Friday, April 29, 2016

Disney Military Discounts 2016

Thinking of attending Disney this year?

Disney has again announced discounts for military members and their families!!

The Happiest Place on Earth just got better! Military members can take advantage of one of the best disneyland packages!
These are great because they include the "Park Hopper Option" which allows you to come and go as you please through any of the 4 theme parks each day.

Who's Eligible?
  • Active or retired members of the U.S. Military (this includes the National Guard, Reservists, and the U.S. Coast Guard)
How many tickets can I get?
  • You may purchase up to 6 Military Promotional Tickets. The tickets may be purchased by the service member or their spouse. This means if the husband/wife was deployed, the spouse could still take their family for example. 
Can I go anytime?
  • Almost - the following time frames are not included
    • Dec 20, 2016 - Dec 31, 2016
Where can I buy tickets?
  • You can buy tickets form your base ticket office if you have one or you can purchase them from the official Disney ticket windows. The advantage of buying them from your base would be that they would be tax free

My wife and I and our kids recently went to Disneyland last year. Check out our experience below!

1.) Find your closest Military Base Ticket Office
You can go to any branches ticket office. I am Army and I went to the Air Force Academy's Ticket Office. If you are not near a military base you can actually order them over the phone but that is a complicated process and takes several wks. You can also buy them at Disneyland but you may have to pay additional taxes where as the tickets are tax free on base.

2.) Go to the office and pay for the tickets. At the Air Force Academy ticket office, the price was $130 per ticket with an overall $10 processing fee so they tickets ended up being $131.67. They will print you out a voucher for each ticket you buy. Kids under 3 get in for free! 
  • How much am I really saving by using the Disney Military Discount?
    • A 3-day-ticket for a child (ages 3-10) is $224. The price for an adult is $235. If you want to add the hopper pass which is a must then it is an additional $40. So the total price for a normal 3-day-hopper-pass is $264-$275. So basically the military pass is 50% off!!!!
3.) Bring the vouchers to Disneyland and present them at one of the normal ticket lines. They will issue you your official 3-day-pass (see photo below). They take a picture of you and that picture comes up on a screen each time you try and enter the park. 

4.) Have a blast at the park. We went on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. You don't have to use the passes on 3 consecutive days. You could go once in May, April, and June if you wanted. You can use the 3 day pass anytime until October 3rd. There are blackout dates during Christmas and Spring Break so be aware if you were planning on going then. We had a great time. The park is so family friendly. We were worried because my wife is 7 months pregnant and we have a one year old but we couldn't have been happier with our trip

Other Tips and Suggestions

  • You can bring in any food or drinks that you want, which will save a lot of money if you're at the park all day. But no glass except for baby food in glass jars. 
  • Bring in your own big water bottle. 
  • You can get a pin "first visit" at customer relations just inside the gate. 
  • Visit Is it Packed? to get an idea of good and bad times to visit
  • Disneyland Wait Time App, so you know what the lines look like before you get to them

Pregnancy Tips (written by my 7 month pregnant wife)
  • Here is a list of rides that I visited, all which were totally fine on my pregnant body: Railroad, Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, Tarzan's Treehouse, Whinnie the Pooh, Haunted Mansion, Carrousel, Dumbo, It's a Small World, Finding Nemo, Buzz Lightyear
    • And this is not an all-inclusive list! If you have questions about if it's safe to ride, ask the cast members running the rides.
  • Rides OK at California Adventure: It's Tough to be a Bug, Heimlich's Chew Chew Train, Toy Story, Mickey's Fun Wheel, Carousel, The Little Mermaid, Golden Zephyr
    • And don't forget all the other things you can do besides rides - food, Aladdin, World of Color, Zoloft's Snow Palace, the Parade, Fireworks, etc.
  • Advised NOT to ride (as per Disney's recommendations): Indiana Jones, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Star Tours, Gadget's Go Coasters, Autopia
    • Pirates of the Carribean was not included on this list, however, I was surprised at the two significant drops and probably would not have done that again. 
  • Advised NOT to ride (as per California Adventure recommendations): Luigi's Flying Tires, Grizzly River Run, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, California Screamin', Goofy's Sky School, Radiator Springs Racers, and Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggi
    • For more info on rides and pregnancy, I found this site helpful
  • A big stroller was a must for us, but was a challenge to fit in our small rental car. We needed a stroller that could fit our big cooler with all our food for the day, sunscreen, jackets, etc. Consider renting a nice stroller from City Stroller Rentals. They are nice, as cheap as $35 for 3 days, and they will deliver them free to your hotel or to Disneyland.
  • A heard a rumor about Disney's Pink Pass, allowing pregnant women a disability pass so they didn't have to wait in line, and could come back through the fast pass line. I asked Customer Relations, and despite my Doctor's note, they no longer issue disability passes for pregnancy.
  • At any location where they serve soda, they will give you a cup of ice water for free.

Baby Tips (Written by my 1 year old son...jk)
  • The Baby Care Centers are especially nice (Walt Disney insisted on having them in the parks). They have high chairs, nursing rooms, pumping corners, formula/diaper rash ointment for purchase, a microwave, etc. When you're not close to one, there are big, sturdy changing tables in all the bathrooms. 
  • If you're coming from the parking lot, you'll be taking the tram to the parks. If you have a lot of junk in your stroller, there are some compartments in the tram (the section used for wheelchairs) that are bigger and they let you wheel the entire stroller on, instead of having to fold it up. If there is someone boarding with a wheelchair, you can even use the ramp. Downside - there is usually a longer wait time for these sections of the tram. If you're going to sit in normal seating, keep your stuff together before letting it explode in the stroller so you don't have a lot of packing while boarding. We found ourselves often walking to parking too, instead of using the tram. It was a 10-15 minute walk and it allowed our baby sleep after a long day.
  • I used the list of rides that pregnant women can go on to guide us to the rides that a 1 year old can go on. I found they were the same.
  • Take advantage of Baby Rider Swap
  • We put a ribbon on our stroller to distinguish it from other strollers, it was very helpful as they can get lost in the sea of stroller parking (and sometimes get moved)
  • You can park in Downtown Disney for 3 hours and for 2 extra hours if you buy something at one of the food locations. There are some cheaper places where you can buy a just a drink and that counts. This is another option if you know you need to go back to the hotel to put your kids down for a nap in the middle of the day and you don't want to pay the $17 parking fee if your hotel is not within walking distance. 

Other Sites that I like with additional tips and suggestions

Like what you read? Want more deals for military?

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