U.S. voters have spoken and their will is clear: They want a new animatronic in Disney World’s Hall of Presidents.
OK, maybe the real vote was about electing Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States, but the result would be the same.
Since the Magic Kingdom show opened with the park in 1971, Disney has added animatronic figures of each new president as he entered into office. However, the tradition of making the sitting POTUS the centerpiece of the attraction only dates back to Bill Clinton, who recorded dialogue for a revamped version that opened in October 1993, nine months into Clinton’s first term.
Clinton was followed by animatronic versions of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, with the redos being spaced out eight years apart since each of the three presidents served two terms. President Donald Trump’s animatronic debuted in December 2017, despite an online petition to deny him a speaking role.
So does that mean the Hall of Presidents will go down again as Trump’s term wraps up? Not necessarily.
Thanks to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney has halted construction projects throughout its theme parks and laid off tens of thousands of employees. So a larger revamp would require prioritizing spending on a relatively unpopular attraction that reveals political divisions among guests; it’s not uncommon to hear rival groups applaud Obama and Trump at different points in the show.
Disney did not respond to Theme Park Tribune’s request for comment on the attraction’s future. But there are alternatives to a larger revamp. Disney could temporarily remove the section of the show where the sitting president speaks, as it did for a period in 2001 as the George W. Bush animatronic was being prepared. In the long term, Disney could even revert to the pre-1993 version of the show where the sitting president had an animatronic, but no speaking role.
Disneyland will furlough more employees as theme parks remain closed
More Disneyland employees are being furloughed as the resort reaches the eight-month mark of its closure.
In a memo, Disneyland President Ken Potrock said an unspecified number of executive, salaried and hourly employees would be temporarily laid off. Similar to the September announcement of 28,000 permanent layoffs in Disney’s theme park division, Potrock placed the blame on California’s stringent reopening guidelines.
“We expected to be able to open our parks in Anaheim, given our proven ability to operate with responsible health and safety protocols as we have in all of our other theme parks around the world, but unfortunately, this has not been the case,” Potrock said.
Disneyland is now canceling guests’ hotel reservations through Dec. 31. In one bright spot, however, the resort will be reopening the Disney Vacation Club section of the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa on Dec. 6, the Orange County Register reported Monday.
Six Flags Darien Lake upgrading Predator coaster
The Predator wooden roller coaster at Six Flags Darien Lake will be getting a new steel track courtesy of Great Coasters International.
GCI, manufacturers of wooden coasters like Kings Island’s Mystic Timbers, tested out its new “Titan Track” on White Lightning at Fun Spot America in Orlando. According to Pennsylvania newspaper The Daily Item, the steel track will next be installed on Predator.
“I’m hoping it will revolutionize the business,” said GCI owner Clair Hain Jr. “I’m already advertising across the world. I’m pushing it.”
According to Screamscape, Predator was previously being considered for a Rocky Mountain Construction hybrid coaster conversion when Darien Lake was operated by Herschend Family Entertainment, which owns Silver Dollar City and Dollywood.