While the military is anxiously waiting to find out if Disney will renew the Disney Armed Forces Salute for another year, I thought it would be good to review just what to expect if and when they do.
Updated for the potential 2020 Disney Armed Forces Salute (31 August 2019)
Salute Renewal History
This post is based upon both my and my reader’s experiences during the previous Disney Armed Forces Salute renewal announcements, which I’ve covered and coordinated with Disney on since 2011.
The goal of this post is to inform you and prepare you for what to expect and what you could potentially encounter trying to make a new Disney Armed Forces Salute Resort Reservation or convert an existing reservation to the Salute rate.
What to Expect – Offer Details
The below bullet points are an excerpt of my thoughts regarding a potential 2020 Disney Armed Forces Salute. See the When Will Disney Renew the Disney Armed Forces Salute for 2020? for more info.
- Disney renews the Armed Forces Salute in the same form that they have the last 4 years with minimal changes
- Disney renews the Armed Forces Salute with blockout dates increased to some extent. Slightly or greatly increased and variable by WDW vs DLR or even by individual theme park, e.g.more blockouts dates at Disney Hollywood Studios and the Disneyland Park.
- Disney Releases a partial year Salute. Essentially the same effect as #2, but perhaps with beginning or end dates that reduce the length of the offer. For instance they could wait until the second half of 2020 to offer a Military Salute (this would greatly delay any announcement).
- A combo of #2 and #3.
- No Salute at all. I really think this is the least likely.
I must emphasize that the Resort Room Discount is a limited offer! It is not an across the board always available offer. There are a limited number of rooms at these prices, by date, resort choice, and room type. And that in 2018 the discounts began being offered on a sliding scale.
See this post for more on How the Disney Armed Forces Salute room discounts work
For those who have been told By Disney that you can covert your previous reservation to the Salute rate once announced, know this is not always true! Especially for reservations in the first few months of the new offer.
General public rates CANNOT be converted to the Salute rate, a new reservation must be created. This has always been the case. The issue is that the type of room you have reserved might not be available at the Salute rate for your resort and dates. This will cause you change resorts, dates, or room type. Occasionally this will work and it will be transparent to you, but it is not guaranteed. Why would Disney tell you that you can do this?
What to Expect – Renewal Day
Salute Renewal Days Equal Scrambling
You will be surprised and caught off guard.
There will be no warning, so you can’t set aside a day off from work or without appointments to work your reservations.
If you aren’t surfing online, you won’t even know the discount was released, that is unless you have signed up for my Newsletter! I will send out the announcement right to your In Box as soon as the discount is announced.
After the announcement comes out you (and very many other military families) will be calling Disney, trying to get the Disney Resort reservations that you desire!
What does that mean? Well, below I detail what to expect on the renewal day and possibly for a day or two after.
As experience has taught us, it is probably not going to go smoothly!
Salute Renewal Days Equal Long Wait Times on the Phones.
Seriously. Be prepared for very long waits when you call. And then, once you do get through, it’s very likely that you’ll be placed on hold again for several minutes. And maybe then your call will be dropped. It has happened.
Salute Renewal Days Equal a Significant Chunk of Your Day.
You need to know that once you get my email it will not take just a quick call to secure your reservation. Know that it could take at least one to two hours (or more) to make reservations on a Salute Release Day.
You may have to call back again and again as in past years until the Reservation Center comes up to speed.
Salute Renewal Days Equal Online Errors
Several times over the years the team that runs the Disney Parks Blog have posted the Disney Armed Forces Salute renewal announcement before they were supposed to (hours or even days prior)! And then took it back down.
This caused a flurry of questions to me, as well as many frustrated calls to the Disney Reservations Call Center.
And on the days they were supposed to have posted it the don’t do so until the afternoon. This causes skepticism and angry emails to me asking me to prove the Salute is out.
Salute Renewal Days Equal Cast Members Who Possibly Have NO Idea What You’re Talking About
Disney Cast Members are truly some of the best and nicest humans on the planet. But communication within the company and the call center itself is not very good! That’s putting it nicely. And they simply can’t know what they haven’t been told yet.
In the past after a renewal was announced (here and on the Disney Parks Blog) quite a few Disney Call Center Cast Members immediately told callers the discount wasn’t out yet rather than checking. Experienced callers were firm and said “no, it is out, please check for the booking code.”
Don’t Be Shocked If Your Cast Member Doesn’t Know What You’re Talking About. It Happens. A Lot.
Those who didn’t know that military callers often have to educate the Disney Call Center Cast Members on military discounts, hung up confused and frustrated.
Often Cast Members aren’t given the information that they need to set them up for success. So please, know this up front and go easy on them!
Ask for a supervisor!
Also be prepared to talk to multiple Cast Members (as in, hang up and call back to get a new person) or request to speak to a more senior Cast Member or a supervisor. Be polite, but firm!
Salute Renewal Days Equal the Reservation System Not Being Updated or Crashing
I’ve seen it several times, Disney announces the Salute through my site and the Disney Parks Blog… but they forget to update their online systems, or schedule it for later in the day.
Several times over the years the Reservations system was unable to make Salute reservations for hours after the announcement came out, once the system took a whole day to allow bookings!
This goes back to the multiple calls that you might have to make that I mentioned above.
Salute Renewal Days Equal Confusion
Your Base Ticket Office will be the very last to know about a Disney Armed Forces Salute Renewal!
So don’t try to call them to confirm what you’ve seen online!
In the past it has taken Days, weeks, and even more for individual Base Ticket Offices to get the word through their official channels that the Salute has been Renewed.
Salute Renewal Days Equal Ticket Issues
Expect that Disney might set a date that tickets will be available for sale. The last couple of years they have been silent on ticket availability dates.
The date they start selling the tickets for the new year’s offer is only at Disney Locations and usually Shades of Green the same day or soon thereafter.
The tickets that go out to Base Ticket Offices go through at least one contractor (sometimes more) for distribution, and then through the MWR distribution system.
It is not uncommon for it to take weeks to months for individual Ticket Offices to get the new tickets.
Then some Ticket Offices take it upon themselves to refuse to sell the new tickets until the old offer is over. This will cause you to miss out on the most desirable FastPass Plus Attractions! This has happened at isolated locations the last three renewals.
If it happens to you, buy your Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets long distance from a base that ships!
Salute Renewal Days Remind Us That the First to a Couple Days After an Announcement Are Trying.
But let’s be honest. Disney has never gotten the hang of executing the launch of a Disney Armed Forces Salute Renewal smoothly. Not once! And we’re talking about stuff they KNOW is coming.
Why do I point this out? Well, again, if you know what to expect, it helps you to plan, and it might ease your frustration a little.
I hope this post (and the whole site really) aids you just a little bit with your Disney Planning!
And now over to you, please do share with us your experiences while attempting to secure your Disney Armed Forces Salute Resort Reservation or Salute tickets for the new offer in comments below!
Let Ears of Experience, Military Disney Tips’ recommended Disney Only, military family owned Travel Agent worry about this hassle for you! They will get you the best rate possible at no extra charge. And you won’t have to be frustrated on the phone!
p.s. thanks to my friend AJ at the Disney Food Blog for the great idea for this post!
Planning a Disney Trip? Want to get the best military discounts that are available? Feeling a little confused? See our:
Learn about the Disney Armed Forces Salute the best military discount that there is for Disney. For where to stay see our Resorts/Hotel Overview Page. Disney doesn’t discount dining for the military, but there are a few places on property that do, see the Dining Overview Page to learn where plus more dining info. You can also learn about Transportation Options. Be sure to check out our Technology Overview to learn about Magic Bands and My Disney Experience to see how they work with military tickets. Walt Disney World visitors might be interested in staying at Shades of Green, WDW’s Military Only Resort.