What, I can’t use my Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets at Disney World or Disneyland during Spring Break?
This is a common response that I hear when military families learn that their military Disney tickets are not valid on certain days.
Since January 2009 the Disney Armed Forces Salute has always had days that the special military discount tickets were not able to be used for admission to Disney’s theme parks or for resort discounts. Disney calls these days Blockout Dates (some people refer to them as blackout dates).
They are typically a week during Christmas, 2 weeks during Spring Break, and the Fourth of July.
Each year the Blockout Dates are slightly different, depending on the school schedule.
The remaining Blockout Dates for the 2013 Armed Forces Salute are:
At Disney World
- 24 March – 4 April 2013 (No Park Use)
- July 4, 2012 (No Magic Kingdom only)
- 25 March – 5 April 2013 (No Park Use)
- 4 July 2013 (No Park Use)
Hotel Blockout Dates at Disney World & Disneyland
25 March – 4 April 2013
Many very frustrated readers have contacted me both recently and over the last couple of years, to ask why this is so. They always want to know, “Why won’t Disney allow me to use the discount military tickets during the only time I can go to Disney?”
Many feel that since it’s a military salute there should be no date exclusions. They don’t want to pull the kids out of school to use the discount at another time when it is available.
Disney’s Motivation for the Salute
Many take Disney’s Armed Forces Salute at the title’s face value. That Disney has made this offer due to their support of the troops. While that definitely is a factor in to their reasoning they do have other more immediate reasons to make these offers.
Many new to military life may be unaware that the recent semi-constant Military Salute offers are a rarity in the history of the Disney Company. In the past Disney did offer one free ticket to military members after Desert Storm. But during the twenty-first century these offers have only come at times of reduced theme park/resort attendance and are designed to draw more people to the Disney vacation destinations.
The current Armed Forces Salute which runs through 28 Sept 2013 is basically the 5th year in a row Disney has had a special military discount with steeply discounted tickets and room discounts. This round of Salutes began 4 January 2009. Prior to this timeframe the previous special offer was in 2002 during the post 9/11 travel industry downturn. This current round of discounts was prompted by the economic downturn which began in late 2008.
Prior to the Salute offers all we in the military had in the way of a Disney discount was the regular military discounted Magic Your Way tickets.
Disney Attendance Levels
Disney’s main purpose behind the blockout dates is to dissuade you from coming then, as there are already way too many people in the Disney theme parks!
If you check any Disney Guide Book you’ll note that the timeframes of Disney’s blockout dates are during peak attendance periods. During these timeframes Disney often closes their theme parks during the day due to maximum attendance. Only those staying on property are allowed in, others are turned away. The way Disney looks at this is strictly from a business perspective. If they can fill the parks during those timeframes and actually have to turn away people willing to pay full price, then they’d be crazy to let those paying half price for military tickets to block those spots.
How This Helps You
The above is a pragmatic look at Disney’s reasoning. But here is my positive outlook on the situation.
These high attendance days, for lack of better words are simply miserable in the theme parks. There are just way too many people, lines are unbearable, and you’ll be unable to accomplish all that you’d like to do.
I think it’s really a blessing in disguise that you can’t use your Armed Forces Salute tickets during Spring Break or other peak times. It forces you to re-evaluate your vacation schedule and plan to go at another time. You’ll end up thanking yourself because your experience will be so much better during lower attendance periods.
Yes, this may involve taking the kids out of school, but you can take along class/homework and make opportunities to turn the vacation into a learning experience.
So What Do You Think?
I know this topic has the potential to bring people out on both sides.
Please share what you think in the comments below.Did you enjoy this post? If you’d like more like it, please share it through your favorite social media by clicking the buttons below to let me know.