The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln Review
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is a classic Disneyland Park attraction located inside the Main Street Opera House on Main Street, U.S.A. Opened in 1965, it features an audio-animatronic version of Abraham Lincoln that recites excerpts from some of his most famous speeches. Even after over 50 years, it remains one of the park’s most revered attractions.
Average Wait Times: The wait times for this attraction tend to be relatively short, especially compared to popular rides like Space Mountain or Indiana Jones Adventure. It’s often possible to walk in with little to no wait. On busy days, you might find a wait of 15-30 minutes.
Height Requirements: There are no height requirements for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. This makes it suitable for guests of all ages and sizes.
Single Rider: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln does not offer a single rider option, as it’s a show rather than a traditional ride.
Genie+ and Lightning Lane: Genie+ and Lightning Lane are not currently available for this attraction. Most likely because of the low wait times.
Rider Switch: If you have young children or a group with varying interests, Disneyland offers a Rider Switch program. This allows one adult to wait with a child while the rest of the party rides, and then they can switch places without waiting in line again.
Disability Access Service (DAS): Disneyland is committed to providing a magical experience for guests with disabilities. The Disability Access Service (DAS) is available for those who may need it. It allows guests to receive return times for attractions that accommodate their needs.
History and Background
The origins of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln date back to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Walt Disney was commissioned by the state of Illinois to create an attraction to be featured at their pavilion. This resulted in the debut of the very first human audio-animatronic figure ever created by Disney Imagineers. It was an instant hit at the World’s Fair. After the fair ended, the attraction was relocated to Disneyland. It opened on July 18, 1965 as part of the park’s 10th anniversary celebration. The version at Disneyland was an exact duplicate of the World’s Fair original. Over the years, the attraction has seen a few refurbishments.
In 1984, a new Lincoln figure was added with enhanced movements and facial expressions. In 2001, the show was renamed “The Walt Disney Story Featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.” This version focused more on Walt Disney’s life and inspiration for building Disneyland. The current incarnation debuted in 2009. It features an updated figure with an even more lifelike appearance and advanced animatronic technology. The show itself hearkens back to the original 1965 version, once again focusing primarily on Lincoln’s life and achievements.
Location and Accessibility
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is located inside the Main Street Opera House on the east side of Main Street, U.S.A. The Opera House is modeled after the one in Hannibal, Missouri, Walt Disney’s childhood hometown. The attraction is easily accessible. There are no height requirements, so it can be enjoyed by guests of all ages. The queue and theater are also wheelchair accessible.
The queue for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln begins outside the Opera House. Guests enter through doors underneath the Opera House sign. Inside, the lobby area features exhibits about Walt Disney and the history of Disneyland. Highlights include a replica of Walt’s formal office, vintage Disneyland artifacts, and concept art. Soft piano music plays in the background.
The queue then winds through another room with photos and information about Abraham Lincoln’s life. Guests can learn about Lincoln’s childhood, career as a lawyer, and road to the presidency. Finally, the queue leads into the main theater where the show takes place. The pre-show area displays some of Walt Disney’s personal artifacts, including his wheelchair and family photos.
The show begins with a short preshow film titled “Two Brothers” about two brothers fighting on opposite sides during the Civil War. Next, the curtain rises to reveal the audio-animatronic Abraham Lincoln figure sitting in a chair on stage. Through the magic of Disney animatronics, Lincoln stands up from his chair and delivers a compilation of speeches and writings. The show runs about 15 minutes. Lincoln recites the Gettysburg Address as well as excerpts from other famous speeches and letters. The words are beautifully set to music and underscored by sound effects like cannon fire. Some of the major show scenes include:
Lincoln standing up from his chair and taking the oath of office.
Lincoln discussing the Civil War and predicting the North’s victory.
Lincoln emphasizing the need to bind up the nation’s wounds after the war ends.
Lincoln’s assassination and funeral procession.
A finale scene of Lincoln giving an inspiring vision for the future of America.
Throughout the show, Lincoln’s facial expressions change and he moves his arms and hands in very lifelike ways. It’s a stunning achievement in animatronics that makes you feel like Honest Abe is standing right before your eyes.
Tips for Visiting
There is rarely much of a wait for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, so it can be experienced at any time of day.
Sit towards the front of the theater for the best view of Lincoln on stage.
Pay attention to the small details in Lincoln’s movements and facial expressions. The Imagineers put in an incredible amount of effort to make him seem real.
Visit the Disney Gallery next door to see model buildings, artwork, and more from Disneyland’s history.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln has a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. It’s a nice attraction to take a break from the crowds and bustle of the park.
Photography and video recording are not allowed during the show, so be sure to take any pictures you want beforehand.
Visit the nearby Disneyland Railroad station and take a ride around the park on the trains after experiencing Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was designed to accommodate guests with disabilities:
Wheelchair and ECV accessible queue and theater
Handheld captioning devices available
Audio description devices available
Reflective captioning on screens in theater
The Abraham Lincoln figure has an extensive range of movements, with over 50 different functions in the head, neck, arms, hands, legs, and torso.
The show features the actual voice of Royal Dano, an actor who portrayed Lincoln several times in his career.
Lincoln’s face is made from a cast of actor Royal Dano’s face for the most lifelike appearance.
The speech Lincoln delivers is made up of passages from over 25 of his most famous writings and speeches.
The show uses an orchestral soundtrack arranged by Disney legend Buddy Baker.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln brings one of America’s most revered presidents to life through the magic of Disney animatronics and storytelling. It’s an inspiring, educational, and patriotic show that has enthralled Disneyland guests for over 50 years. No visit to the park is complete without spending a few minutes with the wise and dignified 16th president of the United States.
The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln Review
The Final Word
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is a captivating blend of history, technology, and artistry that remains a highlight of Disneyland. The attraction's ability to transport guests back in time and immerse them in the American story is a testament to the enduring magic of Disney.