Disney offers substantial savings opportunities for families who are currently serving or have served our country honorably, but they don’t make it simple! Here is my best advice for navigating military discounts on disney vacations.
Eligibility for Military discounts at disney
First things first, determining your eligibility for these steep savings can be tricky! Let’s make sure right now that you these military discounts at Disney are available to you.
In order to avail yourself of the Disney Military Salute savings, you must meet one of the following requirements:
- Active or Retired members of the U.S. Military, including:
- the National Guard, Reservists, the U.S. Coast Guard
- the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service
- Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
- Spouses of Military Service Members also qualify if they are able to present valid and active U.S. Military IDs in the absence of active or retired Military Personnel or Commissioned Corps Members.
Where I have found that many people get a little hung up on this wording is that they do not have a provision for veterans who did not serve a full career before retiring. Honorable Discharge after a period of time, regardless of activation or deployment, does not meet this requirement on its own. The service member must have actually retired.
I agree that this is a bummer, but it just is the final word on the program as it stands.
Military Discounts at Disney Resort hotels
It is tough to find information about Military discounts at Disney Resort hotels online, but they do exist! These promotional rates are very limited in number, available only at specific Resort hotels on specific dates, sell out quickly, and are only available by phone.
As always, my best advice is to avoid spending your afternoon listening to Disney music through your phone while on hold. Farm that task out to a travel agent! Provided you are more than 60-days out from your vacation, your travel agent should be able to call to find out the current availability and rates for your specific dates and place a 3-day hold on the Military Discounted Walt Disney Resort Hotel reservation that he or she thinks best serves you. That way, you have a chance to chat it over, make a decision, and place a deposit. With availability always changing, this hold model is the best way to take a minute to consider your options without running the risk of missing out on that coveted reservation.
Shameless self promotion alert: I am a Disney travel agent. Contact your girl and let’s get you a room.
Tip: Your Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservation can also be upgraded to a room and dining package if you would like to keep your food budgeting super simple and use the Disney Dining Plan.
shades of green
If you are visiting Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, you have another, super convenient, resort option for Military discounts on Disney vacations. It’s Shades of Green on Walt Disney World Resort.
Guys, let me tell you: this place is beautiful! I don’t feel like you miss out on one ounce of Magic when you select Shades of Green Resort instead of an official Walt Disney World Resort hotel.
Located just across the street from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, they actually offer golf cart service from the main lobby to the end of the parking lot.
Note: Ok, I know that sounds really funny. I hear you. I enjoy the walk. But let’s be real: many little kiddos with tired legs wouldn’t at the end of the night. Or beginning of a long day. Or ever.
Anyhow, once you hop on that fancy golf cart to the end of the parking lot, you can cross the street and take advantage of the convenient transportation options from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. This is awesome! You might know that I consider “the Poly” to be the most convenient Disney Resort hotel option for parents of small children.
Why? Because you can take a direct monorail to two theme parks, Magic Kingdom Park or Epcot! This is huge! Think: no need to fold a jalopy of a stroller with sleeping princes or princesses.
Shades of Green also has it’s own bus transportation around the property, but it’s a little clunky. You are given little paper tickets that you have to keep on you and present to the bus drivers to board. As a mom always riding the Hot Mess Express (chooo chooo) little paper slips just don’t make my heart sing. Not my fav.
Military discounts on disney theme park tickets
Right after deciding on a Disney Resort hotel for your next vacation, it’s time to start thinking about your theme park tickets.
You could always decide to enjoy a No-Park Disney vacation. If you think that sounds nutty, check out my 100+ Tips for Walt Disney World Resort Without Theme Park Tickets. Trust me: there is PLENTY to do! We have loved these budget-friendly getaways.
For 2020, eligible service members and their families have several, deeply discounted options.
military discounted ticket Prices For Walt Disney World Resort
6-Day Military Promotional Tickets With Park Hopper: $301
6-Day Military Promotional Tickets With Park Hopper PLUS option: $351
5-Day Military Promotional Tickets With Park Hopper: $283
5-Day Military Promotional Tickets With Park Hopper PLUS option: $333
4-Day Military Promotional Tickets With Park Hopper: $265
4-Day Military Promotional Tickets With Park Hopper PLUS option: $315
park Hopper Vs Park Hopper Plus
This is where Disney planning can become confusing!
Walt Disney World Resort Park Hopper
With a Walt Disney World Resort Park Hopper theme park ticket, you can visit any combination of the 4-theme parks as many times as you would like per day, for the number of days on your ticket.
If you have a 4-day Park Hopper, on each of your 4-days, you could:
- Visit one theme park from morning until night
- Visit one theme park in the morning, take a midday break, visit another
- Attempt the 4-Parks-In-One-Day challenge
- Head to one theme park in the morning, have lunch outside the parks, and return to the same park that evening
Walt Disney World park Hopper Plus
What changes for the Park Hopper Plus Option is that for $50, you are granted the same number of “Plus Options” as you have theme park admission days. These are counted separately. It’s confusing. I know.
- Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
- ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
- Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course
- Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course
- Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course
Using the same 4-day Park Hopper ticket above and adding the Plus Option, you can:
- Visit one or multiple theme parks per day for 4 days, PLUS
- Visit up to 4 of the Plus options above on those same days OR different days between Jan 1, 2020 and December 18th, 2020.
MILITARY DISCOUNTED TICKET PRICES FOR Disneyland Resort
Disneyland keeps their Military Discounted theme park tickets more simple! Three cheers for Disneyland!
Eligible Members have two options:
- 3-day theme park ticket for $184
- 4-day theme park ticket for $204
The Park Hopper Option is included in both options. Both are blacked out for use between April 5- April 12, 2020 and expire on December 18, 2020.
There are two additional options you can chose if you would like:
- Disney MaxPass is available for $15 per ticket per day
- Disney PhotoPass, allowing you to download the digital image of all photos taken by Disney PhotoPass Photographers from November 5, 2019 until December 18, 2020 for $49. This is an excellent deal, in my opinion.
Fine Print on Discounted Military tickets at Disney
There are a few things to keep in mind with these Military Discount Disney theme park tickets:
While most theme park tickets require you to use all of the days within 14-days of your first day, these do not. In my opinion, this is what makes them so much better than a standard ticket. Used creatively, you could potentially plan two (or more! Especially with the PLUS option) shorter trips in one calendar year, using only one multi-day ticket.
These tickets will expire on December 18, 2020. If you have remaining days available when they expire, you forfeit those days. So, these can’t be used for a Christmas vacation with the Mouse.
Just like a standard theme park ticket, you will find a unique code on the back of each ticket or voucher (see below for an explanation of the difference) that can be used to link to your My Disney Experience account. This way, these tickets have all of the same benefits as a standard ticket when it comes time to book your complimentary FastPass+ selections at 60-days from arrival if you are staying on-site or 30-days before arrival if staying off property.
Where to buy Military Discounted tickets for Disney
Again, more options!
BUying Tickets on Base
You can opt to purchase your theme park tickets at your closest military base in the events office. Ticket prices could vary by a few dollars depending on your state and local regulations.
If you buy them on base, please keep in mind that these are not actual tickets you will receive, but VOUCHERs for tickets. You can use the code on the back of the voucher to link your admission to My Disney Experience for your FastPass+ options. What makes them a little different is an extra step before you can enter a theme park for the first time.
With a voucher, before you can tap your MagicBand or ticket to a TapStyle and enter a theme park for the first time, you must stop by Guest Relations, just outside the parks, and show your military id. This is the process of “Activating” your ticket. That Cast Member will verify your eligibility and give you activated theme park admission ticket cards. Then you are free to visit the theme parks.
Buying tickets at Shades of green resort
If you are going to be a Guest at Shades of Green Resort, you can pre-order your tickets through them. These are already activated tickets, rather than vouchers. I will warn you that they process involves a phone call. *Millennial shudder*
Once they receive it, they will actually call you to confirm your order, scan the backs of your tickets so that you can have access to the unique codes for My Disney Experience linking, and email that information to you. When you arrive, they will give you the actual hard tickets.
Military Discounts on Disney Cruise Line
If a vacation on the high seas is more your style, I have good news! There are also Military discounts for select sailings with Disney Cruise Line. The official website normally stays pretty up-to-date with which sailings still have promotional space. Since cabins are very limited, it’s best to call (or have your travel agent call) to get the latest pricing and availability before you set your heart on a particular sailing or itinerary.
Keep in mind:
These promotional rates are limited to one cabin per eligible service member, who must sail with the party. He or she must present military identification when you check-in at the port.
What questions do you have about military discounts at Disney? leave me a comment and I will get them answered for you!
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