Disney World can be an expensive vacation for any American, let alone a military family on a budget! However, Disney World has put some amazing programs in place to help active and retired members of the American military afford an amazing Walt Disney World vacation! Our family personally has been blessed enough to go to both Disneyland and Disney World several times throughout Clay’s time on Active Duty. We are also planning another trip to Disney World in 2017!!! So I decided to put together some tips and tricks to save money.
The first thing you need to know is that your tickets will be significantly discounted, as long as you purchase them through Disney and not a third-party.
For 2017, the pricing is as follows:
- 4-day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper option = $209 each (plus tax)
- 5-day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper option = $224 each (plus tax)
- 4-day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More options = $246 each (plus tax)
- 5-day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More options = $261 each (plus tax)
Considering the 4-day Park Hopper without this promotion is $394 plus tax, that’s nearly half price!
Shades of Green Resort
An affordably priced resort exclusively for military families, Shades of Green offers free yoga, several dining facilities, on-site golf, the Magnolia Grand spa, and a large horseshoe-shaped pool with water slide.
Shades of Green is one of only 3 non-Disney owned resorts located on Disney property. It was built and financed by Service Members own funds and now operates on a self-sustaining basis. Your room rate is based on your rank and current status – you will need to bring a valid military ID (or DoD ID) and current Leave and Earnings Statement for the staff to accurately determine your room rate.
However, if Shades of Green isn’t quite magical enough for you – there is the option to get a 30-40% discount at Disney-owned Resorts, even the Deluxe resorts! One of the resorts that offer a military discount are the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. I also need to mention here that you may want to check with the Armed Forces Vacation Club when making room reservations. They can generally get you some hefty discounts for your stay.
Since Disney does not offer military discounts on food, you may want to opt to stay at a Disney resort for access to the Disney Dining plan.
While you won’t find any military discounts on dining in the parks, Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) has some great discounts for both active and retired military and their family, as described here.
Daily Flag Retreat
A can’t miss event right down Main Street from Cinderella’s Castle, the daily flag retreat in town square happens each day at 5pm.
After the pledge of allegiance, the American flag is lowered while a philharmonic band plays the “Star Spangled Banner” and then the flag is folded and presented to a guest veteran while the crowd sings “God Bless America.” A procession down Main Street occurs shortly after, and then the guest veteran receives a certificate and pin to mark the special ceremony.
If you’d like to be considered to participate in the event, stop by guest services early in the morning to let them know your intentions. Now only one veteran is selected, while Disney used to involve multiple volunteers – they have since started using Members of the Color Guard to remove the flag.
Do you have any tips for planning an amazing WDW vacation for military families?