The New York Times has shared this first look at the Audio-Animatronic of President Barack Obama along with a wealth of fantastic information about the development of the upcoming update to the Hall of Presidents at the Magic Kingdom. Here’s an excerpt from their article:
The president supplied not just his measurements, but he also recorded that speech (which was initially drafted by a Disney writer) — and yet another recitation of the oath of office, this one in Disney high-definition sound.
In that Hollywood building here, the life-size, three-dimensional figure was being put through its final tune-up, its chin rising and hands gesturing in response to technicians, in preparation for shipment to the Hall of Presidents exhibit at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
Disney officials declined to say how much it cost to build an Obama. They have cloaked the project with a blanket of secrecy befitting the Secret Service, permitting this reporter to be the only journalist thus far to view the figure up close but allowing only a Disney photographer to take its picture.
Mr. Obama has seen renderings of the figure, telling a Disney employee, Pamela Fisher, “that we had made him better-looking than he was.”
The exhibit will open with the new film, narrated by the actor Morgan Freeman. At a certain point, the Abraham Lincoln figure will rise and speak to the audience, as it always has, but now it will deliver the Gettysburg Address in its entirety.
“And this is the first time George Washington will have a speaking role,” said Kathy Rogers, a senior show producer for Walt Disney Imagineering, the unit that oversees the creative side of the theme parks.
But the emotional high point is intended to be the introduction of the Obama figure, who will yet again be heard taking the oath.
Mr. Obama recorded this version on March 4 in the White House Map Room — the same room where he retook the oath after a minor flub on Inauguration Day — to accommodate the Disney World theater’s new sound system. At that time, Mr. Obama also read aloud a short speech to be delivered by the figure, one that ultimately passed through the computer of Jon Favreau, a presidential speechwriter.
“That speech took a village,” said Ms. Fisher, the senior Disney writer on the project who along with Ms. Rogers traveled to Washington in March to guide the president through his role.
You can read the full New York Times article here and see the Barack Obama Audio-Animatronic in-person at the Magic Kingdom beginning in early July.