Liberty Square at Disney's Magic Kingdom is steeped in history. Though visitors can’t miss the period-appropriate accents of this land, most probably stroll through the area without realizing how painstakingly authentic these details are. This quick guide will give you some spectacular highlights to look out for the next time you visit.
1. The original Liberty Bell casting
The Liberty Bell featured prominently in the center of Liberty Square was cast from the same mold used to create the original. The ensures that the size and shape of the bell are absolutely identical the historic Liberty Bell. A court of flags surrounds the bell, with one flag for each of the original 13 colonies.
2. The cock-eyed shutters
If you notice the shutters looking a bit off in Liberty Square, it’s not because they’re overdue for rehab. These shutters are hung at an angle on purpose. Colonial shutters were typically hung on leather straps. This would cause the shutters to sag slightly at the top, creating a lopsided look. The shutters in Liberty Square are hung on metal hinges for stability, but the Imagineers went to the trouble of setting them at a slight angle anyway.
3. The traditional Liberty Tree
Across from the Hall of Presidents, you’ll see a rather majestic tree adorned with lanterns. As with nearly every detail in this area, the effect, though enchanting, is not merely aesthetic. In Colonial America, it was traditional for each town to have its own Liberty Tree as a symbol of their fight for independence. These trees were also used as the meeting place for the Sons of Liberty.
The Liberty Tree at Walt Disney World features 13 lanterns – one for every colony. The tree itself is over 100 years old. This oak was transplanted from its original location on the southern end of Walt Disney World property. To facilitate the transplant process, two holes were drilled through the trunk. Heavy steel dowels went through these holes to serve as anchor points for the crane.
The original wood plugs were later replaced, but they became diseased in the process. To save the tree, landscapers ultimately removed the plugs and filled the space with concrete, which the tree can safely grow around.
4. The important pair of lanterns
The poem "Paul Revere’s Ride" by Henry W. Longfellow features the line “One if by land, and two, if by sea.” This refers to the lantern signal that would alert colonists to the advance of British forces. One lantern would indicate that the forces were taking the longer land route. Two lanterns indicated the faster water route, which would give colonists less time to prepare.
The British forces would, indeed, arrive by boat, traveling from Boston Common to Cambridge. The two lantern signal was placed in the Old North Church in Boston’s North end.
Paul Revere’s successful ride made the lantern signal redundant, but this failsafe was put into place in case Revere was captured before he could successfully pass the warning.
In homage to this tale, you’ll see an upper window in Liberty Square that features two lanterns – “two if by sea.” The window is along the side of the Hall of Presidents and faces the Haunted Mansion.