LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Nov. 11, 2015 – Mornings at Magic Kingdom Park begin with a mission: select one guest to serve as the honorary Veteran of the Day at the evening Flag Retreat. The ceremony is a time for Walt Disney World Resort to recognize those who have served our country and uphold the patriotic ideals established in our parks by Walt Disney.
Each day at 5 p.m., three members of the Security Color Guard station themselves around the flagpole at Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A. The Magic Kingdom Philharmonic starts the ceremony, and provides patriotic music. A younger guest also participates by assisting the Dapper Dans in leading the Pledge of Allegiance before the flag retreat begins.
“The Flag [Retreat] ceremony is my 45-minute dose of Veterans Day every day,” said Flag Detail Cast Member, Bob. His fellow detail team member, James, agreed. “We get to honor our veterans and shine a spotlight [on them] and recognize that they served our country.”
When the Magic Kingdom Philharmonic and Dapper Dans raise their instruments and perform the National Anthem, a beautiful energy falls over Town Square. Hats are removed and hands cover hearts as the voices of guests join together to honor America. The Security Color Guard performs the motions with ease and precision, the honorary veteran standing by in salute.
The Flag Retreat Ceremony is a tradition as old as Walt Disney World Resort itself. Since the park’s opening in 1971, the event has taken place daily at Magic Kingdom Park. The observance reflects the patriotism of Walt himself, who once said, “Actually, if you could see close in my eyes, the American flag is waving in both of them and up my spine is growing this red, white and blue stripe.”