Thanks to my mom for writing this article for A Disney Mom’s Thoughts. I have not had the pleasure of staying at Shades of Green so I had to turn to my mom! Before she shares her thoughts, here is a bit of history about this resort:
In 1971, this building was the club house for the Palm and Magnolia Golf Courses. In December 1973, Disney added guest rooms and opened the Golf Resort. It had 151 rooms. Since this resort was only appealing to Golfers and not your typical Magic Kingdom and Epcot guests, Disney changed the name in 1986 to The Disney Inn. They added 150 more rooms and included a Snow White theme. In 1994, the Department of Defense leased the resort and land from Disney. In 1996, the DoD purchased the resort, but Disney still owns the land. Currently, there are 586 rooms at the resort.
Shades of Green is an Armed Forces Recreation Center resort serving members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. The AFRC Resorts were built and financed by Service Members own funds and now operates on a self-sustaining basis. It is also available for non-military personnel of the Department of Defense.
Rates for the rooms are based on the rank or pay scale for qualified military and DoD personnel.
My husband is retired military and we have taken advantage of staying at Shades of Green only one time. We decided to check out this resort when we were on our way to Fort Lauderdale for a wedding and were not planning to go into the parks.
It is located close to the Polynesian Resort. WDW transportation does not service SOG, however this resort offers their own bus service. We have never used this service, but I have talked to others who have and they thought that it met their needs.
Since we were only going to be there one night, we were limited on our activities. We walked to the Polynesian where we had reservations for the Luau. After that, we got on the WDW buses to go to what was Downtown Disney at the time. We rode a WDW bus back to the Polynesian and walked to SOG. Not a long walk at all.
This resort is located on golf courses, so the next morning we got up early to play the 9 hole course before we headed to Fort Lauderdale.
We were in a handicapped room and it was huge! It easily accommodated a wheelchair in the bathroom and room. But my guess is that is the size of a regular room, but I do not know that for sure.
We had two double beds with plenty of “walking around room”, plus a sitting area with a sofa that pulled out to a double bed. There was a balcony that overlooked one of the pools. It really was a great room at a great rate.
The grounds were very well landscaped and we enjoyed a beautiful walk around the property.
The lobby was very large to accommodate many people checking in. There was a statue of Mickey Mouse dressed in red, white, and blue saluting. That was cool. There is a small post exchange (PX) inside which provides limited groceries, souvenirs, and liquor. I don’t remember going to any other “stores” or using the dining room at the resort.
The best part of SOG is the ticket office. They offer discounted attraction tickets for the Orlando area. With your military ID you can get great prices for Sea World/Busch Gardens, Universal Studios and others. The best deal is the Salute Package where you can get a 4 day park hopper ticket for $209! One person with credentials (military ID) can get a limited number of these tickets. To activate them, you take them to a WDW service desk with your ID along with everyone who will be using this ticket. A person with a military ticket must be present when activating the tickets. These tickets are also available at military bases. Check it out here: http://www.shadesofgreen.org/tickets/WDW_4DAY.pdf
The rates for the rooms stay constant. The rates are based on your military grade, so they do not fluctuate according to seasons. Therefore, sometimes you can get cheaper rates at the Value Resorts on the WDW property. That is why we have only stayed at Shades of Green once.
My overall opinion of the Shades of Green is positive. We usually go there when we are down there just to go to the PX to save taxes! It is a large facility, but fills up quickly, so make your reservations early! For more information, check out the website: http://www.shadesofgreen.org/index.html
- Shades of Green does participate in Extra Magic Hours at the parks.
- You can have your packages from the parks sent back to Shades of Green.
- If you drive your car from Shades of Green to a park, you will have to pay the $20 a day parking. It’s best to use the SoG transportation or walk to the Polynesian and use WDW transportation.
- There are several restaurants and dining options at SoG. The Garden Gallery Restaurant for breakfast and dinner, Evergreens Sports Bar and Grill for lunch and dinner, Express Cafe for breakfast, snacks and coffee, Mangino’s Italian restaurant for dinner.