Being that this is the 4th of July weekend, I decided that this month I would target a few of the patriotic attractions in the parks, mainly Disney's Magic Kingdom® and Epcot®.
Let's begin our patriotic adventure in Magic Kingdom. From the minute you begin walking down Main Street you feel the small town Americana. However, as you explore 2 areas in particular, Liberty Square and Frontierland, you really take a step back in American history and feel American spirit.
Beginning with Liberty Square, let's start with entering Columbia Harbour House from the Fantasyland side and you will notice that the restaurant from that entrance begins with European theming and as you move through to the Liberty Square doors, you change over to the early American decor, believe it or not without realizing it, you just walked through history!!
Once in Liberty Square (or right outside of the square) you will notice the progression of that being the east coast and as you look down past the square, Frontierland being the move west. The first step in this patriotic adventure however is right there in Liberty Square.
The first thing you notice is the buildings and decor. Things like the addresses on the doors being 2 digits, put an 18 in front of those numbers and you have the time frame for that building. You will notice the shutters on the buildings hanging a bit crooked, this is because there was no metal being shipped to America during the revolutionary war from England and therefore, they hung the shutters with leather straps which stretched in time. In one of the windows of you will notice a rifle, this signified that one fo the minutemen lived there. In another window a doll, this told firefighters that a child lived in that home. And of course in one window, 2 lanterns to signify Paul Revere's "One if by land and two if by sea" (now we are brushing on that patriotism).
As you look around Liberty Square you will also notice the replica of the Liberty Bell (molded from the same cast as the original). And of course the center point of the square the 100+ year old Southern Oak tree, based on the tree which was the gathering place for the Sons of Liberty in Boston leading up to the Boston Tea Party. Hanging in the tree you will also notice 13 lanterns hanging representing the 13 original colonies. (A side note on the Southern Oak, this tree was moved from another location on Disney property and since it's placement in Liberty Square has seeded more than 500 new Southern Oaks- fun Disney fact).
Finally, the most patriotic party of Liberty Square, for me anyway, the Hall of Presidents. This adventure takes you through the history of our US presidents and the hall itself has an amazing feature that you can see in only 2 other locations in the world, the Presidential Seal!! In the lobby of the theater, the focal point is this amazing seal which took an act of Congress to allow it's use and can only be seen in 2 additional locations, the Oval Office in the White House and the hall at the Liberty Bell. In addition to the Seal in the lobby, you will also see items on display that were personal property of past presidents as well as dresses worn by First Ladies on Inauguration Day!! All of this and you have yet to enter the theater for the amazing audio animatronic walk through history with our American Presidents!!
As you leave Liberty Square and move into Frontierland, you have once again passed through American history. The attractions give the feel of a river town during the expansion of the United States westward with such experiences as the paddle wheel steam boat Mark Twain or a trip over to Tom Sawyer Island. Although not as patriotic as Liberty Square, certainly a huge part of our US history!!
Moving over to EPCOT®, we of course have an entire pavilion dedicated the the United States and it's amazing history. The American Pavilion was designed to be a colonial style mansion made with 110,000 bricks, hand made from Georgia clay and then tinted and aged to give that more authentic feel, really pulling you into the experience. The interior floors in the pavilion are made of marble and copper with hall walls lined with quotations from notable Americans (including of course Walt Disney). The pavilion is a tribute to America and is all about patriotism, even its flowers and foliage is in red, white and blue hues and the roses used are varieties named after US Presidents!!
Inside the pavilion, you will find the American Adventure Theater where you will enjoy a patriotic show hosted by none other than Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. This show takes you through the concepts that America was founded. This 30 minute show includes of course the famous Disney® audio animatronics (35 to be exact) from the Pilgrims arrival at Plymouth Rock, the Boston Tea Party, the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the Civil War and much more. In addition to the audio animatronics you will see projected images and hear speeches and broadcasts (original when available) that changed the world and our country.
Before you enter the theater, you will enjoy the Voices of Liberty singing acappella in the rotunda as well as a collection of American flags which have represented the US during different courses of history, including the 9/11 flag taken from the rubble of the World Trade Center.
As you can see, there are so many pieces of US history and patriotism found throughout the Disney. One of the most significant daily rituals is the Flag Ceremony that takes place at 5pm in the Magic Kingdom®. This act of daily patriotism is overlooked by many but for others is a highlight of their Magic Kingdom® experience. So be sure to enjoy the opportunity to celebrate not only your magical vacation, but the pride in America as well when you visit!!
Please feel free to comment about any of your patriotic experiences at Disney® or your thoughts on any of the experiences that I have shared. Please, enjoy your 4th of July holiday this weekend and take a minute to be thankful for what we have and experience in this amazing country that we live in thanks to those who came before us!!
Contact our Senior Travel Professional, Susan Pitzer, for your family's next magical Disney® vacation!