It is worth the time to watch this brief ceremony at the base of Main Street, U.S.A. The video below shows the ceremony.
The retreat ceremony serves as a signal to the end of the official duty day in the military and pays respect to the flag.
When and where does the Flag Retreat take place?
The 15-minute ceremony takes place at 5 p.m. at the flagpole in the Magic Kingdom.
The Dapper Dans act as the master of ceremonies for the event. The ceremony begins with a fanfare by the Main Street Philharmonic marching band at the train station. They then march around the flagpole with the Disney Security detail and one guest, a veteran, chosen daily.
In addition, kids are selected to help lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. The flag is then lowered, folded and presented to the veteran by the Disney Security detail as the Philharmonic performs the “Star Spangled Banner.”
The Dapper Dans and the Philharmonic lead everyone in the singing of “God Bless America,”
There is then a small procession down Main Street, U.S.A.
How does a veteran participate in the Flag Retreat?
There is no signing up for this ceremony anymore. The veteran selected is at random. They do not say how or when they make the selection, but here are some tips for possibly getting chosen:
This probably takes place early in the day when the park first opens. Wear clothing or pins that are distinctly military and show you are a veteran, such as t-shirts, hats, pins, service unit, VFW or American Legion items.
And, always chat up Castmembers. You can always ask.
If you have children with you, get to the flag ceremony a little early and talk with the Castmembers, that’s when they choose a kid to help with the ceremony and they will ask you to stand as well.
If you do participate in the ceremony, you don’t get to keep the flag, only walk it down Main Street.