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President Obama Visit Adds to Walt Disney World Presidential History

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

President Barack Obama is making Disney history today by becoming the fourth sitting president to ever visit a Disney theme park.

The President will appear at Magic Kingdom Park on official business to make a special announcement regarding U.S. travel and tourism before a crowd of invited guests and media. His visit will add him to the list of the few U.S. presidents who have visited a Disney park while holding office.

Here’s a look back at some of those historic moments.

President Jimmy Carter in November 1978, at Magic Kingdom Park

In November 1978, President Jimmy Carter became the first sitting president to visit a Disney park when he attended the opening session of the 26th World Congress of the International Chamber of Commerce meeting at Magic Kingdom.

President Ronald Reagan on March 8, 1983, at Epcot

President Ronald Reagan made two visits to Epcot during his presidency. The first took place March 8, 1983, where he appeared at the park to address international students who would work at World Showcase. The President returned in 1985 to hold his second-term inaugural celebration at Epcot, which included a parade around World Showcase.

President George H.W. Bush Visiting Epcot in 1991

President George H.W. Bush also visited Epcot, where he presided over the first Points of Light ceremony honoring volunteers for their service work, at the America Gardens Theatre in 1991.

You can watch a live-stream of President Obama’s visit today at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live. Be sure to check the Disney Parks Blog later on for a recap of the event.

Comments

  • I’m going to start working at Disney in April. I wish he could have come then. I’d do anything to meet that man!

  • I am so excited that the President is speaking at the Magic Kingdom. Could there be a more perfect, beautiful setting than the castle and Main Street, U.S.A.?

  • That’s Funny, Democrats like the Magic Kingdom and Republicans like Epcot 😉

  • Hey Jen, you are forgetting Richard Nixon visiting the Contemporary on November 17, 1973. ” I am not a crook”.

  • Very interesting post.
    It’s not about a president, but I’ve learnt recently that Robert Kennedy has visit Disneyland (and stopped at Club 33)the 6 of March 1968.
    About George H.W. Bush, I’ve been surprised to see the boots which he wore during his inauguration. They were at the Hall of Presidents at WDW. I don’t know if they’re still on display …

    Can’t wait to check DisneyParksBlog for further information about today’s visit of President Obama!

  • While not president at the time, Ronald Regan was at opening day of Disneyland.

  • Good catches, Dennis and Alan. This post was limited to THEME PARK visits only. There were many other presidents who visited our resorts. And many seemed to visit as senators, or after their run as president concluded.

  • If I’m not mistaken, Richard Nixon was present for the opening of Disneyland as well. I think I saw this on the “Walt Disney Treasures: Disneyland, USA” DVD set.

  • “This post was limited to THEME PARK visits only.”

    So, no mention of Nixon’s famous speech from the Contemporary Resort, then?

  • The Contemporary, as amazing as it may be, is not a theme park, Eric 😉 I think the idea of the post was to memorialize presidents who have made appearances inside the theme parks – not just used the conference or ball rooms of the resort’s hotels….

  • When is this happening or did I already miss it?

    • The President spoke earlier today. We should have a recap post up soon.

  • Hey! What about the Disneyland Resort?

  • I saw pictures from today of the backstage walkway from the main entrance and leading to Tomorrowland, which was filled with flags and MSEP floats to add some cheer. Looks like the CMs did a great job at keeping things magical in spite of the inconvenience!

    • That’s what I’ve heard from several people, Courtney! Our cast members always do a great job.

  • When Richard Nixon was Vice President he was part of the June 14, 1959 dedication ceremonies for the new Disneyland Monorail. After the official ceremony Walt invited him to step aboard and see inside. Walt was very enthusiastic about the possibilities of Monorail usage in the USA. One thing led to another and Walt gave the word to depart the station. This was not scheduled as part of the official visit and the Secret Service went nuts as Walt accidentally abducted the Vice President of the United States. 🙂

  • Did he ride any rides? Hall of Presidents seems like it’d be an interesting attraction for him.

  • My frined works at Disney and he sold drinks tickets to President Clinton (while he was in office) when he came to Magic Kingdom – didn’t think it was a resort but the main park – not sure there was a speech it was more of a reception.
    when was this?
    G

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