One organization that has continued a discount program as a form of appreciation to the military community is the Disney Company. While it has gone through some changes since 9/11, the current program offers deals on tickets, photo pass and hotel rooms for active-duty and retired military, activated reservist, and Guard members.
There are two different Disney tickets for military families. The best deal is the Armed Forces Military Hopper (or Salute Tickets). Disney World offers 4 and 5-day park hoppers and Disneyland currently offers 3 and 4-day park hoppers. There are black-out dates for Disneyland tickets for a two-week period around spring break this year, but there are no black-out dates from now until December 19th when the program ends. That means you can go on December 19th for the last day of your ticket. To be honest, the holiday time the parks gets very busy and packed with wait times in the two hours for several rides, so I wouldn’t want to personally go during that time anyway!
Disney World and Disneyland do not offer these tickets are at the ticket booths. You have to buy them ahead through your local Information, Ticket and Tours (ITT) office. Currently, the price for a multi day park hopper is cheaper than a 2 day hopper at regular price. If you are going to the Disney World, you can purchase your tickets from Shades of Green and they will mail you the tickets in advance to your house for a flat rate of $10 whether you are staying on property or not.
Each military member or spouse can purchase up to 6 Armed Forces Salute tickets per household and if you only have three people in your family that require tickets – you can buy a total of 6 a year and use two tickets per person in the same year.
Disney World also offers “Magic Your Way” tickets – they are discounted but are not the deal that the Armed Forces Saulte tickets are but you are able to buy passes for more than 5 days.
Photo Pass and Memory Maker
Beginning a few years ago, Disney began to offer a discounted photo package at Disneyland and Disney World. There are Disney Photographers all throughout the parks ready and willing to take a picture of your entire group – so no one has to be out of the photos taking the picture! As a military family that may not get many family outings together, this is ideal.
Disneyland calls their package the PhotoPass Collection. The package can be purchased for $49 at Kingswell Camera Shop at Disney California Adventure and at Main Street Photo Supply Co. at Disneyland. With this one-day package, you get all of your digital photos for the day, a gallery disc of pictures from around the park, and a voucher for a print package from any dining experience.
Disney World calls their photo package the Memory Maker. This covers digital pictures and videos from rides over a 30-day period per Disney at this time. The package is $98 and must be purchased at a guest relations window at the park or at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC). In order to get videos of the rides, the person riding the ride must have a Magic Band which is not included in Armed Forces tickets or admission.
Military rates for the Disneyland resort hotels of Paradise Pier, Disneyland Hotel, and the Grand Californian (with a fourth coming soon) are not available online. The Walt Disney Travel Company Call Center can be reached at 714-520-7059. They are open daily from 7 am to 9 pm. A recent call resulted in 25 percent off a regular room rate. You can expect a short walk to the theme parks and Disney-style hospitality with your stay.
The number to call for military rates at Walt Disney World hotels is 407-939-5684. There are three levels of hotels at WDW Resort: deluxe, moderate, and value resorts. The higher the level of hotel, the more the reported discount. There are a limited number of rooms, so when they release the military block of rooms (typically early fall), call and book your best guess of when you will stay. A word to the wise – Disney World hotels book up fast, so make reservations as soon as you think you might be going for a wide range of dates. You can always amend your stay, but those military rates go fast at Disney World!
If you are looking to spend some time at either Disney park, check the military pricing to see how you could maximize your visit!