Disneyland’s Avenue of Flags

Disneyland is known as the Happiest Place on Earth, and for lovers of flags the world’s oldest theme park does not disappoint.

A previous posting on flag-post.com told the story of Disneyland’s main flagpole.  While the flagpole—located at the center of Town Square—was the center of ceremonies at the Park’s dedication, other flag displays also figured prominently on opening day.

Plaque at the base of Frontierland's flagpole, dedicated to Walt Disney

Plaque at the base of Frontierland’s flagpole.

When the gate to the Frontierland Stockade swung open for the first time, a custom created pole greeted guests headed toward the Rivers of America and the Mark Twain Steamboat landing.  On the broadcast of the Park’s dedication, Disney read a dedication plaque that he planned to have cast in brass for placement at the base of Frontierland’s flagpole.  However, money was very scarce as the Park reached completion.  The Frontierland dedication plaque was never cast; however, a plaque is attached at the flagpole’s base.  It is a plaque presented by the American Humane Association recognizing Disney’s “extending humane ideals to peoples throughout the world.”  Apparently it was presented just in time to be placed in Frontierland.  Apparently, being the happiest place in the world qualifies as a “humane ideal.”

More interestingly, the lack of construction funds resulted in a prominent display of flags in Tomorrowland.   Actually, both construction money and building time were insufficient to complete everything Disney planned for his Magic Kingdom.  The lack of time and money was most apparent in Tomorrowland which could boast only three attractions on opening day.  Even with the space filled by Autopia, Space Station X-1 and Circarama—Tomorrowland had a lot of bare ground begging to be filled with something.  Of course not just anything would do; it had to be colorful, lively, meaningful, easy to construct, and—compared to the Autopia freeway system—inexpensive.

Tomorrowland's Court of Honor exhibit, Disneyland, 1955-1956

Tomorrowland’s Court of Honor exhibit provided flags and poles for the Avenue of Flags.

The answer:  flags, a display of the forty-eight state flags with a taller pole flying the Stars and Stripes.  The forty-eight states certainly had a place in America’s future, and you can never go wrong unfurling Old Glory to the wind.  Workmen created the Court of Honor within an eight pointed star shaped flower box.   Each of the eight points had a line of six flag poles running to join at the star’s center where the taller pole for the U.S. flag stood.  Since the display stood in Tomorrowland where the Astro-Jets would later be built, it is interesting that the realm of the future—built in 1955 but intended to represent the world of 1986—did not foresee the addition of two new states entering the union by 1960.  Perhaps they couldn’t figure out how to fit fifty state flags in the eight pointed star.

On the other hand, the display of flags honoring the states foresaw Colonial Flag Foundation’s Field of Honor® flag displays which would not be created for almost fifty years.  Now, that would be predicting the future.

In March of 1956 workmen removed the Court of Honor exhibit of state flags to make way for the Astro-Jets Tomorrowland attraction.  Nevertheless, the flag and poles were put to new use lining the walkway from Disneyland’s central hub to Tomorrowland’s growing list of attractions. The walkway quickly dubbed the Avenue of Flags provided a colorful and lively entrance into Disneyland’s realm of the future until 1966 when Tomorrowland received a facelift.  While the flags and poles are gone, Park old timers still call the trail from the Hub to Tomorrowland the Avenue of Flags.

Avenue of Flags, Disneyland, 1956-1966

The Avenue of Flags welcomed Disneyland guests to Tomorrowland for almost a decade.

For a great source of flags, flagpoles and accessories, please visit the Colonial Flag website.

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