From Disney to Las Vegas: Free and discounted travel offers for teachers
On the long list of people who deserve a vacation, teachers rank near the very top.
For Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re raising more than an apple to educators with this list of spots where teachers can enjoy a teacher discount for some free or discounted fun, relaxation or entertainment.
A few extra special teachers will even win an all-expenses-paid cruise through Norwegian Cruise Line's annual Giving Joy sweepstakes. You can nominate your favorite teacher (or teachers) and 100 lucky educators will win a cruise and up to a $25,000 donation for their school. Nominations are open now and close on June 3, 2022.
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Teacher discounts at Disney Springs hotels
Some hotels within Disney Springs (but not the actual Walt Disney World Disney Resorts, sadly) are offering ongoing teacher discounts. These hotels provide many, but not all, of the perks at true Disney resorts, including early admission to the parks. These properties are chain properties under flags such as Wyndham, Holiday Inn and Hilton.
The Hilton Orlando’s website advertises teacher appreciate rates from about $215 per night, but most nights land closer to the $250 to $350 range. Ask for the TEA rate code when calling to book (you might be able to get help finding better rates by picking up the phone), or book online.
The Holiday Inn Orlando, within Disney Springs, also offers ongoing discounted rates to teachers and education support staff at every level, from daycare through college. Along with the discounted nightly rate, up to four kids ages 11 and under are eligible to eat for free while on property.
Related: Here are TPG’s favorite Disney Springs properties.
If you’re not a teacher or can’t find a discount on the dates you want, here’s a guide to using points to stay near Disney World and our guide to visiting Walt Disney World.
Teacher discounts at the Disney Swan and Dolphin
Perhaps even better than staying in Disney Springs is staying within walking distance to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Disney Swan or Dolphin — both of which offer teacher (and nurse, medical personnel, law enforcement and first responder) discounts. With this one, you have to call 1-888-828-8850 and ask for the promotional code TEACHERS RATE or add promotional code ZTC to the website for discounts of up to 25% off regular room rates at the time of booking.
I did a quick search for upcoming dates and found teacher discounts of around $30 off per night. However, some dates appear to be blacked out for the teachers’ discount, so be sure to do your research.
Keep in mind that these properties also have discounts of up to 25% on connecting rooms if you are traveling with the whole family — you just have to ask.
Free theme park and attraction tickets for teachers
Some theme parks offer free tickets to teachers, presumably so the teachers will want to set up a field trip with their students in the future. But regardless of the motivation, free is free.
- SeaWorld Florida: Free, unlimited admission for Florida K-12 teachers through Aug. 31, 2022.
- SeaWorld San Diego: A free Teacher Fun Card good for unlimited free admission through Dec. 31, 2022, for California and Arizona K-12 teachers.
- SeaWorld San Antonio: Free Teacher Card valid for unlimited admission to all rides, shows, animal encounters and attractions. Valid for certified Texas Pre-K through high school teachers.
- Kennedy Space Center: Free educator study passes for teachers from Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, good for complimentary access to the visitors complex. Note that substantial proof/identification is required: either a copy of your teaching certificate, a photo ID that shows your title (teacher/educator) or a signed letter from the school principal.
- Legoland Florida: Free Teacher Annual Pass for Florida Pre-K-Grade 12 teachers good for a year of free admission to Legoland, Madame Tussauds Orlando and Sea Life Orlando. Upgrade to a more flexible pass that includes water park admission and more for $59.99. (Check out TPG's guide to Legoland Florida.)
- Sesame Place: Teachers in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and New Jersey are eligible for a Teacher Pass that grants unlimited Sesame Place admission for a full year. 2022 registration is closed, but registration for 2023 should open in the fall of 2022. If you had a Teacher Pass for 2021, it should automatically renew for 2022.
- Arizona Science Center: Free general admission and discounts at the planetarium and giant screen theater for Arizona K-12 educators.
Related: Best credit cards to use at theme parks
Additional travel discounts for teachers
Teacher travel discounts are out there if you search and ask. A few additional examples include:
- Arizona Grand Resort & Spa: 20% off for educators.
- Chatham Bars Inn: 30% off for teachers and support staff with the Educators Appreciation Offer, includes stays during school vacations.
- Caesar’s Family of Casino Resorts: up to 30% off for teachers (and students) at participating hotels within the U.S.
- Golden Nugget in Las Vegas: up to 30% discount on room rates for active educators.
- Scott Resort and Spa in Arizona: 20% off for teachers.
- TradeWinds Resort: 10% off the best available rate for teachers.
- Gaylord Hotels: Teachers and school personnel receive discounted room rates at all five Gaylord properties in the U.S.
- CheapCaribbean’s Beach4Teach Club: Sign up for a promotional code worth $150 off your next all-inclusive vacation of five nights or more.
- Sixt: 5% off U.S. car rentals for teachers and school employees.
- Budget Truck Rental: 20% off local moves and 15% off one-way moves for teachers with discount code TEACH.
- Radisson Hotels Americas: 20% off stays and a room upgrade on check-in.
- The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes: Rates from $195 to $349 per room, per night, for teachers.
- Boston Harbor Hotel: Up to 30% off best available rate for teachers, educators and parents.
Teacher discounts on travel are not available everywhere, but they do exist.
If you are eligible and don’t see what you want on this list, try a little searching online. And when in doubt, pick up the phone to ask. Also, keep in mind that discounts for government employees sometimes apply to public school teachers, too.