If Mickey and Minnie are calling your children, a Redstone Arsenal office dedicated to travel may be just the ticket to help with your family vacation plans.
The Information, Tickets and Reservations office at Pershing Welcome Center has discounted tickets for the Redstone community to Orlando’s hottest attractions, including Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World.
The office also sells discounted tickets to the Georgia Aquarium, Six Flags Over Georgia and Medieval Times (“Jousting, horsemanship and falconry with a four-course, utensil-free meal served in a castle-like space”) in Atlanta; Dollywood, Splash Country (a water park), and the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge; and Graceland, home of Elvis Presley, in Memphis, among other attractions.
During a recent weekday lunch hour, recreation assistant Larry Keel stayed busy selling tickets, including some to a family bound for Disney World.
Maria Wahab of Madison, a retired sergeant who is currently working remotely as a registered nurse for Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, was with her son Ryan, 6, a rising first-grade student at Rainbow Elementary who was donning a Mickey Mouse mask and excitedly anticipating a trip to Splash Country, the water park at Dollywood.
Wahab said she and her husband, retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Don Wahab, who now works as an interoperability engineer for Gray Analytics, and their 4-year-old daughter, Alyvia, a preschooler at Rainbow, will make the trip.
Rachel and Joel Materna of Fort Payne bought tickets to Disney World and said they and other family members plan to drive so they can accommodate “baby stuff” for their 6-month-old son, Oliver. They will stay on-site at the All-Star Music Resort.
Rachel Materna, a purchasing manager for Heil Environmental, and her husband, a full-time remote MBA student at Purdue University and stay-home father, are both veterans, making each of them eligible to purchase four tickets.
“We like Epcot,” Joel Materna said, “’cause you can see the whole world.”
Gaylene Wilson, recreation division chief for Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said business is going gangbusters at the ITR office.
With the lifting of COVID-19 travel restrictions and families ready to recover from cabin fever, dozens of patrons are taking advantage of the discount ticket program each day, she said.
“COVID really hit us hard. We weren’t seeing people traveling,” Wilson said. “In the last few months, our ticket sales have been booming. Of course, Disney is number one.”
A travel agent on staff is currently booked over a month in advance just to help patrons make travel reservations, including cruises and other destination vacation packages, Wilson said. The services are available by appointment at a flat rate of $25 per itinerary.
Prices for discount tickets are listed by state on the office website at redstonearmymwr.com and are subject to change. And while discounts vary from one attraction to another, all prices are lower than those available at the gate or to the general public, Wilson said.
Eligibility for ticket discounts varies, depending on the attraction, she said, adding that civilians are eligible for some, but not all of the discounts.
MWR keeps a small portion of ticket sales, money that is returned to the Redstone community, Wilson said.
Keel said he sold $35,000 worth of tickets in a single day after the office reopened in late May.
The ITR office is located inside the Pershing Welcome Center at 3443 Aerobee Road. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is 876-4531.