Disneyland’s Flag Retreat Ceremony

Disneyland’s Flag Retreat Ceremony: A Tribute to American Heroes

Once upon a time, the great Walt Disney stood just feet from Old Glory in the center of Disneyland’s Town Square and proclaimed, “Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America.”

Disneyland's daily Flag Retreat

Main Street, U.S.A. is a tribute to America in and of itself, boasting beautiful icons of turn-of-the-century America and offering guests the nostalgia of the golden age.

It’s on this very street that Disneyland Park guests will find a time-honored tradition of patriotism, loyalty, and celebration of the country we call home: the Flag Retreat Ceremony.

The Flag Retreat Ceremony is a daily occurence when Cast Members and Disneyland guests alike pause to honor America and Her heroes. This beautiful service takes place at sunset in the center of Town Square, just in front of the Disneyland Railroad Main Street Station.

There is no official time listed for this Ceremony, as it changes daily with the sunset. Ask a Cast Member early in the day what time the Ceremony will be held.*

Disneyland'sFlag Retreat

The Flag Retreat Ceremony is a patriotic event that features the retiring of the Colors for the night. During this service, either the Disneyland Band or Dapper Dans will offer their musical talents for The National Anthem and the hymns of each Military branch. When the Dapper Dans are the only musical group available, the Ceremony is usually shortened by half.

Active and retired members of the Armed Forces are encouraged to participate in the Ceremony, and will be called up by branch. Cast Members will also choose an Honorary Veteran of the Day who will be included in the service, presented with Old Glory, and given an official certificate and commemorative pin.

It is quite breathtaking to stand with a group of strangers from every corner of the world to honor the American Flag and the patriots who fight for our country. What’s even more incredible is the way that this group grows throughout the Ceremony, as passing hustle-and-bustle tourists take a pause from their amusement park exploring to join in a time-honored tradition.

Flag Retreat Disneyland

Whether you’re able to sing along with the hymns of American history, or you’re simply there as an observer, the Flag Retreat Ceremony is certainly a can’t-miss piece of Disneyland Park that will be around for years to come.

Have you watched the Flag Retreat Ceremony? What were your experiences? Let us know in the comments section below.

See our post on Walt Disney World’s Retreat Ceremony

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  1. About ten years ago we were visiting WDW, and my son (then a ROTC cadet) wanted to do the Retreat. We stopped in to Town Hall, and they told us there were no openings until about three days out – we said great, we will be here. That afternoon, we checked in, and a different person asked if my son was Active Duty – he said “No, ROTC”. They would not let him do it, so I did (as an Air Force retiree). I believe it was the high point of the trip! We got lots of pictures, and I wear the commemorative pin proudly on my USAF Retired ball cap – it starts lots of conversations!

    In the It’s a Small World category, the two police officers working that day were retired from the Anne Arundel County Police force in Maryland, and we live in Anne Arundel County!

  2. The article says active and retired military are “encouraged to participate” and “will be called upon” but how? what are the details of participating? I’m going to take my boyfriend to Disneyland when he is on leave in June, and we both want him to participate in this!

    • Hi Evelyn,

      I believe by participate Disney means to stop to watch rather than walking on by to the next attraction.

      During the ceremony the narrator will call the name of each service and ask that those members identify themselves.

      I’ll ask our West Coast Correspondent to tag in. Kenzie, can you shed anymore light?

      • Of course! As Steve said, they’ll be called up by branch; the Ceremony’s host will ask if there are any Active Duty Military or Veterans in the crowd (make sure to ask a Cast Member at the beginning of the day when the Ceremony will be and make sure you’re there on time). They will then invite them to the front of the crowd to stand at the base of the Flag Pole.

        They’re encouraged to sing and stand at attention during their branch’s hymn, as well as Salute (instead of placing their hands over their hearts) while the National Anthem is played.

        And that’s pretty much it!

        They won’t have speaking parts or be asked to help lower the Flag, since there are plenty of Cast Members for that, but they’ll be brought to the front to be seen and honored by other participating guests. It’s quite the incredible sight!

        Thanks for your question – have a great trip in June!

  3. When we did it at WDW about ten years ago, we stopped in to Town Hall on our first day, and signed up for later that week. I would assume a similar process at Disneyland.

  4. I work for a law enforcement angency and collect challenge coins and I’d love to add a Disney one to my collection. I was told that you could get one at the Flag Ceremony. Is that true?

    • Not that I am aware of Sana, but they do sell sets of them in some of the gift shops (or online I think) I have a set with all 4 FL parks.