One of my favorite things to do on a Walt Disney World Vacation is to see the Magic Kingdom Flag Retreat at least once while I’m there. It’s held every day at 5:00 PM in the Town Square on Main Street USA.
Just recently I spent a few days at WDW and was lucky enough to catch the Retreat twice. I took some new pictures on the first day and did a video on the second. You can see the pictures here and the video is on this page, it’s the top video the other is a Disney promo.
Disney Security members, Main Street Operations personnel, and the Dapper Dans Barber Shop Quartette conduct the ceremony along with a daily special guest. This special guest is a veteran who happens to be touring the Magic Kingdom that day.
New Selection Procedures
When spending time at Disney I’m always working to confirm my facts and tips to keep up to date and this trip I discovered a big change to the Retreat selection process.
In the past it was possible to volunteer to take part in the ceremony, you’d just go by City Hall in the morning to do so (first come first served).
But the new procedure is quite different. The veteran participant is selected at random by the Magic Kingdom Entertainment Department. They didn’t share how they make the selection but I have a few thoughts.
In order to make the selection Disney needs to identify who is a veteran. I see two ways they could do this:
- By monitoring the entrance turnstiles
- By spending time talking to people
Or perhaps a varied mix of the two at different times.
Disney’s Armed Forces Salute Tickets are very distinctive. Most Disney ticket media are flimsy papery/cardboard tickets, while the Armed Forces Salute tickets are hard plastic like a credit/gift card and have a distinctive logo, which when put through the turnstile comes out with the image up. MK Entertainment could be looking for one of these tickets as people enter the park in order to make their selection.
One on One
MK Entertainment could spend time chatting with guests trying to find a veteran. This could be very time consuming. If this method is used I’d think that the same method would be used that they’ve used for selecting parade participants. They’ll either strike up a conversation as you are walking down Main Street or at the morning rope drop.
Rope drop is the morning park opening, prior to the scheduled park opening people are allowed to travel to and pass through the turnstiles, but are barred from going further into the park by a rope. Typically Disney Characters (from MK Entertainment) entertain those waiting.
Do You Want To Get Picked?
Here are my thoughts on trying to be selected.
- Use the Armed Forces Salute Ticket to enter
- Use a turnstile with more Disney Castmembers around it
- Slowly use your AFS Ticket, put it away slowly, ensure the logo is seen by castmembers
- Get there early enough to be in front so you can talk to Disney Castmembers on the other side of the rope
- Wear tee-shirts and or hats to show you are military
- Service or Unit items
- VFW, American Legion, etc. items
- At The turnstile, at Rope Drop, walking down Main Street
- They could be in uniform or street clothes with a name tag
- Mention how thankful you are for the Armed Forces Salute
- Just ask a Castmember if they’ve selected someone yet, can’t hurt to try!
It’s All Random
Remember it’s random and if all your hard work trying to get noticed hasn’t worked you are still in the Happiest Place On Earth.
Enjoy your day and don’t forget to be in Main Street’s Town Square just before 5:00 PM.
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