Photo: Blair Underwood and Family Begin Memories-Filled ‘Event’ at Hall of Presidents

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Blair Underwood at Hall of Presidents in Magic Kingdom (Kent Phillips/Disney)Actor Blair Underwood, who portrays U.S. President Elias Martinez on the NBC series “The Event,” poses Dec. 29, 2010 in front of “The Hall of Presidents” attraction at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., as his wife Desiree (foreground) takes a photo of him and their children (L-R): daughter Brielle, son Blake and their oldest son, Paris.

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Inside the New Hall of Presidents (Photo Gallery)

Unfortunately, because the attraction is not yet officially open, I cannot offer any photos inside the actual theater, but I can share images of some of the artifacts you can find inside the pre-show area, including the first ladies’ exhibit featuring dresses and other items from Elizabeth Monroe, Edith Roosevelt and Nancy Reagan.

Please enjoy.

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Hall of Presidents Re-Opens July 4 with New President, New Exhibits, New Movie, New Music, New Storyline, Even a New Name!

Hall of Presidents/ Making of President Obama Audio-AnimatronicsLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – A remarkably lifelike Audio-Animatronics figure of President Barack Obama enters the spotlight in a revised and refreshed Hall of Presidents show that reopens July 4 in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort.

The recently installed figure of the country’s 44th chief executive – which comes to life with recognizable mannerisms and makes comments that were recorded recently at the White House – is only part of an eight-month makeover so significant that the iconic attraction in the park’s Liberty Square has been retitled Hall of Presidents: A Celebration of Liberty’s Leaders.  Other updates to the “re-Imagineered” attraction which has been entertaining Magic Kingdom guests since 1971:

* A re-programmed Abraham Lincoln delivers arguably the greatest speech in the history of the presidency – the Gettysburg Address.
* For the first time in the attraction’s history, George Washington stands and delivers a stirring speech.
* Developed with the assistance of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, the show now tells a moving story of the bond between the presidents and “We, the People,” focusing on the chief executives who have guided America through trying, turbulent times.

(more…)

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Over 1000 Immigrants to be Sworn In as U.S. Citizens in Magic Kingdom July 3 (Updated)

Update:  The ceremony is titled ‘Celebrating the American Dream’ and will take place at 8:20 AM, prior to park opening. We are told the ceremony is by invitation only and that guests will not able to view the ceremony.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – In a stirring celebration of citizenship, more than 1,000 immigrants will gather on Main Street, U.S.A. July 3 to be “sworn in” as American citizens.

And as the country kicks off Independence Day weekend, these brand-new Americans will attend a premiere performance of the newest Walt Disney World attraction, a re-imagined Hall of Presidents, now featuring a lifelike Audio-Animatronics figure of President Barack Obama.

From more than 100 countries and ranging in age from 18 to 82, the immigrants will take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States during a Friday morning ceremony jointly hosted by Disney Parks and Resorts and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

USCIS’s highest-ranking official will preside over the ceremony on the forecourt of Cinderella Castle.  The event will feature a welcoming address by Walt Disney World Resort President Meg Crofton, the presentation of the colors, the national anthem, the Oath of Allegiance and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Actor Andy Garcia – a naturalized citizen himself – will deliver a keynote address during the ceremony. Garcia, originally from Cuba, is an acclaimed actor known for roles in films as diverse as “The Untouchables,” “The Godfather: Part III” and “Oceans Eleven.”

(more…)

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Walt Disney World Refurbishment Updates: Hall of Presidents, Old Key West Quiet Pools

Despite presumably being ready for an Annual Passholder and DVC preview in late June, the official re-opening date for the Hall of Presidents has been shifted from July 2 to July 4.

At Old Key West, the Miller’s Road Quiet Pool will be closed from June 15 through June 26 and the South Point Road Quiet Pool will be closed from August 3 through August 21.

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Be the first to know when changes that potentially affect your trip occur by signing up with ReSearch!

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NY Times Offers First Look at Changes to Hall of Presidents and its New Resident Obama

Audio Animatronic of President Barack Obama soon to debut at the Magic Kingdom's Hall of Presidents © Disney

Audio Animatronic of President Barack Obama soon to debut at the Magic Kingdom's Hall of Presidents © Disney

The NY Times brings us an exclusive behind the scenes look at the new President Barack Obama animatronic figure that will be making its Walt Disney World debut in July. The article, which features a Disney approved photo from afar, talks about the care and excessive detail that went into the faithful re-creation, right down to the detail of his wedding ring. The article also goes into some of the additional changes that will be taking place including confirming (as well as putting to bed) many of the rumored changes, particularly on who will have a speaking part and who won’t.

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