Disneyland® Park: All About the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln Attraction
Disneyland® Park is more than just cartoon characters, castles, and princesses. It also happens to contain some stunning relics of American history.
Between standing in line to meet Mickey Mouse and spinning in the Mad Hatter’s tea-cups, don’t miss a fabulous presentation entitled Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. This show is included in the price of general Disneyland® Park tickets.
Where Is It?
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is part of The Disneyland® Story, a historical exhibit located near the front entrance to Disneyland® Park in California. This area of the park is called Main Street, U.S.A. The show takes place in the Main Street Opera House.
Why Is Lincoln at Disneyland® Park?
As a child, Walt Disney was enthralled with Abraham Lincoln. Fast-forward to when he built his theme park, Walt Disney wanted to create an attraction with life-sized, animatronic versions of all the presidents of the United States.
As fate would have it, the head of the 1964 World’s Fair toured Disneyland® Park and loved the idea. Walt Disney was commissioned to bring it to the World’s Fair but only had time to complete one president. Of course, he chose Lincoln.
The attraction was a hit at the World’s Fair, and a duplicate was installed shortly afterward at Disneyland® Park.
How Was It Made?
The Disney Imagineers had to work hard on this one. They pioneered audio-animatronics technology to create a realistic model of Lincoln.
While the Enchanted Tiki Room was the first show featuring audio-animatronics, this attraction featured the world’s first fully animated person. This kind of robot attraction may seem standard now, but back in the 1960s, it was highly innovative.
Hydraulic and pneumatic valves were used to create Mr. Lincoln. The Imagineers had to record every movement they wanted him to make using a movement recording harness. This transcribed the movements on magnetic tape. The magnetic tape would send electrical signals to the valves to move parts of the model.
What Is the Show Like?
There was never any record of Abraham Lincoln’s voice for future Americans to hear. Royal Dano voiced Abraham Lincoln in the first iteration of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. The attraction has changed over the years and now features a remastered version of the original Royal Dano audio.
In 2009, a refurbishment of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln upgraded the titular president to an auto-animatronic figure, enabling him to display more realistic emotions. The attraction currently includes snippets of the Gettysburg Address and some of Lincoln’s autobiography. The songs “Two Brothers,” “Golden Dream,” and “America the Beautiful” accompany the speeches.
The updated Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is, of course, all operated by computer now. Detailed drawings and move-by-move choreography plan out Lincoln’s presentation to park visitors. Things like eye contact and facial expressions are being considered and optimized now by the Imagineers who are renovating the attraction, making the current Mr. Lincoln more lifelike than ever before.
This attraction is a must for history buffs, as well as anyone interested in animatronics. Those who are curious about this renowned president should stop in at the show. It’s only fifteen minutes long and typically has no wait time.
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