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!
Packing for your Walt Disney World trip should begin way in advance. I say this because there are several things I suggest packing that may not be on your mind. If you wait until the last minute, you may end up spending more money than needed. Be on the lookout for sales in stores and online. Look for travel size items instead of full size, especially if you are flying, and to keep in your park bag.
Previously, I have shared an extensive packing list our family uses before each Disney trip. This is overkill, I know! But, it may give you an idea of the types of things your family may need on a trip.
I’ve also posted 15 Things To Pack For Disney. Here is the list, but be sure to follow the link to find out why we pack these items!
- Dish Soap.
- Laundry Detergent.
- Clorox Wipes.
- Noise Machine.
- Over the door shoe holder.
- Power Strip.
- Skirt Hangers.
- Glow sticks.
- Ziplock Bags.
- Sharpie Pens.
- Plastic Stroller Cover.
- Diapers and wipes
- Extra change of clothes & bibs
- Bottles/ sippy cups with formula/ juice
- Toys- for comfort (a favorite blankie, stuffed animal)
- Entertainment for long lines and waits
- Blanket for cool weather and cooler attractions
- Favorite snacks
- Autograph book/ pen
- Fat pen for autographs, or a sharpie, but not green!
- ABC scrapbook
- Coins for pressed pennies (2 quarters and a penny)
- Jacket or poncho for weather
- Small flashlight on a keychain for dark rides
- Chap stick
- Sun block (travel size)
- Hand sanitizer (travel size that hangs on a zipper)
- Safety pins
- Water bottle & powder drink mix
- Candy and gum (you can’t buy gum at WDW)
- Camera and accessories
- Cell phone
- Glow sticks
- Trading pins/ lanyards
- Mini fan during hot months
- Guidebook & park maps
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