I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. With these few simple words rests the burdens of a nation on the newly sworn in President of the United States.

Hall of Presidents

The newly refurbished Hall of Presidents will re-open to the general public on July 1, 2009. On Sunday, June 28, however, Partners in Excellence recipients and annual passholders were treated to a special preview of the updated show.

The queue area of the attraction has received some new polish and added a few new cases to display ephemera associated with a tribute to the first ladies. It would have been great if they could have allowed more space for this type of display both for content’s sake as well as provide something to do during the queue.

The attraction begins, as it has in the past, with a narrated movie that retells some of the events that precipitated the formation of the union as well as details the trials and tribulations as we grew as a country.

The first president to make his physical appearance is the 16th president in our nation and one who held us together during the bitter Civil War, Abraham Lincoln. The president sits center stage and rises to address the assembled guests in the auditorium. The speech is great and the audio-animatronic is smooth in its movement as it speaks his role.

After President Lincoln speaks, the movie begins anew with the modern history of the republic. The films focuses on many of the trials that have forged the nation over the past century – from the Great Depression and WW II to the assassination of President Kennedy to the Oklahoma City bombings. The tribulations are dealt with dramatically and respectfully, especially the events of September 11 which is still so close to so many people in the nation.

At the conclusion of the film portion, the curtain rises and the presidents are assembled, by eras, on the stage. The spotlights highlight each president as they are announced.

At the end of this portion, President Washington arises and speaks, finally introducing by motion the current president – President Obama.

President Obama received a solid round of applause during our preview and then his character recited the oath of office.

Finally, the president is introduced by Morgan Freeman and addresses the crowd as the culmination of the attraction. The capitol building behind the presidents transitions the night’s starry sky with a flying American flag as the speech and the attraction comes to an end.

Wrapping it up

This has always been one of my favorite attractions. It is fitting to reopen as we begin to celebrate the birthday of our nation and welcome so many new citizens with a swearing in ceremony later this week at the Magic Kingdom. Next time you are at the Magic Kingdom, check out the newly refurbished Hall of Presidents.