Disney Parks Celebrates A Patriotic July 4th Weekend with Fireworks – A Salute To U.S. Presidents & New Citizens

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The Disneyland Resort has celebrated the glory of fireworks since 1957 with numerous spectacular shows.  The long-standing tradition continues with a star-spangled presentation for Independence Day, with Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky, July 2 through July 5. The “Magical” fireworks show returns July 6.

In Florida, Walt Disney World Resort will also celebrate the holiday with fireworks and a special Naturalization ceremony on July 3, saluting 1,000 immigrants from more than 100 countries who will be “sworn in” as American citizens in Magic Kingdom.

As the country kicks off Independence Day weekend, these brand-new Americans will attend a premiere performance of the newest Walt Disney World attraction, a “re-Imagineered” Hall of Presidents, now featuring a lifelike Audio-Animatronics figure of President Barack Obama.

Actor Andy Garcia – a naturalized citizen himself – will deliver a keynote address during the naturalization ceremony.  Garcia, originally from Cuba, is an acclaimed actor known for roles in films as diverse as “The Untouchables,” “The Godfather: Part III” and “Ocean’s Eleven.”

“This year, Disney parks are asking our visitors, ‘What Will You Celebrate?’,” said Walt Disney World Resort President Meg Crofton.  “And on a weekend when our entire nation celebrates its independence, we are honored to host – and celebrate – 1,000 individuals who are embracing American citizenship.”

The Hall of Presidents attraction reopens July 4 in the Liberty Square area of Magic Kingdom.  The attraction has been closed since Election Day last November for a makeover that included installation of a lifelike Audio-Animatronics figure based on President Obama.

The figure of the country’s 44th chief executive – which comes to life with recognizable mannerisms and makes comments that were recorded recently at the White House – is part of an eight-month makeover so significant that the iconic attraction has been retitled The Hall of Presidents: A Celebration of Liberty’s Leaders.  Other updates to the re-Imagineered attraction which has been entertaining Magic Kingdom guests since 1971:

  1. A re-programmed Abraham Lincoln delivers arguably the greatest speech in the history of the presidency – the Gettysburg Address.
  2. For the first time in the attraction’s history, George Washington stands and delivers a stirring speech. 
  3. Developed with the assistance of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, the show now tells a moving story of the bond between the presidents and “We, the People,” focusing on the chief executives who have guided America through trying, turbulent times. 

“Our goal with every major Disney attraction is to completely immerse our guests in a compelling story,” said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.  “The stories associated with the American presidency are some of the most engaging and relevant our guests will hear while they are with us.  And, like all great stories, these stories inspire, motivate and teach us to appreciate the challenges and personal triumph that comes with overcoming adversity.”

The show’s impact is bolstered by the stirring performances of actor David Morse, who voices Washington, and the late veteran actor Royal Dano, who voices Lincoln.  Morse played Washington in the award-winning HBO miniseries, “John Adams.”  Dano was selected by Walt Disney himself to voice the first animated Lincoln figure, which debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and later became part of the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction at Disneyland in California.  Obama’s speech, recorded in the White House Map Room, includes the presidential oath of office and his thoughts about “the American dream.”