By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.

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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.

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1 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.

2 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?

3 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).

4 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

5 Dave { 08.31.16 at 12:05 pm }

Exactly, Brandon.

6 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.

7 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

8 Dave { 09.26.16 at 2:29 pm }

Thanks Steve!!

9 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?

10 Dave { 10.18.16 at 2:27 pm }

Aly are you married to her dad?

11 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.

12 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?

13 Dave { 11.30.16 at 9:56 am }

John I’m asking an expert to weigh in.

14 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.

15 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?

16 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.)

17 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.

18 Ashley Hilton { 02.11.18 at 9:12 am }

Hi I’m ex armed forces uk . Is they any discount for uk ex forces ? Also where can I buy tickets from please for me a my family if we are entitled to a discount

19 Dave { 02.12.18 at 6:33 am }

Hi Ashley, not that I am aware of.

20 Jerry Lupo { 03.24.18 at 8:49 am }

Hello I am a gold star parent and have a state issued ID card with photo I summited my sons DD 1300 in order to get this card am I entitled to discounted tickets to the parks.

21 Steve From - Military Moderator { 03.24.18 at 9:53 am }

Hi there Jerry,

I’m so sorry for your loss!

You are eligible to stay at Shades of Green, the military resort at WDW. You may also buy military discounted tickets at their Ticket Office (except the special Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets which require a current or retired ID for use).

However State issued IDs are not valid proof for these discounts. You will need to obtain a DD 1173.

Below is from Shades website:

“The Survivors’ Family Program extends to eligible Family members who have suffered a loss of an Active Duty sponsor regardless of the cause.  A DD Form 1173 with “AD” in the Sponsor Service/Status field in combination with “DB” (DOD Beneficiary) or CH (Child Beneficiary) in the Relationship field on identification cards is required.  
The Survivors’ Family Discount Program provides a 50 percent discount from normal room rates by applicable rate category.  The discount applies to additional occupants and up to three guest rooms.  Survivors’ Family discount requires the Survivors’ Family Member with a military identification card to make/confirm reservations and be the primary occupant.  
The Survivors’ Family Program extends to sponsored guests accompanying the Survivors’ Family Member with a DD Form 1173.  Stays under the Survivor Family Program are limited to a maximum 14 nights in duration.  Discounts are applicable on guest room(s) only, cannot be combined with any other offer, and may be limited to certain locations and time periods at the discretion of the General Manager.”

22 Kelly { 06.10.19 at 9:36 am }

We are going to WDW in November. I work for the Department of Defense but am a civilian. Last year around September they extended the Armed Forces Salute Ticket to DoD Civilians. I have not heard anything about that happening this year but what are your thoughts on this? Should I go ahead and purchase our tickets now or should I wait until closer to September? My fear is missing out on the opening day of being able to pick our FastPasses.

23 Dave { 06.10.19 at 11:16 am }

Hi Kelly, I am pretty sure that last year was the first time this happened, and with Disney opening the highly-anticipated Star Wars land in late August, I would be very surprised to see it repeated for 2019.

24 Reporting For Duty At • Military Disney Tips Blog { 03.28.20 at 2:39 pm }

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

25 Sylvia Castillo Mendez { 06.20.21 at 6:08 pm }

Hi, we are thinking of going to Disney World in between mid October to end of December 2021. It will be 2 adults 1 senior (wife of a deceased Veteran) 2 to 3 children ages, 6, 7. and 13. Need to know more on Military packages. my Grand daughter and I will be celebrating our birthdays there in the park. Can you please assist me, thank you. Sylvia

26 Dave { 06.23.21 at 9:56 am }

Hi Sylvia, the best place for military related material on Disney World is my friend Steve’s MilitaryDisneyTips

27 Sylvia Castillo Mendez { 06.20.21 at 6:09 pm }

Survivor of a Veteran in the Army. first time going. Had always gone to Disneyland in Anaheim CA.

28 Sandra Williams { 05.20.23 at 7:37 pm }

hi i want to know about the veterans discount for the Orlando theme park tickets,my dad was a veterans and i’m his daughter can i used his DD number to get the discounts on the theme tickets.he was honorably discharge from service. he passed away, thank you

29 Dave { 05.25.23 at 9:55 am }

Hi Sandra, Disney World does not have veteran tickets. I don’t know enough about the other parks (Universal, Sea World) to advise you. Sorry.

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