This is a guest post from Kevin Mack at Fly High Finance. If you’re a military officer, NCO or warrant officer (or married to one) and you want to take control of your money and plan for financial independence then sign up here.
Back in July, Steve took some time to figure out the Right Military Discounted Disney Ticket for you.
That article had a great breakdown of many of the tickets and how you can choose the right one for your trip, but there’s one option that may save some of you hundreds of dollars at Walt Disney World.
NOTE: 1NOV15, WDW has totally revamped their Pass Structure. The Florida Seasonal Pass is now called the Florida Resident Silver Pass and it now includes parking! See this page for current prices.
The Florida Resident Seasonal Pass
The Florida resident seasonal pass is good for one year from the date of activation. It costs $350.39 (tax included) for all ages, which is just a few dollars less than 2 Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets. It includes park hopper privileges and you can make FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance (60 with a resort reservation). There are blockout dates that correspond to the busy times of the year: summer, spring break, Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s.
Disney also offers 1, 3 and 4 day tickets at discounted prices for Florida Residents.
So How Do You Get One?
About 1 in 20 people serving in the military is a Floridian. Additionally, tens of thousands of out of state residents are currently stationed in Florida (over 40,000 in Jacksonville alone, for example).
If you fall into either of these two categories then you may be eligible. In order to get Florida Resident pricing you must prove Florida residency in one of two ways.
If you are currently stationed in Florida then you can show picture ID along with a recent (within two months) utility bill or government mail to your Florida address.
If you are a resident of Florida but you were assigned to another state then you can use your Florida driver’s license for as long as it remains valid (if you renew online this can be as long as 14 years).
Each adult who uses a Florida Resident ticket must show ID when activating the ticket (but not on subsequent trips for multi-day tickets, remember this when you get ready to PCS).
You can purchase these at some Florida Base Ticket Offices, Shades of Green, and directly through Disney (with tax added by Disney). One nice feature Disney offers for Florida Residents is monthly payments on your credit card. No fee is added, just make a down payment and the balance is divided into 12 monthly payments. This comes out to about $20 per month per pass.
The Break-Even Point
Now we just need to do the math and figure out when it makes sense to get the Seasonal Pass.
For one day trips with no hopper and no Water Park Fun and More, the Regular Military Discounted, Magic Your Way Ticket is still the best bet. If you want to add hopper and/or Water Park Fun and More then the Florida resident one day ticket is cheaper.
For trips of 2-4 days, nothing has changed. The Military Salute is always the best ticket for trips of this length, whether you add Water Park Fun and More or not.
For a five day trip, combine the Military Salute with a one day ticket using the guidelines above.
Days six through eight is where it gets really interesting. If you want Water Park Fun and More then the back to back Military Salute is your best bet. If you don’t care about water parks then the Florida Resident Seasonal Pass is now the cheapest option.
After day eight, the Florida Resident Seasonal Pass is the way to go. If you want waterparks you can add the Water Park Seasonal Pass and it’s still the cheapest option.
Where’s the Catch?
A deal this great is going to come with some strings attached and you need to know this going in. The whole point of offering a local pass is to drive traffic to the parks during the off-season.
Remember those block-out days I mentioned a few paragraphs ago? They correspond to the major school holidays.
Before you decide on the Seasonal Pass, you’ve got to make sure it fits your travel schedule.
If you do a two-week family vacation in July, you aren’t going to be able to use it. But if you’re stationed nearby and you can make it down for a long weekend a couple times a year then it’s great.
The Bottom Line
I’ve been in Georgia and Alabama for my last two assignments and the Seasonal Pass has worked great for my family. With one kid in preschool we are able to be flexible with our travel and the Seasonal Pass fits our needs perfectly.
If you find yourself in a situation where you can visit Disney World in the off-season and meet the eligibility requirements, the Florida Resident Seasonal Pass will allow you to enjoy the parks for less money and with fewer crowds.
Thanks so much Kevin for this great post! The Florida Resident Seasonal pass can certainly save you money the more days that you are available to go. I myself have a FL Seasonal and I use the monthly payment option.
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.