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Shocking Secrets about American Flags in Disney World

Shocking Secrets about American Flags in Disney World

Close your eyes and picture Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom. What do you see? You see a turn-of-the-century all-American town with red, white, and blue draped everywhere the eye can see all leading up to a massive flagpole in the center of the road flying a proud American flag. 

The more you look, the more you see! You’ll see flags lining the tops of the buildings on either side of the road and flag bunting draping doorways. There are flags everywhere! 

Or are there…? 

Would you be surprised if I told you that there is only ONE flag in the Magic Kingdom?

Where Can You Find American Flags in Disney World?

You can find evidence of American pride and patriotism in 2 places in the Magic Kingdom. First is the Main Street USA, like we mentioned earlier, where every day it is 1901. The other location in the Magic Kingdom is Liberty Square. 

Where Main Street USA has a backstory of a time of peace, Liberty Square is focused on the year 1776. Come on folks, it hasn’t been that long since you’ve been in school! 1776 is the year that America declared its independence from England, thus declaring war. 

You will see nods to the people’s support because of the cause in subtle touches placed around this area. Not just the bunting that you would expect, but also the leather straps that are holding the shutters in place! Bet you didn’t notice that one. You see, in the times of the Revolutionary War soldiers would melt down anything they could to turn it into round bullets, even the brass hinges from their shutters. 

Where Can You Find Real American Flags in Disney World?

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Still scratching your head to figure out how there is only one American flag when you have seen so many? 

There are rules and guidelines about flying the American flag, and because of them, Disney has altered all of their flags just enough so that they do not have to follow all of the codes. 

The one and only flag in the Magic Kingdom is the one atop the majestic flagpole in the center of Main Street USA. 

As per the Flag Code, it is risen and retired each night in a proper and dignified fashion. 

What are the Rules for Flying the American Flag?

There is a lot of confusion around the rules for flying American Flags. While it’s true that there are no Old Glory Police around to critique your display, the Disney Company is nothing if not patriotic. They take these rules seriously and have taken very Disney-ish approaches to display flags while respecting the rules. 

  1. Dusk to Dawn
    The flag should be flown from sunrise to sunset unless it’s properly illuminated during the night. If the flag is displayed outdoors, it should be raised briskly and lowered ceremoniously. It should also be properly folded when taken down.
  1. Illumination
    For any flags that are oversized, up high, or otherwise unable to retire in the evening must be properly uplit. Old Glory must never be dark. 
  1. Protect
    All American flags must be removed and retired during times of bad weather so as to not subject the flag to damage.
  1. Respectful Handling
    The American flag should always be treated with respect. It should not touch the ground or any other objects beneath it. Additionally, it should never be used as apparel, drapery, or advertising material. It’s important to handle the flag in a dignified manner.

It’s worth mentioning that while there are guidelines and recommendations for displaying the American flag, there is no penalty for unintentional violations. The rules are primarily meant to serve as a guide for showing respect to the flag and honoring its significance.

Why are Disney Flags Special? 

Disney Imagineers came up with a creative way to showcase flags without disobeying the Flag Code. Why would they bother? Why not just follow the code and use regular flags? You can just uplight the flags on the buildings down Main Street… 

Remember that part of the rules about “Protect”? It rains almost every day in Florida, and not just rain either. It’s more like torrential downpours with excessive lightning and thunder. Not to mention hurricanes and tropical storms. How would you like to climb that roof every time there is bad weather?! 

Hence special flags are just for Disney. 

All of the American flags in the Magic Kingdom have something a little off with them to skirt the code. Look very closely. A traditional American Flag has 50 stars and 13 stripes, but that isn’t the case in the Magic Kingdom! 

How Many Stars are on the American Flags in Disney World?

We all know that the American Flag has 50 stars to represent the 50 states, but in Disney World, each of the “fake” flags has between 40-45 stripes. They are arranged in the same angular pattern as the regular flags, and because they are blowing in the wind, most guests never notice!

How Many Stripes are on the American Flags in Disney World?

Thirteen stripes to represent 13 original colonies, that’s what is supposed to be there. Easier to spot than the stars is the fact that the flags in Disney World often have between 9-12 stripes. This is especially obvious when the wrong color is on the bottom! 

History of Walt Disney and His Love of Country

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Walt Disney, the creative genius behind the Disney empire, was a man with a deep sense of patriotism. It’s no secret that he loved his country, and his passion for America shines through in many aspects of his work.

You see, Walt Disney believed in the American dream and the power of imagination. He saw his creations, like Mickey Mouse and Disneyland, as a celebration of the spirit of innovation and optimism that he believed defined America. His characters embodied the values of perseverance, courage, and hope that have long been associated with the nation.

Not only did Walt Disney create beloved characters and enchanting stories, but he also played a role in supporting the United States during challenging times. During World War II, Disney Studios produced numerous training and propaganda films to boost morale and promote patriotism among the American public. Walt himself even traveled to South America on a goodwill tour during the war, representing the United States and fostering cultural connections.

Walt Disney’s patriotism was evident in his parks as well. Disneyland, which opened in 1955, featured attractions that paid tribute to American history and culture. From Main Street, U.S.A., with its charming small-town America atmosphere, to the iconic Hall of Presidents, where animatronic figures of U.S. presidents come to life, Walt wanted his parks to instill a sense of pride and appreciation for the country he loved.

So, when you step foot in any Disney park or watch one of their timeless movies, you’re not just experiencing entertainment. You’re also immersing yourself in Walt Disney’s vision of a place where dreams come true, and where the spirit of patriotism and love for America is celebrated. It’s a legacy that continues to resonate with visitors of all ages and reminds us of the enduring values that make our country special.

Special Experience for Veterans: Flag Retreat Ceremony at Disney World

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So, let me tell you about this really cool thing that happens every day at Walt Disney World—the Flag Retreat Ceremony. It’s such a special event that takes place in the Magic Kingdom, right on Main Street, U.S.A.

Picture this: as the sun starts to set and the day comes to a close, the whole atmosphere gets this magical touch. That’s when the Flag Retreat Ceremony begins. It’s a beautiful way to honor the flag and pay tribute to all the brave men and women who have served our country.

The ceremony is led by the Main Street Philharmonic, a talented group of musicians. They start playing patriotic tunes that fill the air, instantly giving you goosebumps. Then, a group of color guards marches down the street, carrying the American flag with great pride.

Cast Members select a veteran in the park to participate in retiring of the colors and creates an amazing memory for not only the service member, but also for their families. Remember, the service member serves, but the families are without them for months or years at a time. It’s good for them to see moments like this where especially the children can observe the gravity of their parent’s service and that it is important. It helps them to understand their sacrifice and take part in the pride. 

*Hopping off of my soapbox now…*

One of the most touching parts of the ceremony is when a guest veteran is chosen to participate in the folding of the flag. They receive a special commemorative pin as a token of appreciation. It’s such a heartwarming sight, witnessing the bond that is formed between strangers, all connected by their love for their country.

FUN THINGS TO SPOT & GAMES TO PLAY! 

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  • Spot a window shutter in Liberty Square that isn’t hanging just right
  • 2 if by land and 1 by sea – Look for the lanterns in the window. Where do they say the British are coming from?
  • Find every fake flag and find what is different about it
  • Check out the REAL Liberty Bell – Okay, it’s not the Liberty Bell, but it was made from an original mold of it. Each state was gifted this replica bell made of the original mold, and Disney reached out to Pennsylvania for their replica since they already had the O.G.
  • Find more American history in the lobby of the Hall of Presidents attraction
  • The Liberty Tree is actually over 100 years old! It was found in the area that we now know as Animal Kingdom and was precariously transported to the Magic Kingdom
  • There are no bathrooms in Liberty Square! Imagineers are all about authenticity, and since there was no indoor plumbing in 1776 there are no bathrooms in Liberty Square!
  • Speaking of no bathrooms… Where did they “go”? Look down and notice that change in concrete along the road. Notice that there is a brown river weaving throughout the red road? Yeah. I personally like that they even made it chunky. Gross, but excellent detail. 
  • Check out the Flag Retreat Ceremony on an American holiday such as the 4th of July, Veterans Day, or Memorial Day. It’s beautiful and you might just shed a red, white, and blue tear. (Yes, I am always this corny)

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Barbara Johnston

Monday 12th of June 2023

I have closed out our Disney savings account. We will not need it. I am selling my Disney shares through Ameritrade to invest the money in something more patriotic. Shame on you. Mr. Disney is NOT resting in peace.