Disney Review – Get the most out of your trip!

I have heard a few of you discussing going to Florida this year. This will naturally involve going to see the big mouse for those of you with kids. I did the trip in October with wife, 2 kids and 9 members of her family so we were obviously looking for the cheapest tickets. The best deal is the Disney Armed Forces Salute and this deal runs until 28 Sep 2013. It will likely be renewed for 2014.

You can buy your tickets at MWR on base or at Shades of Green resort. http://www.shadesofgreen.org/ (you may wish to consider staying here too, I didn’t but LWtr Perry has and can give you more info.

The 4-day park hopper for $156 allows you;

In-out access to all 4 Disney parks for ANY four days throughout the year – they do not have to be consecutive days.

It does NOT include parking (although you only pay parking of $14 once per day and can move parks)

However, and this is not very well advertised….If you pay the extra $28 for the Water Parks option (which you should if it’s decent weather) then you will get a lot more value for your money. By buying this option you get another 4 ‘entries’ to play with (again, any time of the year). So you now have 4 days of theme parks to use plus 4 entries into the 2 water parks (blizzard beach and typhoon lagoon) and Disney Quest (normally $55) https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/entertainment/downtown-disney/disney-quest-indoor-interactive-theme-park/ this is basically 5 floors of futuristic rides and video games, not really for kids under 5 though.

You also get a free round of golf (9 holes) on the Shades of Green course, including club hire.

Points to note:

You need to activate your tickets at any one of the park ticket windows of any park on the first day.

The military member must be there for activation but after that it’s your ticket and yours only to do what you want with. You will be fingerprinted and your name written on the ticket so that only you can use it.

A maximum of 6 tickets can be purchased by the military member or spouse. Not 6 each. (I managed to get 9 but it was a risk and if you want that info then you will have to come see me!) but be prepared to pay full price for anyone over the 6 limit. Kids 3 and under are free.

Remember its 4 days theme park hopper PLUS 4 other visits to the additional options. So you now have up to 8 days of entertainment for $184 pp. for example you could;

Go to Magic Kindom for 4 hours in morning, then cool off at Blizzard Beach in afternoon, then go to fireworks at Epcot in the evening, all for the cost of one day from your theme park ticket, one entry from your extras and one days parking. And you don’t spend 12 hours in one park.

or spend all day at a water park and not use your park hopper days at all.

or you can spend all day at one theme park

or have a day off Disney and relax without losing anything.

The options are plentiful and very handy for holiday planning.

Ultimately, if you intend going to a water park even once, then you should add this option. (If you do, your ticket will say FUN on the back or it. Not all members have to add it) You have the flexibility to stretch the ticket over two weeks and do other stuff in between without a Disney marathon.

If you stay at Shades of Green then you can get a free shuttle to each park and avoid parking charges. You can then use the monorail to get between certain parks. This offer is definitely open to UK personnel, it’s not hit and miss like previous years. This is due to a high volume of requests last year.

Downtown Disney is free and the Disney boardwalk is free.

You can take food into the parks. No guns or knives surprisingly.

THE TICKETS DO NOT EXPIRE UNTIL THE DATE THE OFFER ENDS FOR THAT YEAR (SEP 2013). So if you plan to return to Orlando within that date, don’t bust a gut to use the ticket and keep something for next time.

Hope this helps your planning and saves you a few pennies to buy over priced Disney souvenirs that you can buy in Lynnhaven Mall for half the price! See my wife for details!!

Universal studios now do one free ticket for active military only. This is a big saving too but only applies to the active member unfortunately.

You can get one free entry from select MWRs into Kennedy Space Centre for active member.

We rented two villas while we were in florida, one in Orlando and one in Cape Coral on the Gulf Coast. We used http://www.vacationrentals.com/vacation-rentals/florida/orlando.html and got some really good deals after negotiating and using the military push! Going in October-March and when Schools are in gives you much more flexibility to broker a deal if you are looking for a large villa as few Americans are there with families and large villas lie empty.

There may be stuff that I’ve forgotten and I will add later but this is a good deal and can really help make the holiday a bit less frantic and of course cheaper.

Thanks to Dez O’Donnell and his family for this article.