Many people are surprised to find out that Disney’s Armed Forces Salute Tickets need to be activated upon arrival at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.
Just buying them at your Military Base Ticket Office isn’t all that you need to do. These special Disney military tickets won’t work at the theme park entrances or at the Walt Disney World Resort’s other venues unless they are activated first.
You need to activate your tickets to prove eligibility once you arrive at Disney.
(Updated Apr 2019)
When buying Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets at your base ticket office you will be given what Disney calls Exchange Vouchers. These can come in 3 different forms, depending on how your base does it: a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper voucher with all the names and ticket numbers on it, stiff ticket sized paper vouchers, or actual plastic Disney tickets. No matter the kind these will be exchanged for your actual tickets (if not using Magic Bands) or just collected (if using magic bands) during the activation process.
Linking your tickets or exchange vouchers to your Walt Disney World My Disney Experience account and making FastPass Plus reservations is a totally separate process and does not activate your tickets! This can be done prior to activation though.
Note Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets sold at Shades of Green are sold pre-activated and you do not need to follow this procedure, they are ready to go at purchase!
Tickets purchased directly from Disney at Walt Disney World Ticket and Guest Relations locations, Disneyland Ticket and Guest Relations locations, and Disneyland Resort Hotels are also ready for use.
Why is this?
Disney allows military resellers (Base ITT/ITR Ticket Offices) to sell these tickets based upon a contract. But Disney depends on their own ticketing computer to monitor and control the use of these tickets. This prevents the tickets from being used in an unauthorized manner.
During each individual Armed Forces Salute offer Disney sets exactly how many of the steeply discounted military tickets that each military member is allowed to use. During the 2019 Disney Armed Forces Salute the limit is 6 tickets during the offer period 1 Jan. – 19 Dec. 2019.
When the military member (or spouse) activates these tickets, Disney gathers information on the military member (Concerned about privacy?), which they tie to the tickets in their system. This is what tracks the number of tickets that you have activated during the current offer.
Once the tickets have been activated your party does not need to stay together. You can all go to different parks, at different times, on different days, on any day through the end of the offer.
Activating a ticket also allows that ticket to be used on your Magic Band (at WDW) as long as both are linked to the same person in your My Disney Experience account.
Non-Disney Resort guests (Shades of Green guests) can buy Magic Bands ahead of time from the Disney Store.
The Activation Process
When you activate your Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets you’ll need to bring your military IDs, or any picture ID for those in your party without military IDs, though young children don’t need them.
Everyone that you are activating a ticket for must be present to have their ticket activated. If the spouse is activating the tickets they must have their dependent ID Card (DD Form 1173) which must show a relationship of either “Spouse” or “Unremarried Widow (which is represented by DB on newer cards)”
If some guests in your party will arrive at a later date, but before you have used up your ticket, you can activate their tickets with them after they arrive, as long as your ticket still has days left on it.
Disney will enter some information into their system which the service member or spouse must provide. This is: The service member’s name, birth date, and email.
Disney take the tickets or exchange vouchers you were given at the time of purchase, they will look at everyone’s ID and then tie his or her name to a specific ticket.
- WDW on property Guests (Using Magic Bands) – Will scan their Magic Band, and be good to go as both the ticket and Magic Band were previously linked to the individual in My Disney Experience. Disney will keep the exchange voucher or ticket.
- WDW off property Guests (Not using Magic Bands) and Disneyland Guests – You will be provided an new active ticket to use. They should then have everyone sign the back of their ticket so that they won’t be mixed up.
The first time you use the ticket or Magic Band to enter a park or venue, the ticket holder’s fingerprint info (at Disney World) or picture (at Disneyland) will also be tied to that ticket. See how this works.
Why so complicated?
For two reasons:
- The intended purpose of these tickets is for the member (or spouse) to spend time in Disney’s parks with family and friends to de-stress, not to give the tickets away to other family, adult children, or friends who are not eligible to use them without the member or spouse.
- Disney also does this to prevent scalping. Sad but true, but these special 4 & 5 day military (3 & 4 day for Disneyland) salute tickets are about half off the regular ticket prices. That leaves lots of room for profit should someone try to resell them.
Where can you activate your tickets?
Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets can be activated at the following locations:
Walt Disney World Locations:
- All four theme park ticket and Guest Relations windows
- The Transportation and Ticket Center Ticket or Guest Relations windows
- Magic Kingdom Ticket or Guest Relations windows
- Epcot – Main Entrance or International Gateway Ticket or Guest Relations windows
- Hollywood Studios Ticket or Guest Relations windows
- Animal Kingdom Ticket or Guest Relations windows
- Both Water Parks
- Typhoon Lagoon
- Blizzard Beach
- Disney Springs Shopping and Entertainment Area (formerly Downtown Disney)
- Disney Spring’s New Ticket Center
- Both Disney Springs Guest Relations locations
Note: All of these locations are not mentioned on the back of the paper exchange vouchers, but you can activate tickets at all of the above locations!
MDT Tip: You cannot activate tickets purchased on base at Shades of Green!
- Disneyland Armed Forces Salute tickets are activated at both theme park entrances during first use.
Special Purchase Notes for Disneyland:
You may buy your tickets directly from your Disneyland Resort Hotel Front Desk (registered guests), or go the theme park Ticket and Guest Relations locations.
When can you activate your tickets?
If you purchased your tickets/vouchers at a Base Ticket Office you’ll activate your tickets in this manner:
At Disney World:
Your Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets can be activated at any time. You can do it ahead of time (I recommend this) you do not have to do it the same day that you plan to use them. Activating them ahead will not use up a day, only entering a park does this.
I recommend that you activate them the day or evening before you want to use them if possible, this will save time on your first theme park morning.
For instance on your day of arrival, you could take a fun trip to Disney Springs for dinner, some shopping and a movie or show. (Disney Springs Locations with Military Discounts) and while you are there activate your tickets. Or take a tour around the monorail hotels, just to look or for dinner and or drinks, and hitting the Magic Kingdom entrance for the activation while doing so.
Then the next morning, when you are trying to get into the theme park as quickly as possible, you won’t have to wait in a long line to activate your tickets!
You cannot activate your tickets ahead of time, doing so would use up a day of use. On your first park day simply proceed to the Ticket and Guest Relations location between the parks if you need to buy your tickets, or right to the turnstiles for a quick ID check and activation if you already have them.
It’s Easy if you know how
I do get a lot of questions on this. So I hope this clears up any confusion on the subject of Disney Armed Forces Salute ticket activation!
Feel Free to ask Questions in the Comments Section below!
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.