TMSM Explains: Disney Parks 2017 Armed Forces Salute Program

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We 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 DIsney’s Armed Forces Salute?
Disney’s Armed Forces Salute (AFS) 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 (this includes the National Guard, Reservists, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US Military Retirees and 100% disabled Veterans or the spouse of one of those listed qualifiers.

Currently the AFS program is not offered to Veterans that did not complete 20 years of active duty service* (retirement eligible), 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. We have added the DOD ID number which can be found on valid (not expired) id cards to their graphic to help a bit more.

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When does the current AFS offer expire?
The current program ends December 19, 2016. The 2017 program starts January 1, 2017 and will end December 19, 2017.

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 military guests (or a Travel Agent that specializes in Disney Travel) must call Disney Travel Corporation with travel dates and general guest information to get availability and pricing.

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*

*The Polynesian Bungalows and Art of Animation Little Mermaid rooms are excluded from this special

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*

*This offer is valid on standard rooms only

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

  • Walt Disney AFS Guests can reserve up to three rooms per reservation. Blackout Dates are April 9-23, 2017.
  • Disneyland AFS Guests can reserve up to two rooms per reservation. Blackout Dates are April 9-23, 2017.

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

1495127_10201648678993638_112182833_oHow much are AFS tickets?
This year Disney has given military guests options on the number of days they purchase.
The 4-day Walt Disney World AFS Park Hopper or Water Park and More is $209 per person,  the new 5-day AFS Park Hopper or Water Park and More is $224. For $37 more the Water Park Fun & More option can be added to any of the AFS Park Hopper ticket to create a Park Hopper with Water Park and More.
The 3-day Disneyland AFS Park Hopper is $156, the new 4-day AFS Park Hopper is $181.
There is no discounted children’s rate on AFS tickets for children 3-9 like with “standard” rate Disney park tickets. If tickets are purchased at a Disney Ticket Counter, applicable sales taxes will be applied.

Where can I buy AFS tickets?
Your local bases’ ITT office and the park ticket offices at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Another option at Walt Disney World is the ticket office at Shades of Green.

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.”

What this means is regardless of the place where you purchase your tickets and whether the military member or their spouse purchases them, each military sponsor is only allowed 6 tickets TO BOTH parks per program year (not six to Walt Disney World and six to Disneyland. If the military member has a large direct family Disney states that “Exceptions should be made for immediate families larger than six people.” So for example if a family has five children, Disney will allow all members of the family to purchase AFS tickets for Mom, Dad, and all five children.

How do AFS tickets work at Walt Disney World?
You can add your AFS voucher to your MDE account prior to activation so that you can select your FastPass+ options, but you still need to take the vouchers given to you by ITT 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 us is when we activated the AFS tickets we had in 2014, 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 iDevice 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 blackout dates?
Yes!  Both parks have blackout dates of April 9-23, 2017. Disney is no longer enforcing a blackout over the Fourth of July holiday, and for the last two years instead of marking it as a blackout, Disney has made the Christmas holiday rush the “break” between program years.

When will the 2018 program be announced?
As no special is quartered until Disney announces it, we can’t guarantee there will be a  2018 program until Disney Travel announces it. Prior to 2016, the program was announced in June or July, mainly because the program year use to end in October. Starting 2016, the program started covering the entire January through December calendar year. When this change occurred we started seeing the announcement being made in late September. So because this program is so popular, and Disney’s way of saying thank you to our Military members, we will probably see the 2018 announcement in Late September 2017.

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*Please note the decision as to who is covered by this special is decided by Disney and the DoD. Like all specials offered to specific companies the Armed Forces Salute is a contract between Disney and the DoD.

Michele
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Michele

Michele Atwood is the Owner/Editor of The Main Street Mouse and it’s subsidiaries and author of the books “Moving to Main Street U.S.A.” “How Many Sleeps Till Disney?” and “How Many Sleeps Till Disneyland?” Michele also contributes Disney news to the Joe Kelley Morning Show on 107.3 WDBO in Orlando. She and her family made the move from Michigan to the Orlando area to pursue their Disney dreams. Michele is a life long Disney fan, and has two sons who have followed suit, each going on their first Disney trip before their first birthday’s. Part of the goal Michele has for The Main Street Mouse is not only to keep members informed, but to create somewhat of a Disney Family by relating to others through personal experiences and opinions. Also, Michele is making it a priority to share stories of inspiration and hope to other Disney Fans in an effort to share the Magic and hopefully make a difference in the lives of others. ~ I enjoy writing personal perspective blogs, doing TMSM Meet Ups for our readers, and keeping the constant interaction going with others, sharing the Disney Magic to people when they can’t be at their Happy Place.

Michele has 5892 posts and counting. See all posts by Michele

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