East vs. West: Patriotic Parks

In honor of Flag Day this weekend, I’m focusing on some of the more patriotic forms of entertainment that can be found at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, including yesterday’s article about Voices of Liberty at EPCOT.

But when I really started to think about what I’d like to feature for another patriotic themed article, I realized that both Resorts have some great opportunities to celebrate America in different ways.

At Disneyland, there is first and foremost the daily Flag Retreat ceremony, which I will cover separately later this week along with the Flag Retreat at Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom.

But one unique way to look back at our country’s history is through one of the first attractions you will encounter upon entering Main Street, U.S.A. and that is The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. This attraction has two parts – first, when you enter the beautiful Opera House building and walk past the Disney Gallery displays, you will find yourself in a room with a wonderful scale model of the United States Capitol Building before you proceed into the theater.

The U.S. Capitol Building scale model can be seen before you enter the theater to experience Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

This U.S. Capitol Building scale model can be seen before you enter the theater to watch Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

Once inside the theater, you will experience a powerful presentation by one of the most classic but still amazing audio-animatronic figures at a Disney park: President Abraham Lincoln. The show provides a background of his life as well as highlights of some of his greatest speeches.

But I think I’m going to have to concede early on that when it comes to patriotic celebrations, Walt Disney World Resort absolutely has Disneyland Resort beaten.

Although when it comes to gone but not forgotten entertainment, I would personally give the edge to the beloved and still missed America Sings show in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland over the recently retired Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps at EPCOT.  However, this group too is missed and were also quite inspiring to watch.

The Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps at The American Adventure in EPCOT.

The Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps at The American Adventure in EPCOT.

Really, both of these shows were memorable and I’d love the chance to see either of them again if I could. But sadly, America Sings ended years ago and the Fife & Drum Corps were part of the recent losses during changes made to EPCOT entertainment.

However, you can still find our Founding Fathers’ vision for a new country of opportunity and a new form of representative government celebrated today in various locations in the Walt Disney World Resort.

The Liberty Bell in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square.

The Liberty Bell in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square.

For example, the Magic Kingdom does not have a New Orleans Square in its park – instead it has Liberty Square celebrating America’s colonial heritage. In this area, you will find a recreation of the Liberty Bell not far from the delicious Liberty Tree Tavern restaurant where you can have a Thanksgiving style meal every day of the year in one of several themed rooms dedicated to various presidents and other influential historical figures.

Also nearby you can experience The Hall of Presidents.

Inside the display area at The Hall of Presidents.

Inside the display area at The Hall of Presidents.

This show is an expansion of the original concept of Mr. Lincoln speaking to an audience. Inside The Hall of Presidents, one can find animatronic versions of every President of the United States up to the current sitting leader and hear inspiring speeches from the past.

Heading over to EPCOT, you can enter The American Adventure building where Voices of Liberty sing and you can watch a show featuring audio-animatronic versions of Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain who act as guides through a history of our country.

And finally, moving over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, inside the One Man’s Dream exhibit, one can find a very unique view of an earlier version of the Mr. Lincoln audio-animatronic!

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One of many reasons to appreciate the Disney Resorts is their respect for our country’s historical and cultural heritage that ultimately led to the creation of these magic kingdoms we know and love.

From the daily Flag Retreats to the various inspirational and educational shows and attractions, there is always a chance to be reminded of where we came from and what we continue to strive to be: one nation united by a dream of opportunity, optimism and self-determination.

Which of these patriotic experiences in a Disney park is your favorite?

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