The Liberty Tree

13 Lanterns, each unique in its design, hang from the sturdy wide spreading branches of a stately oak in the middle of Liberty Square. They represent the 13 original colonies to form the United States of America. At the base of its trunk you'll find a bronze plaque:

Under the Boughs of the original Liberty Tree in Boston in 1765, Patriots calling themselves "The Sons of Liberty" gathered to protest the imposition called the Stamp Act. In the years that followed almost every American town had a Liberty Tree - A Living symbol of the American Freedom of Speech and Assembly. Our Liberty Tree is a Southern Live Oak Quercus Virginiana more than 100 Years Old.


Liberty Tree PlaqueLiberty Tree Plaque

The original Liberty Tree was an elm located near Boston Commons, and in the open space beneath its branches (called "Liberty Hall") was the rally point for many of the pre-revolutionary activities. In 1765 effigies where hung in its branches protesting the English Crown's rule. For ten years the tree bore witness to the unrest of man from which was forged our nation. It is believed that the Sons of Liberty adorned the elm's branches with lanterns to symbolize unity.

Walt Disney paid his homage to the grand old tree in the 1957 Disney film, "Johnny Tremain." In one of my favorite scenes, Johnny and his friends parade through the streets singing the song "The Liberty Tree" and stop to hang lanterns on its branches. From this film grew the spark and passion that became the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square.

This Live Southern Oak is Over 130 Years OldThis Live Southern Oak is Over 130 Years Old

The live Southern Oak that serves as the centerpiece for Liberty Square was found on property about six miles away and was moved to it's current location during the Park's construction. Because it was such a large tree, and they wanted to do as little damage as possible a unique plan was devises. In order to move such a large tree two holes were drilled into the trunk and rods were inserted. The moving team was then able to lift the 38 ton tree using the rods and 100-ton crane. The tree arrived safely and the holes were plugged with the original wood that had been removed.

However at some point the wood had become contaminated, the tree was infected and began to rot. Disney's expert horticulturists would save the tree by drilling out the infected areas and filling the holes with cement. To add support to the tree a young southern oak was grafted to the bottom of the original tree.

13 Lanterns Representing the Original 13 Colonies is Unique In Its Design13 Lanterns Representing the Original 13 Colonies is Unique In Its Design

The next time you are walking through Liberty Square take a moment to rest in the shade of this mighty oak. Reflect upon the struggles of a young nation and the men who dared to meet beneath the branches of their Liberty Tree to create a new nation of 13 independent states brought together for a greater world. For the wind that rustles the leaves, stirs the spirit of independence, and in defense our Liberty Tree.

Ruth Lupton wrote on Tue, 06/25/2013 - 22:49:

Ruth  Lupton's picture

I believe you have a grammatical typo on your page: For ten years the tree bore witness to the unrest of man from which was which forged our nation.

Elaine wrote on Wed, 06/26/2013 - 16:32:

Elaine's picture

I think I need to go back to the MK right now and spend more time in Liberty Square. I can honestly say I don't even remember seeing the tree. We usually walk right through on our way somewhere else. This last time we did eat at the Harbour House and Sleepy Hollow two places we'd never been before. I think I need to spend a week at each park!

Kristen K. wrote on Fri, 06/28/2013 - 13:13:

Kristen K.'s picture

I hear you Elaine! When I went in October I actually spent an entire morning just in Liberty Square and found so many great treasures that I had forgotten about.

kiddinpark wrote on Wed, 03/05/2014 - 03:32:

This is amazing. As many times as I've been to WDW, I didn't know this was even there. Just proves we need to slow down and take in everything, rather than rush through. Thanks for the information, WD was a true patriot who loved his country. Makes him even more admirable.

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JMed wrote on Wed, 03/05/2014 - 16:21:

JMed's picture

So glad I'm not the only one who has never noticed this. Will take more time there in November.

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