Should non-retired military veterans, those who for whatever reason decided not to make the military a career, be eligible for Disney’s Armed Forces Salute?
The question of eligibility for Disney military discounts for non-retired vets is one that I get on a regular basis. This past summer I started to get quite a few of this question prompting an update of my Non-Retired Veterans now eligible for stays at Shades of Green Resort on Disney Property page.
Over the past 2 weeks I started receiving numerous emails on the subject again. Just a couple of days ago a thread topic on the disboards message board asked the question “Should all military veterans be eligible for Disney’s Armed Forces Salute?” several posters replied with some comments and then the thread devolved into an argument which the moderators deleted.
I wanted to get a feel for what my readers thought so I’ve decided to start a poll.
I can see both sides of this and I’ll do my best to outline each as well as add some of my thoughts below.
The Disney Company extends military discounts to current service members as well as retired (20 year veterans) members but not to those who served for a period less than 20 years and separated prior to retirement.
Do you think that the Disney Company should extend their military discounts to all who served honorably?
Please continue reading before you vote!
Honor Those Who Served
Many who email me ask that Disney honor their service, which while not over 20 years was faithfully and honorably discharged. With our country having been at war for the last 10 years, so many who served their terms and separated are combat veterans. Plus there are still many Viet Nam Vets out there. They risked their lives for our country and feel slighted that they are not eligible for these discounts.
These individual’s service is no different than any young troop today who is on their first enlistment. They are eligible for Disney military discounts, even though they might get out of the military in a couple months without serving 20 years.
You Left The Company
On the other side those who didn’t get out and have continued to serve, deployment after deployment and those who have served 20, 25, 30+ years might feel that those who left the military shouldn’t be eligible for the same discount that they are.
Individuals who have left the military are no longer eligible to use the PX/BX/NEX, commissary, or use military medical care why would they be eligible for other military benefits/discounts.
I’m coming up on 31 years of service, with many combat missions under my belt. Should someone who served just 4 years and then moved on be eligible for the same discount as me?
What is a veteran?
What does the word veteran mean?
It comes from Latin: veteranus, from veteranus, adjective, old, of long experience & from veter-, vetus old
- An old soldier of long service
- Person of long experience
Do we misuse the word in America to mean a former member of the armed forces?
Disney’s Bottom Line
Many emails I receive wonder why Disney honors one group of veterans and not another.
I’ve stated many times before, in emails, in the newsletter and here on the blog, that Disney’s offering their Armed Forces Salute was and is purely a financial decision. Disney’s current round of Salutes started in January 2009. Just after the huge slow down of the American economy. The purpose of the discount is to get bodies into the Disney resorts and theme parks.
For those new to the military it might seem as if there has always been an Armed Forces Salute, but not so. The last Salute was in 2002 during the travel industry crash in the aftermath of 9/11.
Prior to that Disney offered 1 free ticket after Desert Storm in the 90′s.
At the heart of the Armed Forces Salute is a contract. A contract between Disney and the DoD. Disney looks on this just like they do any other contract. For instance like the one Disney would negotiate with XYZ Corp for reciprocal discounts, where XYZ Corp employees get a discount at Disney and Disney employees get a discount on XYZ’s products. Disney does this all the time, they give their castmembers a list of where they are eligible for discounts.
These contracts state what the discounts are and who is eligible plus any other stipulations. Believe me an employee who worked at XYZ Corp and quit would no longer be eligible for Disney Discounts, while the contract might say that retirees are eligible. This is exactly how Disney looks at it.
For each of these separate Armed Forces Salutes from 2009 till now Disney has negotiated with the military on the terms and eligibility. That’s what held up the FY11 AFS until 24 October 2010, the contract wasn’t signed. I don’t know if any money is involved, but Disney has agreed to offer reduced tickets and rooms to the specified individuals in the contract.
It’s Disney’s Offer
As the entity making the offer should Disney not have the right to decide what they offer and to whom?
Anheuser-Busch’s Here’s to the Heroes offer for SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks is only for current members, retired members are excluded from their offer.
If you think Disney needs to change their policy there are things you can do.
Numbers Talk! What Veteran’s Organization do you belong to? VFW, American Legion, AMVETS?
If you don’t belong, join one (or more), as a veteran these large organizations advocate for you on so many fronts. Contact their State and Federal leadership and ask that they contact Disney and the DoD to request they change the eligibility requirements.
Call Disney and respectfully request that Disney change their policy yourself.
Walt Disney World Guest Relations
PO Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040
What are your thoughts on this? I’d love to get a discussion going in the comments section below.
As I mentioned the disboards discussion was deleted as people started bickering back and forth. Please be polite and respectful when replying.
I manually approve all comments and do edit as necessary for clarity and readability and won’t approve comments that aren’t appropriate.
Thanks from MDT
Above all I want to say that no matter what, I appreciate your service to our nation!
We all do out part in our own way, that’s one of the things that makes this country great.
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