There are an alarming number of people in my office (three, so far) who never got the opportunity to see Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln at Disneyland before the final curtain fell on the awe-inspiring attraction in February of 2005. On that cold winter day, Honest Abe was impeached and then replaced by Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years. Some of my fondest Disneyland memories are from sitting through Animatronic Abe’s speech, watching Mathew Brady’s Civil War paintings change in the background, and wondering what it would have been like to have bayoneted a Confederate in the face or have served under General Sherman’s army as it so gloriously burned Atlanta to the ground.
I have a love-hate relationship with the Disney. I love Disneyland, due mostly to nostalgia, but hate the Disney Corporation for their excessive commercialism. Upon exiting the Jungle Cruise, you can’t even buy a rubber snake anymore without mouse ears on it and you sure as hell aren’t going to find anything in the Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop without Jack Sparrow’s likeness shouting out at you. And now it’s been announced that they’ve “tastefully” placed Disney characters inside It’s A Small World, and even integrated music from Disney films with the original music from the ride. What’s next, replacing the life-like animals on the Jungle Cruise with characters like Dumbo & Tigger?
I have the feeling that Lincoln was removed from Disneyland because the attraction didn’t sell any merchandise. You never saw anyone walking around the park wearing a fake beard or a top hat that they’d purchased after watching electric Lincoln site the Gettysburg Address. Personally, I would have sported both, just as long as they didn’t come with mouse ears attached.
But don’t despair. We may be in luck. There are rumors that The First 50 Magic Years will soon suffer its own assassination and be replaced by The Walt Disney Story Featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone who enters is handed a Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster, ‘a la John Wilkes Booth.