Disney World’s President Trump robot becomes the object of ridicule

Political cartoonists weigh in on where Disney’s Hall of Presidents went wrong in creating its animatronic Trump.


Walt Disney World's "robot President Trump" was officially unveiled this week, and the internet's mocking response could be summed up in one word: "Sad!" 

The Orlando, Florida, park added Trump to its famed Hall of Presidents, the 700-seat theater featuring "audio-animatronic" depictions of White House residents from Washington forward. Some, like Abraham Lincoln, offer a credible likeness, while others, like Barack Obama, miss the mark a bit. 

The new Trump figure, though, is shockingly off, prompting online critics to say it looks more like actor Jon Voight — or a hastily refashioned Hillary Clinton, as if work had begun prior to an Election Day surprise. 

Either way, perhaps it's time to send in the clowns of satire to fix this little fiasco. 

"Besides the obvious complexion inconsistency, his hairline — or how it's coiffed — isn't low enough," says Ann Telnaes, The Washington Post's Pulitzer-winning political animator. 

Plus, "His eyes are too large," she adds, "and they've obviously taken off quite a few pounds" from his frame. 

Telnaes is uncommonly qualified to offer her critique. Besides having rendered hundreds of Trump heads, the author of the new book "Trump's ABC," a spoof children's book about the president's early months in office, was trained in "the Disney Way" of animation at Cal Arts. 

Telnaes even has experience with Disney robot design, having drawn animation poses for an audio-animatronic Gene Kelly while working at Disney Imagineering. 

Telnaes tweeted at Disney upon seeing the Hall's train-wreck Trump: "I'm here to help." 

Matt Davies, Newsday's Pulitzer-winning cartoonist, agrees that the key is the hair. "The animatronic version's woolen helmet is wrongly placed," he tells The Post'. "I draw Trump with his hair swooping down over his eyes." 

Mike Luckovich, the Pulitzer-winning veteran for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, finds Disney's design flaws closer to the center of Trump's countenance — as well as the ineffable nature of persona. "The reason it misses so bad is because it's hard to capture mania in a robot," Luckovich says. "Plus, I think his upper lip is too close to his nose. Trump also has tiny slits for eyes. The robot's eyes are too open." 

Likewise, Kevin "Kal" Kallaugher, the Herblock Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for the Economist and the Baltimore Sun, sees a slew of miscues. 

"The new Disney figure is a complete swing and miss," Kallaugher says. "Usually, facial recognition is lost due to a thousand small misfired features rather than a few big ones."

"In this case, there are some real blatant blunders," he continues. "The hairline along the temples on the side of his head is too far back, making the whole hair look even more wig-like than ever. The upper lip appears swollen, as if he has tried to kiss a tax cut." 

And then, the left-leaning Kallaugher noted, there is "his extra real estate of skin that dangles from his lower chin and abruptly attaches to his upper chest in such a way that it appears that his head is screwed on properly — and we all know that is not true." 

And Scott Stantis, the right-leaning cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune, half-jokingly posits that the visual inaccuracy is purposeful. 

"I'm thinking that since the purchase of 21st Century Fox, Disney now controls, well, just about everything," Stantis says. "With the audio-animatronic Trump, they are telling the world: 'If you think that's bad, wait till you see what we do with Putin' — followed by a high-pitched, mousy "BRAH-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha ...!" 

The late-night comics got in their digs, too. On Tuesday's "Late Night" episode, Seth Meyers said: "Disney World? Was that supposed to go in the Haunted Mansion?" Even Lincoln is looking at him like, 'This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.' " Also on NBC, "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon's jabs include the line: "You can tell it's Trump's robot because Putin's backstage controlling it." 

The Hall of Presidents at Disney's Magic Kingdom Park officially reopened Tuesday, after a year-long transformation. The inclusion of a Trump figure prompted some blowback, including a Change.org petition that sought to keep him "from speaking, let alone giving a speech similar to the one given by Barack Obama and past incumbent presidents."

Walt Disney debuted his vision for presidential animatronics in 1964, at the New York World's Fair, and the Hall of Presidents in the Florida theme park's Liberty Square was opened posthumously, in 1971. 

For now, the pseudo-likeness of Trump utters these words, in part: "From the beginning, America has been a nation defined by its people."


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