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The Military Ticket Secrets You Have to Know

Summer is fast approaching, and with it, comes school breaks, hot weather, and vacation planning.

For military families, a Disney vacation can bring such happiness and relief to Guests that are often separated through deployments and training, with the Military Salute Tickets providing amazing discounts.

With theme parks reopening most entertainment, attractions, and experiences after the pandemic, there’s no better time to plan a big theme park trip to Florida. But before you do, make sure you know what military discounts you’re eligible for at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Busch Gardens, and SeaWorld.

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Credit: Disney Tips

Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World loves the military, and very often, you will find special military discounts for both Disney Resort Hotels and Disney Park tickets. 

Eligible active and retired U.S. military personnel can enjoy exclusive rates at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for stays most nights through December 16, 2022, as well as the beloved Disney Military Salute Tickets for Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

For the Resort discounts, the minimum stay is 1 night and the maximum stay is 14 nights. The number of rooms for the offer is limited, and valid Military I.D. must be presented upon check-in and the military member or their spouse must stay in the hotel room. This military discount excludes The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

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Credit: Disney Tips

Disney also, of course, offers 4 and 5-Day Military Salute Tickets, available to purchase at U.S. Military Bases, Shades of Green, and Walt Disney World Resort theme park windows. The prices for the Military Salute Tickets this year are:

5-Day Disney Military Salute Tickets

  • With the Park Hopper Option: $349 plus tax
  • With the Park Hopper Plus Option: $379 plus tax
  • With the Park Hopper Option and Disney Genie+ service: $424 plus tax
  • With the Park Hopper Plus Option and Disney Genie+ service: $454 plus tax

4-Day Disney Military Salute Tickets

  • With the Park Hopper Option: $329 plus tax
  • With the Park Hopper Plus Option: $359 plus tax
  • With the Park Hopper Option and Disney Genie+ service: $389 plus tax
  • With the Park Hopper Plus Option and Disney Genie+ service: $419 plus tax

For comparison, a standard 4-Day Park Hopper Disney ticket costs between $540 – $688 plus tax, saving United States Armed Forces members between $211 and $359!

Both a theme park reservation via the new Disney Park Pass system and a valid theme park ticket for the same Park on the same date are required for each Guest ages 3 and up. Military members can also purchase the Memory Maker product for a special price of $98 through December 16, 2022.

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Credit: Disney Tips

For 2022, the Salute tickets now include a Disney Genie+ option, adding $60 to a 4-Day Park Hopper ticket. The Disney Parks Blog explains how to purchase these special military theme park tickets and discounted hotel rates:

Military Promotional Theme Park Tickets can be purchased at your local base ticket office or via email from Shades of Green, an Armed Forces Recreation Center Resort located right on Walt Disney World. These tickets must be activated once you arrive at the Walt Disney World Resort, so be sure to stop by Guest Relations and show your military ID to activate each ticket. 

When you begin your search for a resort, you’ll need to call (407) 939-7830 to inquire about availability for military discounts on Disney Resorts Collection hotel rooms. To maximize availability, be flexible with your dates and resort hotel options. 

Another perk for military members is the Shades of Green Resort hotel located on Disney World property at Lake Buena Vista. The Military Hotel is owned and operated by the Department of Defense, and has a unique price structure. Shades has just three room rate categories, which are based upon the military member’s pay grade.

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Credit: Shades of Green

Shades of Green’s hotel rates are constant year-round, with members of the United States Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army, and other military units all getting to enjoy fair prices based on their income.

Guests at Shades of Green can access Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks as part of Walt Disney World’s Early Entry and Extended Evening Hours programs. This matches the benefits enjoyed by Guests staying at Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resorts at Walt Disney World.

Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando, featuring two theme parks (Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure), Volcano Bay water park, Universal CityWalk, eight Loews Hotels, and the upcoming Epic Universe Park, also salutes the military.

Universal Orlando Resort offers active duty and retired United States service members specially priced tickets and vacation packages. Eligible Guests must present a current military or Department of Defense identification at any participating Authorized Military Ticket & Travel office to receive the offer, including Active Duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, Reservists, and their spouses, Retired Military service members and spouses, and
Department of Defense Civilians.

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Credit: Universal

Universal offers the Military Freedom Pass Promotional Ticket, a ticket that works like an Annual Pass and is available for use every day from November 11, 2021 through December 31. 2022.

The special military annual pass has no blackout dates and must be purchased by December 27, 2022. Guests can choose from 2-Park or 3-Park options and can purchase up to six promotional tickets. To activate the Freedom Pass, Guests must present a valid Military photo ID at any Universal Orlando theme park front gate ticket window.

And best of all? These Freedom Passes for Universal Studios Orlando start at only $199.99!

Universal Orlando

Photo Credit: FamilyVacationCritic

Universal Orlando also offers military members 40% off stays at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and 30% off stays at other Universal hotels, including Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Universal’s Aventura Hotel, Endless Summer Dockside Inn and Suites and Surfside Inn and Suites.

Active duty and retired military can also book a Universal Florida vacation with packages that combine hotel and theme park tickets. These are called the “Military Create Your Own Vacation Package”, and allow Guests to customize everything from hotel, theme park admission, airfare, and other add-ons – starting at $89 per person, per night, based on a family of four.

There is also the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter Exclusive Vacation Package” for military members, a Harry Potter-focused offer featuring the two magical lands: Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida. For booking information visit your Authorized Military Ticket & Travel Office or call (877) 801-9720.

Busch Gardens and SeaWorld

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and SeaWorld Orlando offer the best military offer – admission is completely free!

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment has the Waves of Honor Complimentary Admission program, “a tribute to the men and women of the U.S. armed forces including active duty military, reserve soldiers, airmen, Marines, sailors and Coast Guardsmen.”

Waves of Honor permits any United States Active Duty military, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman to one complimentary admission per year to either SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, or Sesame Place for military personnel and as many as three direct dependents.

Service members and their dependents, of course, must have a valid active military ID in order to participate. Sadly, inactive, standby, and retired reserve members, military retirees, U.S. Merchant Marine and civilian Department of Defense workers are ineligible for the program.

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Credit: Fox 13 Tampa Bay

To qualify for this free theme park ticket promotion, Guests must be registered with ID.me. The offer is valid for one Park and one visit only.

Busch Gardens, an animal-themed safari theme park with multiple roller coasters including the new Iron Gwazi hybrid coaster, is located about an hour’s drive from the Orlando area. Military members are still required to pay the $30 per vehicle parking fee.

SeaWorld Parks and Resorts Orlando is made of the SeaWorld theme park, Discovery Cove and Aquatica water park. SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and Universal Studios Resorts do not require Park reservations like their competitor Walt Disney World currently does.

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Credit: SeaWorld Orlando

So, as a military member, next time you’re planning a Disney vacation, Universal adventure, or SeaWorld exploration, remember to check what military discounts you’re eligible for before you go! You never know, a free theme park may be waiting.

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who loves to enjoy Disney's theme parks with a Mickey Premium Bar in hand! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her Air Force pilot husband. Find her children's book at @thebearandthehug_book