Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln: Fun Facts

Filed in: Attractions, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Fact Sheets
  • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was originally created for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, where it appeared in the State of Illinois Pavilion. The show featured one of the world’s first fully animated human Audio-Animatronics figures.
  • The show proved so popular that a duplicate version opened in the Main Street Opera House in Disneyland on July 18, 1965, while the original show was still running. Thus, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln became the first Disney attraction to perform simultaneously on both coasts.
  • Prior to the Disneyland premiere of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the Main Street Opera House displayed an exhibit of sets from the then-recently-opened Disney musical film “Babes in Toyland.” The Opera House façade concealed a multi-purpose building that, among other uses, had served as a lumber storage facility for Disneyland.
  • In 1984, Walt Disney Imagineers re-programmed the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln show, a major enhancement that included the most up-to-date Audio-Animatronics technology at that time.
  • In the original Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the Abraham Lincoln figure delivered a speech composed of highlights from several speeches made by Lincoln during his lifetime. When an entirely new Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln opened in July 2001, guests donned earphones to hear a dramatic Civil War presentation in state-of-the-art binaural or “3-D audio” technology, followed by the figure of Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address.
  • From 2005 until early 2009, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln took a vacation from the Main Street Opera House. During that time, the feature presentation – in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland – was “Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years” hosted by Steve Martin and Donald Duck.
  • The Disneyland Story, now on view in the lobby of the Main Street Opera House, is the latest version of the history presentation which most recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of Disneyland.
  • For the 2009 version of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, guests will enter the pre-show through the Main Street Opera House. The pre-show includes a bronze replica of the original 1964 sculpt of Lincoln’s head, created for the first Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln by Disney Legend Blaine Gibson.
  • In the auditorium, guests will see the most lifelike and expressive Lincoln figure yet. Walt Disney Imagineers have provided the 16th President with the very latest in Audio-Animatronics technology and surrounded him with a presentation that preserves and enriches many elements of the original 1964 show.
  • Lincoln’s words in previous versions of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (except the 2001 update) were recorded in the early 1960s by actor Royal Dano. For the latest show, a new delivery of the speech was assembled using the original Royal Dano recordings now augmented by the latest audio technology.
  • Royal Dano had previously portrayed Lincoln on television in “Mr. Lincoln,” a five-part series on the “Omnibus” dramatic anthology show. A portion of “Mr. Lincoln” is now screened in the pre-show area outside the entrance to the auditorium of the Main Street Opera House.
  • Hutch Dano, who plays Zeke in the Disney Channel series “Zeke and Luther,” is the grandson of Royal Dano.
  • Another familiar voice in the new Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is the narrator, Paul Frees. Frees was known for his extensive voice work in cartoons, radio and commercials. His is the voice of the “Ghost Host” in the Haunted Mansion and several buccaneers in Pirates of the Caribbean. His original Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln voice recordings, like those of Royal Dano, have been preserved and enhanced with modern audio technology for the new show. Guests will also hear narration by Frees that was never before heard outside of The Walt Disney Company.
  • Before Mr. Lincoln appears on the stage, guests will now view a historical presentation presented in digital video. Many of the sounds and images are preserved from the original show, enhanced with digital technology. These include artwork created for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln in the 1960s by Disney Imagineers Sam McKim and Herb Ryman, and by Oscar-winning art director John DeCuir. Guests will see these pieces presented as never before, in high-definition digital video.
  • The historical presentation also includes new, specially commissioned artwork by animator John Pomeroy (“Pocahontas”). It’s a Civil War painting that draws on Pomeroy’s expertise as a Civil War history buff. The artwork is also on display in the pre-show lobby.
  • Music from the new Lincoln show includes classic versions of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and the Civil War ballad “Two Brothers” from the 1984 Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln show, along with “America the Beautiful,” from the Disneyland Circle-Vision film of the same name, and “Golden Dream” from the American Adventure attraction in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort.
  • As guests exit the auditorium, following the President’s stirring discourse, they will pass through a gallery of distinguished Americans, a tribute to individuals representing the Spirits of America in these categories: Achievement, Celebration, Giving, Imagination, Inspiration, Perseverance and Tolerance.