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Disney Military Discount tickets
This past year when Brandon and I went to Disney World (twice) we took advantage of the special discounted tickets that were offered to active or retired military members and their families.  For the year 2015 active duty members can get a 4-Day Park Hopper pass for $177 plus tax and the tickets can be used from September 28, 2014 through October 3, 2015.  A regular 4-Day Park Hopper pass is currently $377 so the military discount is pretty significant.
Tips and tricks for purchasing military discounted tickets to Disney World

There are a few important things to remember with the military discount tickets.

1) You can get up to 6 tickets per family, not 6 for the active duty member and 6 for the spouse. Don’t try to be sneaky and get more than the maximum number of tickets, the information you will have to provide at the Disney ticket window will show that you received more than your allotted amount and you won’t be able to use the extra tickets.  It is possible to get an exception if you have a large family (i.e. more than 4 kids, not extended family) but you would have to work directly with Disney for that.

2) The tickets can be used by people not in your immediate family but the military member (or spouse) must be present on the first day that the ticket is activated at the park. In other words, you can’t buy a ticket for your aunt in Florida unless you plan on going to the park with her to activate it. The convenient thing about the military passes, though, is that once your ticket is activated you don’t need the military member around to get you into the other parks. Our family split up over the course of our vacation: some went to Epcot, some went to Magic Kingdom, and it was great that we didn’t have to be there to get our non-military family members into the park each time.

3) When you buy the tickets at your local military ITT office you don’t get an actual ticket. You get a paper voucher which you redeem at the ticket window at a Disney park.  When we went in 2013 we could not link these paper vouchers to our My Disney Experience accounts and sign up for our Fastpass+ rides but it appears that now you can. Check out Military Disney Tip’s step-by-step guide for doing that.

4) The military discounted tickets are a special offer from Disney and are not something they will necessarily offer in the future. For the past few years they have continued this special offer but that doesn’t guarantee that they will be running this same deal in 2016 or 2017.

5) As of February 21, 2015 Disney is no longer selling non-expiring tickets and all tickets purchased now will expire 14 days after you first use it. But not with the military tickets! With the military park-hopper your tickets are good for a full year.  Spend 2 days at Disney in the spring and go back again in the fall to use the rest of your ticket!  Just be sure to use up the days before they expire.

Disney Military Discount tickets

This is how Brandon and I used our tickets: we purchased 6 tickets from our ITT office on base and my grandfather (who is retired military) purchased another 6. We gave the extras to family members who were coming to Disney with us in December but we had to do some planning when it came time to activate the tickets. Some of us wanted to go to Animal Kingdom the first day we got there but others didn’t so we had to make sure that at least one of the military members would be going to Animal Kingdom so the non-military members could get in the park.

Once in Animal Kingdom we headed to a Fastpass+ booth to sign up for Fastpass+ rides. Later that evening we were finally able to link our tickets to our My Disney Experience accounts online and then we picked Fastpass+ times for rides in Magic Kingdom the next day. You can now link your tickets online and sign up for Fastpass+ but you still have to go to the ticket booth and get your actual tickets before entering the park.

During our vacation in December we didn’t use our whole 4-Day Park Hopper pass, we only used 2 days. The same went for the 11 other family members who went to Disney World with us. Two months later my sister went back to Disney World with her husband’s side of the family and was able to use the remainder of her Park Hopper pass. We used the remaining 2 days on our Park Hopper in April and because our tickets were already activated I was able to pick our Fastpass+ rides well in advance of our trip.

A word to the wise: be mindful of blackout dates for the military tickets and keep track of your vouchers if you buy them at your local base. Disney can’t replace lost vouchers and that’s the only proof of purchase you have.  But most importantly, have fun on your Disney vacation!

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