In the last few days I’ve received numerous questions regarding Disney’s “Test Program” which allowed DoD Civilians and Contractors to purchase Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets in the 4th quarter of 2018.
Naturally many people are wondering it this will happen again.
Disney is and always has been tight lipped about their future plans, but here are my thoughts which are based upon over 10 years of covering all things Disney from the Military perspective.
A Surprise Offer
The extension of this ticket discount to Civilians and Contractors in September 2018 came as a total surprise. In the 9 year history of the Disney Armed Forces Salute this had never happened before.
Disney, like most companies offers discounts, military or otherwise, as loss leaders. This is industry lingo for getting you in the door with an attractive offer or discount banking that once in you will buy other things.
In Disney’s case they offer an attractive discount to attract bodies that would not have otherwise come, thus boosting attendance and making extra money on non-discounted items (food, merchandise, rooms for civs/contractors, and other items).
I assume projected attendance for Q3 2018 was lower than Disney liked, which prompted this experimental offer.
A Test Offer
This was a “test” (as Disney called it) in that Disney did it to see how this particular offer to a limited community could drive traffic, versus increasing a discount to a larger audience or offering a new one to a bigger group.
They know how many took advantage of this and will now keep this info in their hip pocket. If at some point in the future they need to boost projected attendance by the amount this offer did for a given timeframe, they’ll know whether or not to make this offer again.
What about 2019?
I don’t feel that it is likely for 2019.
The reasons for this are:
If it was to happen the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2019 would have been the time.
Disney just did a promo of the Disney Armed Forces Salute on their Disney Parks Blog on 31 December and did not mention civilians and contractors.
Disney is expecting huge crowds starting summer 2019 at Disneyland and fall 2019 at Disney World for the opening of their Star Wars Lands.
I was honestly surprised the Salute was offered at all to the military for the second half of 2019.
Price increases are not only a boost to revenue, but an attendance limiter. As prices go up, some stop going, or go when it is cheaper.
Disney recently instituted seasonal pricing on their multi-day theme park tickets, something they did a while back on single-day tickets. They now charge more for busier periods.
The purpose behind this is to de-incentivize going during high attendance periods; they already do this by not offering resort hotel discounts during the busiest times.
And just last week Disney increased prices at Disneyland on all tickets and passes. Ticket increased from under 10% on single day tickets to almost 25% on annual passes.
At WDW huge crowds are expected for fall 2019 through 2021 for the opening of the Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and WDW’s 50th anniversary (2021, starting Sept 2020).
At Disneyland Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opens in summer 2019.
Disney is furiously expanding resort hotel capacity and transportation infrastructure in order to try to handle this surge. But they are going to have more bodies than they need for much of this timeframe.
We have no way of knowing when or if ever they will do this again, but it would never be during the busier times of the year. And as mentioned the last part of 2019 is projected to be very busy due to the opening of both the Star Wars Lands.
All this leads me to believe that we will not see this program return in 2019.
But rest assured that if it does I’ll share it here on this post and on all social media outlets!
Do you have any intel? Share it with others 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.