A trip to Disneyland or Disney World has been a staple for vacationing families for decades. Those who think Disney vacations are too expensive may not know is that Disney Parks offer excellent military discounts on the biggest expenses.
Military Family Central’s Adrienne May visited Disney World this Summer and saved a lot of money by taking advantage of military discounts along the way. Check out this guide to getting the most out of your discounts and tips to get the most out of your trip to Disney.
When I asked Adrienne how she saved on her Disney vacation, she said, “The number one thing to do is save on flights or driving there, if you live farther away. We got tickets on a deal for $99 – we actually drove to a further airport to get the deal but it was worth it. Pick your dates based on when you can get the best airfare, the Disney deals are the same year round.”
Unfortunately, military discounts on travel are difficult to pin down exactly. Many airlines have military discounts available, but they are on a call-in basis. Similarly, car rental agencies offer several military discounts that vary greatly depending on your needs. To learn what may be available and who to call, check out the travel section in our Deals & Discounts guide.
Check out civilian and military discounts to see which is better when it comes to travel and don’t be afraid to drive a little farther to an airport if the tickets are significantly cheaper.
So now that you’ve arrived, you’re going to need a place to stay. While we’ve all heard stories about how expensive Disney hotels can be, Adrienne saved big staying in the park and got to enjoy the great conveniences that come with it.
“Stay in-resort, you will get a fabulous military discount (40% for all resorts) and you will save in convenience and travel expenses.”
More information about the 40% discount for military families in 2012 and 2013 can be found on Disney’s Special Offers page.
Park tickets are another way to save big using your military discount. Through the Armed Forces Salute, four-day park hopper passes go for $156 a person, a huge savings compared with buying tickets outright. Even better, a military member can purchase up to six tickets at the discounted price.
The park hopping pass available to military members and their families is essentially half off what a typical four-day pass would cost and you can add a water park option to your tickets for less than $30 a person. This discount was recently extended to 2013 so military families can enjoy the discount for another year.
Dining is the forgotten pocketbook killer of most family vacations. Where as you can have a small lunch at home on the cheap, you’re lucky to get away from a theme park hot dog stand without spending $15 a person. Keep this in mind when you’re looking at the meal plans offered through Disney.
You may think that there’s no way to break the bank on food, but you’ll find out after one day in the park it’s not such a stretch. Ask a booking agent or concierge about setting up your meal plan upon arrival because meal plans purchased with hotel rooms can earn an extra 20 percent off. Adrienne echoed this importance, saying that even Mickey-shaped ice cream is covered in the snacks part of your meal plan.
Souvenirs are also a great way to save on your Disney vacation. Unfortunately, this discount is all on you and not a percentage off at the register. Consider what you really want as a keepsake to remember a fun time as opposed to what you want to buy because you saw everyone else in the store had one. Think twice before you stop to get everyone you’ve ever met a Mickey t-shirt or order the 50-pack of photos from Splash Mountain and you can save a bundle.
Saving on these five expenses will have you enjoying all the fun at Disney World or Disneyland without worrying about breaking open any piggy banks when you get home.
Photos courtesy Adrienne May