Military discounts at Disney, Universal Studios theme parks and more – USA TODAY

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom on Oct. 27, 2022, ahead of National Veterans and Military Families Month in November.

Thank you isn’t enough, so America’s biggest theme parks are putting their money where their figurative mouths are for military service members and their families.

“You’ve earned your leave and then some,” writes Universal Orlando Resort. “As thanks for your service, we offer active-duty and retired service members specially priced tickets and vacation packages.” Those include nearly a year’s worth of park admission for less than the price of two days.

Other theme parks, like both Busch Gardens locations, offer free tickets to active-duty military and their dependents.

Here’s how military families can save at expensive destinations like Walt Disney World and SeaWorld:

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What discounts can I get for military?

Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and Sesame Place

SeaWorld’s Waves of Honor program offers active-duty military, active reservists and National Guard members free admission for themselves and up to three dependents once a year at one of several SeaWorld parks: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld San Diego, SeaWorld San Diego or Sesame Place Philadelphia. Sesame Place San Diego offers discounted tickets.

Park-specific details can be found on SeaWorld’s website. Separately ticketed events, like Howl-O-Scream, are not included.

Disney World

Active-duty and retired military personnel or their spouses can get significantly discounted Disney Military Promotional Park Hopper Tickets, which cost $349 for four days or $369 for five this year. Depending on the time of year, that can be much less than what other guests pay for three days at one park per day. 

Unlike standard tickets, which are only valid for a short window after initial use, these tickets can be used across multiple trips throughout 2023, for example, two days in the spring, then the rest in the fall. There are two blackout periods in April and November, and all tickets must be used by Dec. 15.

At least one ticket must be used by the eligible service member or their spouse. The others may be purchased for family or friends. Details can be found on Disney World’s website.

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Disneyland

Disneyland also offers Disney Military Promotional Park Hopper Tickets to active-duty and retired military or their spouses, with similar perks and restrictions. This year, three-day tickets cost $245, and four days cost $280. Both options cost less than standard two-day tickets without park hopping privileges.

Tickets are currently available and may be used through Dec 15, with the exception of one blackout period between April 2 through April 15. Details can be found on Disneyland’s website.

Dollywood

Dollywood offers discounted tickets and season passes to active-duty or retired military, veterans, military reservists, their spouses and dependents. Tickets start at $62.50 for one day, compared to $89 regularly. Discounted season tickets start at $132.30, compared to $159 regularly. Details can be found on Dollywood’s website.

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LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND New York all offer discounted tickets to active duty military, veterans and their families. Discounts vary by location. Details are available on their respective websites.

Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando’s Military Freedom Pass Promotional Ticket offers active-duty and retired military personnel, their spouses and Department of Defense civilians nearly a year’s worth of admission for less than the cost of two park days. With the exception of one blackout period between April 3 through April 9, pass holders get unlimited regular entry through Dec. 24. Separately ticketed events, like Halloween Horror Nights, are excluded.

This year’s pass costs $199.99 for park-to-park access to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure for adults. Access to Universal’s Volcano Bay water park can be added for $35 more.

Up to six tickets can be purchased, but one must be used by the eligible service member or spouse. Military service members and their families are also eligible for up to 40% off stays at select Universal Orlando hotels. Details can be found on Universal Orlando’s website and by calling 1-877-801-9720.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Active-duty and retired U.S. military, 100% disabled veterans, Medal of Honor recipients, active National Guard members and reservists and their spouses and dependents are eligible for discounted one-day tickets and annual passes to Universal Studios Hollywood. Pricing and details are available through military ticket offices. 

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What things are free for veterans?

Veterans can get free admission for themselves and up to three guests at SeaWorld San Diego.

SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Sesame Place PhiladelphiaDollywood and all three U.S. LEGOLAND parks offer veterans discounted tickets.

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