With no advance notice, Disney World has closed Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents to update the attraction with an animatronic version of President Joe Biden.
The show, which opened with the Magic Kingdom in 1971, has been updated with each new president as they came into office. However, beginning with President Bill Clinton in 1993, the show has made the sitting president its centerpiece, with Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump each recording a speech.
Unlike the rest of the post-1993 presidents, Trump did not win re-election, so his version of the show will not get the same eight year run. Disney did not give any details about the refurbishment, only confirming that Biden animatronic will be added.
The show has exposed political tensions among guests in the past. This author can personally attest to visitors booing the likes of Bush and Obama during their shows’ respective runs, while in the Trump era, there were alternating cheers and boos of Trump and Obama, depending on your political alignment.
Those sorts of small protests are one of the reasons the Orlando Sentinel published an editorial Tuesday calling for the attraction to be shut down for good. “It could build an attraction that honors America without triggering guests on all sides of the political spectrum,” the editorial board wrote. “Or it could just bring back Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.”
Disney confirms that executives’ salaries were restored just before mass layoffs
The Walt Disney Company’s latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed that executives’ salaries were fully restored in August — a month before it announced 28,000 people in its Parks, Experiences and Products division would be losing their jobs.
Deadline had first reported about the restored executive pay. When U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., cited the report in criticism of Disney’s layoffs, Disney CEO Bob Chapek claimed her complaints contained “inaccuracies” but did not deny any of her claims.
Chapek’s pay was among those restored in August, according to the SEC filing, after taking a temporary 50 percent pay cut. He took home $14 million in total compensation last year, though he was not paid a bonus due to the company reporting its first annual loss in 40 years.
Bob Iger, who stepped down as CEO in February 2020 and became executive chairman, went without his salary through the end of Disney’s fiscal year in September. He still made $21 million, a 56 percent drop from his $47.5 million compensation in 2019.
Dorney Park to be used as COVID-19 vaccination site
Following the lead of other theme parks, Cedar Fair’s Dorney Park will host a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic starting Wednesday.
According to The Morning Call, the Lehigh Valley Health Network eventually hopes to vaccinate up to 5,000 people per day at the Allentown, Pennsylvania park. Vaccinations are available by appointment only and are currently limited to those 75 and older.
One of Disneyland’s parking lots is serving as a vaccine site in Orange County, California, though it has been closed both Tuesday and Wednesday due to high winds.
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