Sunday, December 17

Take Your Next Leave at Walt Disney World

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If any households are deserving of a special vacation in this day and age, it  is the hard-working and overstressed family members of the United  States military. Soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and coasties all  work tremendouslycomplex jobs, often having to leave family members  behind for months at a time. For the average enlisted person, even the  thought of giving a cheap Disney vacation may seem out of reach. On the contrary, Walt Disney World officials have gone overboard to try to make certain that all members of  the military, whether active duty or retired, can spend an affordableand magical time in Walt Disney World.
 
 Start your Disney trip by reserving a room at Shades of  Green, the Disney property resort reserved entirely for United States  military members and their families. Shades, as it is widely known,  sits in the center of a pair of PGA-rated golf courses. The property wasrecently refurbished and the landscaping and setting is spectacular.  Your room may overlook a rocky promontory with splashing waterfall, a  small lake with palm trees surrounding it or one of the golf courses with games going onall through the day. Choose your dates wisely and you  may even be able to sit on your balcony while watching a PGA-sanctioned  golf game. The rooms are the biggest regular rooms in all of the Disney  resorts and include a mini bar and coffee service setup, two queen  sized beds, table and chairs, pull-out couch and either a balcony or  patio. Therestaurants on site have a varied menu and carry some of the  most affordable costs to be found on Disney property.
 
 After checking into your rooms,visit the ticket office in the  lobby and obtain your special military discount tickets. The military  member of your family or spouse must buy the tickets, but not both.  For the 2011 season, each 4-day ticket, whether for park hopper option  or water parks and more option, is priced at $138. This is below the charge of a normal 2-day, 1-park ticket to the parks, so the savings are  considerable. You or your spouse may buy up to six of these tickets  at one time. The tickets are offered to active duty and retired  members of the armed services including the National Guard and reserve.
 
 While you are spending the day in Magic Kingdom, look into City  Hall if you are a veteran. Magic Kingdom holds a flag ceremony every  evening at 5:00 p.m., and the ceremony is presided over by the Veteran  of the Day. If you are selected for this honor, you will be awarded a  certificate and special pin at the end of the ceremony, along with  priceless memories for all your family to cherish.
 
 Stop in at Guest Relations each day and get a special pin if this  is your first trip to Walt Disney World. Wearing this pin makes it likely that many occurances of Disney Magic will happen around you. You  may get free dessert in restaurants or free Mickey Mouse ears in a shop. The barbershop quartet may serenade you on Main Street or Mickey  Mouse himself may shake your hand and salute you. Disney treats its military guests very well, showing the appreciation that they feel  toward the work that you do.
 
 If you are a golfer, plan a day at either the Palm or Magnolia  course, both of which are on the grounds of Shades of Green. The expense changes from year to year, but military members staying at Shades always  get a significantdiscount at either of the courses. Playing on a  professional course at half price has happened often for military  members. Check with Guest Services at Shades for current rates.
 
 Spend at least one final day in Walt Disney World simply enjoying the resort. Shades is a superior resort in every sense of the word, and  there is no way to tell that you are actually enjoying a cheap Disney vacation. Lounge on one of the leather sofas in front of the roaring fireplace,  swim in one of the pools, loosen up or relax in a hot tub, hit some golf balls and  let your kids loose in the video game center. Have a ending cocktail at  the bar or have a bottle of wine sent to your room to beenjoyed on the  balcony. Watch the sunset while finishing a magical Disney vacation.

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