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Steve Bell of Military Disney Tips to Moderate “Military Families” Comments

By Dave Shute


Longtime readers of this site’s comments (that is, my mom) will know the name “Steve from” as that of an expert who helps out all the time when I’m over my head on some of the complexities that military families face at Walt Disney World.  See for example this.

Disney World has a variety of great opportunities for military families, but since they exist at the intersection of two of the world’s great bureaucracies, sorting out who is eligible for what when can be a trial.

Steve has helped this site’s readers with these and other issues for years now, and now we’ve agreed to formalize this relationship and he’s become the “official” moderator of comments and questions on this site’s military family pages!


Military Moderator Steve BellSteve brings both Disney World and military expertise.

His Disney World background began even before the Magic Kingdom opened, as he and his family began their Disney World story with a visit to the old Welcome Center.

Soon they visited the Magic Kingdom itself, and that’s been followed by dozens of visits since to Walt Disney World.  Moreover, Steve also worked for years as a Magic Kingdom cast member!

His cast member experience was preceded and followed by stints in the Air Force, from which he retired as a Chief Master Sergeant in 2012.

There’s nothing quite like the combination of being both a former very senior NCO and a former Disney World cast member for bringing insight and compassion to military families planning their Disney World visits.

Steve’s been combining these two skill sets for almost five years on his site Military Disney Tips and its associated blog.

I first ran across him, I think, in 2009 when I was expanding my material for military families and realized that my readers would often be better served from me just linking to his pages rather than writing a lot about stuff I only partially understand.

Since then we’ve become tight collaborators and friends, and, in trying to help our readers as best we can, we have sent tens of thousands of them to each other’s sites.  And he’s always been willing to take the time to help out when I’m over my head!

So I was happy as a clam when he said he’d be willing to formally take on the role of moderating this site’s military family comments!

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1 Brian { 01.23.13 at 7:50 am }

Good on you both!!!!! 🙂

2 Dave { 01.23.13 at 8:20 am }


3 Linda Raymond { 01.23.13 at 8:45 am }

Great idea, to add Steve to your site,,,we have been to Disney many times,,but I still learn from Steve’s Military knowledge of all things DISNEY (lol) and looking forward to visiting your site more often, even though I am not a first timer,,,,, Congratulation to BOTH of you!!!

4 Dave { 01.23.13 at 9:16 am }

Thanks Linda! Steve’s been a great help to this site’s readers for years, so I’m delighted to “formalize” our relationship!

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5 Steve from { 01.23.13 at 10:35 am }

Hi Linda, I’m so glad that you were able to get some useful info from my site!

And thanks so much to you Dave for this oppertunity! I look forward to being able to help out your readers in any way that I can.

6 Dave { 01.23.13 at 7:34 pm }

You bet, Steve! Great to have you “formally” on the team!

7 Ben { 09.07.13 at 10:19 am }

my grandson is 6 and has a military id card. His mother is active military and will not be able to come in January 2014 to Disneyworld. The question is can I make reservations using my grandsons name and ID and use the military discount for Disney hotels and tickets without his mom?

8 Dave { 09.07.13 at 10:55 am }

Ben, I think the answer is no, but I’ve asked Steve to weigh in…

9 Steve From - Military Moderator { 09.07.13 at 11:01 am }

Hi Ben,

Unfortunately non-spouse dependents, such as your grandson are not qualified for the benefits extended to military members by Disney. Only the member or their spouse are.

The only military discount that you’d be able to use without her present would be the Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way tickets sold at the ticket office on her base. She could buy a ticket (not the Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets) for you both to use. These are only 4-8% off though based on length and options.

This page shows the prices she’d be able to purchase the tickets for on base:

Hope this helps, some.


10 Dave { 09.08.13 at 12:02 pm }

Thanks as always, Steve!

Was this even remotely helpful?

Well then, mosey on over to the home page, and like it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest!

11 Matt Williams { 01.19.17 at 7:17 am }

Hello, I am in the middle of planning a family trip to Disney and plan to use the Military Salute deal. I just switched to the Navy IRR however which has led to some confusion. When I called Disney to book a room they indicated I would need to show activation orders along with my ID card (green ID). I have not heard of this and no one else at MWR has either. I’m concerned about buying the hopper passes and booking a hotel and not being able to use them once I get to Disney. Have you heard of having to show activation papers before? Thanks for any help you can provide.

12 Dave { 01.19.17 at 8:02 am }

Matt I’ll ask an expert to weigh in. Stay tuned!!

13 Steve From - Military Moderator { 01.19.17 at 6:22 pm }

Hi Matt,

I saw that you asked this on my site too. I’m answering both places so both communities can see the 2 part answer below.

I’ve got good news and bad news.

The good news is that regular reservists (those who drill and are paid) do not have to show activation orders. Disney has awful internal communications and training, and their people just don’t deal with military discounts often (in the huge volume of other transactions), for military questions they often go on what they think, heard sometime, or do a network search and come up with old (sometimes very old) information. The having to show orders dates back to the post Desert Storm offer… Orders have not been required during the “modern” (2009 onward) Salute Offers. Besides active and reserve CACs are identical there is no way to know if you are active or reserve.

Now we come to the bad news, the IRR, which is a non-pay, non-drill status, is not eligible for the Disney Armed Forces Salute room or ticket offers. Disney uses this incorrect confusing phrasing (because they are not military and do not really understand terminology) on their site ” “Eligible Service Members” are active or retired members of the U.S. Military, including the National Guard, Reservists, the U.S. Coast Guard…” What they really mean instead of “active” is “current, participating” and for reservists that means drilling, paid members who have a CAC not a green DD Form 2.

If you live near a base, I assume you can access the base with your ID. So you could buy the Regular Military Discounted Disney Tickets, which will save your some, see if they will sell to you. Or you could contact a ticket office that ships and see if they will sell to you, see: These do not require activation.

But do not buy the special Salute tickets. While someone at a base may sell you Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets, you are right to worry. It might be that you could slip through and activate them, again with unknowledgeable Disney personnel, but you probably wouldn’t and would then have to try to get them to let you use the Salute tickets that you purchased towards full price ones.

14 Barbara { 06.03.18 at 12:39 pm }

I am a spouse of a retired military. Can I take my grandkids to Disney World using the Armed Forces Salute tickets?

15 Steve From - Military Moderator { 06.04.18 at 6:19 pm }

Hi there Barbara,

Yes, absolutely you can! You’ll need your current spouse ID to buy and activate the Salute tickets. The tickets besides yours can be used for anyone you like.

Let us know if you have any further questions.


16 Chelsea { 11.26.18 at 10:27 am }

Hi there Steve,

My fiancé and I are planning on Disney for our Honeymoon!
My fiancé was active duty and currently has a Blue Form 2 CAC, as he is PERM retired.
Does he/we qualify to use the Salute resort/ticket discounts? Thank you!

17 Steve From - Military Moderator { 11.27.18 at 8:37 am }

Hi there Chelsea,


Yes absolutely, retired members (with the blue DD Form 2 ID (CACs are for current members/employees)) are eligible for the Disney Armed Forces Salute room and ticket discounts.


P.s. once married you will (should) get your retired dependent spouse ID for all the military benefits and the Disney ones too!

18 Dave { 11.29.18 at 7:03 am }

Thanks Steve!

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