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Although President Donald Trump will be added to the Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World, he may not get a speaking role.
This would be a change from recent past practices, but according to reports on the Motherboard website, the decision stems from both concerns at Disney and a lack of material supplied by the White House.
The Hall of Presidents is a 23-minute, history-themed exhibit that includes a film about American history and visually accurate robots of all of America’s presidents.
Every president elected since 1992 speaks during the show — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Disney has said it would include Trump, despite a petition drive to keep him out.
“We’ve already prepared a bust of President-elect Trump to go into our Hall of the Presidents at Disney World,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said last fall.
However when the exhibit, which is currently closed for repairs, reopens and Trump’s robot joins the cast, it appears Trump will not be one of the talking presidents
“Given how polarizing the president is right now, Disney Parks & Resorts is currently trying to find (a solution) that approaches middle ground,” Motherboard quoted a Disney source as saying.
“They want to include our 45th commander-in-chief in this 45-year-old theme park attraction, while at the same time, not seem to endorse or support some of Trump’s more controversial policies,” Motherboard quoted its source as saying.
The White House has also not supplied what Disney wants.
“That’s a part of this — just getting time with him,” Motherboard quoted its source as saying. “I guess there’s also been some back-and-forth on his proposed script, which is something they’re hoping to use as a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card. If he’s not available to record, they can use that as a legitimate excuse. That’s kind of what Disney’s hoping for.”
The source admitted, though, that Disney never planned on a Trump figure in its Hall of Presidents.
“They were convinced that Hillary was going to win,” Motherboard quoted its source as saying. “They were having conversations in late October and early November on how to dress her. ‘Should it be the pantsuit she wore at the (Democratic) National Convention? Or should it be a darker color?’ They were thinking along those lines. No one was giving any serious thought to it being Trump.”
Even if Disney does have Trump talk, some think what his figure says will be very brief.
“I think Disney has a very fine line where they have to respect the office of the presidency and the attraction itself and still not offend anyone,” said John Saccheri, who runs BigFatPanda.com, a website that follows Central Florida theme parks. “I truly believe they are going to have it be very brief, and he’ll say something like, ‘Make America great again.’ I don’t think they’ll get much more into it than that.”
One observer of the theme park scene said maybe some silence from a new president is not such a bad thing.
“Every election is so divisive, that I personally think they should let former presidents talk — get the greatest hits of inspirational quotes from past presidents … and then just let the new president listen,” said Denise Preskitt, owner of Mousesteps.com.
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