When considering a Disney vacation, I thought about the amusing rides, the smiling family photo with Mickey and an epic family vacation that we would talk about for years.
During my husband’s deployment, we decided we may want to go to DisneyWorld to celebrate his homecoming. The key word in that sentence is “may.” Before making our final decision, my husband and I discussed a lot of options for a family Disney vacation:
- Is now the right time to take the girls? Are they still too young?
- Which resort should we stay at? Should we stay off-property to save money?
- Which ticket package is best for us? Is a 4-day ticket enough time to see all 4 parks at Walt Disney World?
- Why are we driving to Orlando to walk around the park when we can hop on a cruise and relax for 5 days?
- Is an epic Disney vacation a terrible way to reunite our family after months apart? Or is it the bonding experience that we need?
In the end we decided that yes, we definitely wanted to surprise our daughters with a family vacation to DisneyWorld in early February.
Now came the really hard part: Budgeting for our family vacation.
Luckily for us and for you too, Disney offers fantastic military discounts that help reduce the cost of visiting these theme parks.
Here are the details on military discounts that you don’t want to miss when planning your Disney vacation.
Specially Priced Tickets
When planning a Disney vacation, military families need to take advantage of specially priced tickets available to them. Each year Disney announces its military discounts on tickets for that year.
For 2017, a Disney 5-Day Military Promotional Ticket is $224 and a Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Ticket is $209 for DisneyWorld. The Park Hopper option is available for an additional cost. You can also add the Water Park Fun & More Option to your ticket.
If you live in California and plan to visit Disneyland, there are also discounted tickets available. A 3-Day Park Hopper Tickets is $156 and a 4-Day is $181.
Note: These tickets are nonrefundable and can’t be transferred.
These tickets must be purchased before December 19 at your military installation’s ticket office, commonly referred to as ITT. You can’t purchase more than 6 tickets at this discounted price.
This military discount is available to active-duty service members, National Guard, Reservists, Coast Guard, military spouses and retired service members. Be prepared to show your military ID card when purchasing these tickets.
Military Discounts on Hotels
Since it was our first Disney vacation, we decided to book a hotel at Shades of Green, the military resort near DisneyWorld. I’m really happy with our decision. The hotel is conveniently located near the parks and there was a bus shuttle to take us to the parks each morning.
I highly recommend making your reservations early, since Shades of Green can fill up quickly. Be prepared to submit your military ID card information when making your reservation.
Many hotels near DisneyWorld and Disneyland offer significant military discounts (up to 40%) so always ask for one when making your reservation.
Military Discount on Memory Maker, Disney’s Photo Package
When I first saw the price of Disney’s Memory Maker, I said, “No way. We’ll take our own photos. Thank you very much.” But then a friend told me that there’s a military discount on the photo pass.
For $84 plus tax, service members can purchase a DisneyWorld’s Memory Maker. The price is $49 plus tax at Disneyland.
This military discount on the photo package is only available at the Guest Relations office at the parks. The website said that there may be a 3-day delay between the date of purchase and activation, but we didn’t find that information to be accurate. We purchased our Memory Maker the night we arrived in Orlando and we were using it at Magic Kingdom the next morning. I hope that works for all military families.
Because of this military discount, we decided to purchase the Memory Maker. With this pre-paid photo package we got photos of us on a few rides, including my favorite Tower of Terror and fantastic family photos with the Disney characters.
Planning a Disney vacation is a lot of work. But by spending some time researching military discounts, you can save money on tickets and hotels. That gives you more money to spend on souvenirs because everyone knows you can’t have too much Disney stuff.