Time-Honored Flag Retreat Ceremonies return to Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort
by Cappy Surette, Manager, Executive Communications at Disney Parks Experiences and Products and co-chair of the Veteran Business Employee Resource Group known as “Disney SALUTE”
Supporting our nation’s military heroes is a tradition that dates back to the founding of The Walt Disney Company. For decades, Disney Parks have recognized our nation’s active-duty military and veterans with stirring daily flag retreat ceremonies. Held at both Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida and Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, these popular offerings give Disney the opportunity to offer sincere gratitude to those who serve and defend our nation.
Magic Kingdom Park welcomed back their daily flag retreat July 1, resuming the tradition of selecting an active-duty military member or veteran from among that park’s daily visitors. As shadows grew long in the late afternoon in Town Square, many watched silently as a guest U.S. Air Force veteran joined members of Magic Kingdom’s security team to respectfully lower the flag and carry it in a processional down Main Street, U.S.A. The ceremony included the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and the singing of “God Bless America” and the “Star Spangled Banner,” accompanied by the Main Street Philharmonic marching band.
“It has been an honor for our security cast to keep our flag flying every day over Magic Kingdom since the park first opened in 1971,” said Army veteran Eileen Underwood, Magic Kingdom’s senior security manager. “We were thrilled to resume our daily flag retreat ceremonies to honor our country and those who serve around the world in defense of our freedoms. It’s a special moment for all our guests that really reaffirms the feeling that this is truly a magical place.”
The Flag Retreat Ceremony at Disneyland Resort
Disneyland park resumed their Flag Retreat Ceremony when the resort reopened on April 30, and is thrilled to continue thanking veterans for their service, sacrifice and dedication to protecting our country.
Navy veteran Nick Filippone, senior production manager for the main entrance at Disneyland, felt an overwhelming sense of pride regarding this, one of the park’s oldest traditions.
“I was so proud to see our Disneyland security and entertainment teams once again present our beloved flag retreat ceremony in Town Square from the very first day we were able to welcome Guests back,” said Nick. “We have been honored to continue Walt’s patriotic legacy with keeping the American flag flying throughout the park’s closure showing that no matter what else was happening, we could maintain this element of our heritage.”
The flag retreat ceremony occurs daily at both iconic Disney parks, so please check with Guest Services or the Times Guide for event timing and leave a comment below if you have a favorite memory from attending this special moment.
We also invite those interested in learning how to build or enhance their organization’s hiring, training and support of military veterans and spouses to attend the 2021 Veterans Institute Summit presented by Disney Institute on September 13-14, 2021 at Walt Disney World Resort. Registration for this complimentary event is now open.
To the many military heroes who work here, visit our parks and those currently standing watch around the world—we thank you for your service and wish everyone a Happy 4th of July!