what was trending on Twitter at the moment!

    Far from deification or satirizing the office of POTUS, on the contrary, HoP reminds us that these are just men, individuals, humans, who have done profoundly brave/extraordinary things or incredibly offensive/detrimental things to be judged by the consequences of their actions through the lens of history, not popular public opinion. History comes “alive,” seeing George Washington on stage, far more than seeing a picture in a book or Wikipedia. Changing it back to where the current president doesn’t speak wouldn’t be a terrible change, it would definitely make it shorter. But removing it all together simply based on “public opinion” isn’t the answer either, nor would it be what Walt intended, as you have noted.

    • A good read and understand the point but respectfully disagree. HoP is not a slice of Americana and while it may have evolved – positively or negatively – from Walt’s vision, it has a place in MK. It is more than a way to escape heat or rain; it’s an opportunity for adults to be reminded of the history of men who were elected to lead (political affiliations and opinions aside); it’s an opportunity for discussion and a learning experience for parents to educate and communicate with their children as a postscript.

      Guests may not like all the men featured but these animatronic representations are a part of American history including whatever Mr. Trump’s legacy will be in 2 or 6 years.

      It is one of my favorite attractions simply for the emotions it evokes. It makes me humble and confront the imperfections of these men whom are or were (as someone earlier said) human. It puts the lump in my throat remembering where I was when Challenger exploded. When the Oklahoma City bombing occurred. When post 9/11 GW Bush grabbed the megaphone and yelled we hear you.

      It belongs in our beloved park. It belongs in our heads.

  • The new show is great, just like the new show for Obama was great, and the new show for Bush was great.

    The updated seamless projection is state of the art and the presentation is amazing. The show is up to date in technology, is as just as non-politically bias speech by the current president as ever, and is an amazing show. In fact, I recently took a friend who was a first time park visitor and she said that it was one of the best shows in the park and they needed to do more to tell people about the show.

    First let me get it out there and say that I am not a Trump fan. I am a true independent and my political candidate didn’t get elected either. But I’m sorry Nathan, you loose all credibility for a story like this when I go to your twitter page and the first two tweets are something negative about Paul Ryan and Sarah Huckabee.

    While I have viewpoints on issues also, , I don’t let those views leak into other things, like suggest we should shut down the hall of presidents because of those views, which is painfully obvious, again from your twitter feed.

    It’s a sad state of todays media when even something like a Disney news page is politically motivated.

  • I keep this website in my news feed for updates on the Disney World parks, not to read stupid opinions. I almost cancelled my automatic updates today, maybe I will tomorrow.

  • What he wants to say is “snowflakes are offended!” Well in the real world, and not someones basement, you dont always get what you want so whether good or bad, you have to put your big boy pants on and learn to live with it.

  • For the people that don’t enjoy it anymore don’t go into it. I don’t see what the big deal is. For the people that still enjoy it, go enjoy it. People cry about stupid crap sometimes. Life is waaay to short to contemplate if you’re going into an “attraction” or not.

  • I don’t think any attraction is so sacred it should be permanent, including Hall of Presidents, Enchanted Tiki Room, or Carousel of Progress (and I LOVE all those attractions, especially Tiki) – but I would be disappointed to see HoP go. I found the Obama-era version of the attraction very inspiring (not to say I wouldn’t feel that way of the current iteration, I just haven’t been back to MK since 2016) and its message spoke to me. It emphasized that our democracy is designed to adapt to change, and that the President we elect is not the King we used to be ruled by. A person from humble beginnings can rise to greatness and can guide the country with their vision, before we collectively decide to continue down that path or turn from it.

    The author is absolutely right that we have a different perspective of historical figures nowadays, and leaders like Jackson, Jefferson, and Columbus (I know he wasn’t a president!) are now viewed in a negative light by far more people than in the past. However, rather than scrap this attraction due to a sentiment akin to ‘Presidents shouldn’t be honored’ as I felt was implied in the article, I think it makes it even more important to keep it. To realize that a President is just a person, complete with flaws, helps all of us to realize that we are capable of those same flaws and that same greatness, and inspires us to improve ourselves and achieve more.

    I think that’s a fairly apolitical statement, and it’s what I took away from the attraction when I saw it. I’m impressed that Disney was able to be so adept at conveying a message that is pretty neutral (in my opinion). Regardless of which President speaks towards the end of the presentation, Disney has shown they can create an inspiring and patriotic message that’s less about our current politics and more about where we came from and how we got through some of the roughest patches alongside (and sometimes despite) our leaders. I hope that all visitors to the attraction, including non-Americans, can appreciate the story that’s told and understand a bit more about what drove – and still drives – the American spirit.

  • I’m not a big fan of the show, but the lobby with all the artifacts is cool.

    It’s kind of the “anchor” attraction in Liberty Square (even though Haunted Mansion is more popular), and I can’t think of anything else they could replace it with that would still fit the theme.

  • Why not give the best reason? Iger wants to run for the office of the President. He is obviously conflicted. Close the attraction if he ever makes it to office.

  • So basically you’re saying that adults don’t know how to act their age and be respectful of other peoples opinions. And because of that they should close down an attraction that may of us enjoy. My family was disappointed last year when HoP was still closed during our visit. I sat respectfully and quietly while Obama did his speech and no I’m not a Republican, so next argument. People need to put their big girl/ big boy panties on and get over themselves. This country has turned into a bunch of whiny crybabies that if they don’t get their way they want to take their ball and go home. Looking forward to our trip in a few months to see Trump in HoP.

    • I’m sorry it was so frightening and intimidating to you to see a black man in power. It must have been such an incredible struggle to face someone of compassion, integrity, courage, intelligence, and ethics express an attitude of helping those who don’t look like you, sound like you, or, heaven forbid, have the same beliefs about love and equality as you. Being so oppressed must be horrifying. I sincerely hope you have recovered from that torment, and are enjoying savoring the hate, sexism, racism, stupidity, and sheer destruction of all this country is meant to stand for by your slimy traitor.

      • snowflake !!!! black unemployment at a all time low , dittio Hispanic . the only traitor is the one who gave IRAN 150 BILLION $$$$ WHO KILL AMERICANS AROUND THE WORLD & DAILY CHANT DEATH TO THE GREAT SATAN AMERICA. NOW BACK UNDER WHAT EVER HOLE YOU CRAWLED OUT OF

  • As someone who has been going to Disney World for over 30 yrs, I feel that the Hall of Presidents does belong in Disney, but not in the Magic Kingdom. I have always felt that the Liberty Square section of the park does not fit in with the rest of the park.

    Being that there is already an American Pavilion in Epcot, I feel that would be a better placement for the Hall. I believe that the Magic Kingdom should be just that, magical. I like the Hall, but when I was a kid (and even now) I did not feel that it was magical. Emotionally charged yes but not magical.

    People complain that EPCOT is being ruined by the IPs being added to everything there, that they belong in the other parks. Well I feel the same about a non-IP attraction in the Magic Kingdom. I feel the same for the Carousel of Progress. It’s nice but doesn’t fit the theme as well as it would in EPCOT.

    As for the talking parts of Hall, put the new presidents in, whether people like them or not, but revert back to pre-Clinton show and not have the new president speak. At least until they prove themselves as a positive influence in our country. And if you don’t like them, you always have the right to not get in line for it.

    Am I going to get heat for this post? Probably. But everybody has the right to their own opinions.

  • Disney need to stop getting involved in politics. I am a pass holder and have been to The Hall of President’s several times in the past few months. There has never been an incident. If someone is bothered by our president, they can choose not to sit though the presentation. Security is not needed. Catering to a specific political party because they are offended is ridiculous.

  • I agree. Not maybe not for the reasons stated. A few years ago there was a proposal for a Legend of Sleepy Hollow dark ride. Better capacity. Expands the “influence’ of the Haunted Mansion. A nice bit of Americana. Bring it on!

  • I disagree completely and think this current rendering is actually pretty good in terms of focusing on the institution of the Presidency instead of the current occupant of the White House. With that said, the timing couldn’t be more obvious that this is out of the frustration of the writer’s opinion of that current occupant. And yes, I did read the entire article.

    Have politics in our country gotten more divisive over time? Yes, I would agree. Has that carried over into The Hall of Presidents? Yes, but it started way beyond the 2016 election and this current edition. Over the years we’ve sat through more and more partisan cheers and boos, or boos and cheers depending on the current POTUS. However, something interesting has happened, at least from our annual Passholder perspective. The last two times seeing the show, this year in the Spring and early Summer, there have been full audiences and not a single cheer or boo. Simply respectfully watching people of a full audience and then polite applause after the show ended. Maybe that’s been an exception, maybe not. I prefer to think that the approach taken this time is appreciated by all who take the time to listen to the show.

  • Why because Trump is an “evil Republican”? Why wasn’t there this same attitude for the great divider? Obama.I thought the left was supposed to be more open? I think the right has taken that and the left is more closed minded then ever

  • It’s not a ride.

    Once again, because you used the term twice, it’s not a ride.

    We don’t close attractions with the rationale that additional security is needed for certain people who can’t control their passions and get violent.

    Otherwise the terrorists (and that’s what you call people who employ violence to destroy property or people) win.

    The aside regarding Walt and the McCarthy era was a pretty transparent effort to say “Walt Disney was an ugly man,” and pretty irrelevant to the overall “editorial.” A sophomoric technique. Should’ve stopped with calling a theater show a ride.

  • The main problem arose when they started installing seated Presidents. This was not the original way. The passions, as we are seeing, can run too high when a President engaged in the job is part of the production.

  • I agree move Muppet Vision 3D there or make a new show about American history with Muppets as most leaders are puppets for the elite class that allow monolopies like Disney and company towns like the Disney college program.

    I would also be happy with the ex presidents moving to Epcot into the American pavillion and having them perform the USA music from their era with the greatest American of all Starlord as host

  • The elephant in the room, Trump.

    Trump’s popularity matches Obama’s at this point in his presidency. No matter how much proselytizing the media, celebrities and pop culture do to promote the idea of a dystopian state of affairs; the electorate in this country is pretty much equally divided.

    What I’m not really hearing anybody vocalize is that liberals/progressives today see it as their moral duty to shut down anybody and anything related to Trump or conservative orthodoxy. When they label Trump and his voters as Hitler and nazis, and racists, etc; they really truly feel that any speech or action “normalizing” Trump and his policies or any support whatsoever, is a moral outrage and must be stopped (sometimes at any cost).

    Some have become unmoored from the realities of life in the United States where people of different stripes coexist. Outside of their own particular bubble/ecosystem, people absolutely do think differently and are actually not evil. They’ve adopted a false perception that they are morally correct, and that the majority of Americans agree with them. If they don’t agree with them, then they’re Nazis, racists, homophobes, rednecks, unintelligent, manipulated, brainwashed, backwoods … I could go on and on … you name it, we’ve heard it.

    The simple act of including Trump in the HOP is an act of “normalizing” (or acceptance) of what liberals/progressives consider pure evil. Therefore, the HOP should be shut down apparently because a segment of the population can no longer handle their emotions and moral outrage.

    Throw in some stats on how nobody actually goes to the attraction anyway to bolster the point, and distract from the real reason why they want to shut it down.

    I won’t even go into how liberals/progressives don’t think the founders of America (or America itself) are/is legitimate. That’s a whole other topic, but certainly plays into this HOP discussion and the idea of nationalism and patriotism.

    A bit of an aside, but I really do think that omitting the teaching of civics in schools is a huge contributor to the lack of civility in our great country.

  • This has nothing to do with Disney but perpetrates it’s as so. I want things about Disney. Just like there is separation of church and state, there should be with Disney and politics.

  • Nathan, the writer of this opinion piece tweeted about this article: “Where I suggest that maybe we’re all too polarized to have this attraction…..and everyone comments thread on the internet proves my thesis.”

    Not exactly, Nathan. It’s that liberals/progressives cannot contain their emotions and hatred in a civil enough fashion to tolerate the Hall of Presidents attraction.

    We’ve tolerated boos and cheers over the years for different presidents, who cares. Why is it, and what is different now? I gave my piece in an earlier reply here.

    • My earlier post outlining a more in-depth take on this article has not been posted yet (but referenced in the above comment). Probably contained words that got flagged (interesting considering some of the words I read in other comments).

      I hope that it does eventually get posted, it was a thoughtful take on why debates like this come up now. Though I don’t think the writer is interested in a meaningful debate as evidenced by his Tweet, like many progressives I encounter he is only interested in angling in on “proving his thesis”.

  • you kinda remind of that infamous fbi guy Nathan. ! your own beliefs don’t interfere with your job YEAH RIGHT. I NEVER WENT INTO HALL OF PRESIDENTS for 8 years . I detested pres Obama for everything he was doing to destroy America. but I didn’t quit. I got up I went to work every day & I VOTED every chance I got . lunatic left you LOST get over it there will be another ” god like ” insert name in 2020 making all sorts of promises that cant be kept but you will belive it and if pres trump loses then being a good AMERICAN I will get up the next day and go to work & take care of my family because that is what americans do . not try and close H O P @ MAGIC KINGDOM because they don’t like the president

  • Same logic: “It’s time to close Space Mountain, because we no longer have a shuttle program.”

    • “University Film Professor” writes left leaning editorial!…This is hardly shocking or surprising. What is confusing is the fact that this nonsense is published on this web site. I come here for information regarding WDW, not to read some academic’s thinly veiled political wish list. Does this speak to the editor’s leanings? Perhaps we’ll soon read the Professor’s thesis on why It’s A Small World should be altered because it does not properly represent the woman’s right to choose. Jeez. Will the editors please just stick to the wonderful world of Disney and spare us these politics?

  • These comments prove the point of the article. It’s a polarized population and no one cares what the other side thinks or feels. Almost every pro Trump comment makes a generalization about liberals/progressives generalizing them. Everyone’s a hypocrite. The attraction should shut down and be redeveloped. It’s a huge space and the theater is rarely even half full. Before a Trump fan calls me a snowflake without a hint of irony from how bent out of shape they get over every little thing, it was empty with Obama too. And Bush. And Clinton. Etc etc. The attraction is in a prime location and draws so few guests each day. Plus it’s a headache for Disney. They couldn’t figure out what to do with this political trap for a year. Let’s be adults here, you can disagree with Obama or Bush or any other past president but if you are even somewhat objective, you’d agree that Trump is hardly a pillar of morality and ethics and hardly someone you’d want your kids looking up to or quoting. He is not someone Disney would want to be tied too. And this would be true before he even ran for President. This would be an excellent location for the rumored Haunted Mansion restaurant they have wanted to build. Or make Columbia that restaurant and make HOP into Sleepy Hollow dark ride which would turn the land into a kind of upstate NY themed spooky ghost land.

  • So basically the author is saying we should remove the hall of presidents because people are
    Obnoxious and can’t control themselves if a president they don’t like is in the office? Wow I’m blown away this article was allowed on such a good website. I’m all for opinions but at least back up your article with some solid reasons. Quite disappointed in WDWNT for letting such a baseless article up on the site.

  • The current lack of civility in American politics is no reason to shut down the HOP. A good dose of tolerance is what is needed.

  • Stupidest article ever. Writer obviously has a grudge against the current president and therefore wants to take this attraction down. How about we all act like mature adults and if you don’t like it either don’t go on the attraction or sit quietly.

  • That would be like shutting down WDWNT because a bunch of people didn’t like your work. Just because there are some people that do not like it doesn’t mean that they need to see it then. I was not a fan of Obama and I went and saw the show and it was done well just like anything else Disney….I wasn’t crying to get rid of it because I didn’t like him.

    Nothing deserves to be in Liberty Square more than our presidents.

  • My wife and I both love both the American Adventure and the Hall of the President. I have been going to WDW since before Epcot and Animal Kingdom existed and we always go see these two attractions. They remind us of the great people that made this country and why we both are so very proud to be U.S. citizens (we are both native born).

    • I’m proud to be a U.S. citizen – and I’m from Canada. What should it matter if you’re “native” born?

  • First, I’d like to say that it is so disappointing to come to this site for the very first time and immediately see an article like this. The author clearly doesn’t want this to seem like a biased political article; however, suggests that an opening day show be closed down because people don’t know how to be respectful anymore?? That’s absurd!!

    If people don’t understand the concept of “if you don’t like something then keep scrolling” and they make the conscious decision to go into a show that is going to trigger their anger towards a current or past president then that’s their own fault. If they are stupid enough to actually attack an animatronic replica of the president that makes them triggered then:
    1-Are you dumb?? It’s a freaking ROBOT!!
    2-Enjoy your BAN from all Disney Parks and property, losing out on the rest of your vacation and the money you spent on it because you aren’t gonna get a refund, getting slapped with a vandalism/destruction of private property/etc lawsuit by Disney, and living out the REST of your life being known as the person who attacked an animatronic for looking like a president you didn’t like!!
    3-Don’t worry too much.. the world won’t be laughing WITH you; they will be laughing AT you!!! 😂

    Thoughts on the political crap from someone who doesn’t “do” politics:

    You know what really bugs me is that everyone is so quick to criticize Trump and laugh at him for his tweets and whatnot but no one has given him a chance to actually be the president from day one. His tweets are ridiculously unnecessary; yes. However, it seems like we forget that he came from “Hollywood”! Of course he’s gonna tweet everything! Should he? NO WAY!! But that’s what “Hollywood” does now..And the ridicule goes beyond his tweets: we mock him, make fun of his hair and the color of his skin, his wife’s accent, the color of his wife’s dress at such & such event, and even his minor child!! All of that is childish and makes me personally be ashamed to even be a part of the same species as the people who do these things!! It’s no wonder the rest of the world is laughing at us.. why wouldn’t they when our own citizens laugh at us!!

    Thoughts on the Disney attraction/show closure crap:

    Disney is supposed to be fun and educational-for everyone!!
    Liberty Square doesn’t have a ton in it, to be honest. But just about all of it is educational in some way. If anyone has even bothered to pay attention to the details, they would notice that even the pathways in Liberty Square are educational! It would be a huge injustice to past, present, and future generations to remove this educational show!! With the state of education in our school systems these days, this show could be the only introduction to our country’s presidential history. Removing it could be removing the one chance a child gets to see and learn about our country’s history.
    If Disney decided to actually remove the show then it would be in their best interest to relocate it. It could be moved to another section of Magic Kingdom (like near the Carosel of Progress), another park like Epcot (because it’s kinda empty), or an area that it can be used for the Disney Youth Programs.
    They could even level out the remains of River Country and take all the classic, opening day rides that they *think* they should close and relocate them there.
    It’s really a shame that things like that aren’t done though. The world has already been robbed of some pretty amazing glimpses into American culture with the closure of The Great Movie Ride and The Streets of America in Hollywood Studios. I pray that more classic greats aren’t lost like the ones that have been laid to rest already and that Disney finds a way to expand its attractions and shows without losing its original opening day classics.

    Also: For the record, it is considered blasphemy to even *think* of closing an opening day attraction that Walt had his hands in personally!!

    Link to the history of The Hall of Presidents:
    https://d23.com/the-hall-of-presidents-story/

  • One thing you need to remember, the international visitors. People come to Disney from all over the globe, and when I was planning my last visit (prior to the most recent election), I was working on semi-obsessive pre-planning of which rides were must-sees. When I got to the Hall of Presidents, the reviews seemed to be either “10/10 must see if your kid complains they’re a communist.” or “Great if you need a nap in an air conditioned seat.”

    Overall, it sounded incredibly boring unless you have a deep interest in American presidential history.

Fantasy Strollers
Lost Bros
TeePublic

Latest Videos