Enlisted service men and women spend long hours defending the freedoms that we enjoy in this country. Husbands and wives are away from their spouses for extended periods of time, and some children get to spend precious little time with their parents. Military families often have to move several during their career. This can really take a toll on families.
Fortunately, Disney knows how to honor or military members and their families.
Walt was a very patriotic person, and he wanted to make sure that he did everything he could to thank them.
Today, Disney does quite a bit to make a vacation affordable for everyone in the military, regardless of their rank.
Let’s take a look at the top five reasons why military families should visit Disney World.
5. Home away from Base
Right on Disney property, there is a special resort designed for military members and their families. Although it’s not owned by Disney, it does provide some nice benefits.
The resort, which is actually owned by the Defense Department, is called Shades of Green. It offers reasonable rates to service members plus packages that include meals. You can also take advantage of package delivery and Extra Magic Hours, which are normally only available to Disney Resort Guests. They’ll also bus you between the resort and the theme parks.
What’s more, if you’re on R&R, you can take another 20% off your room rate! Disney does this as a special “thank you” to those who have recently returned from deployment.
4. Disney Resort Hotel Discounts
If you’d rather stay at one of the elaborately themed Disney resort hotels, you’ll also enjoy deep discounts there. There are different discounts for value, moderate, and deluxe resort hotels and depending on the time of year, but deluxe hotels have been discounted as much as 40%, moderate at 35%, and value at 30%.
Besides these nice discounts, you’ll also get access to Disney Resort Hotel-specific amenities including Magical Express, which picks you up and returns you to the Orlando International Airport for free and transports your luggage as well. Disney Resort Hotel guests can also use their MagicBands to access their rooms, which isn’t available at Shades of Green.
If you’re visiting during the holidays, these discounts might not be available. In this case, go back to Shades of Green. They don’t have any blackout dates, and their prices are based on your rank.
3. Discounted Tickets
Staying at Disney is just part of the expense. Theme park tickets are a huge cost and will likely go even higher in the future. Disney also gives active duty, retired, and active reservists a big discount on park admittance.
You can purchase these at your base’s travel office or over the phone. Once you arrive in Disney World, you’ll have to activate the ticket at the Guest Services desk and present your military ID or DD214 proving that you are retired.
Even better, the discount includes park hopper tickets, which allow you to enter more than one theme park in a day. You can also add the water parks and more option for just a bit more money.
2. Other Military Discounts
If you’re a young military family with little ones in tow, you might want to rent a stroller. Perhaps you were injured during your service, and you need a scooter to help you get around. Whatever your mobility issue, lots of mobility companies offer military discounts. You can also rent a pack & play or a crib for your room so your little one can sleep safely.
While this is a perk everyone can enjoy, Disney is decidedly patriotic. There are several opportunities to pay tribute to the country you serve and love.
The Flag Retreat takes place on Magic Kingdom‘s Main Street USA everyday at 5pm. Cast Members randomly select a veteran from the crowd to participate in the ceremony, then they receive a certificate, a photo of the event, and a Disney Trading Pin.
Magic Kingdom also has the Hall of Presidents where every US President is depicted in audio-animatronic form. This awe-inspiring show builds confidence in our democracy and history.
Epcot has the American Adventure in World Showcase where you can step back in time and remind yourself where it all started. Maybe you can even give your family a history lesson!
Does Disney does enough to honor military families?