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History and Genesis of the Hall of Presidents in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
The first new land Walt wanted to add to Disneyland was an area devoted to America's founding principles. Plans for the land go back to 1956.
It was to be called "Liberty Street" and was going to be located off of Town Square on Main Street
The main attraction was going to be called "One Nation Under God" with its finale to be a Hall of Presidents with an animated, life sized figure of each President with Abraham Lincoln being the focus.
President Lincoln was one of Walt's childhood heroes
The technology wasn't advanced enough in 1956, and audio animatronics weren't developed by WED Enterprises (Imagineering) until 1961, and not used in an attraction until 1963 in the Enchanted Tiki Room.
Walt was approached to create attractions for the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair
Walt’s sponsors at the Fair funded the development of major technical advancements such as Audio-Animatronics technology and the PeopleMover system that he could implement at Disneyland
And they helped demonstrate to Walt that there was an east coast audience for his brand of themed entertainment
When Walt invited the head of the Fair (Robert Moses) to tour the studio, he was so impressed by the One Nation Under God concept, he insisted on including it in the Fair
Walt knew that he would not be able to complete the entire show within the given timeframe, and a show based on Lincoln was created for the State of Illinois pavilion.
During the "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" show, a seated Abraham Lincoln stands, gives a speech—made of excerpts of different Lincoln speeches—and sits back down.
The show was a hit. So much so, that Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln opened at Disneyland on July 18, 1965, and was running on both coasts during 1965
When Walt Disney World was being designed, the Imagineers brought back the idea for Liberty Street and the Hall of Presidents.
The Hall of Presidents was an opening day attraction on October 1, 1971 and opened with audio animatronics of all 36 presidents
The show starts with a film presentation of the history of the US, then the screen lifts up and the Presidents are shown and introduced, with each giving a nod or wave.
Lincoln then stands from his chair and gives his speech from Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.
As new presidents were elected, a new audio animatronic figure was added to the show.
During Bill Clinton's term, the show was changed to include a speech by Clinton, and the narration was changed slightly.
Each president that followed (Bush, Obama, Trump) were given a speaking role as well.
The show is currently closed and the official word from the Walt Disney Company is that they are going to install President Biden into the attraction
Disney designed the Ford pavilion at the ’64 World’s Fair
Needed to propel a stream of vehicles along a track
It was achieved by vertically mounted rubber wheels spun by electric motors which pushed against a flat plate on the underside of the vehicles
That system was refined and used for Disneyland’s PeopleMover
Debuted in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland on July 2, 1967
PeopleMover was always planned and planned to go through Space Port, and the station would be inside Space Port
The track was originally planned to be much longer and go over the Grand Prix Raceway
The upper concourse path was built but left empty during the building of the Magic Kingdom for the 1971 opening
When Space Port became Space Mountain, it moved to outside the berm, so the track layout was scaled back and changed to the track today, and the station moved from Space Mountain to it’s own station in the middle of Tomorrowland and the StarJets would be placed on top, similar to Disneyland
Space Mountain holds the garaging track and a maintenance spur
The Orlando version would use something different
Non moving, solid state linear induction motors, which have an unlimited life expectancy
There are 630 Linear Induction Motors on the track, 10 feet apart, ensuring that 4 motors are always under each 5 car train
Each motor has a proximity sensor to tell the motor when to power on and a speed sensor to indicate how much power the motor produces
When a train approaches the motor turns on and pulls the steel plate under the car towards it
To stop the cars, the magnetic field is reversed in the motor to push against the steel plate, and why a stopping car can go backwards
Up to 30 5-car trains can carry 3,600 guests per hour along 4,600 feet of track
Each car has minimal moving parts, so they are high reliability. There are four main wheels and 8 smaller guide wheels per car. Since all drive and braking propulsion is supplied by the linear motor, there is no traction requirement between the wheels and the track. Consequently, heat, dust, wind, and moisture have no effect on the system’s operation.
The system can have up to 50% LIM failure at random positions and still function
Speeds are between 1.8 to 6.8 mph
Progress City model
With the move of the Carousel of Progress to WDW, the model of Progress City would be moved to the PeopleMover track that was designed to hold a diorama
It would be cut down to fit the size of the diorama opening
Construction began in early 1973
The Grand Prix Raceway track was closed and modified to accommodate Space Mountain. During the closure, the PeopleMover track was built over the raceway
It cost $10 million to build
The Star Jets opened 11/28/74
The PeopleMover opened 7/1/75 and dedicated in April 1976
It opened as the WEDWay PeopleMover and was an “E” Ticket attraction, but was changed to a “D” Ticket in Fall 1976
It was originally sponsored by the Edison Electrical Institute
The original ride was narrated by Jack Wagner and ran from 1975 - 1985 and the Edison Electrical Institute sponsorship also ended
He is famous for the various announcements over the park PA, for parades, special events, etc. He also did voice work for the Walt Disney World Resort, and for the attractions themselves, including instructions, emergency precautions, and safety spiels. Because of the prevalence of his voice over the park, his nickname was "The Voice of Disneyland".
"Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor manténgase alejado de las puertas."
Jack Wagner co-arranged the updated soundtrack for the Main Street Electrical Parade, used in various iterations of the parade from 1977 to 2009.
Wagner was inducted as a Disney Legend posthumously in 2005.
The narration was changed in 1985 and ran until 1994
It was narrated by ORAC-1, the commuter computer
The narration was changed with the retheming of Tomorrowland in June 1994. It was narrated by Peter Renaday.
The name was changed to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, and it was the MetroLiner Blue Line
The narration was changed once again in October 2, 2009 to the current spiel by Mike Brassell, which harkens back to the ORAC-1 spiel and tone
The lighting system was also changed to color changing LEDs
August 5, 2010, the name changed to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
In 2013, the Progress City model was refurbished, the first time since 1975
In February 1974, WED created the Community Transport Services division to promote the WedWay in real world situations
The first proposal was in 1976 for the then new WDW Village
A new enclosed car design would be able to travel inclines
It would offer on demand cars to a specified destination
The route would service the shopping village, the hotel plaza, and a proposed office park
A monorail from the Epcot area would meet an aerial station straddling Buena Vista Drive
The monorail would run down the central median with the WedWay crossing at a lower level
The multi level station would have escalator, elevator and stair access
From the station, the WedWay would form a continuous loop line around the WDW Village
Another change was this system had spur station tracks so moving cars could pass other cars parked at stops
The SunTrust Bank was the only part of the office plaza built and the project quietly died.
The original plans of Epcot had WedWay in 1975 and 1976
Communicore was built to take an elevated Wedway track; that’s why it’s two stories tall
In July 1979, the Houston Airport agreed to purchase a WedWay system to link the terminals and hotel
It opened in September, 1981
The Community Transport Services division was sold to Bombardier
Bombardier installed a WedWay system that links the US Capitol to the Dirksen and Hart buildings in 1993
Original stayed open until Merlin’s closed in 1983
Where the confectionary is at WDW.
Same cast member demonstrations.
The July 28, 1977 issue of the Disneyland Line employee newsletter described the “quaint, cozy specialty shop” where “Shelf upon mysterious shelf filled with such oddities as joy buzzers, garlic taffy, dribble glasses and rubber masks attract the wandering eyes of visitors to the shop
2009 takeover by Houdini’s Magic Shop (private operator)
WDW - House of Magic
As its Disneyland precursor had, the House of Magic sold cards, hand tricks, masks, puzzles, and “gags.” Cast members bantered as they performed various hand magic and demonstrated products for sale.