TMSM Explains Disney’s Armed Forces Salute Program

Mickey-Mouse-USAWe get a lot of questions about Disney’s military ticket program the Armed Forces Salute (AFS) so today I wanted to take a few moments to share those questions, and their answers in hopes of helping military travelers.

What is the Armed Forces Salute?
The Armed Forces Salute is a program run by Disney offered to US Military Active Duty and Retirees and their families to thank them for their service. The program offers qualifying individuals room discounts and special priced Disney park tickets.

Who qualifies for the AFS program?
To qualify for the AFS program you must be an Active Duty US Military member, US Military Retiree or an 100% disabled Veteran or the spouse of one of those qualifiers. Currently the AFS program is not offered to Veterans that did not comlete 20 years of active duty service, or that are not considered 100% disabled by the Veterans Administration. Because a DOD issued ID is required to purchase and activate AFS tickets and at check in for resort rooms using the AFS discount, Disney was nice enough to put out this handy graphic to help with the confusion.

indexWhen does the current AFS offer expire?
The current program ends September 27, 2014. The 2014/2015 program starts September 28, 2014 and will end October 3, 2015.

disney-2012What is the AFS room discount? And how can I book it?
The AFS room discount offers discounts on select rooms at Disney resorts. Rooms have limited availability, and some resorts are excluded from the special. To check rates and availability guests (or their Travel Agent) must call Disney Travel Corporation with travel dates and general guest information.

At Walt Disney World the discount percent is based on the type of hotel (Value, Moderate, or Deluxe):

  • 40% off Deluxe Resorts
  • 35% off Moderates and Fort Wilderness Cabins
  • 30% off Value Resorts including Art of Animation (except Little Mermaid rooms)

At Disneyland the discount percent is based on the hotel itself:

  • 40% off at the Grand Californian
  • 35% off at the Disneyland Hotel
  • 30% of at the Paradise Pier

How many AFS rooms can a Military member reserve at one time and are their blockout dates to this offer?

  • Walt Disney AFS Guests can reserve up to three rooms per reservation. Blockout Dates are 11/27-11/29; 12/24-12/31; 3/30-4/4.
  • Disneyland AFS Guests can reserve up to two rooms per reservation. Blockout Dates are 11/17-11/29; 12/24-12/31; 3/30-4/4.

At both locations Valid Military ID will be required upon check-in and the military member (or spouse) must stay in at least one room reserved.

1495127_10201648678993638_112182833_oHow much are AFS tickets?
The 4-day Walt Disney World AFS Park Hopper is $177, and for $30 more the Water Park Fun & More option can be added on.
The 3-day Disneyland AFS Park Hopper is $132.
There is no discounted rate on AFS tickets for children 3-9 like with “standard” rate Disney park tickets.

Where can I buy AFS tickets?
Your local bases’ ITT office and the park ticket office for WDW or DL. Another option at WDW is SoG.

How many AFS tickets can qualifying families buy?
Per the Disney site: “No more than six (6) Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased and (if applicable) activated by any Eligible Service Member or spouse (regardless of the place of purchase and whether purchased by that person or that person’s spouse). In addition, one of the six (6) Tickets purchased must be used by the Eligible Service Member or his/her spouse.”

How do AFS tickets work at Walt Disney World?
You can add your AFS voucher to your MDE account prior to activation to allow you to select your FastPass+ options, but you still need to take the vouchers (ours were green in August) to the park ticket counter to activate them with your DOD ID. Once your tickets are activated you won’t need to show your DOD again, but should still carry it if you are active duty.
What was rather neat for use when we activated the AFS tickets we had, even though the tickets we had were attached to MagicBands through MDE they still gave us the RFID Fab Four plastic park tickets, which became a great bonus souvenir.

How do AFS tickets work at Disneyland?
Because Disneyland still lacks biometrics at their gates they take guests photos with a customized iPod and your photo is compared at each gate entry. You will need to activate your AFS vouchers at the ticket counter, but be prepared; Disneyland can ask to see your DOD ID again at any re-entry. Also, don’t forget if you are hopping, or leaving the park for the day and planning on returning you still need to get your park reentry hand stamp the first time you leave the park each day. AFS tickets are not valid for Magic Morning early entry admission.

Do AFS Tickets have blockout dates?
Yes!  Walt Disney World AFS ticket blockouts are 12/22/14-1/2/15 (No Theme or Water Park Use) and 3/29-4/9/15 (No Theme or Water Park Use).
Disneyland AFS ticket blockouts dates are 12/25/14-1/4/15 (No Theme Park Use) and 3/29-4/9/15 (No Theme Park Use).

When will the 2015/2016 programs be announced?
As no special is quartered until Disney announces it, we can’t guarantee there will be a 2015/2016 program. But because this program is so popular, and Disney’s way of saying thank you to our Military members, based on historic announcement dates the next program would probably be announced in Mid-Late July 2015.

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