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.
Almost wordless today…
I love the attention to detail at Disney! Everywhere you look Disney has taken time to add the “Disney touch”. You can find this everywhere- bathrooms, attractions, restaurants, sidewalks, costumes, landscapes, resorts, EVERYWHERE!
Have you ever paid attention to the details in the small train scene at the Germany pavilion in Epcot? Here are two shots of the same small house by the tracks- one in spring, one at Christmas. I would have never thought to add Christmas decorations to that small house, but Disney did!
Rider switch is technically a FREE service provided to families while visiting Walt Disney World. You do have to have park tickets purchased to be able to utilize rider switch!
- The Barnstormer
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Stitch’s Great Escape
- Tomorrowland Indy Speedway
- Frozen Ever After
- Mission: SPACE
- Test Track
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- Star Tours The Adventures Continue
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Expedition Everest- Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
- Kali River Rapids
- Primeval Whirl
Mickey’s PhilharMagic is located in Fantasyland right after you pass through Cinderella Castle on the left side. This attraction opened in October of 2003. PhilharMagic is in the same building as Peter Pan’s Flight. Before housing PhilharMagic, this venue was home to the Mickey Mouse Revue, Magic Journeys, and most recently Legend of the Lion King.
This attraction is a 12 minute long 3D 4D movie that seats 494 guests. While you do wear 3D glasses to watch this 3D movie, it’s 4D because at various times during the show you use other senses as well as you may smell scents, feel water splash on you, or feel a gust of wind. I don’t feel that any of the special effects are too intense for children. This is definitely an attraction that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
The premise of the show is that Mickey was getting ready for a concert he is to conduct. During the rush of getting everything ready, Donald takes the baton and Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat and things quickly get out of hand. Donald is whirled into several famous scenes from Disney movies where you can enjoy the following songs:
- “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast
- “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid
- “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” from The Lion King
- “You Can Fly” from Peter Pan
- “A Whole New World” from Aladdin
TIPS & TRIVIA
- Fastpass+ is offered for this attraction. However, I have never needed it. The average wait for this is 15 minutes. Since it seats so many, you rarely wait long.
- When you are in the lobby for this attraction, the doors on the right go to the back of the theatre and the left doors go to the front. Try to go left and get in the first few rows for the best experience.
- If your child does not enjoy this 3D experience, try taking the glasses off your child. Some children do not like things coming at them from the screen.
- During this show, Ariel “throws” gems into the crowd. If you want to blow your little ones minds, purchase some plastic pirate gemstones from Amazon prior to your trip. After the show look down and “find” some of the gems Ariel threw!
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic was the first time that the classic Disney characters were modeled and animated on computer.
- “Mickey’s PhilharMagic” is home to the largest seamless projection screen in the world. The screen measures 150 feet long and 28 feet high.
- Guests may remain in their wheelchairs and ECVs. You will also find an Assistive Listening System, Audio Description, and Reflective Captioning for guests needing these services.
Most people are aware that bottled water at Walt Disney World or any theme park can be expensive. Some people know that you can get FREE ice water at any counter service restaurant at Walt Disney World. But did you know you can get FREE tap water that doesn’t have the “Florida Water” sulfur taste too?
Try getting water from a soda gun instead of a water fountain or soda fountain! You’ll up your chances of finding a soda gun at a bar rather than a restaurant. 🙂
As Maui would say… “You’re Welcome!”