I saw the new Hall of Presidents for the annual passholder preview and was curious what other people thought.
Overall, I thought is was a good update. In particular, because they used video clips of many of the "modern" presidents, obviously an attempt to cover a more "balanced" look at "liberty's leaders" as they have sub-tagged the latest show. I liked the references to the "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" which I'm fairly sure was not as much a part of the old show. Since this was Walt's favorite - I think its appropriate to focus on it.
The new video clips were carefully selected quotes, including Bush's words at the site of ground zero, tastefully included without being sensational.
Although some might say politics doesn't belong in a Disney park, history certainly does. The very concept of theming relies on history; Frontierland and Main Street certainly rely on American History to tell stories.
The video clips and Lincoln moments also allowed the deletion of quite a few of the static artwork images (with Ken Burns effect) that used to make-up more of the show.
During the showing I saw, the audience was silent throughout the performance. However, I have been in there before when the audience would "boo" or applaud for their favorites. Personally, I prefer a silent audience. This isn't the American Idol show.
If I had to make a suggestion, it would be for each president to say his own name (and perhaps the years he was in office), instead of having it read by Morgan Freeman. At least that way, each AA figure would get a little more of a moment in the spotlight, which is for most of them literally all they get.