My sister and nephew recently visited from Australia. Naturally Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure Park were on our must-see list. For eight of us though I knew it was going to get a little pricey because we were planning on not only purchasing 3-Day Park Hoppers, but also staying at the Disneyland Resort for three nights.

Disneyland Resort: Discounts and Tips for Military Families #disney #disneyland
I'm going to break-down some of the military discounts available and tips that I think might be beneficial to military families going for the first time.

Disneyland Resort Military Discounts Available

3-Day Park Hopper Tickets

Military promotion (until September 28,2013): $125 per 3-Day Park Hopper

Military promotion (August 12, 2013 – September 25, 2014): $129 per 3-Day Park Hopper

Note: Currently the Disneyland Resort website states that discounts are only available until Setpember 28, 2013, however the Disney Parks Blog just released new information about the extension of this program to September 25, 2014. There are blackout dates for these tickets so if you are planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort check the dates before purchasing your tickets.

What you need to know: You are limited to 6 3-Day Park Hopper tickets at the discounted military price (this could be different depending on where you purchase them). These tickets will be in YOUR name when you purchase them and you MUST enter the parks with all ticket holders where your party will be issued cards so they can come and go as they please after the initial paper ticket has been handed over. So no, you cannot just purchase these for friends and family. Military members and their family (over the age of 10) need to show a military identification card upon initial entry into one of the parks.

Disneyland Hotel

If you are purchasing 3-Day Park Hopper Tickets, most likely you will want to stay at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels.

I highly recommend the Disneyland Hotel.  There are room discounts available and it isn't limited to just one room. We had 8 family members staying at the Disneyland Hotel and were able to book 2 rooms with the military discount, however, there must be at least one person with a military identification card at check-in per room, and they will ask for your identification during check-in.

And just look at the view from our room:

Disneyland Hotel Resort pool
The pool is fantastic. There are lifeguards on duty, two waterslides for the kids, and a spa. It is the perfect spot to relax in the afternoon before heading out for dinner and then back into one of the parks for the nighttime shows.

Note: Currently the Disneyland Resort website states that discounts are only available until Setpember 28, 2013, however the Disney Parks Blog just released new information about the extension of this program to September 27, 2014. There are blackout dates, so please confirm these dates before making reservations and purchasing your tickets.

Disneyland Hotel Parking

Self-parking is $15 per night (for up to 2 nights), of $22 per night for valet parking.

Show your military identification card as you enter the hotel parking and you will be given a laminated flyer to place on your dashboard and you will receive free valet parking for the duration of your stay. We received free valet parking for 2 vehicles for the length of our stay.

Goofy's Kitchen

Goofy's Kitchen is a great spot for a meal with the kids. Not only will they get to meet some of the lovely Disney characters such as Disney princesses, Goofy, Pluto, Minnie (and more) who come right up to your table for photographs, hugs and autograph signing, but the food is really good. I'm not a buffet person, I tend to avoid buffets as much as I can, but the food here was great, we only wish we'd gone in hungrier. Reservations are recommended, however we turned up at 6pm for dinner one evening, and although we had about a 25 minute wait, they have a viewing room with old Disney cartoons playing on a screen to entertain the kids, and before being taken to our table, they had a photograph taken with Goofy. This kept them more than entertained during the waiting time.

Goofy's Kitchen at Disneyland Hotel: Character Meet 'n Greet
Show your military identification card when you check in at the restaurant counter and you will get 10% off your meal.

By eating here and meeting some of the characters, you won't need to stand in lines at the Disneyland park to meet them … however miss Marisol did insist on meeting Minnie Mouse on three separate occasions, one of which I was stuck in line for 60 minutes waiting … thankfully the rest of our group were busy on rollercoasters at the time.

Magic Morning

Magic Morning is not just for military families, but is available to hotel guests so I wanted to share this information and recommend you take advantage of it.  Each member of the family (over age 3) staying at the hotel will be issued a room key. You must have this along with your theme park ticket to enter the parks during the Magic Morning hours. Magic Morning hours allow you to enter the park 1 hour before it opens to the public.

  • Disneyland: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
  • Disney California Adventure Park: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

What you need to know: Fast Pass kiosks will not open until the park has opened to the public, so head straight to the rides you want to go on before the lines start. At Disney California Adventure Park, this will be the rides in Cars Land. Some of the more popular rides later in the day will have wait times of 90 minutes if you do not take advantage of the Magic Mornings and FastPass tickets.

There are three ways to enter the park during the Magic Mornings – monorail (Disneyland only), Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa (California Adventure Park only), or the main theme park entrance. Use the main entrance. There is only one ticket line at the monorail and unless you are there as it opens you will be waiting in line (however if you are heading to the back of Disneyland, this might be a good option for you), and at the Grand Californian Hotel apparently there are only 2 entrances and that gets quite busy with guests from the hotels using that entrance. It is much quicker to just go to the main entrance as it's opening.

Other benefits of staying at the Disneyland Hotel

  • Use your room key to purchase meals, toys and whatever else you want at both Disneyland Park and Disney's California Adventure Park and charge it directly to your room. This is great if you separate from your family during the day and want to make purchases but keep all of your expenses together. Note: you will not be able to use it at stores in Downtown Disney such as Build-a-Bear and the LEGO store.
  • When making purchases at the parks you can have packages sent directly to your room so you don't have to carry them around with you.
  • Disney character wake-up calls.
  • Access to the Disneyland Hotel pool and monorail waterslides.
  • There are exclusive workshops at the Disneyland Resort hotels. During our stay they were hosting outdoor Disney movie nights.

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Allison September 4, 2013 - 10:10 am

I did not know that about free valet parking – thank you! We are headed there soon for four days. 🙂

Robin March 13, 2014 - 6:06 pm

What is the website that I can buy these military discount tickets at? And if I’m not staying at the Disneyland hotel can we still get in for the magic mornings? And get free parking at Disneyland or the hotels?

Tonya Staab April 7, 2014 - 12:52 pm

Hi Robin,

You can purchase the discount military tickets at your closest military base ticket office.

You must be staying at the hotel to get into the park on the magic mornings – you are required to show your room key, along with your tickets to get into the park.

Also the free parking is only for hotel guests.


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