SCOOP: Walt Disney World is already working on a Mitt Romney figure for its Hall of Presidents in anticipation of his winning the election
[ Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida already has a Mitt Romney animatronic being developed to replace the Barack Obama one in the Hall of Presidents attraction…which the Imagineers never start work on unless they are 100% certain that a candidate will become President; they do not waste time and money on this until they are certain they will need the figure. Above is video of the current version of the Hall of Presidents show that debuted an Obama animatronic in 2009 ]
This is an interesting scoop that landed in my lap today, via my boyfriend Justin’s contacts in the Disney Imagineering department: Walt Disney World (WDW) is indeed working on an update of the Hall of Presidents attraction to feature Mitt Romney as the 45th President of the United States beginning in 2013. Imagineers are that certain Romney will win the election and that his likeness will be needed to update the attraction in early 2013 so it will be ready in time for the park’s summer tourist season.
I have not seen the sketches and design elements, but Justin’s friend has and he’s a credible source inside Disney that gives Justin accurate details on all sorts of projects in the blue sky design phase or being prepped for fabrication in the near future. The Romney addition to the Hall of Presidents was just recently fast tracked and monies were shifted in the budget to accommodate this suddenly necessary change. Truth be told, WDW’s executives were almost hoping Obama would somehow win reelection because then they wouldn’t have needed to spend any money this quarter or next in replacing his animatronic with the new president’s.
For those who don’t follow the company, Disney is incredibly cheap and does not invest time or resources on anything that’s not definitely needed in the near and immediate future. The entity that oversees WDW is called “Team Disney Orlando” (TDO) and pinches pennies tighter than Scrooge McDuck. They actually allow attractions to rot to near-ruin before springing for necessary maintenance and replacements…and they don’t do things at WDW just because it would be fun to spend time and money on something “just in case”. Just to give you an idea of their cheapness most of the time, there’s a Little Mermaid dark ride that they built in Anaheim for their Disney’s California Adventure park where Team Disney Anaheim (TDA) cut costs by ordering multiple molds of the mermaid Ariel’s sea creature friends and then they just reused those multiple times in the ride, posing them a little differently, while hoping people wouldn’t notice those were the same fish and turtles they saw earlier. When WDW built a Little Mermaid ride in its recent expansion of Fantasyland there, they not only save money by building the exact same ride they created in California but they passed up on a reasonable opportunity to freshen up the fishes so they wouldn’t have to duplicate the same molds again multiple times in this Orlando version.
The House of Mouse is cheap, cheap, CHEAP.
But, it looks like about three weeks or so ago it was decided by TDO to start preparing for Mitt Romney’s inauguration and the replacement of the Barack Obama animatronic from the forefront of the “Hall of Presidents” show in the Liberty Square area that’s betwixt Fantasyland and Frontierland in the park. If you’re unfamiliar with WDW, it differs a lot from Disneyland in California (which was supervised by Walt Disney himself until his death and is maintained to something approximating his exacting standards of excellence to this day); by the time WDW was constructed Walt Disney was already dead and the Florida park was built on the cheap and is maintained that way to this day. The Liberty Square area was built in Orlando instead of the New Orleans Square that exists in Disneyland because executives thought Florida was too close to Louisiana for anyone to care about a New Orleans area in the park…and the American bicentennial celebrations that were upcoming at the time lent themselves nicely to a themed area of WDW…where a new attraction was created called “The Hall of Presidents” with animatronics of our past and current leader delivering a brief talk that includes many of their famous speeches (see video at top of this article). You have probably heard of “The Haunted Mansion” in the Disney parks, which is found in Liberty Square in Orlando but in New Orleans Square in Anaheim. There is no Hall of Presidents attraction in California; instead there is a “Great Moments with Abraham Lincoln” animatronic show near the entrance of Disneyland in a theater on Main Street.
The current president always takes center stage in the Hall of Presidents, with his role in the show being the biggest. That place of honor is currently held by the man who is increasingly called “Bathhouse Barry” here in Chicago, but has been known as “Soebarkah” or “Barry Soetoro” in the past. It’s always seemed almost appropriate that, whatever you want to call him, Obama’s had an animatronic version of himself in WDW considering how many times “Mickey Mouse” voted for him in Ohio and Florida via voter fraud during the 2008 election.
I was really torn on reporting on the Romney figure being designed and prepped for the park because it just lends itself to Saturday Night Live-style jokes that Romney’s a robot. In years past, I would have been cracking those jokes myself but I have truly come to respect and love Mitt in the last month or two of this campaign. He’s run an amazingly-well organized operation from Boston and his GOTV efforts are the best in American political history. He is going to trounce Bathhouse Barry and the Left in an epic blowout.
Team Disney Orlando, one of the most cost-averse and ridiculously cheap entities in the universe, clearly sees the writing on the wall and is getting ready for Romney’s arrival in the White House by prepping for his installation in Liberty Square. Obama’s animatronic will be shunted over to the side, next to those for George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Not every former president gets to speak during the show…though I believe Kennedy, Reagan, FDR, TR, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington all have speaking roles in the latest version (which I saw during Gay Days back in 2010). I doubt TDO will continue to have Obama standing on the stage saying “hope” and/or “change” a lot after the Romney figure is ready and the show remounted with him in the starring role.
Bathhouse Barry will be there forever, as long as WDW exists no doubt…but in due time TDO won’t even bother fixing the parts that break and he’ll ultimately be propped up next to the wall or sitting dustily at a table, alongside Buchanan and Harding and other former chief executives that far too many school children have a great deal of difficulty identifying. Personally, I’d display both Obama and Carter in a men’s room somewhere…so people could not only express exactly how they feel about the 44th president whenever they got the urge, but he’d also feel very much at home considering his lingering nostalgia for those Bathhouse Barry days.
It’s my personal hope that one day the Hall of Presidents will also add a Paul Ryan animatronic (in 2021), an Allen West figure (in 2029), and a Liz Cheney one too (2037). A lot can happen between now and even the most magical of futures, and the path’s less certain than that from Liberty Square to Tomorrowland, but I’d wager that if Romney/Ryan succeed the way I know they will that it’s going to be a long, long time before another Democrat is added to this attraction in Walt Disney World.
What do you think?
Do you interpret Disney’s spending the funds to already begin work on the Mitt Romney animatronic for the Hall of Presidents to be a good indicator that he’s sure to win?
What are YOU doing today to make sure Romney’s win is as big as possible in two weeks?
© 2012, Kevin DuJan. All rights reserved.
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