By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Military Families at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute



The general advice for first time visitors to Walt Disney World provided on this site applies equally to military families.

However, military families have access to special military deals and discounts, especially the Disney Armed Forces Salute, that other families don’t, and also have access to Shades of Green (below).

Shades of Green Resort from

The links below provide specific details and guidance for how to find out more about these, and the best ways to take advantage of them.

Eligibility for these and other Disney military deals has always been complicated, and the process for getting and using some of them even more so.

Steve Bell is the Military Moderator on this site. And Steve’s Military Disney Tips has always been the go-to site for military families looking to make the most out of their Disney World vacations.

But like every other website (especially mine), finding exactly what you need to know, in the right order, sometimes isn’t as easy as you’d like it to be.

Walt Disney World for Military Families

So the great news is that Steve has just published a Disney World guidebook for military families.

With entire chapters devoted to the 2016 salute, to Shades of Green, and to other deals and perks available to military families, I can’t recommend it enough!!

It’s available as a PDF–probably the most convenient format–here, and on here.

This book will be a great help to military families contemplating a Disney World visit in 2016!!


Comments moderated by Steve Bell of Military Disney Tips.

The Best Reviewed Disney World Guide Book--EVER!!

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1 Steve from { 01.31.12 at 6:13 pm }

Hey there Bethany,

Dave asked me to weigh in on this.

Per Disney’s rules:
1. All AFS tickets have to be activated at the same time.
2. Everyone having a ticket activated must be there for the activation.

But, Disney tickets castmembers seem to have wide latitude on what they can do and I’ve heard reports of them activating tickets for members of the party who couldn’t be there among many other stretching of the rules things.

Activation has nothing to do with the number of days remaining on the tickets. Days are deducted from the ticket when you put the ticket in the theme park turnstile as you enter. So the MIL’s first day will be deducted the first time she enters a theme park.

All the activation process does besides turning the ticket on is:
1. Check the total tickets activated during the life of the offer on the member’s ssn as well as how many are active currently, and
2. Enter a name against each ticket in disney’s computer system.

What I’d do is, try to activate all 5 together Saturday. Take a photo-copy of your MIL’s drivers license. This will (Hopefully) show the ticket is for her (not to be scalped) and they will code her name against the ticket.

If they won’t let you do it because she isn’t there then you can always go back to activate her’s when she gets there and say they wouldn’t let you do it before.

Hope this helps, let me know if you have any more questions!


2 libbygull { 07.23.12 at 10:50 am }

hi, I was wondering about military discounts for travel January 2013… will there be anything then? thanks!

3 Dave { 07.23.12 at 11:03 am }

Hi Libbygull–there’s nothing right now, but some may be announced–see this:

4 Alicia { 08.07.12 at 11:15 am }

Based on reading the comments above, I think I know my answer but I’m going to ask anyway. My fiance is is Afghanistan, I have all his information, can get a copy of his LES, ID, I can even have him email or contact DW or Shades of Green if necessary. I do not have a military ID as we wont be married until May 24, 2013, when he returns and I was wanting to take my two daughters to DW. If he purchases the military discounted tickets, can we use them at the gate? My fiance will not be present as he will still be overseas.

5 Dave { 08.07.12 at 1:20 pm }

Hi Alicia, you are right–you can’t activate the tix. One option is if you have close friends in the service stationed nearby–e.g. Tampa–the friend can by the tix for you and come to the turnstile and activate them for you… you’ll have to pay for one extra ticket (the friend’s)

6 Kim { 08.11.12 at 8:45 pm }

So I have a variation of one of the other questions from above. We have a family of six but are also thinking of taking my daughters friend to DW with us. She is also a military dependent and has her own ID. Will they let her activate her ticket with her dads info that is on her id since my husband cant do it? Thanks!!

7 Dave { 08.12.12 at 8:11 am }

Hi Kim–no, she can’t. Unless she uses one of your tix that you activate, she needs her dad or mom present to activate their tickets…

8 Stephanie { 09.11.12 at 1:24 pm }

My husband is forward deployed on sub patrol. I want to purchase tickets through ITT on base for my daughter’s birthday in November. I am his spouse but I keep seeing that the AD member must be there to activate the tickets. Am I misunderstanding this? Can I not just purchase the tickets as I’m the spouse and I have access to ITT?

Second part, can I purchase a ticket for an extended family member via ITT? My sister is going with us to help me with the children. She’s paying her own way but I want to at least help with her ticket cost since she’s helping me with two little ones.

9 Dave { 09.11.12 at 1:30 pm }

Hi Stephanie! Yes, as the spouse you can both buy and activate, but I think you can only buy and activate a total of 5 (including yours). I’m gonna check on this 5 vs 6 issue so come back here. The 4 tix that are not yours can then be used by anyone you choose, including your sister!

10 Steve from { 09.11.12 at 6:41 pm }

Hi Stephanie,

Dave sent me an email asking about your question.

Since Disney started offering these Armed Forces Salutes in January 2009 these policy has been that if the spouse goes without the military member they are only allowed a total of 5 tickets, one of which is for themselves, like Dave said.

Disney doesn’t make these offers easy to interpret, often posting and passing out conflicting information. While Disney’s website says a spouse may activate 6 tickets, the Disney tickets Department says 5.

Will you have more than 5 in your party?

I have heard from my readers that spouses have activated 6 ticket without their sponsor, but understand that is not the Ticket’s policy.

Here is what I recommend in these situations. You mentioned getting the tickets at home, if you need more than 5 wait till you get to WDW and buy them from a Disney ticket booth. You’ll pay sales tax there, but you will be buying and activation the tickets at the same time from the person who has decided how many they’ll let you activate.

If you were to buy 6 of these non-refundable tickets at home and then got to WDW and the person in the ticket booth would only activate 5 you’d be out the money.

And yes, you can use your tickets for yourself and anyone else you want to.

Have fun!

11 Dave { 09.12.12 at 9:44 am }

Thanks Steve! Stephanie, Steve is the wizard of these issues, which is why I reached out to him…

12 John { 10.04.12 at 2:46 am }

I have a huge family. 4 adults and 4 children. I am active duty military and we are going to disney 12/16-12/21. We are staying at the shades of green. Both the shades of green website and the disney website states that i can purchase up to 6 tickets. that leaves us with two tickets left to purchase at regular price. the shades of green is offering 4 day park hopper option tickets at 154 dollars. i can buy only six of those. i was looking for the regular price and it seems like each of those are going for an arm and a leg. It just seems ridiculous that the regular price is $296!!!!!Is there a ticket that i can buy for 4 day park hopper option like the other 6 tickets for somewhere around 150-200? Any help is appreciated.

13 Dave { 10.04.12 at 1:02 pm }

John the regular tix are indeed an arm and a leg. Shades has some special ticket deals that are less than full price but more than the Salute tix. Check their site or give them a call…

14 Danny { 10.22.12 at 10:37 am }

Hi dave, I’ve just returned for leave on active duty. I’m currently in Florida having bought my tickets etc, is there any other offers etc I can use whilst here to benefit I.e upgrades/fast pass. I am uk military.

Your help would be great

15 Dave { 10.22.12 at 1:15 pm }

Hi Danny, FASTPASSES are free and come built into your ticket–see this: I can’t think of any other DIsney World offers you can use if you’ve already set your lodging and tickets…

16 swampeyes { 11.13.12 at 9:50 am }

Hi Dave,
I am retired Army Reserve and my husband and I were thinking of spending Thanksgiving Day at WDW. Are we eligible for discounted military tickets, and are they usable on Thanksgiving Day or is that a ‘black-out date’?

17 Dave { 11.13.12 at 11:23 am }

Hey Swampeyes–while wildly busy, that’s not a blackout day, but you don’t want to buy the Military Salute tix as they are 4 days…see this for one day options via Shades of Green:

18 Barry { 12.06.12 at 2:33 pm }

Hi Dave, I’m retired military and am looking at the four day park hopper pass. The question I have is, once activated must the four days be used consecutively or do I have until the ticket expiration date in September to use any unused days?

19 Dave { 12.06.12 at 3:24 pm }

Hi Barry–once activated, they don’t expire until the September date, so you don’t have to use them consecutively.

20 Kindell Mills-Jabsen { 01.09.13 at 9:04 pm }

I am planning a Disney trip for March. We are a blended family of 8. My husband is retired and we will be using his ID for 6 of the tickets but we still need 2 more. My 3 children are Gold Star Survivors (their father was killed in Iraq). My question is can we purchase the last 2 tickets under their father’s name and use their military IDs to get them in? I also read further up that for larger families you can purchase more then 6 tickets. Is this true and if so is there somewhere I can print proof of that to take with me to buy the tickets? Thanks in advance!

21 Dave { 01.10.13 at 7:40 am }

Kindell, if I’m reading you correctly, you are a single family with six kids from prior marriages. If they are all now your kids, your husband should be able to get 8 total tix for your immediate family, as there’s a “large immediate family” exception to the limit of 6. I’m gonna check with an expert, but my take is you are fine, but you probably want to buy the tix ahead of time at a base in case you need to provide any extra paperwork… (Ooops–this last point is wrong–see Steve’s comment below.)

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22 Steve From { 01.10.13 at 8:03 am }

Hey there Kindell.

Dave asked me to tag in. He’s right, as long as all the kids are your husband’s dependents, you fall under the “large family” rule.

There is nowhere online where you can see this printed by Disney, but I have seen internal documents which state it. No one I know of has had ever had an issue with this. All you need is everyone’s IDs.

You can only do this at Disney ticket booths though (and have to pay sales tax with them) as military resellers (Shades of Green and Base Ticket Offices) are limited by contract to 6.

You could ask at your ITT, but I doubt they will do it and will even go so far as to tell you it is not possible at all, because usually all they know is what is in their contract.

As far as your first husband, you might have carried forward his benefit (for Disney)(depends on his status) but once you remarried that benefit ended. (hope that is clear)

23 Dave { 01.10.13 at 8:57 am }

Steve, thanks as always!

24 Kindell Mills-Jabsen { 01.10.13 at 12:37 pm }

Thanks so much for all the information and quick response!!

25 Kindell Mills-Jabsen { 01.10.13 at 12:42 pm }

One more question. I am under my current husbands benefits but my 3 girls still carry ID cards and are dependents of their deceased father so my question is that because they do not carry my husband on their ID card we would not be eligible for the large family clause? Thanks again for all the help!

26 Dave { 01.11.13 at 11:47 am }

Kindell, I’ve asked Steve to weigh in on this…

27 Steve From { 01.12.13 at 10:00 am }

HI again Kindell,

This could potentially be a big issue. Disney grants the Armed Forces Salute to current and retired military members or their spouse. When an eligible member is deceased the benefit transfers to their military ID eligible spouse. This benefit ends when the spouse remarries, as dos an ID with that member’s ssn.

The AFS discount never extends to the dependent children in any situation (current member, retired, divorce situations, or death).

So what I recommend is, once you get to the Disney ticket window explain your situation. The Disney cast member may or may help (they do seem to have a wide latitude to do so). But if they don’t ask to speak the their Lead, Supervisor, and Manager (that’s the Disney “chain of command”) they may help once you involve them.

If all else fails you can go to Shades of Green to get the slightly discounted military Magic Your Way tickets for the 3 girls.

If you are arriving later in the day and plan on doing the theme parks the next day you might want to do this in the afternoon or evening your day of arrival rather than in the morning as it could take a while especially if you have to get over to Shades.

Here are the Shades prices:

28 Dave { 01.13.13 at 10:33 am }

Thanks again, Steve!!

29 Chasity Jenkins { 01.22.13 at 1:52 pm }

My family is planning our first trip to Disney in March. Our boys are 2 and 3. we want them to experience Disney, but not get overwhelmed, so we are planning a shorte trip (also we want to be cost-efficent considering their ages). What would be the best place to stay and who would it be best to book our trip through. My husband is cureently in the Nat’l Gaurd. Thanks.

30 Dave { 01.22.13 at 3:00 pm }

Chasity, there’s both a ticket and a room rate deal available through Disney for armed services, and your husband may be eligible for both. I’m gonna check with an expert on that. You can book that directly through Disney…my resort recommendations are here: a

31 Steve From { 01.22.13 at 6:42 pm }

Hi Chasity,

As a Guardsman your husband is eligible to participate in Disney’s Armed Forces Salute which runs through 28 Sept 2013. The AFS offers 4-Day Disney tickets at about 50% off regular prices and discounts of 30-40% off regular rates at Disney resorts.

You will find the specifics here on Dave’s page:

Shades of Green is a military owned and operated resort on WDW property where room rates are based upon rank. He’s also eligible to stay there. Shades sometimes runs discounts, but right now there isn’t one for March.

Feel free to let us know if you have any other questions!

32 Reporting For Duty At | Military Disney Tips Blog { 01.23.13 at 7:03 am }

[…] stop by the Your First Visit Military Families page, Dave has a lot of great content for you which branches out from there. […]

33 Dave { 01.23.13 at 8:03 am }

Thanks, Steve!

34 Chasity Jenkins { 01.23.13 at 9:21 am }

Thanks Dave and Steve! We are really excited about this trip and you guys have eased my mind a great deal.

35 Dave { 01.23.13 at 9:32 am }

We’re glad to help! Have a great trip and come back when you are home and let us know how it went…

36 Lisa Keys { 01.25.13 at 10:24 pm }

I am planning a trip to Disney World for my son and I in the Spring. We have recently become a Gold Star family and I would like to know if the Military Salute discounts still apply to us. If not, do you know of any discounts offered to Gold Star families?

37 Dave { 01.26.13 at 8:26 am }

Lisa, I’m so sorry. I don’t know the answer, but have asked my expert Steve to add his thoughts, so come back and check here again.

38 Steve From - Military Moderator { 01.26.13 at 9:20 am }

Hi Lisa,

As a military member of 31 years, let me first say how sorry I am for your loss!

Was the service member your husband? If so you should retain your military dependent ID and you’d be eligible for Disney’s Armed Forces Salute.

You would also be eligible normally for Stays and tickets at Shades of Green, the military owned and operated resort on WDW property. But Shades also has a 50% off program for those who have lost their sponsor.

But unfortunately if you or your son were not the dependent of the fallen warrior (i.e. they were another son or daughter) there would be no discount that I am aware of in conjunction with a Disney World Stay.

Take care, Steve

39 Kathy { 01.29.13 at 5:53 am }

Is there any way to get around the 6 ticket thing? I will be there in February for a conference with 7 people (I’m related to none) but already purchased 8 tickets at an ITT. Will I have a problem activating these or will WDW make me pay the difference for 2 regular 4-day hoppers?

40 Dave { 01.29.13 at 6:51 am }

Kathy, did you buy the slightly-discounted tix, or the Military Salute tix? If you aren’t sure, let me know what you paid per ticket…

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41 Carmen { 03.03.13 at 3:38 pm }

we are going to Disney World for 5 days over the Spring Break holiday (April 1-5). Unfortunately, the Military salute tickets for $156 are blacked out for Spring break! We plan to spend two days at Disney world and would like the Hopper pass for both days. Where is the best place to get tickets like this since we cannot use the military salute? The ITT office only sells 3 day hopper passes. Are there any reputable online discount tickets sites I should try?

42 Dave { 03.03.13 at 4:20 pm }

Hi Carmen, it’s Dave. Steve will weigh in later if he’s got something to add, but one place to check is this:

It’s gonna be wildly busy those days…are you sure you can’t go another time??

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43 Steve From - Military Moderator { 03.03.13 at 5:31 pm }

Hi Carmen,

As Dave said, be prepared for wall to wall people during that time. The reason they don’t offer the Armed Forces Salute ticket or room discount at that time is that they are so full with those paying full price.

I know that’s when your kids have vacation, but so does everyone else…

So your ITT office only sells 3-day Magic Your Way hoppers? You could ask them if they will order the 2-day hoppers that you want (they can). Or you can buy them at Shades of Green or the Orlando ITT once your are in Orlando.

44 Carmen { 03.03.13 at 10:18 pm }

Thank you all so much for your advice guys. I will take a look and see if we can go another week. If not, I will talk to ITT about ordering 2 day hopper passes.

45 Dave { 03.04.13 at 9:01 am }

Good luck, Carmen!

46 Dawn { 03.08.13 at 4:15 pm }

My dad – retired military – wants to buy our disneyworld tickets for use this summer and we saw the salute to military deal. He is not going with us but we have a friend in Florida who’s husband is military. She said she would go with us to activate the tickets. Can she activate our 6 tickets (we have a family of 6), without actually having a ticket for herself or going in?

47 Dave { 03.09.13 at 7:43 am }

Dawn, she has to both buy them herself–she can’t activate those your dad buys–and (I’m wrong on this first point–see Steve’s comment below) use one herself. So that would get you only 5 tix–still a pretty good savings!!

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48 Steve From - Military Moderator { 03.09.13 at 8:32 am }

One slight correction Dave,

Dawn’s dad can buy the 6 tickets and then her friend can activate them. There is nothing which connects the 2 transactions. When they arrive to activate them, Disney has no way of knowing where or by who they were purchased. No receipt is required.

But as you said the friend must activate one of the 6 for themselves. The 6th ticket Dawn needs would have to be a regular military discounted Magic Your Way ticket, which could be purchased at the same base where her dad gets the AFS tickets, Shades of Green, or the Orlando ITT.

The other thing to note is that the friend loses their ability to use their 6 ticket benefit for the remainder of this current offer.

49 Dave { 03.09.13 at 8:59 am }

Thanks, Steve!! I’m so glad you’ve agreed to help out with these kids of questions!

50 Dawn { 03.12.13 at 3:45 pm }


51 Robert { 03.31.13 at 11:04 am }

My mother has a dependent military id & was able to buy the military tickets, but I’m worried that we won’t be able to activate them. Both of her parents are deceased. I think ITT failed to read the card and thought she is a spouse. Is there a chance Disney will still activate them?

52 Steve From - Military Moderator { 03.31.13 at 5:00 pm }

Hi Robert,

As you are aware per Disney’s rules your mom is not eligible for the Disney Armed Forces Salute.

She should not be able to activate the tickets, but Disney uses the ID guide which I have on this page: as you can see the pictures are small and it might slip by. But they should be looking for SP in the relationship block, which indicates spouse.

Should they turn her down she’ll need to try to get Disney to apply the price she paid towards regular tickets. THis usually requires elevating the request to several layers of management.

She could take them back to where she bought them and request a refund (they are non-refundable) because she isn’t eligible.

Were your grand parents caring for your mom? Just curious how she has a dependent ID which is still valid.

Hope this helps, Steve

53 Robert { 03.31.13 at 10:45 pm }

Yes, I was aware & was surprised when ITT sold us the tickets. The worker even looked at the chart that you reference & said she’s eligible.

She is disabled which allows her to keep the ID.

54 Steve From - Military Moderator { 04.03.13 at 8:05 am }

I’d try to take them back to ITT first. If that fails you can try the Disney route.

I have heard of tickets being sold on eBay, but the buyer has no guarantee that the tickets are valid and would have to be a military member who hasn’t used their 6 for the year. Yhey’d be looking for a discount off the regular price…

55 Robert { 04.04.13 at 8:23 pm }


56 Amanda { 06.11.13 at 1:21 am }

my husband is active duty army, were planning on going to WDW when he gets back from his deployment, the problem is we don’t know when his block leave will be, and we probably wont know for a while. were hoping itll be sometime in sept or October. were wanting to go for 8 days. we also are wanting to do some character meals for our 3 year old son. so my question is are we going to miss out on things if we can’tbe making reservations already. how quickly does the shades of green get filled and how quickly do the character meals get filled? also do you know why there isn’t free transportation from the airport to shades of green? everytime I talk to someone about staying on Disney property they say there is free transportation from the airport. thank you.

57 Dave { 06.11.13 at 7:44 am }

Hi Amanda–for the uncertain dates…you can make a bunch of reservations and then cancel them…

Because Shades of Green is not a Disney owned and operated resort, it’s not a part of Disney’s free transportation from/to the airport.

I believe it has a deal for lower-cost transport, but am gonna see what the site’s military expert, Steve, has to say, so check back here!

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58 Steve From - Military Moderator { 06.11.13 at 8:03 am }

Hi Amanda,

When Shades fills up depends on how busy the time of year is that you are talking about. The very busy times start getting reserved a year out and can fill up quick, but slower times are available right up to that timeframe.

The Walt Disney World Company is a huge company which absorbs/spreads amongst all the guests the cost of their “free” transportation. Shades is just a single hotel and can’t do that, it would cost too much. They could work a deal with WDW but that would cost as well (They haven’t even worked out free theme park parking for Shades guests).

They do have a recommended limo service, but as far as I know there is no discount.

You’ll note that Dave recommends Disney resorts over Shades and with the Disney Armed Forces Salute Disney moderates and values are often comparable or less than Shades and then you’ll have all the Disney amenities including free airport transportation.

59 Amanda { 06.11.13 at 11:00 pm }

Thank you so much for all the great info. Were expecting to be going in Sept or Oct. Which from what I’ve read doesn’t seem to be a busy time there. Im not sure if we could find a better deal than shades of green, since my husband is deployed they are offering a 20% discount for those who have just come back from a deployment which means our room will be about 70 bucks per night. I don’t know if I was looking in the wrong place but the couple Disney resorts I looked up the price was well over that. I will look into the other resorts more though, any ideas on which would be around or less than 70 bucks a night? I was also wondering, does shades of green have a bus that goes to downtown Disney?

60 Amanda { 06.11.13 at 11:48 pm }

sorry one more question…if we use a military discount to stay at a Disney resort and we happen to be there at a time when they are offering a free dining plan does that mean we have to chose between the discount or the free dining plan?

61 Dave { 06.12.13 at 7:26 am }

Thanks, Steve!!

62 Dave { 06.12.13 at 7:58 am }

Hi Amanda!!

–You won’t find a better deal than $70/night
–Ignore what follows, see Steve’s note below!!–Shades does not have a bus to Downtown Disney The simplest way to get from Shades to DTD is to walk to the Polynesian bus stop across the street and catch the Poly bus to DTD. There’s also more complicated ways to do it with less walking…

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63 Dave { 06.12.13 at 7:58 am }

Amanda, free dining requires paying full price for rooms and tickets…

64 Steve From - Military Moderator { 06.12.13 at 8:11 am }

Just one correction Dave,

Shades does have a DTD bus which also hits Typhoon lagoon

Downtown Disney/Typhoon Lagoon: Once per hour
Leaves Shades of Green on the half hour (starting at 0830)
Leaves Typhoon Lagoon at 10 till the hour (Space #9 from 0950)
Leaves Downtown Disney on the hour (at the top of lot E by the burnt orange building)

65 Dave { 06.12.13 at 8:23 am }

Thanks Steve!!!!

66 Amanda { 06.14.13 at 12:13 am }

Thank You so much!

67 Dave { 06.14.13 at 9:56 am }


68 Alexis { 06.24.13 at 12:25 am }

Quick question do you have to purchase tickets from a military base or can you get them at the ticket counters on site? Also do the discounts apply if you only need a one day pass to Epcot?

69 Steve From - Military Moderator { 06.24.13 at 10:52 am }

Hi Alexis,

You can purchase your Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets at any military base ticket office, Shades of Green at WDW, The Orlando ITT (all of these with no tax added) or from Disney ticket windows (plus tax).

70 Dave { 06.24.13 at 5:28 pm }

Thanks Steve!

71 Gina { 07.08.13 at 8:10 pm }

Hi Dave,
Has Disney World ever extended the time on a military salute ticket if requested? My family was on vacation to Disney World the last week in June when my daughter had an emergency and had to get her appendix removed so my family were not able to use two of the four day tickets. I emailed Disney World as they requested for ticket questions and attached all the necessary information to include her hospital records and they emailed me back today saying sorry for your mishap but there is nothing they can do for me. Is this a dead end street or is there still hope to get my unused two day tickets extended so I can come back in the Spring or next summer? It is not like I am asking for a refund.

72 Dave { 07.09.13 at 7:22 am }

Gina, as things stand right now, my guess is no. If DIsney “extends” the salute–whihc it may do it has done that befroe, then you’ll be ok. If it does a new offer–or doesn’t renew it at all–my guess is that all the bureaucracies involved (Disney and DOD) will get in the way…

I am gonna ask my expert to weigh in, so don’t treat this as the last word…

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73 Gina Serros { 07.09.13 at 10:48 am }

Thank You Dave for your help!

74 Steve From - Military Moderator { 07.09.13 at 3:56 pm }

Hi Gina,

My thoughts run parallel to the second part of what Dave said. Currently the Disney Armed Forces Salute has a set in stone end date. and unless you can get there to use your 2 remaining days prior to 28 September I think you’ll be out of luck.

On the bright side you still paid less than a comparable 2 day ticket for the 2 days you used.

My only thought is that on your next trip you could bring the tickets and all the documentation and try to find a sympathetic ear. WDW CMs have been known to stray outside the rules in favor of the guest. Gut I’d say it is a long shot.

I have no indication from Disney right now that the current Salute would be extended past the current end date.

75 Gina Serros { 07.09.13 at 5:28 pm }

Thank you!

76 Dave { 07.10.13 at 8:52 am }

Thanks, Steve!!

77 Carolina { 07.19.13 at 3:06 pm }

My cousin purchased our tickets here at a base in Ft. Worth,TX. They will not be going to Disney, as she didnt get her vacation approved. Can we activate the tickets w/o her if she lends us her ID?

78 Steve From - Military Moderator { 07.20.13 at 9:57 am }

Hi Carolina,

Only a military member or spouse can activate the Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets and it must be in person at a Disney park. The reason being is that the purpose of these highly discounted tickets is for the military member to spend time with family and friends in Disney’s parks, not to give the tickets away or to sell them.

Plus how would your cousin have access to the base and computer network to work without their ID?

If your cousin bought the Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way tickets rather than the AFS tickets (these are just slightly discounted) they could be used without your cousin, if they are the ready for use kind and don’t need to be exchanged at the park with an ID (Disney sends both kinds to bases).

Perhaps if they got the AFS tickets they could attempt to exchange them at their Base Ticket Office.

79 Bren { 07.29.13 at 8:33 am }

I called disney works 4 times. The first two times, they said I’d be perfectly fine. However today, I called just to triple check.. And they said I have a problem.

My dad is an active duty Lieutenant Colonel of the Army.
He purchased two 4-day park hopper tickets for me and my Girlfiend. (I’m 22 and she’s 21).
We got the tickets in the mail last week (very exciting!)
I called today to triple check on the situation, and asked “my girlfriend and I are driving 16 hours to Orlando, and I just wanted to triple check that we will be able to get into the park as long as I had my military I.D. (I’m still under my Dad’s insurance, so I get most benefits that he gets)
Today the women on the phone said that she’s pretty sure he has to be there at least on the first day of the trip, in Disney to activate the tickets.
This is a problem because he can not just come down to Florida for one day and then go back home.
I was told twice before that I would be completely fine getting into the park if I have my military I.D.
I’m extremely stressed out. Trip is in 2 weeks. Please help.

80 Dave { 07.29.13 at 10:20 am }

Bren, everything I’ve ever seen or heard on this is that the eligible member or spouse must be there in person to activate the tickets. I’m sorry you were led astray…I’ll reach out to some experts to see if they have any thoughts for you…

81 Bren { 07.29.13 at 11:06 am }

Thanks for responding so quickly, Dave.
I would really appreciate it if you did that for us. I just feel like my Dad should be allowed to buy Disney tickets as a gift for a family member who has a military I.D.

Or that there should be a way that he is able to activate the tickets while being in Pennsylvania rather than Florida with special permission.
Again, I would extremely appreciate it if you could reach out to those people.
Thanks Dave,

82 Steve From - Military Moderator { 07.29.13 at 12:43 pm }

Hi Bren,

Unfortunately you’ve run into a situation that trips up some people.

First I want to address one of your points. Disney offers the Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets to military members at a huge discount so that they can spend time with family and friends in Disney’s parks. The intended purpose isn’t to give them away or worse scalp them, which is why Disney put in place very restrictive rules.

The Base TIcket Office where your dad purchased the tickets should have told him the rules. The military member or spouse has to activate these tickets in person at a Disney park and one of the tickets has to be for the member/spouse. Non spouce dependents are not eligible for this discount.

Disney does still offer the Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way tickets, which are slightly discounted tickets. Many Bases sell a variety.

Example prices:

I have only one suggestion for you.

I’d have your dad take the tickets back to where he got them and ask that they apply his cost to tickets that you can use as they didn’t inform him of the rules.

I’m not sure this will work as the tickets are non refundable. But tell him to stress that they didn’t tell him the rules for use of the Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets.

A very last resort would be taking the tickets and his receipt to WDW, perhaps with a copy of his ID and a letter from him explaining what happened. They “might” let you use the cost of the tickets towards full price tickets.

83 Dave { 07.29.13 at 1:03 pm }

Thanks Steve…isn’t there also the option of “find an eligible friend who lives in Florida and swap tix”?

84 Steve From - Military Moderator { 07.29.13 at 6:49 pm }

Excellent point Dave, if she knows any military member really who will be going prior to 28 Sept. she could swap her AFS tickets plus some cash for the Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way tickets.

85 Rub { 07.29.13 at 8:10 pm }

Can a veteran who has a service related military disability , but not 100% still use ticket sales and shades of green?

86 Steve From - Military Moderator { 07.30.13 at 8:04 am }

Hi Rub,

As a non-retired veteran you wouldn’t be eligible for any discounts from Disney.

But you are eligible for this offer from Shades of Green during the months of January and September, which include the ability to purchase tickets.

87 Carrie { 08.23.13 at 2:14 pm }

Hi, Dave! Your site has been a tremendous help to me in planning our family’s first trip to Disney World – thank you so much! I haven’t found a better website or resource anywhere – yours is wonderful. We’re planning our trip for March 2-9, 2014 and want to stay at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge resort. My husband and I have 3 kids (2 girls ages 6 and 4, and a toddler son who will be almost 23 months when we go), and we’re taking my parents with us. My dad is retired military, so I’m torn between 2 options that are available to us at this time: a 2 bedroom villa for all 7 of us (which is what we’ve wanted all along), or the combination of a 1 bedroom villa for my husband/me/kids and a deluxe suite for my parents with the HOPE that Disney will be able to connect us in a “lock off.” The reason it’s a difficult decision is that there is currently a military discount (35%, maybe?) for the 1 bedroom villa and deluxe suite…making it about $3,000 less than a 2 bedroom villa. That’s a huge savings and really hard to pass up, but we really want to be connected to my parents if at all possible. Do you have an idea of what the odds might be for us to get a “lock off” that week? Could we hope for that, or would we most likely be separate from my parents if we take advantage of the militaty discount? (And in that case, do you think that Disney would at least be able to put us close to each other?) My mom is fighting an aggressive form of breast cancer right now (but she’ll be done with chemo and surgery by then), so we really want her – and my dad – to be able to enjoy the “magic” and experience the excitment with our kids as much as possible. Thank you for your feedback on this!

88 Dave { 08.24.13 at 9:26 am }

Hi Carrie and thanks for the kind words about the site.

Here’s the scoop on the Wilderness Lodge Villas: it’s a very small property, without a whole lot of studios.

So the good news is that–given how small it is–you will be close to each other. The bad news is givne how few rooms are there, that I’d have to guess that the odds of being right next door are slim.

For more on these villas and studios, see this:

89 Carrie { 08.28.13 at 10:42 pm }

Thank you so much, Dave! That helped a whole lot. In fact, given the smallness of the property (looking at the map again helped, too – thanks for the link), we actually decided not to gamble on a l0ck-off and instead book two 1 bedroom villas. Your review on the studios helped me realize that 2 separate villas will be worth it (with the military discount, of course), since no matter what, we won’t be far apart. I’d been torn on the options before, but I feel much better about this arrangement — thank you again so much!!! You and your site have been more informative than our travel agent. 🙂 I’ll be sending family and friends your way in the future!

90 Dave { 08.29.13 at 7:04 am }

Carrie, I’m blushing! So glad this all is gonna work out for you and your mom!

Was this even remotely helpful? Then mosey on over to the home page, and like it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest!

91 Carrie { 09.01.13 at 11:41 pm }

Thank you again, Dave, and I will be glad to!

92 Charli { 10.19.13 at 12:01 am }

Hello Mr. Dave my very large family (13 total) will be flying from Washington state to Florida for a week long vacation in February to Disney world ans surrounding attractions this will be our first time their. My questions do you have any tips to help save some big money on this trip both my husband and I are active duty military but with such a large group of us 7 adults and 6 children it makes it hard for me to find deep discounts or even a place large enough to accommodate such a large group any suggestions would be greatly appreciated Thanks in advance

93 Dave { 10.19.13 at 8:34 am }

Hi Charli! I’m gonna ask my friend Steve to weigh in on this. So check back here! Do tell us the ages of the kids though–if any will be younger than 3 at check in it may make a difference…

94 Steve From - Military Moderator { 10.19.13 at 12:49 pm }

Hi Charli,

That is a big question, so rather than typing everything out I’ll be linking to info on my site as we go through this.

As Dave said the age of the kids matters for ticket prices. Kids under 3 are free and 3-9 use the child’s tickets which are less than the adult price. So in the case you need to revert to a lesser discount or full price ticket for part of your party it should be for a child.

With 2 active military you have a great advantage of sometimes being able to use 2 separate discounts.

On to the specifics…


You have several military discount options

The Disney Armed Forces Salute rates at Disney resorts:

Shades of Green, the military owned and operated resort at WDW:

The Armed Forces Vacation Club:

For Tickets:


Between the 2 of you, you are eligible for 12 Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets:

If you need one more you’ll want the Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way tickets:

SeaWorld Orlando

Military members are eligible for up to 4 free tickets for themselves and direct dependents:

The most of these you’ll be able to get is 4, so the rest need to be these (if this offer is renewed for 2014): or these (if not):

Universal Orlando

Universal currently has no “special” military discount just the regular slightly discounted tickets from base ticket offices or Shades of Green:


If renewed:


There are many other discount tickets offered by Shades or the Orlando ITT:

Other Mil Discounts

Discounted meals at Downtown Disney:

Stroller Rentals:

Hope this is a good start for you to learn more!

Let us know if you have questions after you check out the info


95 Charli { 10.19.13 at 2:34 pm }

Yes Sir the children at time of travel will be 6 two 5 year old’s a 4 year old a 2 year old and 1 years old and I will check back in thank you

96 Charli { 10.19.13 at 3:37 pm }

yes sir thank you very much all your links are being very helpful and thank you for a fast response I appreciate both you and Mr. Dave’s help on assisting me and my family with planning our family vacation

97 Steve From - Military Moderator { 10.20.13 at 12:44 am }


I see I shared the wrong link the the Disney Armed Forces Salute…

It should be:

Between the 2 of you, you are eligible for 12 Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets:

98 Dave { 10.20.13 at 6:46 am }

Thanks, Steve!! Fantastic help as always…

99 Dave { 10.20.13 at 7:03 am }

Steve, I fixed the link–I think…

100 chrissy { 02.24.14 at 4:44 pm }

I have a military friend who is willing to give me her unused tickets however I am not military, is it possible that we just find a military person at the gate to activate the ticket?

101 Dave { 02.25.14 at 7:12 am }

Chrissy, I’ve asked the site’s expert on these matters to weigh in. Look for Steve’s comment.

102 Steve From - Military Moderator { 02.25.14 at 8:09 am }

Hi Chrissy and Dave,

The answer is maybe…

There are two different types of military discounted tickets for Disney. there are the Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets and the Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way tickets.

The Disney Armed Forces Salute is a special program which allows military members to spend time with family and friends in Disney’s parks. Because of it’s purpose and large discount there are many rules, one of which is that the military member or their spouse must be part of the party and have a ticket for themselves. Per Disney’s rules the member must activate the tickets at WDW with the whole party present. The tickets may then be used individually.

So you would not be able to use these tickets without a military member with you to activate them. Any military member or spouse could do this for you. It does not need to be the person who bought the tickets. But each military member (oe spouse) only has the ability to activate 6 tickets during this offer, so they can’t have used up their benefit yet or want to use it themselves later.

I would not recommend doing this as using the tickets without a military member in your party as totally goes against the purpose of the discount.

The Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way tickets are slightly discounted tickets sold by Military Base Ticket Offices and Shades of Green. These are not restricted and your friend can buy them ahead of time for you without getting one for themselves. These are 1-10 day tickets with all the regular options you’d find at a Disney ticket booth. They do not need to be activated or require the member to be there,

Here is a link to the price list at Shades of Green (the military hotel at WDW) prices on base would be within a dollar:

103 Dave { 02.25.14 at 6:15 pm }

Thanks a million, Steve! I knew you’d know the answer…

104 Jennifer { 03.08.14 at 3:58 pm }

Hi Dave!
My ex husband is active Army and he and I took our boys to Disney together about 3 years ago. I’m looking to take the boys while he’s deployed this next year and I was unsure if the kids would still qualify for the discount although he wouldn’t be with us? Do you know the stipulations of this?

105 Dave { 03.09.14 at 9:58 am }

Jennifer, I will check with an expert, so come back here, but it’s not the kids who qualify–it’s the military member.

106 Steve From - Military Moderator { 03.09.14 at 12:25 pm }

Hi Jennifer,

First, we do not yet know if there will be a Disney Armed Forces Salute next year. The current offer ends on 27 Sept 2014. We most likely won’t know till July if Disney will renew it.

But, Dave is correct, disney discounts are for the member (or spouse in their place) not dependent children.

The Disney Armed Forces Salute has very strict rules on its use. The member must have a ticket of their own besides any for you or the kids. The tickets must be activated at Disney by the member with all members of the party there (this can be done ahead of time).

Baring being able to do that, your next best option is the Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way tickets,

There are two different types of military discounted tickets for Disney. there are the Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets and the Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way tickets.

The Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way tickets are slightly discounted tickets sold by Military Base Ticket Offices and Shades of Green. These are not restricted and he can buy them ahead of time for you without getting one for himself at his base. These are 1-10 day tickets with all the regular options you’d find at a Disney ticket booth.

Here is a link to the price list at Shades of Green (the military hotel at WDW) prices on base would be within a dollar:

Note: there was a recent Disney price increase of about 5% which is not yet (2/9/14) reflected o this page.

107 Jennifer { 03.09.14 at 12:59 pm }

I do understand that. Thanks!

108 Thomas { 03.24.14 at 12:37 am }

Hi there! I really hope I’m not asking a duplicate question, but I didn’t see it above. My father died while on active duty and my mom and I both have Dependant cards. Is she still eligible for the salute tickets?

109 Dave { 03.24.14 at 7:51 am }
110 Steve From - Military Moderator { 03.24.14 at 10:11 am }

Hi Thomas,

Yep, as long as your mother’s military spouse ID is still valid she is eligible fo many discounts. Check the link Dave shared above for all the details.

111 Cheryl { 03.24.14 at 8:40 pm }

My husband is retired military. We are planning to take our daughter and her family to WDW the end of October. Hoping the military discounts will be renewed. If we book 2 rooms (and the discount is renewed) would they have to check in on the same day as we do? My husband is the military member. Their dates don’t quite coinside with ours. Thanks

112 Dave { 03.25.14 at 6:54 am }

Hi Cheryl! I’ve asked Steve, the site’s expert, to weigh in!

113 Steve From - Military Moderator { 03.25.14 at 9:15 am }

Hi there Cheryl,

Those you sponsor (up to 3 additional rooms) need to check in at the same time as you, but their checkout does not need to match yours.

Have fun!

114 Dave { 03.26.14 at 9:06 am }

Thanks, Steve!

115 Angie { 06.20.14 at 7:04 am }

My son in law is an active marine. My husband and I are paying for the entire family to go to disney and we are going to have my son in law purchase the tickets through the military so that we can receive the discounted prices. So here is the question…there are 9 of us, can my daughter (marine spouse) purchase 3 tickets through the Disney Armed Forces Salutes Theme Park Tickets program and my son in law (marine) purchase 6 through the regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way ticket progam?

116 Dave { 06.20.14 at 8:04 am }

Angie, yes–but you would save more with 6 military salute tix, and three regular discount tix…

117 ashley { 08.05.14 at 10:31 pm }

I apologize if this has been answered. My husband passed away in Iraq in 2007. We had one child together. I have since remarried and we were wanting to take my son to disney world in September. I know wdw already told me that my son is not eligible for their salute to service tix. However they told me to contact shades of green. I have called them and left a message. My question is would my son be eligible to purchase the discounted tickets through shades of green with his dependent Id card?

118 Dave { 08.06.14 at 10:00 am }

Ashley, I will ask Steve the military expert to weigh in on this!

119 Steve From - Military Moderator { 08.06.14 at 2:04 pm }

Hi Ashley,

You might be able to do this.

First though, non-spouse dependents are not eligible for the Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets. Only the member, or spouse in their place is. So there is no way you could use these.

You may be able to buy the regular military discounted Magic Your Way tickets from Shades. These will only save you between 4 and 8 percent though depending on length and options.

I say may, because Shades is a military installation and it is no different from asking if he could buy something from the Base Exchange at a base near you. You have to get on base and then the sales person would need to let you pay for his purchase.

Definitely give it a try, as long as you don’t mind waiting until you arrive to get your tickets and foregoing the use of FastPass Plus advance reservations.

120 Dave { 08.07.14 at 6:55 am }

Thanks, Steve!

121 ritz { 11.01.14 at 2:21 pm }

Hey! The link I used to get here said Military/DOD. What discounts. if any, are applicable to current Navy Civilians!?
Thank you very much!

122 Steve From - Military Moderator { 11.02.14 at 10:45 pm }

Hi there Ritz,

DoD civilians can buy tickets at slightly reduced rates at their base ticket offices. They are also eligible to stay at the Shades of Green Resort at WDW and also to buy tickets from Shades at the same slight discount.

Unfortunately they are not eligible for the Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets though, as it takes a current military ID to activate them.

123 Amber { 01.02.15 at 9:37 pm }

Hello! I am a dependent with an active military ID, am I able use my dependent military ID to purchase discounted tickets?

124 Dave { 01.04.15 at 11:10 am }

Amber, sorry–only the eligible military member can.

125 Steve From - Military Moderator { 01.04.15 at 2:47 pm }

Hi Amber,

Tagging in on Dave’s reply. As a dependent you are not eligible for the Disney Armed Forces Salute, but you can go to your local Base Ticket Office and purchase the Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way tickets.

These are way less savings (4-8% off the gate price based on length and options) but can be used without the member being present.

126 Dave { 01.05.15 at 11:58 am }

Thanks, Steve!!

127 Nick { 01.14.15 at 6:42 pm }

Hi I’m in the uk forces (Royal Marines) and will be flying out to orlando in April. I was wondering if sea world and other places still do military discount or free entries?

128 Dave { 01.15.15 at 8:10 am }

Nick, so far as I know they apply to US forces only but I’ll see what I can find out.

129 Steve From - Military Moderator { 01.15.15 at 8:31 am }

Hi Nick,

There are no discounts that I am aware of for non US Forces on holiday (which I’m assuming you will be).

However there are discounts for those stationed at US Bases who have a US issued ID card.

Having said that, it never hurts to show an ID and ask at the ticket booth. Others have had luck doing so.

130 Amanda { 01.23.15 at 8:41 pm }


We are a military family PCSing this summer and will be staying there at the Wilderness Resort…we plan on getting our hoppers through the military rate…do you know of any other military plans we can take advantage of…was there at some point a dining option? Thank you for your help!

131 Dave { 01.24.15 at 9:04 am }

Amanda, major deals are available for military families both on rooms and tickets. I’ve asked Steve to post links to the details…

132 Steve From - Military Moderator { 01.24.15 at 11:49 am }

Hi there Amanda,

Big topic!

First did you get the Disney Armed Forces Salute rate on your reservation at WL? The Salute rate there is 40% off of the regular rack rate.

If not call Disney or your travel agent back to get this rate, you can not do it online.

For all details on the Salute room and ticket discounts see:

Disney itself offers no military discounts on food or dining. Their strong feeling as relayed to me is that they have offered enough with the half off tickets and 30-40% off rooms.

There are a few non-Disney food, merchandise, and entertainment options at Downtown Disney which do offer military discounts. Two of the restaurants are favorites of mine (Raglan Road & House of Blues).


Shades of Green offers military discounted tickets on other WDW and Orlando entertainment/dining options, these are similar to what you’d find at your local ITT.


Hope this helps!

133 Dave { 01.26.15 at 11:48 am }

Thanks Steve–great help as always!!

134 Mississippi Free Tickets To Disney World For Military | Love Cheap Tickets { 02.13.15 at 12:47 am }

[…] Military Families at Walt Disney World – … – … my daughter had an emergency and had to get her appendix removed so my family were not able to use two of the four day tickets. I emailed Disney World as they requested for ticket questions and … I was wondering if sea world and other places still do military discount or free entries … […]

135 Zoe { 04.09.15 at 12:20 pm }

Hey, I have a couple of questions that I hope you can help me with. I have a family of 5 that me and my husband have been saving to take them to WDW. I mention this to my aunt a couple months ago (who is retired military) that we would be visiting her in Florida either at the end of the year or beginning of next year. She mentioned to me that she gets awsome discounts on hotels and tickets for WDW, which has me super excited because that would save us over have of the amount that we were planning on spending. We are planning a week long trip (Sunday thur Sunday) to WDW in a couple of months and my aunt states that she can only be there on Sunday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. My biggest concern is that if she uses here discount for the resort will there be any problems with us staying there the whole 8 days and she is only there partially? And also will there be any problem with us using the tickets with her not being there everyday? Thanks?

136 Dave { 04.10.15 at 8:45 am }

Zoe, this is a little complicated.

The best deals for military folk, at the moment, expire at the end of September 2015. It’s widely expected that they will be renewed, bit that won’t be certain til it happens.

After that, your need for her will depend on the specifics of the deal. For example, a hotel deal for her, if offered, has to include her on the reservation, and she has to check you in. A ticket deal–if offered–will most likely give you only 4 days worth of tickets, she’ll have to buy and activate one herself, and she will have to be physically present the first time you use them.

She does not need to be with you every day, either for tix or hotels…

137 Amanda { 04.22.15 at 1:04 pm }

Hi Dave. My question expands on Zoe’s a little. Our travel circumstance are similar. Family of 5 arriving on a Sunday. Two of them are both retired Air Force. But we have 4 others that won’t be able to arrive until Wednesday night. Will we be able to add a third room & activate 4 additional tickets after both of our retired military members have been there, checked in as guests of the resort & activated their tickets?

138 Dave { 04.23.15 at 8:14 am }

Amanda, so long is the eligible member is still present, yes!!

139 Chelsey { 06.08.15 at 1:20 am }

Hi Dave and Steve!

I am a daughter of a military retiree and my question is: Am I able to purchase the military discounted tickets if I am a dependent (child)? Everywhere I read it says the person in the military or the spouse can, but what about a child? I plan on flying out to Florida for vacation and I would love to visit WDW and Universal Orlando. I am 21 years old and hold a valid military dependent ID. Looking forward to your response. Thank you!

140 James { 06.08.15 at 1:13 pm }

Does anyone know how the Shades of green tickets are coded by credit card companies? I have a barclay Arrival and I was wondering if I can use it to pay for my disney tickets? Thanks

141 Dave { 06.09.15 at 7:50 am }

Chelsey, not the Salute. Steve will weigh in if you can get the “normal” discounted tickets, which are much less valuable.

142 Dave { 06.09.15 at 7:53 am }

James, I don’t understand your question…sorry.

143 Steve From - Military Moderator { 06.09.15 at 5:37 pm }

Hi Chelsey,

Dave is correct, non-spouse dependents are not eligible for the Disney Armed Forces Salute.

But you should be able to buy the Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way tickets from base ticket offices. These do not require an ID at WDW.

If you have no base near you you can contact Camp Pendleton or the Orlando ITT. I recently heard that Pendleton started ordering the regular WDW tickets and also that Orland now ships.

See these posts:



144 Steve From - Military Moderator { 06.09.15 at 5:41 pm }

James, I don’t know what that card is.

Shades accepts visa, master card, amex, discover and diners club.

145 Dave { 06.11.15 at 7:29 am }

Thanks, Steve!!

146 Bill { 06.29.15 at 9:33 pm }

I father is retired military and I have an old dependent card. We planned on doing a family trip to Disney, so he bought me and my wife the salute tickets. We are scheduled to leave in two weeks, but now my dad cannot come! What are the chances that the Disney workers just generally gaze at my ID and activate our tickets? I can’t imagine that they are really grilling the ID if it looks halfway legit. Thanks!

147 Dave { 07.01.15 at 7:54 am }

Bill, I’m gonna ask Steve to weigh in on this, but I don’t think it will work.

148 Steve From - Military Moderator { 07.01.15 at 9:44 am }

Hi Bill,

Sorry but Disney absolutely does check IDs to ensure that only those who are eligible for the Armed Forces Salute discount receive those benefits.

On dependent ID cards Disney cast members are looking for SP (spouse) in the relationship block as non-spouse dependents are not eligible. The member or their spouse are the only ones able to activate Salute tickets.

The intended use of these tickets is for the member (or spouse in their place) to spend time with family and friends in the Disney parks, not to give them away.

As these tickets are non-refundable and your father cannot come, you are in a bit of a bind.

I recommend that you bring the tickets he bought for you, as well as the one he was required to buy for himself along with his receipt for the purchase with you. Also have him write and sign a letter explaining that he is unable to come and would like you to be able to use the purchase price of the Salute tickets towards full price tickets. You should also bring a photocopy if his military ID front and back.

With these items, Disney should allow you to use the tickets towards those that you will need.

149 Nancy { 12.01.15 at 3:30 pm }

Hello! I will be going to Disneyland with my husband (military service member), our kids and friends next week. We purchased the military salute tickets for us and our friends. Unfortunately, our friends arrive at a later time than us (only a few hours) but we didn’t want to waste the day away so we wanted to bring our kids to the park in the morning before our friends arrived. Can we still go into the park then activate our friends tickets a few hours later when they arrive? Or do we all have to be together at the first time activating? I called and someone at Disney said they needed to be all together the first time, however, I read online as long as the tickets were still active we could activate our friends tickets at a later time.

150 Steve From - Military Moderator { 12.01.15 at 6:23 pm }

Hi Nancy,

Yes you can activate your family’s tickets first and then go back late with your friends after they arrive.

There is some old history with the whole party being required to be there the first time, but that is long gone.

151 Nancy { 12.01.15 at 8:32 pm }

Thanks Steve! That’s such a relief to hear! I was worried when I called and the person I spoke to at Disney told me it wasn’t allowed and that everyone had to be present.

152 Dave { 12.02.15 at 8:09 am }

Thanks, Steve!!

153 Vanessa { 12.03.15 at 6:32 pm }

Hello – need help! I am a recently divorced spouse of active duty member. we have two kids and my planned vacation just got a hick-up. I was told that we cannot activate the tickets because my ex is not with us. Also, apparently now I cannot purchase additional tickets because I don’t have an ID. But my children do. Need help on what to do?? Are there any other options?

154 Dave { 12.05.15 at 4:44 pm }

Vanessa, I’m going to ask Steve to weigh in on this…

155 Steve From - Military Moderator { 12.05.15 at 4:58 pm }

Hi Vanessa,

It is correct that now that you aren not a military spouse you can not participate in the Disney Armed Forces Salute (activate the tickets). As you said, your ex or another member or spouse would have to go with you to activate the tickets.

You can take your kids by a base ticket office or Shades of Green and buy the Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way tickets for them with their IDs, and perhaps you too (depends on the seller).

Here are Shades prices (bases are very similar):

156 Jenny { 12.13.15 at 10:17 pm }

Hi Steve,

My husband was retired from the army and passed away earlier this year. Is it possible for me and our kids to receive the military discounts and stay at Shades of Green?

Thanks in advance.

157 Dave { 12.14.15 at 11:04 am }

Jenny, I’m checking in with Steve, so look for his response.

158 Steve From - Military Moderator { 12.14.15 at 1:00 pm }

Absolutely Jenny!

As long as you remain un-remarried you will be eligible for Both Shades of Green and the Disney Armed Forces Salute discounts.

You’ll need your current military ID to prove eligibility .

159 Jenny { 12.14.15 at 10:05 pm }

Thanks so much, Steve & Dave. I wonder if it’s advisable to you use booking agent or go it alone?

160 Dave { 12.17.15 at 7:49 am }

Jenny, many people find that a travel agent helps with their first visit. Kelly is the travel agent who helps with this site.

161 Amy { 01.16.16 at 9:17 pm }

Hi! Question about the Salute tickets for Disneyland. My husband is in the Air Force currently away on training. Already this year I have taken myself and our children plus extended family to Disneyland (used salute discount for me plus 5). Now my husband is talking about going again in October. Since I activated our tickets earlier this year and he will activate the ones in October. Would we still be able to use the Salute discount?

162 Dave { 01.17.16 at 8:52 am }

Amy, I have asked Steve to weigh in.

163 Steve From - Military Moderator { 01.17.16 at 11:44 am }

Hi Amy,

The Disney Armed Forces Salute ticket limit is 6 per military member during each Salute offer period. The spouse may use those 6 in place of the member not in addition to.

When you say this year, do you mean 2016?

The last Salute ended 20 Dec 2015 and the current one started on 3 January 2016.

If the trip you took was in 2015, he still has his 6 tickets available for the 2016 offer. If however you went in the last 2 weeks, he is done for Salute tickets (at Disneyland) until and if another offer comes out for 2017.

The Walt Disney World and Disneyland offers are totally separate though and even if he has used up his Disneyland tickets for 2016, he still has 6 available at WDW.

There are also the Regular Military Discounted Disney Tickets which offer slight savings off of the gate price with no limits on the amount you can purchase. See:

164 marcie { 01.26.16 at 12:25 pm }

I am concerned w privacy issues. How does Walt D World track your military ID with the salute tickets to ensure your family only uses 6 per activation per year etc. I heard they also fingerprint scan. It just seems w all the Identity theft going on that I might be putting myself at risk. Do they link the tickets to my mil I’D # or ss# when they active? Or will the MWR do this (which seems safer). Thanks for your help.

165 Dave { 01.27.16 at 8:21 am }

Marcie, I’ll ask Steve to weigh in.

166 Steve From - Military Moderator { 01.27.16 at 8:56 am }

Hi Marcie,

Rest assured that you are at no additional risk using the Disney Armed Forces Salute compared to say shopping at Target or being a DoD employee. You are actually better off!

Base ticket offices have nothing to do with tracking the ticket limit. In fact some will go ahead and happily sell you tickets that you will be unable to use, after you have reached your limit. Disney does the tracking.

In this modern age all electronic data is a target, but Disney asks for only the most basic information to track ticket usage: name, address, email. They have no access to any DoD system such as the DEERS database. Your ID is only looked at to prove eligibility.

Disney has been doing this since 2009 and literally hundreds of thousands of military members have successfully used this offer with no privacy issues that I have ever heard of.

As far as fingerprinting when you place your finger on a reader. The system, which utilizes the technology of biometrics, takes an image of your finger, converts the image into a unique numerical value (called a Ticket Tag) and immediately discards the image. The numerical value is recalled when you use Ticket Tag with the same ticket to re-enter or visit another Park. Ticket Tag does not store fingerprints.

Children under 10 do not need to use this system

If you are still concerned you can opt to show a picture ID that matches the name on the ticket rather than using Ticket Tag. Be aware for larger parties this slows everything down and will inconvenience people behind you.

For more see this page (near the bottom, look for Ticket Tag):

Hundreds of thousands of people use Disney’s Ticket Tag system daily.

You place yourself at more at risk applying for a US government security clearance.

Hope this helps reassure you!

167 marcie { 01.27.16 at 2:34 pm }

Thanks for the reply!

168 Alicia { 02.16.16 at 8:01 pm }

I am going to purchase the salute tickets for my family. We have a 2 year old. I understand that he doesn’t need a ticket but what do I use to link his magic band to our fast passes/tickets?

169 Dave { 02.17.16 at 9:27 am }

Alicia, you don’t. He just comes along with you…

170 angie { 03.18.16 at 1:20 am }

We planned a weeklong trip next month to Disney world. My husband is medically retired, and has the blue card.
We just realized his id is expired!!!! We will not be able to have it renewed by our trip. Do you think if we bring his DD214 when we check in the resort we should be ok? We cannot afford this trip otherwise. I cannot believe this happened. Please help.

171 Steve From - Military Moderator { 03.18.16 at 4:24 pm }

Hi Angie,

No unfortunately a DD-214 is not acceptable. You will have to get his ID renewed in order to use the Disney Armed Forces Salute discounts.

Unless your ID still valid. If so then you are still eligible.

172 Ashley { 03.28.16 at 10:51 pm }

Hi! I’ve read several comments, but I wanted to be completely sure of the Salute tickets program. My dad is retired military, and is going to buy the 4 day park hopper pass for my family of 4 and himself. Does he have to “activate” the tickets every day and be present with us? Or can he activate the tickets just the first day?
Also, are nonremarried ex spouses of retired military eligible for the salute tickets? Thanks so much!!

173 Steve From - Military Moderator { 03.30.16 at 4:47 pm }

Hi Ashley,

The Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets are only activated once. After the activation the member does not need to accompany their party. See full activation detains here:

Your second question is a little apples and oranges so I’ll provide 2 answers.

Former spouses who are divorced from military members are never eligible, no matter their subsequent marital status.

Non-remarried widows of eligible members are eligible.

174 Kora { 04.18.16 at 4:40 pm }

My husband bought tickets for us, the kids and my Mom, and we should be going next month. However, my om has just been diagnosed with cancer and will not be able to make it due to being so close to surgery and we are unable to postpone the trip due to other family members flying in from Europe for the same vacation. I understand the armed forces salute tickets are non refundable, but would we be able to exchange them for Disney dollars?

175 Steve From - Military Moderator { 04.19.16 at 8:20 pm }

Hi Kora,

It never hurts to ask! The only consideration on Salute tickets that can’t be used that I’ve ever heard of, is Disney allowing you to use the purchase price towards full price tickets.

But definitely ask once there, and escalate politely to management if needed. Bring documents to verify your situation.

176 Angie { 05.28.16 at 5:32 pm }

I am planning a trip for myself and my children for March 2017. My husband was active duty Air Force and passed away in 2008. My question is are there any special offers for Gold Star Children? thank you for any and all information.

177 Steve From - Military Moderator { 06.02.16 at 5:00 pm }

Hi Angie,

No, unfortunately there is no discount for Gold Star Families. Do you still have a current spouse ID? If do you are eligible for all military discounts.

Hope this helps!

178 Michelle { 07.11.16 at 2:48 pm }

If I have (6) 2015 Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets thatI wasn’t able to use, can I purchase (6) 2016 Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets and use all (12) tickets in 2016 at one time?

179 Dave { 07.13.16 at 7:58 am }

Michelle, I’ve asked Steve to weigh in, so stay posted…

180 Steve From - Military Moderator { 07.13.16 at 7:21 pm }

Hi Michelle,

I’m so sorry to say that the 2015 tickets have expired, cannot be used, and have no monetary value at all.

Having said that, you can always try to get them to let you use the value of the tickets towards the 2016 Salute tickets or full price ones. Bring the old tickets, receipt, and any written documentation as to why you could not go i.e. leave slip with a disapproval, hospital bills, etc.

Good luck!

181 Mick Hayes { 08.13.16 at 1:46 pm }

Hi I am a British serving member of the Armed forces on holiday here in Orlando with my family, I am wondering if there are any discount for seaworld ?? Friends of ours that have been here in the past have informed us we can have free entry to either seaworld or bush gardens using my ID card, Mick

182 Dave { 08.14.16 at 1:58 pm }

Mick, I don’t track Sea World, but have reached out to someone who does.

183 Mick { 08.14.16 at 2:18 pm }

Many thanks, we have universal passes for2 weeks and have been to gatorland can you suggest anywhere else we might enjoy ??

184 Steve - YFV Military Moderator { 08.15.16 at 5:27 pm }

Hi Mick,

While there is no official military discount for non-US forces, I have reports of some success just showing your county’s military ID at the SeaWorld gate.

185 Mick { 08.15.16 at 9:04 pm }

Thank you for your help will give it ago.

186 Brandon { 08.30.16 at 2:13 pm }

Hey my cousin is in the military and she wants to buy me the 4 day pass for me and my boyfriend would she be able to come to the park to just activate the tickets for us and leave. Also would she have to activate the ticket each day or would that one activation be in affect for all for days?

187 Dave { 08.30.16 at 6:09 pm }

Brandon, she needs to be with you only for your first use of these tickets, not each day (she also has to buy one for herself and activate it too, even if she has no plans to use it).

188 Brandon { 08.30.16 at 9:39 pm }

Thank you so much. So after its activated i can go to the different parks without her

189 Dave { 08.31.16 at 12:05 pm }

Exactly, Brandon.

190 Aaron { 09.25.16 at 2:30 am }

I am a US Army medically retired veteran on the permanent disability list (PDRL) and not a career (20yr) retired vet. I read the website and the Shades of Green website and it is a little confusing. I have the blue id card DD form 2 and it only say US Army Retired and expiration date is INDEF with my rank that I separated with and my DOD ID number. The web site has the listing for retired and says paid or non paid as being a (grey area). I had to forfeit my retirement pay for my disability pay so I do not have LES forms to print out. I was just wanting to make sure that Shades of Green will uphold my reservation and I don’t get a big surprise when I go to check in when I go in Oct 2016.

191 Steve From - Military Moderator { 09.26.16 at 11:30 am }

Hi Aaron,

You are retired with a retired ID. That is all that matters, the medical part does not matter if you have a retired ID, just for those who are not retired but 100%DAVPRM.

Also the paid/no-paid (grey area) is applicable to retired reserve and guard, not retired active.

Hope this helps

192 Dave { 09.26.16 at 2:29 pm }

Thanks Steve!!

193 Aly Alv { 10.17.16 at 9:40 pm }


I am planning on taking my daughter to Disney this January 2017… Her father is an Army Reservist and she has her own ID, she us 4 years old… My question is, can she have discount on her tickets? At least just for her? Or does her dad needs to be there?

194 Dave { 10.18.16 at 2:27 pm }

Aly are you married to her dad?

195 Steve From - Military Moderator { 10.22.16 at 1:20 pm }

Hi Aly,

Assuming you are divorced. If so your daughter would be eligible to buy the slightly discounted Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way Tickets from Base Ticket Offices or Shades of Green for the both of you.

She is not however qualified for the Disney Armed Forces Salute highly discounted tickets.

196 John { 11.29.16 at 11:21 pm }

My immediate family size is 6 but have family visiting and have booked a trip to Orlando. With that said, i have a total of 11 people going to disney. I was able to acquire 11 4-day hopper tickets. Will our party not be able to use the 11 tickets or will they allow us to only use 6 and not use the remaining? If this is the case, what do i do with the remaining 5 tickets?

197 Dave { 11.30.16 at 9:56 am }

John I’m asking an expert to weigh in.

198 Steve From - Military Moderator { 11.30.16 at 8:08 pm }

Hi there John,

First, I’m assuming you have Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets. There are other less restrictive and more expensive military tickets…

If you and your wife had 9 dependent children you could activate all 11 Salute tickets.

But based upon your question I fear that is not the case.

The limit otherwise is 6 Salute tickets per eligible member.

Rather than retype the whole answer here, I’ll refer you to a recent post on my site. While this post is directed to those who were essentially ditched by the military sponsor, the advice that starts in the “Tickets You Can’t Activate” section is applicable to your extra 5 tickets.

The Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way Tickets mentioned in the post have no limits so if you do get a refund prior to departure, get those. If you are left to ask Disney for a credit upon arrival you will limited to full price tickets.

For the documentation that I mention in the post make the Base Ticket Office give you a letter stating they refuse to refund the money for tickets that you can’t use (if they won’t give you a refund).

Please touch base with me (on my site) afterwards to give intel for other’s use!!!

p.s. Oh also you could attempt to sell the unusable Salute tickets to an eligible member who still has the ability to use 5 tickets. Note I never recommend that people buy tickets in this way (unless they know the seller) as it could be a rip off or scam.

199 Laura { 12.04.16 at 7:25 pm }

Hi, my husband and I are meeting our daughter (active Air Force) at shades of Green in January. We are flying into Sanford Airport and she is flying into MCO. We arrive hours before her. I know she has to be there to check in but is there a place on the resort that we can wait for her to arrive?

200 Dave { 12.05.16 at 1:08 pm }

Laura, I believe you can wait in the lobby, but will check. (If you can’t you can wait at the Polynesian, across the street.)

201 Steve From - Military Moderator { 12.06.16 at 10:15 am }

Hi Laura,

It should be no problem your waiting for her in the lobby as Dave mentioned, or checking out the grounds or restaurants. You will not however be able to make purchases in the AAFES Store without an ID.

Have your daughter forward you the confirmation email to print and take with you.

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