Starting in 2021 we’ve seen a new trend by Walt Disney World for their Military Salute Room Reservations.
I’ve been covering the Disney Armed Forces Salute since its inception and have personally used the Salute room discount over 40 times, and I had never heard of a Disney Armed Forces Salute Basic Package Rate until the spring of 2021. Someone asked me about it on facebook, where a couple of other people said they had one as well, and then I experienced it myself when making a reservation for fall 2021.
Updated: December 2021
It seems that Disney has just started automatically booking military families on these Basic Packages unless you ask for the Room Only Reservation.
Disney states that they are doing this so that if you later decide that you want to add the Disney Dining Plan, tickets, or Memory Maker they can add it to an existing package, but if you have a room only they have to cancel that reservation, refund the deposit, and create a new package reservation with deposit. 1. Military families don’t need to add tickets or Memory Maker as their specially discounted ons are not available in this manner and 2. I don’t recommend the Disney Dining Plan (if they ever offer it again).
There is no price difference between the Room Only and Basic Package.
The Basic Package does come with a couple of extras that you might or might not use.
But there are some major differences on payments and cancellations!
So below I’ll lay it all out so that you can decide which is right for you.
Disney Armed Forces Salute Basic Room Package
Typically it takes adding tickets or the Disney Dining Plan to a room reservation to make a reservation a package. Disney World has started offering these “Basic Packages” and “Basic Military Packages.”
When you book a package, Disney World gives you what they call Magical Extras. This consists of luggage tags and a discount card to use on your trip mailed to your home.
Here is the list of Magical Extras Benefits:
Discounts On Things To Do:
- Four (4) vouchers for miniature golf prior to 4:00 PM at Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland
- Four (4) general admission vouchers for the ESPN Wide World of Sports
- Splitsville Luxury Lanes Discount —Get 10% off bowling & 10% off the purchase of food and non-alcoholic beverages and 10% off the non-discounted price of merchandise at Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). (Not valid with other discounts or offers; block-out dates may apply)
- Surrey Bike Rentals – Get 10% off a 2 or 4 person Surrey bike rental at Disney’s Boardwalk Weather permitting.
Discounts On Places To Eat:
- Save 10% on food purchases at the To-Go Cart at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn in the Epcot Resort Area
- Earl of Sandwich – Receive a 10% Discount on the purchase of food and non-alcoholic beverages at Earl of Sandwich at Disney Springs Marketplace. Valid for dine-in only. Gratuity not included
- Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop: Receive a complimentary Ghirardelli Chocolate bar with the purchase of any specialty sundae at Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop at Disney Springs Marketplace
- House of Blues Discount —Receive a 15% discount on the purchase of food and non-alcoholic beverages during lunch or dinner at House of Blues at Disney Springs Westside
- Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Company —Get a 20% discount on your entire purchase at these Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Company locations at Walt Disney World Resort: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney Skyliner and Disney Springs The Landing including Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Co. Or purchase online at Joffreys.com and use coupon code: travel
- Paddlefish – Receive a 20% discount on the purchase of food and non-alcoholic beverages. Located in Disney Springs.
- Planet Hollywood Observatory – Save $15 off the purchase of food and non-alcoholic beverages at Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs Marketplace. Valid for dine-in only. Gratuity not included.
- Terralina Crafted Italian – Receive 20% off Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages at Terralina Crafted Italian located at Disney Springs The Landing. Not valid with any other offer, or discount
- Wolfgang Puck Express: Receive 10% discount on the purchase of food and non-alcoholic beverages during breakfast, lunch or dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express at Disney Springs Marketplace. Offer not valid for merchandise
Discounts On Places To Shop:
- Basin: Receive 10% off your entire purchase (excluding sale items) at Basin at Disney Springs Marketplace or Basin White in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
- Coca-Cola Store – Save 15% on purchases of $30 or more in the Disney Springs store. Not valid at the rooftop beverage bar or for photography services
- Crystal Arts by Arribas Brothers Discount – Get 10% off purchases at the Arribas Brothers store at Disney Springs Marketplace (formerly Downtown Disney), Magic Kingdom, and Epcot. Excludes glassblowing custom/special orders (torch and furnace work), Exceptions apply and discount not applicable to shipping charges. Some other restrictions apply
- Edward Beiner Purveyor of Fine Eyewear – 15% discount on merchandise
- Kippling – Receive 10% off entire purchase at Kipling located at Disney Springs Town Center. Discount not valid on Special Collections
- Melissa Shoes – Receive 15% off your purchase at Melissa Shoes located at Disney Springs Town Center. Discount cannot be used towards a Melissa+ Membership
- Origins: Receive 10% off a non-discounted merchandise
- Orlando Stroller Rental – receive a free cooler by adding ‘free cooler” to notes when placing a reservation at www.orlandostrollerrentals.com
- Pro Shops at Walt Disney World Golf – Buy one and get one half off Walt Disney World Golf apparel at Pro Sops located at Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course,
- Disney’s Palm Golf Course and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course
- Sanuks: Receive 20% off non-discounted price of merchandise
- Sugarboo & Co: Receive 10% off a non-discounted merchandise. Exclusions may apply
- UGG: Receive 10% off a non-discounted merchandise. Exclusions may apply
- Volcom – Receive 15% off a non-discounted merchandise. Exclusions may apply
Unless otherwise noted, these discounts cannot be combined with other offers.
These sound nice, but read them carefully and think if you’d actually use any of them.
See: Locations with Military Discounts at Disney Springs
Again, this package with the extras is offered at the same price as a Military Room Only Reservation. So What’s the catch?
Package vs Room Only, What’s Different?
Packages have an entirely different payment and refund policy than the Military Room Only Reservations that we are used to.
When reserving a Package a deposit of $200 is required to make the reservation. When making a Room Only Reservation one night’s deposit of the average nightly rate for your trip is required. This could be more or less than the $200 based on where you are staying.
Packages must be prepaid. Final payment of the entire remainder for your package is due 30 days prior to check-in. You have to pay in full right away if you are booking 30 days or less in advance. With Room Only reservations, nothing else is due until check in.
Package cancellations are more restrictive. You can change or cancel your package reservation without penalty up until 30 days in advance. Cancellations made 29 days to 2 days prior to arrival have a cancellation fee of $200 per package, but if reservations are cancelled 1 day prior to arrival or later, the full package price is non-refundable. You’ll also lose any nonrefundable elements, such as travel insurance and airfare.
For Room Only Reservations you may cancel up to 5 days prior to check in. The cancellation penalty for cancelling less than 5 days from check-in is the first night’s room rate deposit.
One other potentially important difference is that your credit card awards program might not offer incentives for packages vs rooms. Foe instance my Delta Skymiles card gives me 3x miles for hotel stays, but only 1x for packages!
Wrapping It Up
So in order to decide which is the right choice for you consider how the cancellation rules work with your schedule fluidity as well as the prepayment consideration. If it’s conceivable that you might have to cancel between 30 and 5 days prior to check in, a package might not be right for you!
If however your schedule is set and under your control, go fo it!
I went with a Room Only for my October Trip…
I hope this helps you in your Walt Disney World Planning!
Let me know if you have any questions or comments in the comments section below!
This MDT Post By: Steve Bell
Steve is the the Military Disney Tips Founder. He a retired U.S. Military Member who's been touring the Disney Parks since 1971! Steve's mission is to help military families with their Disney vacations in every way. Check out Steve's Bio.
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Planning a Disney Trip? Want to get the best military discounts that are available? Feeling a little confused? See Our Great Disney Discount and Planning Info:
- Disney Veteran & Military Discount Eligibility Guide
- The Military Family’s Walt Disney World Comprehensive Vacation Planning and Preparation Guide
- Military Disney Tips Disney Packing Checklist
- Disney Military Tickets – Your Start to Finish Guide
- Resorts/Hotel Overview Page
- Dining Overview Page
- Transportation Overview Page
- Technology Overview Page
- Shades of Green, WDW’s Military Only Resort
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Ines Donovan says
the reason we went with the “package” instead of room only for this fall is that I have not decided yet if I want to add the Memory Maker at the military rate. From what the customer service rep told me, you can only add it later if you have booked the “package”. Not sure if that is of interest to some of your readers. Thanks for all the great info you provide.
Thanks for the intel Ines!
Jim M says
Any update or rumors if they are looking into bringing back the dinning plans. I know they have to open up more restaurants. We are taking our vacation mid June 2021 and was hoping things would be more relaxed.
They will be back. They are a huge money maker for Disney!
As you noted it’s all about social distancing and restaurant volume.
And WDW just took a step in the wrong direction with their restaurant mask policy update. You can no longer take off your mask while seated, you have to keep it on unless you are “actively” eating or drinking.
We were at Beach Club Villa’s 14-20 Feb and on a Basic Military Room (MilSalute Basic Pkg – 1 Bedroom) and used our extended tickets from last yr (4 Day Park Hopper Promotional). This was our 3rd attempt in a needed vacation after D closed in March 2020 (we were to be there the week they started the shut down). It worked out great, as we even upgraded from a regular Disney pkg Villa Studio to a Villa 1 bedroom for the same cost. Best of all, your site and email tipped us off to see if a new pkg was available, and D was most accommodating in upgrading us.
Thanks for all you do!
Thanks for the trip report.
We lave the Beach Club, it’s our favorite.
I was supposed to be there the week after you in 2020. and again in April. I got a free upgrade from a standard room to a suite at Art of Animation in January.
Linda Hendricks says
Thank you for the information on the difference between room only and room package bookings at the Disney resorts. I had no idea that there was a room only option and what the differences are. Would have chosen the room only as we reserved 3 rooms! We will be staying at the Coronado Springs the end of November.
I’ve been trying to find out about pricing for Memory Maker at the Military Rate if it is still available. Can you please direct me to information on this please?
Enjoy your articles.
Hi Linda, thanks so much!
Yes it is still available at WDW, but not at Disneyland Resort for 2021.
N announcement yet for 2022 and DLR is not offering it in 2022.
We have the military basic package but due to ever changing covid, we’ve decided it makes more sense to add standard tickets to our package rather than saving money on the military salute tickets, since those are non-refundable and have an expiration date.
However, our travel agent can’t get the Disney to let us add the tickets now without paying for the tickets in full – separate from our package reservation. Which means they wouldn’t be refundable. We want them included in our package cancellation. The description of being able to modify an existing package up to 30 days doesn’t seem to apply.
Has anyone else run into this problem? Any advice I can pass on to my travel agent?
Has your agent tried just doing a new package with your desired ticket options? They could then cancel the old one.
We are looking to book a room only for our next trip and like you we have done this multiple times. I am wondering if booking it as a “Basic Military Package” would allow us to use our DIsney Visa for the zero percent financing. Has anyone tried this? I know that the “room only” bookings do not usually qualify because you have to book a package. Has anyone tried this?
Evelyn Nutting says
Any Idea when they will be releasing the Disney salute tickets for 2023. I would like to book a trip for January but don’t want to have to wait till December 17, 2022 to start getting park reservations.
Prior to 2020 each new year’s Salute was announced in late September. Since 2020 things have been wacky. I’d hope that if they offer a 2023 Salute they would go back to the standard late Sept announcement.