Patriotism in the Parks – Hall of Flags

Last month I decided to do a post for Memorial Day about the Victory Gardens in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which you can read about here. I thought it would be fun to turn this into a series called Patriotism in the Parks that visits different areas of the theme parks that focus on Americana for the upcoming holidays that celebrate our great country. Being that today is Flag Day, I thought it appropriate to devote this post to the first place that popped into my head when I thought about flags: the American Adventure in Epcot. More specifically, I will be looking at the Hall of Flags.

If you aren’t familiar with the name the Hall of Flags at first mention, you’re not alone. The Hall of Flags is housed in the American Adventure pavilion. As you ascend from the rotunda downstairs to the upper level where the theater is located, you pass through the Hall of Flags. The Hall features 44 flags that have flown over the United States of America (or the land it now occupies) at some point or another over the past 500 years. The earliest flag recreated for the collection is listed as the Spanish Bourbon Flag  adopted in 1513. The most recent is the 50 Star Flag that currently flies over the U.S. and has since 1960 when a star for Hawaii was added.

There are flags mostly from colonial times and the Civil War era, but there are also flags of countries that at one point ruled over a part of the country. In addition to these are flags of formerly independent republics and states like Texas, California and Hawaii. I spent almost an hour taking pictures and enjoying the details of some of the different flags. The Cast Members were very kind and let me take pictures between shows of the Voices of Liberty and the American Adventure so I had the place to myself.

I honestly had no recollection of why Flag Day was on June 14th, but after reading an article from the Smithsonian Institute I learned that it was because that is when the resolution was passed in 1777 that established the flag would have thirteen stripes alternating red and white and thirteen white stars on a blue background. I also never knew that flags have only been released on the Fourth of July as stars were added since 1819. To read more about the flag of the United States, you can find the article here.

Have you taken the time to enjoy the flags on your way to the American Adventure? Do you have a favorite? I think mine is probably the New Hampshire Second Regiment flag from 1777 or the Hawaiian Royal flag from 1800. What is yours?

Hall of Flags

Thanks to the Walt Disney World Library and Research Center for the listing of the flags featured in the Hall of Flags.

^ The Bennington Flag was not listed, but after some research I verified the name of this flag.

* I believe this to be the Stamp Act Protest Flag from 1774 from the listing, but could not verify the exact name. Thank you to Scarlett Litton for finding the link to verify the image.

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These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Image Copyright ABC Family

So the other night on twitter I asked what people’s favorite song was from the Sound of Music when mine came up randomly in iTunes (Something Good, btw). One of my friends answered My Favorite Things. While struggling to come up with a topic for a blog post, I was reminded of this when I saw Do-Re-Mi-Fa trending on twitter and saw it as a sign. Inspiration has to come from somewhere, so why not twitter? I’ll take this opportunity to highlight some of my favorite things at Walt Disney World. Some are obvious choices as E Ticket attractions and others may not be as well known.

At the Magic Kingdom, and probably in all of Walt Disney World, my favorite ride is Pirates of the Caribbean. I guess I’ve been enamored with the idea of pirates in general since we did Peter Pan as our second grade play. Despite the fact that I always tend to get soaked from either the cannon fire or even the drop, this remains my fave. I love the smell of the queue, have a whole soundtrack of the theme song with various remixes (yes, this exists), and the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow certainly didn’t hurt or compromise the integrity or feel of the ride, in my opinion. Two other classic attractions round out my top three in MK: Haunted Mansion and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover. I have been fortunate enough to take a walking tour of the Haunted Mansion and it was beyond incredible. The storytelling on this is probably the most complete of any attraction in the Magic Kingdom. TTAP is just a great ride that gives you an overview of Tomorrowland with narration. You can read more about my love of the Peoplemover here.

Haunted Mansion

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is not my favorite of the four parks by a long stretch, however there are some things that I completely love about this park. The theming of Harambe and Anandapur are spectacular. I especially love the artwork and details in the Asia section of the park along the Maharajah Jungle Trek. It may also be because the tigers are my favorite animals to visit. As far as rides are concerned, I love the Kilimanjaro Safaris, especially towards the end of the day. I used to think that I’d see more animals first thing in the morning, but the last few times I have ridden in late afternoon I saw way more. My favorite show, possibly in all of WDW, is the Festival of the Lion King. It has great interactivity for the kids, lots of entertainment with singing, dancing, aerial acrobatics, and my absolute favorite part: TUMBLE MONKEYS!!! The quality of this production is always great and is fun for everyone.

Maharajah Jungle Trek
Tumble Monkeys

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is magnificent at night, possibly stealing the show from the other parks with the luster of old Hollywood and the luminescence of neon. While I’m not a huge fan of all of the rides, I do love to experience some of the lesser appreciated attractions. Probably my favorite activity at the Studios is the Animation Academy. I have done this dozens of times, and typically go twice each day I visit that park. You can see some of my attempts at drawing here. Another attraction that I enjoy and try to catch each time is Mulch, Sweat & Shears. If you haven’t seen these guys (and sometimes girls) perform, you are missing out on one of the best live acts in WDW. They cover great rock songs from the 60s through today. Usually found on New York Street, but sometimes by the Sorcerer’s Hat, Mulch is a great way to spend some time rocking out and dancing to some music you don’t often hear in the parks. Last, but certainly not least, is my favorite ride in DHS: the Great Movie Ride. It harkens back to the classic days of Hollywood with nods to some of the greatest films in cinematic history. For more in depth details on some more of my favorite things at the Studios, take a look at my blog post from a few weeks ago here.

Mulch, Sweat & Shears
Great Movie Ride

Finally, this brings me to my favorite park (actually I go back and forth between MK and Epcot, but most of the time Epcot wins). I am completely fascinated with World Showcase at Epcot, partially because I love to travel, but haven’t outside of the US. This is like a magical journey that transports me to lands both near and far when I set foot in WS. My favorite film in Epcot is definitely Impressions de France. As several of my friends know, I love (j’adore) this attraction to the point where I have practically memorized the script and can recite it almost verbatim, including the parts in French. The scenery all around France is magnificent, the score is beautiful, using classical works from composers like Maurice Ravel, Camille Saint-Saens and Claude Debussy just to name a few. I have even made a cd of the tracks used in the film. You can ask for a copy of track listing from the Cast Members as you exit through the gift shop. Since Test Track is out of commission, my favorite ride is Spaceship Earth. I know some fanboys take issue with Dame Judi Dench’s narration, but being a James Bond fan, I don’t mind. Plus, I don’t have recollection of the Cronkite or Irons versions. Taking the time to “thank the Phoenicians” has become a ritual part of every trip. My third favorite attraction in Epcot goes to the entire American Adventure pavilion. This includes the Fife & Drum Corps, shows like Candlelight Processional, Flower Power Concert Series, Eat to the Beat Concert Series, the Voices of Liberty and the American Adventure attraction itself. Americana is something that is near and dear to me and all of these elements combine to celebrate some of the best things about this great nation of ours.

Impressions de France
The Phoenicians
Davy Jones

What are some of your favorite attractions? Hope you enjoyed learning about some of mine.

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