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Great Moments with Mr Lincoln

In Town Square at Disneyland, California, is an attraction not featured in any of the other parks.  Great Moments with Mr Lincoln is closely tied to Walt Disney himself.  He was a great admirer of the 16th US President and wanted this attraction to share with visitors important times from Lincoln's life.  

Entering the attraction and turning to the right, visitors will find a selection of exhibits illustrating the development of Disneyland itself.  This is, as I understand it, a remnant of an attraction which was hosted in the same venue for a while, The Disney Story.  The current attraction is actually called The Disney Story Presenting Great Moments with Mr Lincoln and therefore combines elements of the two attractions that have occupied this spot (the Mr. Lincoln attraction predating The Disney Story, before the 16th President was eventually reinstated).

There are models, paintings and audio/video exhibits detailing Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland and more.  Moving around to the left and there is a scale model of the White House and a bust of Lincoln.  This is the 'lobby area' prior to entrance to the main part of the attraction.

In this lobby plays a pre-show film detailing Walt's vision of this attraction including information about the actor chosen to give voice to Lincoln and the creation of the audio-animatronic figure of the president.

When the doors open, guests walk into a large theatre lined with plush, red chairs facing a stage adorned with a deep blue curtain.  A sihouette of Lincoln in profile is projected on to the curtain.

With a fanfare, the lights go down and the curtain rises.  Guests then watch an audio/visual show of static, painted images along with a voiceover of Lincoln's own words.  This patriotic story leads us through his youth, his rise in politics and the American Civil War.  One part of the presentation is accompanied by the song, Two Brothers (which also, as I understand it features in the America Pavilion in Epcot).  Eventually, the impact of Lincoln on American history is commented on and we find ourselves in the company of an animatronic Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln proceeds to address the guests.  The animatronics are simply amazing.  Although it isn't quite lifelike, it is an amazing attempt.  There are subtle movement in his head and hands, including his fingers.  The mechanics and computer coding that must be involved in making this figure work prove the skill and immense talent of the Disney Imagineers.  Even the way Lincoln goes from sitting to standing at the start of the speech is incredible (even if a little, marionette-like).

A rousing hymn ends the show as Lincoln returns to his chair.

As a Brit, I'm am definitely not going to appreciate this attraction in the way Americans probably do but it is a prime example of the talent of Disney Imagineers and the importance, to the USA, of their country's history.


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