This week starts the season of loving on the U.S of A. With Memorial Day paying homage to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation to honoring our flag on Flag Day next month to the ultimate in patriotic celebrations with the 4th of July, there is a lot to reflect on. So let’s dig in and talk about all the ways in which Disney is the patriot and how Disney celebrates our nation.
Walt Disney once said in an interview,
“If you could see in my eyes, the American flag is waving in both of them and my spine is growing this red, white and blue stripe.”
Walt Disney was the ultimate patriot. His strong sense of patriotic duty inspired him to join the fight as a teenager during WWI. He was too young to enlist, but that didn’t stop him from serving in France with the Red Cross Ambulance Corp. He was passionate about preserving our nation’s history through storytelling and many of his popular movies and TV shows are a direct reflection of that. During WWII, he allowed many of his characters to be used by the military free of charge as mascots and decorations and produced and released several shorts to aid in the war effort and promote young men to enlist to help the cause. There is so much evidence of his patriotic spirit in his movies such as Pollyanna, Johnny Tremain and America the Beautiful. Disney the patriot’s spirit lives on in the events, shows and attractions that came long after his death.
Flag Retreat Ceremony
Gather in town square on Main Street, U.S.A. to watch the American flag retire for the night. This ceremony is currently suspended due to COVID. When it returns, you must carve out time to see it. Disney security selects a guest- usually a veteran or active military personnel to participate in the ceremony. During this stirring patriotic ceremony, say the pledge of allegiance and hear the trumpet fanfare sound Retreat. Watch as the American flag is lowered while the philharmonic plays the “Star Spangled Banner.” Members of the Color Guard remove the flag from the staff and fold it while Guests are led in “God Bless America.” Then, a special Guest veteran or active duty military person is handed the flag and there is a short procession down Main Street. The ceremony is a tribute to thank veterans for their service, sacrifice and dedication to our country. It is also a true homage to the spirit of Disney the patriot.
The Hall of Presidents
Also in the Magic Kingdom, you’ll find the iconic Hall of Presidents. Many people think about this attraction as merely a tool to escape the sun and sit in the a/c for a while. Give it a chance. Here’s what you’ll really see: an original film—developed by a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian—that tells the dramatic story of the nation’s founding. Think of it as a 22 minute history lesson with cool, state-of-the-art audio animatronics in the only place on earth where all Presidents of the United States are seated. Hear speeches delivered by George Washington and the newest addition to the Hall, 45th President Donald J. Trump. The attraction is currently closed for refurbishment as imagineers create the addition of President Joe Biden.
Fun Fact: The original conception of this attraction used animated wax figures, but the Presidents didn’t meet Walt Disney’s approval. As a result, he tasked Walt Disney Imagineering to develop the first Audio-Animatronics figure in human form. This resulted in the groundbreaking Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, which made its debut at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The Hall of Presidents built upon that show’s legacy and Walt’s vision.
The American Adventure in EPCOT
This is the American Pavilion in Epcot- the epicenter of the World Showcase. In this beautiful pavilion, you’ll find another dramatic production not to be missed. This one features 35 Audio-Animatronics figures, a 72-foot movie screen and stirring patriotic songs. You’ll watch America’s story unfold with Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain as your guides. Witness landmark events throughout American history and even meet historical figures like Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Jefferson, Chief Joseph and Teddy Roosevelt. It truly is a show like no other! Be sure to stick around to hear the amazing talent of the a capella group, Voices of Liberty, as their songs are delivered under the perfect acoustics of the grand rotunda. And, for a limited time, visit the temporary exhibit The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure. Go on a musical tour of America to learn about the colorful history of jazz music. This inspiring exhibit features Joe Gardner from Disney and Pixar’s SOUL.
Spending July 4th in the Magic Kingdom?
Be sure to make your park reservation AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. These reservations are currently open for 2021 AND 2022.
During non Covid times, this is not a day you want to take a midday break as you may not be able to get back in if the park reaches capacity.
During Covid times, we can’t be sure how it will work with park hopping, etc, so best to make your park reservation, get to the park early. and prepare to settle in for the day.
Pack your patience and your deodorant.
Thanks for spending another episode with us! How have you celebrated your patriotism in the parks? We’d love to hear so share below and on our facebook page!
God Bless America.