Q: What is the Flag Retreat?
With the daily hustle and bustle at both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park, a lot of guests don’t realize that at 5:15pm (Disney World) and 4:15pm (Disneyland) each day a heart-warming tribute takes place to honor America as well as former and current Military Personnel.
One of Disney’s most touching and patriotic daily offerings, the Flag Retreat ceremony takes place at the foot of Main Street each evening centering around a retiring of the colors ceremony where the American Flag, rising high above the theme park, is taken down for the night. It is a 15-minute ceremony that really pulls at your heart-strings. Children are selected to guide guests through the Pledge of Allegiance, the Philharmonic (or on the West Coast the Disneyland Band) will take you through an amazing performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” and the Dapper Dans are often on hand as well as members of the Color Guard to guide you through moving renditions of patriotic tunes such as “God Bless America.”
But by far, the most emotional aspect of this daily event is the fact that the stars of the show are the veterans selected by Disney each day to take part in the ceremony. At Walt Disney World a veteran is hand-picked by Cast Members to be honored in the ceremony and at Disneyland, members of each branch of the military are asked to come forward and be represented there.
For those wondering how to be selected as the veteran to lead the ceremony at the Magic Kingdom, there is no way to sign up or register an interest. However, we do know that selection typically takes place in the morning as the park is opening. Former participants say it helps to wear an item of clothing that will identify you as a veteran.
Here’s a quick video of a ceremony Disney captured a few years back. It gives you the perfect taste of how special these moments really are:
Walt Disney himself famously said, “I get red, white and blue sometimes.” Share in his patriotism by making the Flag Retreat a must-do next time you’re at the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland. What you won’t get is the glitz, glamour and panache of the fireworks, parades and stage shows but rather an intimate gathering of people paying an emotional tribute to this amazing country that we live in and the people who have made sacrifices to ensure our freedom. – A tribute that we should be making not just on Veteran’s Day but the other 364 days of the year!
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