by Military Diva
For many years the Disney Company has honored military members and their families with an amazing discount known as the Armed Forces Salute. This generous program offers room discounts of 30-40% off of rack rates and park tickets up to 40-50% off of full rate. Thanks to the support of Disney, many military families have been able to enjoy a Disney vacation that would otherwise be financially out of reach.
There is no guarantee that Disney will renew their Armed Forces Program.
The Disney Company has been consistently offering this discount since 2009. However, as guests of Disney Parks, we need to remember that while generous and honorable, the Armed Forces Salute is part of a marketing and business plan. It is a wonderful way for Disney to fill empty rooms and keep the parks busy during the non-peak seasons. But it is not a guaranteed benefit for military families.
Do military families have any other discounts available if the Armed Forces Salute is not renewed?
Absolutely! Let’s begin with accommodations. Anyone that follows my posts knows I am a huge fan of Shades of Green on Walt Disney World for on-property resort stays and the Armed Forces Vacation Club for off-site stays. Both options offer beautiful vacation resort options to fit every travel need and budget. And many Disneyland neighborhood hotels offer their own generous military discounts.
(Note: Disneyland’s link will take you to Disneyland’s official list of neighborhood hotels. You will need to go to the individual hotel’s website and click “add special rate” to look for military rate; it will not be found via the Disneyland website.)
But what to do about tickets?
The cost of Disney Park tickets consume a huge portion of any Disney vacation budget. The Armed Forces Salute ticket option has significantly decreased this cost. However there are several other ticket options available for families that need additional tickets or in the off-chance the Salute offer is not renewed.
Purchase discounted Disney Tickets from your local Military Base– prices vary from base to base and the discount is not as significant, but it is still a discount! Our local base offers almost all ticket options available at a Disney ticket counter for a savings of approximately 5-10%.
Magic Your Way Tickets from Shades of Green- Any member of the military, their spouse, or employee of the Department of Defense may purchase MYW tickets from SOG with proper identification. These tickets are also listed at a savings of 3-10% off of gate prices, depending on which ticket options are chosen. Discount tickets can also be purchased for mini-golf, Cirque d’Soleil, special event tickets, Disney Annual Passes and more at the SOG ticketing office.
Magic Your Way Stars and Stripes Tickets–Stars and Stripes tickets can also be purchased from the Shades of Green ticket desk but work a bit differently from standard MYW tickets. To purchase these tickets guests need to be staying on-property: Shades of Green, Walt Disney World Resorts, or a resort on Walt Disney World property (think Swan and Dolphin) are all available with this ticket option. Off-property guests cannot purchase MYW Stars and Stripes Tickets. (Proper military/DoD identification and resort id are required for purchase.)
– Stars and Stripes tickets are “length of stay” tickets. The number of days purchased must match resort days
– Tickets include park hoppers, water park and more fun options.
– Discount amounts to approximately 25% off similar Disney gate tickets, with stipulations.
*There is one significant difference between Stars and Stripes tickets and other Disney tickets. Unlike MYW or Armed Forces Salute tickets, Stars and Stripes tickets entitle guests to theme park admission (hopper included), water park admission, or fun visit (Disney Quest, ESPN) per day. This means that a four-day S&S ticket only allows admission for four days…if you visit a water park or fun add-on it will be deducted from your original amount of days.
A four-day S&S ticket equals four days of fun while a four-day MYW or AFS plus “water park & more” ticket essentially allows 8 days of fun –four days of park admission and four fun options.
This time of year brings a lot of anticipation for military families hoping to plan their next Disney vacation. We sit hopefully and wait for the announcement of the next year’s Armed Forces Salute Discount. While you wait I urge you to look into these alternative military discount options. They may be a great fit for your family!