On November 11, 2023, the Disneyland Resort honored veterans during a special patriotic flag retreat ceremony in town square. While the patriotic flag retreat is a tradition that happens daily at the Disneyland Resort, this one was extra special as it was also Veterans Day. To honor veterans even more, the 1st Marine Division Band was a part of the celebration and Disneyland Resort cast members who were veterans also were honored.
Shortly before the start of the ceremony, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Josh D’Amaro and Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock took spots on the southwest side of Town Square. They were accompanying honored military personnel guests and the guest of honor 4-star General David Allvin of the United States Air Force.
The ceremony began with the 1st Marine Division Band marching down Main Street, USA with Disneyland Resort cast members leading the way. The veterans who were cast members took spots on the train station balcony and stairs for the flag retreat. The 1st Marine Division Band stopped in Main Street in front of the Main Street Station for the ceremony. The Dapper Dans and and Disneyland Resort Security Honor Guard joined as well for the ceremony. The ceremony followed its normal order with the Armed Forces Medley being played before the lowering of the flag to the National Anthem. On this day, many veterans were visibly moved by the moment. General Allvin could also be singing along to the Air Force theme.
Following the lowering of the flags, a C-17 Globemaster from March Air Force Base flew over the Main Street and those in attendance. The C-17 Globemaster is a massive cargo plane that made a large rumble as it flew over the skies of Disneyland. It was a fitting and moving addition to the flag retreat on this special day of giving thanks to the veterans of the United States of America.
The day also had members of SALUTE in attendance. SALUTE is a Disneyland Resort business employee resource group that seeks to enhance the Disney experience for those who have sacrificed in support of the military and to support an environment that values the skills, experience and sacrifice of military employees. Ariel Elias, a Strategic Sourcing Specialist at Disneyland Resort spoke with Daps Magic after the ceremony. Before becoming at Disneyland Resort cast member, Ariel had a career with the United States Marine Corps for 21 years. He discussed the role of SALUTE in the veteran community. He also shared about the different events held throughout the year, including one with a Navajo Code Taker from World War II and a wreath-laying ceremony in December. He also described Disney’s Veterans Work Here initiative to encourage more veterans to work for Disney. Disney also helps veterans with education through its ASPIRE program as well.
Both Walt and Roy Disney served during World War I. Roy Disney served as a petty officer in the Navy from 1917 to 1919. Walt Disney joined the Red Cross Ambulance Corps where he served as a driver. He joined when he was 16 years old. This dedication to country and veterans has continued throughout the history of The Walt Disney Company. Disney has been recognized for supporting and hiring veterans through the years.
Veterans Day in the United States was established in 1919 to commemorate the end of World War I and was originally known as Armistice Day. In 1954, following the end of World War II and the Korean War, the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars and conflicts. Today, Veterans Day is a day to thank all veterans of the United States military for their service and sacrifice. It is observed with parades, ceremonies, and other events throughout the country.
The Disneyland Patriotic Flag Retreat is a tradition that dates back to the opening day of Disneyland in 1955. This tradition honors the American flag and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. The ceremony generally begins with the arrival of the Disneyland Resort Security Honor Guard and the Disneyland Band. In Town Square, the flag is lowered and folded with military precision, while the band plays patriotic music. The ceremony includes the Armed Forces Salute where active service members and veterans are honored. God Bless America is also sung by all those in attendance with the Disneyland Band accompanying. The ceremony is a moving and patriotic experience for guests of all ages, and a reminder of the freedoms that we enjoy and the sacrifices that have been made to protect them.
Please us in honoring and thanking the veterans who have served the United States Armed Forces.