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Debunking a Common Myth about the Flags of Main Street, U.S.A.

No doubt years ago a Disney guest realized that the flags flying atop the buildings of Main Street, U.S.A. didn't have a full set of 50 stars, and upon seeing this, he or she surmised that the reason Disney wasn't using "real" American flags is because they didn't want to go through the inconvenience of having to lower all of the flags every evening, only to raise them again the next morning...over and over again. Of course, once this theory was posted on the web, everyone took it as the truth, and the story has been repeated ever since in countless blogs, books, articles, podcasts, and "Top 10 Disney Theme Park Secrets" postings.

Unfortunately, this story is just not true.

As Walt created Main Street, U.S.A., he knew that even the smallest of details would not only enhance the story, but also help to make the magic real. One of the details he included can be found in the flags flying atop each of the buildings lining Main Street, U.S.A. It’s difficult to notice, since they are usually flying in the breeze or draped closed when the wind is still, but each flag has 13 stripes, which is standard for an American flag, but only 45 stars instead of 50. Why? Because Main Street, U.S.A. is set at a time that represents the turn of the 20th century, from a period of about 1890 to 1910. For much of this time, America had only 45 states, not today’s total of 50, and as a result the flags you see flying above Main Street, U.S.A. display the proper and period-specific number of 45 stars arranged in the very same pattern as the American flags flown in our country from July 4th, 1896 to July 3rd, 1908.

Keep an eye out, because you’ll see this same attention to detail in flags found elsewhere in the Magic Kingdom, including 35 stars on the flags in Frontierland.

Be sure to share this secret to help dispel this common Disney secrets myth!

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