Former President Donald J. Trump recently received a major upgrade at the Walt Disney World Resort, and so far, many fans seem fairly pleased with the refurb.
The Hall of Presidents attraction at Magic Kingdom Park at Disney World is popular with Guests of all ages. While it isn’t necessarily an attraction that Guests experience every time they visit the Central Florida parks, the attraction is one steeped in history–in part because of the subject matter of the experience and also because of its long history as one of Magic Kingdom’s Opening Day attractions.
The history-themed attraction takes a look at the Office of the President of the United States in an exciting and interactive way. In the pre-show area, Guests can take a walk back in time and see authentic artifacts and personal belongings that help to tell the story of the personalities and accomplishments of several former United States Commanders-in-Chief.
But the most impressive spectacle in the entire attraction is experienced when the curtains are drawn back, revealing the audio-animatronic likenesses of every U. S. President. Most Guests will admit, though, that while some of the animatronic figures are strikingly similar to the men by which they were inspired, some of the figures are a bit . . . well, creepy.
But perhaps no animatronic president inside the Hall of Presidents attraction has received more hoopla, garnered more criticism, and stirred more controversy than the likeness of former President Donald J. Trump. On January 17, 2017, the attraction closed for refurbishment and so that the Trump animatronic could be added following his inauguration. After multiple delays throughout the year, the attraction finally reopened to Guests on December 19, 2017, and it did so to plenty of controversy.
Over the years, Cast Members have been put in the position of reminding Guests on both sides of the political aisle to respect others during the presentation. Guests have had to be reminded to keep negative comments to themselves so as not to disrupt the experience for others, while other Guests have had to be reminded that the Hall of Presidents is not a place for loud displays of support for the former president.
In 2021, to make room for the newest audio-animatronic figure that resembles current President Joe Biden, Cast Members had to move the Trump animatronic to a different location among his 44 robotic counterparts as animatronics bearing the likeness of the sitting president are usually positioned in the center of the stage in front of the other figures.
But an online post at SFGate from August 2021 suggested that Disney World had been unkind to Donald Trump in its decision to place the audio-animatronic likeness of the embattled former president near former president Andrew Jackson.
Trump’s relocation within the attraction garnered an endless supply of posts across various social media platforms, as Jackson has long been regarded as a controversial leader because of his role in the Trail of Tears in the late 1830s. The deadly journey was forced upon Native Americans by the federal government–namely by the Indian Removal Act, signed by then-President Andrew Jackson in 1830, which effectively allowed for the relocation of Native Americans from their land east of the Mississippi River to land to the west that had been acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The “relocation” was against the will of Native Americans.
I love this pic of robo-Trump getting the side-eye in his new position in the Hall of Presidents.
They stuck him back by Andrew Jackson, which seems appropriate. pic.twitter.com/WlpMMWvBsC
— Teko (@TekoOtter) August 4, 2021
The post also pointed out that Disney excluded Mr. Trump from a highlight reel of recent presidents that plays before the group of Presidential figures is unveiled to the audience at the Hall of Presidents attraction at Magic Kingdom. The reel features video clips of every single United States President in office since President Dwight Eisenhower, with the exceptions of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, and Donald Trump.
Since his presidency ended, Donald J. Trump has found his way into the headlines related to a capitol riot in January 2021, alleged “hush money” paid to an adult film star years ago, and other allegations as well. Mr. Trump’s children, including Donald J. Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, have also made the headlines.
This week, the former Commander-in-Chief made national news as he was indicted in New York on Thursday by a Manhattan grand jury on more than 30 counts related to alleged business fraud within the Trump Organization. He is expected in court soon, but as of the time of this publication, the indictment remains under seal, and the exact criminal charge or charges have not yet been made public.
“This evening, we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement on Thursday. “Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected.”
Almost immediately following news of the indictment, a flurry of social media posts began yet again. Some have been more inflammatory than others, and some have had a more humorous tone, like the one below posted by @ParkListKris via Twitter, which suggests that Disney World was quick on the draw when it came to refurbing and updating the Hall of Presidents attraction in light of the recent news about former President Trump.
They really updated hall of presidents fast. pic.twitter.com/qRyc0gnNXj
— Kris (@ParkListKris) March 31, 2023
“They really updated Hall of Presidents fast,” the tweet reads.
The image is one of Mr. Trump’s audio-animatronic likeness inside the Disney World attraction–but with one glaringly obvious difference. In the photo on Twitter, the former president is no longer clad in a suit and tie, but wearing, instead, an orange jumpsuit similar to those worn by prison inmates. His wrists are also bound by handcuffs.
It’s definitely not the everyday kind of Disney World refurb for sure. After all, those things sometimes take months, and the Hall of Presidents update took only a few hours.