I’ve had writing this post in the back of my mind for a long time and the frustration behind it has been building for years.
I’ve put off writing it because of how much I care for Disney Cast Members, some of the most dedicated and skilled workers on the planet.
But I can’t take it anymore!
The Disney Call Center constantly gives military families incorrect information regarding their company’s military discounts!
(Updated June 2020)
When working on the title for this post I came up with some other versions, here they are:
- Disney Parks’ Call Center – Pixie Dust or Saw Dust?
- Disney Parks’ Call Center – Magically Misinforming Military Families Daily
- Disney Parks’ Call Center – Magically Misinformed about their Company’s Military Discounts
- Disney Parks’ Call Center – Spreading Misinformation to Military Families Like Tinkerbell Spreads Pixie Dust
When I say the call center I mean the Disney Call Center for room reservations and information (really anyone at Disney that you might call), plus the Disney World and Disneyland dot com internet help chat, and both parks’ Guest Relations phone and email support.
One of the most time consuming things we do here at Military Disney Tips is answer questions. We get questions daily in our email box, on facebook, and in comments on our blog posts.
The most frustrating questions that we receive are those from individuals who have been given information by the Disney Call Center (or a Base Ticket Office) which is incorrect and contradicts the correct information here on Military Disney Tips. Often this incorrect information has already been very costly by the time we about hear it, or would be costly advice if followed.
Some people might have called Disney to verify what they’ve read here (I don’t know why, the info here is better than Disney’s).
Others come MDT because they’ve called Disney multiple times (because what they were told didn’t sound right) and received multiple answers to the same question.
Military Disney Tips is the only resource available where military families can find out ALL of the Actual rules on Disney’s military discounts. All of our information has been gathered from sources within the Disney Company (both official and unofficial) and reflects how Disney’s programs actually work. Plus we actually use these discounts ourselves! We have for 30 years.
Disney’s official websites Do Not tell you the rules for less common situations, only the basics. Disney only publishes online the most basic info. I’ve asked them to correct this for years!
As I mentioned we’ve been dealing with this misinformation from the Call Center here at MDT for years, but it seems to be even worse lately.
Here are some examples of things the Disney Call Center has recently told MDT readers plus the correct answer:
“You must buy all of the Disney Armed Forces Salute theme park ticket that you’d like to use at one time in a single purchase, even if you don’t want to use some of them for many months.”
- This is incorrect, you may make multiple purchases, up to the Salute offer ticket limit, during the Salute offer period in question. (This Single Purchase rule was true for the first month of the 2012-2013 Salute. I got them to drop this rule as it prevented repeat visits. When I pointed out to them that they were turning customers ($) away they dropped this rule like a hot Mr. Potato Head.
“Before a new year’s Disney Armed Forces Salute is announced you can book a general public resort rates for dates in the coming year and just convert to the military rate after it comes out.”
- Not True. 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.
“The Disney Dining Plan cannot be combined with a Disney Armed Forces Salute room only reservation, because a package with tickets is required.”
- This is incorrect, any paid Disney Dining Plan may be added onto the Disney Armed Forces Salute room only reservation. A package is only required for non-military guests.
“You are getting a military discount on your room and ticket or room, ticket, and dining plan package.”
- Not true, the ONLY military discount that Disney Resorts offer are on “Room Only” reservations. Any package discount you are being quoted is a general public discount or a Room Only with FULL price tickets or tickets and Disney Dining Plan added. Military members have much cheaper options for tickets, use those!
“There is no such thing as the Large Family Exception to the Disney Armed Forces Salute 6 ticket limit.”
- This is incorrect, the ticketing departments at both WDW and DL will make this exception for immediate families of more than 6 people. They have since 2009. See: Large Family Exception Info
“Walt Disney World does not offer military discounts on Walt Disney World’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.”
“Military families may not buy tickets in person for nights on which Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties are sold out.”
- Military families may indeed purchase tickets for sold out MNSSHP and MVMCP nights. This is a special deal for our community That I worked out with WDW in 2012 and has been valid every year since then.
“You may not add the Water Park Option (now Park Hopper Plus) onto an already purchased Disney Armed Forces Salute Hopper ticket.”
- Wrong, you can add the Park Hopper Plus option onto a Salute Hopper ticket for the price difference at any point until all park days are used up on the ticket.
“You have to activate your Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets in person at the Disney Parks before you can make FastPass Plus Reservations.” and “You can’t link Exchange Certificates to your My Disney Experience Account, you need the real tickets you’ll get after activation.”
- Wrong and wrong! You can link Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets or Exchange Certificates to your My Disney Experience Account and make your FP+ reservations prior to activating/exchanging them in person at the park!
“Reserve members need to be on orders or present active duty orders to use the Disney Armed Forces Salute.”
- This is totally wrong!!! First of all, current members of the military, whether active, guard, or reserve are eligible just by being a member. Second, a Reserve or Guard CAC is identical to those issued to active members, how would they even know you were reserve?
- This old “rule” is actually from the 2002 Salute offer!
- I was a Reservist the majority of my career and used this discount year in-year out and only once was I activated, and couldn’t go then as I was working…
When a MDT reader called Disney in 2018 to ask about the MemoryMaker Military discount (New in 2017) Disney said they had never heard of it.
- I told the reader if they called back to direct the Disney Call Center to check out the Disney World Web Page which has the offer right on it.
When a reader was making reservations, the Disney cast member said that the veteran can get up to six Salute tickets, as well as their spouse. The reader questioned that policy and was put on hold so the cast member could speak to a supervisor. He came back and said that was correct.
- No, No, No, the limit for the Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets is 6 per military member! The spouse may only use those tickets in place of the member, not in addition to.
“You have to activate your Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets for Walt Disney World the first day of use at the park you are entering. You cannot do it ahead of time”, for instance at Disney Springs.
- This is totally incorrect for Walt Disney World. At Walt Disney World you are not required to activate your ticket the first day at the park! (it is different at Disneyland where you must activate the day of at the park)
- Both I and very many others do activate our tickets ahead of time. You can do it at any ticket activation location.
In 2021 Disney is allowing individuals who are unable to use their 2020 Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets before the 26 September 2021 expiration, to upgrade them to 2021 Salute tickets with a 17 December 2021 expiration for the price difference. Some Disney cast members are telling military members in this situation to call Shades of Green instead.
- Disney’s Official Policy is that they will do the upgrades for those in this situation!
- Shades of Green’s policy is that they can not!
Why Can’t Disney Get It Right?
I don’t know why this is, it really shouldn’t be, but I speculate that:
- They really deal with military info VERY infrequently in the huge volume of calls that they take
- At the call center they are all part timers
- The call centers are not at the resorts, they are in places like Tampa and Memphis
- There is no training on military discounts
- If they don’t know the answer to your question the do a Windows search of their network. This may return an outdated document with old policies. Or they look at the Disney website with its 8 poorly written, misleading bullet points
- When they get a military question they go off of what they: think, think they heard, remember (maybe from 4 or more years ago), or what someone else told them
- They do not use these discounts and have no personal experience!
A former Disney Call Center cast member notes in the comments below that this lack of knowledge is due to high turnover and no training!
Help our Community, Spread the Word
It is so painful for me when I get a desperate request from a new reader that has spent a large amount of money needlessly based upon incorrect information provided by the Disney Call Center or a Base MWR/ITT/ITR, Ticket Office. I wonder, why they are just coming to me after the issue, rather than before to research.
So please help spread the word about this site to all your military friends. Knowledge is power!
For the full, correct answers to these and many other questions, please just stay on Military Disney Tips!
Here are links to all of our info:
Originally posted 2014 – Continually updated with new unbelievable comments as they roll in.
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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