What Your Kids Will Learn at Disney’s Hall of Presidents
What’s not to love about a trip to Orlando? Your children will be bouncing off the walls talking about taking a spin on the infamous teacups, have breakfast with a princess or a pirate and nibble on Mickey-Mouse shaped ice cream. Though the entire experience at Walt Disney World will be fun for every fanatic of any age, the park has also made a genuine effort to incorporate educational opportunities.
As a way to ensure budding minds remain engaged even while on vacation, you can add on a few must-see’s to your itinerary that teach your kiddos something new they can report back to their teacher about.
One place that might make the most sense is venturing to The Hall of President’s in Magic Kingdom. As the history of our country, providing ageless words of wisdom and a glimpse into the United States decades ago, here’s what to expect when you visit:
Where Is It? What Is It?
Right on Liberty Square in the heart of Magic Kingdom, you can find The Hall of Presidents. There is no ride, but it’s more of a show that features 44 audio-animatronic figures of past presidents. If the building itself looks familiar, that’s because it should!
It was inspired by Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were created, debated and signed. Once you take your seat, you’ll be taught about the sprawling history of our country, told by notable presidents from Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy to George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and more.
Meant to look lifelike, the other presidents fidget, cross their legs, touch their face and more throughout the speeches, attempting to make the experience much like it would be if all of our past leaders were gathered together in the same room.
What was the idea behind it?
Before this history performance was designed in Florida, Walt Disney was intrigued by creating a similar presentation in California, called ‘One Nation Under God.’ But following the success of Disneyland, he decided to blow up Walt Disney World and extend Main Street.
Instead of wax figures that were part of the originally concepted, he went with animated technology, working side-by-side with his imagineers and WED Enterprises to create the believable mannerisms. The very first completion was Walt’s very own hero – Abraham Lincoln.
What’s the show about?
As a way to depict and explain the various ebbs and flows, battles and accomplishments of our country since our founding, you and your family will be walked through a presentation voiced by former presidents. It also talks about the creation of the United States Constitution and the progress of our time.
In the early years of the show, your kids would have been taught about the Philadelphia Convention, the Whiskey Rebellion, the formation of our bylaws, the succession during the Civil War and more.
But since it’s been around for decades now, Disney had to shift to cover more modern and current topics. Even so, change – like how it is in America itself – was slow. In 1993, Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were added, it wasn’t until 2009 where major shifts were put into motion.
At this time, there were major upgrades made to the characters, the audio and visuals, shutting down the Hall for nearly a year. This was also when Obama recorded himself reciting the oath of office, which is now part of the show. As new presidents are elected, they are also able to provide their own voice in the show, with current figures featuring George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and most recently, Donald J. Trump.
Then, in 2017, a history professor at Columbia University convinced former Disney CEO Michael Eisner to rewrite the script. Today, it focuses on slavery, ethical and civil-related issues, while also offering a history lesson.