President Obama gave a short speech yesterday at the Magic Kingdom about tourism. Disney did a great job at steering many guests away from the park, but also included some enhancements for guests who did visit – like a backstage area lined with parade floats. Later we enjoyed the Rock the Night fireworks at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Keep reading to see what it's like to visit Walt Disney World when the President comes to town!
My experience at the Magic Kingdom yesterday was much different than I expected. I've only been involved in two events that included a sitting President (one was attending a 2004 Inaugural Ball, one was working backstage at the 2000 Republican Convention). I'm sure there was excitement with guests invited to the event on Main Street, but overall it just seemed like a normal park day. No banners welcoming President Obama, no big screens, just a simulcast inside the Hall of Presidents for guests who wanted to see it.
Last night I read a Facebook post from someone who said that President Obama "shut down Walt Disney World". Nothing could be further from the truth. Main Street and the hub were closed from morning until around 2pm. Getting from one place to another did sometimes take a little longer. But the park was not busy, and the line was 10 minutes for Space Mountain when we walked by. It was a gorgeous day out, and we loved all the floats added to the backstage area that were set up along the walkway from Main Street to Tomorrowland. I do wish that this type of event was more accessible (even with the use of big screens) to park guests, but Disney did a great job in handling an event that seemed to pop out of nowhere 2 days earlier.
Walking from the bus, Cast Members were there to welcome us. Streetmosphere was outside of the park, instead of on Main Street.
The Walt Disney World Railroad was down until around 3pm:
There was a wall that separated Town Square from Main Street. While the security bag check for us was the same as always, there was a metal detector for those seeing President Obama.
We walked through the backstage area, where Main Street vehicles and parade floats were found. We have a video of the floats!
Scrooge McDuck's float from Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade:
More vehicles from Main Street: