Slainte! Happy Tartan Day! What is Tartan Day? Officially recognized by Congress in 1998, this is a day to celebrate Americans of Scottish descent. The date for April 6 is significant because on April 6, 1320 the Declaration of Arbroath was written. This document declared the Scots freedom from English rule. In fact, our own Declaration of Independence was modeled after it! There, don’t say a Disney blog has never taught you anything.
To celebrate, cities all over the country host parades and games and traditional feasts. New York City and Boston really go all out for this holiday but Walt Disney World? Not so much. This obscure holiday doesn’t have much of a presence in the parks none at all to be precise). That doesn’t stop this girl though! My Scottish roots run deep and on this day I seek out ways to celebrate my heritage. The best way? Spending time with my girl Merida of course!
The Merida meet and greet officially returned to the Parks last year and we are so excited about it. It’s one of the most unique meet and greets around and one you’ll definitely not want to skip! That’s because this is much more than a meet and greet, it’s a meet and play! She meets in Fairytale Garden and once there you can practice archery, color your own “tapestry” of Merida as well as her faithful horse, Angus, and spend some time with Merida herself! Look out! Sometimes her rambunctious triplet brothers can be seen in the area too!
Merida is one of my favorite Disney princesses because not only does she buck the normal princess trope (I’m an archer myself so it’s nice to see a princess with my interests), she also represents the Scottish spirit so well. Concepts of destiny and fate are intervention through Gaelic and Cetic mythology but the free spirit to change your destiny is something most Scots relate to well. After all, they’ve been doing it throughout history!
If character meet and greets aren’t your thing, you can head over to EPCOT to the United Kingdom pavilion. This area represents more than just England: Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland are all represented here as together they make up the United Kingdom. Head over to Rose and Crown where they have an impressive selection of Scotch Whiskey (and don’t forget to try their absolutely delightful Scotch Egg appetizer). After that, stop in Crown and Crest where you’ll find an array of souvenirs representing every country in the U.K.
There you have it! If, like me, you want to celebrate your Scottish heritage at Disney on Tartan Day, yul have to get creative but it can be done. Disney’s dress code does not prohibit wearing a kilt so if you really want to go all out today, feel free to dress the part. You’ll find me wearing my clan Tartan (as a scarf).