Making Disney Affordable for Troops
Photo copyright The Walt Disney Company/Gene Duncan, photographer Naval officers Lt. James Corbett (top, center) and Lt. Cmdr. Erin Duffy (bottom, center), of Maryland, take a whirl on Cinderella's Golden Carrousel with daughters Maggie (left, age 5) and Aoife (center, age 8 months) and son Dessie (age 2). As Disney Parks ask “What Will You Celebrate?” and invite guests to turn their personal milestones into magical family vacations in 2009, America’s military personnel will have one more reason to celebrate: Free multi-day admission to Disney’s U.S. theme parks. In 2009, Disney Parks, including the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., have embraced a new travel trend called "celebration vacations" by adding new entertainment and add-on services that allow guests to turn personal milestones such as birthdays and anniversaries into magical Disney memories.

WASHINGTON – A Disney vacation just got more affordable.

With the “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute” offer, active and retired U.S. military personnel, including active members of the United States Coast Guard and activated members of the National Guard or Reserves, can enjoy complimentary, multi-day admission into Disney’s U.S. theme parks, and additional special ticket offers for family members and friends.

“For so many of the men and women who serve in our U.S. military, time together with their families is cause enough for celebration,” said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “We are grateful for their service and hope ‘Disney’s Armed Forces Salute’ will allow our troops to create wonderful, magical memories with their family and friends.”

Shades of Green, a resort hotel on Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., is open exclusively to servicemembers, retirees, defense civilians, and their families. It is a safe haven for military families whether they’re reintegrating after an overseas deployment, having one last “family fling” before mom or dad deploys, or simply getting away for a weekend.

Shades of Green is an Armed Forces Recreation Center hotel run by the Army’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command based in Alexandria, Va. The command’s mission is to provide soldiers and their families with the same quality of life they are sworn to protect. Rates are set on a sliding scale, based on rank, and with no shareholders to answer to or profits to be made, the rates are kept remarkably low.

At the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, through Dec. 23, each active or retired member of the U.S. military may obtain one free five-day “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute” ticket with “Park Hopper” and water park options. The ticket is valid for five days of admission into the four Walt Disney World theme parks, plus a total of five visits to a choice of a Disney water park, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park or certain other attractions.

During this offer period, active or retired U.S. military personnel also may make a one-time purchase up to five “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute Companion” tickets – good for five days – for $99 each, plus tax, for family members or friends. Although this ticket for family members and friends does not include either the Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More options, it can be upgraded to add either such option, or both, for an additional $25, plus tax, per option. All tickets and options are nontransferable and must be used by Dec. 23.

A similar offer is in place at Walt Disney Land in California. More information is available at installation ITT/ITR offices.

Fort Lee Info

The Fort Lee Information, Tickets and Travel office has a further reduction in rate for the five-day Family and friends passes the military members can purchase.

Each military member can then purchase up to five “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute Companion” tickets – good for five days. This ticket for family members and friends does not include either the Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More options, it can be upgraded to add either such option, or both.

If bought through the Walt Disney Resort in Florida, these tickets will run $99 initially, and $25 for each added option. If purchased through the Fort Lee ITT office, the tickets will cost $95 for the base ticket, $118 to add the Park Hopper and $143 for the Park Hopper and Water Park all inclusive ticket.

Fort Lee members should order their tickets 10-14 business days prior to the vacation to ensure ticket delivery.

Military members can also reserve their stay at the Shades of Green resort hotel through the ITT office.

For details, call (804) 765-3789.

– Staff Reports