If you are so fortunate as to be entering or exiting Magic Kingdom right at 5:00pm on any day of the week, consider yourself blessed to witness a truly humbling moment on Main Street. The Flag Retreat Ceremony is so much more than just the lowering and folding of Old Glory.
It is a chance for every day citizen on vacation to pause for a moment and honor Disney’s Veteran of the Day. Each day, one service-member is selected to be the honoree, assisting with the folding of the flag and walking it down Main Street.
As you stand with respect and gratitude watching the ceremony take place before you, this display is a visual representation of how deeply the Walt Disney Company cares for our military families.
My family first visited Walt Disney World in the fall of 2003 after my husband returned from the Iraq Invasion. In recognition of the significant sacrifice our service-members faced, Disney offered a wonderful theme park ticket offer to military families that gave our children a chance to experience the parks that we might not have been able to provide them otherwise. That visit was so magical that our family was hooked by a love of all things Disney from that moment on.
It has now been over 16 years since my first experience with Disney’s Military Salute offer, and in those years the offer has changed over time, but continues to exist in some fashion. Theme park tickets are heavily discounted for military members (active and retired) as well as discounts at Disney’s resorts that are often some of the best savings to be found.
I am grateful for each and every discount Disney has continued to offer our military families. Each year I eagerly anticipate the moment the following year’s promotion gets announced, for it warms my heart to know Disney continues to recognize the sacrifice our military members make. Truly, it is one of the happiest days of each year for me as a travel agent and military wife.
But it’s not just the monetary acknowledgment that tells me Disney honors our uniformed personnel. I can’t tell you the number of times cast members have thanked my spouse for his service simply because they noticed the cap he was wearing that had some military reference to it.
Certainly our service men and women do not seek the accolades, and many take an “Aw, Shucks” approach to the acknowledgment, but it’s heart-warming all the same to know you are appreciated. The gratitude from cast members is apparent and I tend to believe that comes, at least in some part, from the company making it a priority.
Being a military family comes with its own unique challenges. Plans change at the last minute, block leave gets canceled, R&R dates aren’t set in stone, unexpected deployments get announced, and so on. In my experience, Disney has been understanding at every turn and willing to accommodate however possible when my military clients (as well as my own family) have had circumstances come up out of their control. This is just one more example of how you are more than just another guest at Disney. You are their military guest and you are valued.
Most military posts or bases have a travel and leisure office that will be authorized to sell the Military Salute tickets, and I certainly encourage you to enjoy the savings by obtaining your tickets there.
However, working with a Disney Vacation Planner agency such as Dream Departures Travel for your resort and itinerary planning would offer you the opportunity to have a specialist assist you with all the other details of your stay, from suggesting the best days to visit which parks, to planning a strategic daily itinerary, to scheduling special dining experiences, to arranging your fastpasses in advance.
These concierge level services are offered to you at no cost from agents who have hundreds of Disney park days of experience to pull from. We aren’t just professionals who sell Disney vacations. We are fans who love all things Disney, and are passionate about helping your family be captured by the magic as well.
And just like Disney, we want you to know you are appreciated as we take exceptional care of your family’s vacation, because the memories you create together will be treasures to warm your hearts during each phase of your military journey.
A Special Thank You to Kris Mahurin for sharing her expertise and experiences:
Having been a military spouse for many years, Kris is well versed in the needs of the military client and the offers available exclusively to those who are serving or who have served in our Armed Forces. Whether you’re looking for a Disney vacation, a cruise, or an all-inclusive resort, you’ll find you’re in good hands with someone who understands your family’s military service and sacrifice. Let her put her expertise to work for you today. To receive your free vacation quote today and begin making magical memories with your family contact Kris at [email protected] or 706-718-4396.