Here’s the insider’s guide to Disneyland for military families

Disneyland is my happy place! Growing up 20 minutes from it, I consider Disneyland one of my second homes. I had a pass from the time I was about nine or ten until I left for college.

As an adult, I have been able to take my older two boys a handful of times, and I will be taking all three boys this summer. My six-year-old is super excited to finally be able to go to Disneyland, and my older two boys can’t wait to go back.

One of the reasons we can go this summer is because of the Armed Forces Salute they offer military families. The discount is amazing!

What type of discount can you get?

The Armed Forces Salute is for three or four-day park hopper pass: $156 for three days and $181 for four days. This is a fantastic deal. Regular price would be $310 for an adult ticket for three days. This discount is for all active or retired US military personnel, including the National Guard and the Reserves. You do have to purchase these tickets by December 16th, 2017 and use them by December 19th, 2017. Can’t go this year? They will probably have another discount for 2018.

Can I still get tickets if my spouse is deployed?

Yes, you can, and you can buy up to six tickets. If your spouse is with you and they purchase the tickets, you are not able to buy six more. But if your spouse is not with you, you can be the one to buy the tickets.

Where do I get the tickets?

You can purchase the tickets ahead of time on your military installation or you can purchase at the gate.

Can I bring my mom?

You can use some of your six tickets for family and friends. They do have to be with you the first day, but they can also use the rest of the purchased time for other days when you are not there.

Should we plan?

Planning for Disneyland is different than when you go to Disney World. I have never used a meal plan at Disneyland. We have always eaten where we wanted to when we wanted lunch or dinner. That being said, doing a little bit of planning can help. Figure out where you want to go and what park you want to see each day. Check out a map of Disneyland and California Adventure before you go so you can create a game plan.

Will it be busy when we go?

When I was growing up, there were days when no one was at the park and we could enjoy a ride over and over again without having to wait. I have heard that these days are a thing of the past. . .  but some days are busier than others. Check out this crowd level calendar for planning your trip.

Should we plan to stay all day?

You know your kids and what they can handle. If you are staying at a hotel nearby, you can always go back to the hotel and take a rest before heading back to the park for the evening events. Make sure to bring a stroller if you have a child under five. They will still need one and it will be helpful to have. You can also rent one there if need be.

Where else should we go when we go to Disneyland?

If you are planning a trip to Disneyland, you can also visit other local parks. You can buy discount Knott’s Berry Farm tickets on your military installation and check out the Sea World Waves of Honor program for free tickets. Make sure to ask about a military discount anywhere else you might go.

By Julie Provost

Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at