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Complete Guide to Disney World’s Military Resort: Shades of Green

Complete Guide to Disney World’s Military Resort: Shades of Green

Did you know there is a military resort on Disney World property? Not only is it in a prime location, but the pricing and amenities cannot be beat! Here is your complete guide to Shades of Green.

Shades of Green

Credit: Monica

Originally a Disney World resort called “The Golf Resort”, Shades of Green (SoG or Shades as I will sometimes refer to it in this guide) opened in 1971. Styled as country club, it appealed to golfers looking to enjoy some recreational golfing during their visit to Disney World.

Disney added guest rooms in 1973 because golfers needed overnight accommodations! They would become some of the largest rooms on Disney property – at least 480 square feet!

In 1986, Disney renamed the resort The Disney Inn and added even more rooms in an attempt to attract a wider variety of guests. A Snow White theme was also added to try to appeal to more types of guests.

Credit: Monica

By the early 1990’s, Army officials wanted to build a new Armed Forces Recreation Center, and Orlando was a desirable location. After putting out an advertisement, Disney leased The Disney Inn to the Department of Defense for 100 years. Shades of Green officially opened on 1 February 1994.

The name Shades of Green refers to the different shades of green our Armed Forces wear on their uniforms as well as the fact that the resort sits in between two golf courses.

The resort was so popular the DoD decided to buy the resort straight from Disney in 1996. While the DoD is financially responsible for it all, Disney still owns about 30 acres that the resort sits on. In 2002, Shades closed for two years in order to complete a massive expansion due to its popularity.

Eligibility

Credit: Monica

You may be wondering who is eligible to stay at Shades of Green. Due to the fact that it is owned and operated by the Department of Defense, it is actually off limits to the majority of Guests visiting Disney World! You must meet at least one of the following requirements to be able to stay at SoG:

  • Members on Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, Coast Guard and Cadets of Armed Forces Academies
  • Public Health Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps
  • Retired from Active Duty, Reserves, and National Guard with or without pay
  • Honorably discharged veterans with 100 percent Service-connected disability
  • Unremarried surviving spouses of personnel who died while on active duty or while in retired status
Credit: Monica

There are other “categories” that one can meet the requirements of to stay here. This includes the Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018, other supporters of the DoD, DoD civilians and family members, and members of the Survivors’ Family Program. Be sure to confirm your eligibility on the Shades of Green website before booking accommodations.

One great thing about Shades is that they do allow other groups not usually eligible the opportunity to stay here select times of the year. Through the Shades of Green “Salute to Our Veterans” program, all military veterans who have received an honorable discharge have an opportunity to vacation at Shades of Green during January and September.

One very important thing to keep in mind is you will be asked to show your military identification when you check in. If you are not eligible to stay there, they will not allow you to stay!

Location, Location, Location

Credit: Monica

The Golf Resort/The Disney Inn as it was called under Disney’s ownership was actually not a popular resort due to the fact that it was not a monorail resort. Can you imagine? Now, when you consider the locations of other Disney World resorts, it is one of the most convenient hotels on property due to its proximity to the monorail!

Shades of Green is located within walking distance to Disney’s Polynesian Resort. This gives you access to Disney transportation which will we talk about in a few. There is even a little walkway that takes you from Shades of Green’s hotel to Disney’s Polynesian lobby called the Great Ceremonial House.

Consider Shades of Green the “Swan/Dolphin” version of Magic Kingdom. Just like the Swan and Dolphin are not Disney owned but sit within walking distance to two parks, Shades of Green is also not Disney owned but sits within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom.

Pricing

Credit: Monica

Aside from the location of Shades, another desirable reason to stay here is the pricing. Room pricing is broken up into different categories, all of which are much more affordable than Disney’s rooms.

Category 1 is for service members with an E1-E6 ranking. Pricing for rooms is $163 for standard rooms up to $669 for the Magnolia suite. For very large rooms that are within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom, those are great prices!

E7-E9, W01-CW03, O1-O3 widows, and 100% DAV make up Category 2. Pricing ranges from $199 to $669. Finally, Category 3 is everyone else: CW4-CW5/O4-O10, DoD Civilians, Foreign Military, and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act. Standard rooms are $209, and pricing for the Magnolia suite stays at $669. You can find some monthly specials with savings of up to 15% throughout the year.

Another great thing is the fact that there are no taxes or other fees. The price you see is the price you pay. Be on the lookout for a photo tour of a standard room soon!

Transportation

Credit: Monica

As mentioned above, SoG is a short walk to the Polynesian/TTC. From there, you have access to Disney World buses, Ferryboat, and Monorail.

In addition, Shades has their own bus transportation. A bus runs from the hotel to the Transportation and Ticket Center, which you can then use the Monorail or Ferryboat. Buses also run to and from Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs. Times vary but you can expect a new bus every 20-30 minutes.

Shades of Green provides a handy sheet with the entire bus schedule for that week. Make sure to grab one during your visit so you know when the first/last bus leaves each day! There are also television screens with the schedule located around the hotel.

Anyone 18+ must provide military or state issued ID before boarding. In addition, you will need to provide the Shades of Green resort ID that they give to you at check-in. The Guest ID card has the name on the reservation and the reservation number. It also has the date the ID is valid until and how many people are staying in the room.

Dining Options

Credit: Monica

There are several dining options at Shades of Green, ranging from a cafe to table-service. Java Cafe is open from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm daily and serves coffee and light snacks. Express Cafe is open daily from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Over at the Magnolia Pool, you will find Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Deli where you can find some light snacks and sandwiches to enjoy while at the pool. Mangino’s is the table-service restaurant at Shades of Green, and it is open from 5:00 to 10:00 every day. Here you will find Italian dishes.

Credit: Monica

Garden Gallery is open as breakfast buffet from 7:00 to 11:00 am daily. Then, it becomes a Marketplace from 5:00 to 10:00 pm daily. I have only eaten breakfast here, and it is a reasonably priced standard buffet. If you do not care about characters, this is the best place on property to find a cheap buffet!

Evergreens Sports Bar is open every day from 11:00 to 11:00 and you will find your typical counter-service food. I have been here twice and recommend it for a relaxing place to grab some drinks and a bite to eat. Finally, takeout/room service is available every evening. My family really enjoys the pizza from the Marketplace!

Recreation and Amenities

Credit: Monica

There really are too many amenities and recreational activities to list! From March to November, the Mill Pond Pool (Mickey Pool) and Splash Park is open from 10:00 to 10:00. From December to February it opens at 10:0 am and closes at 8:00 pm.

The Magnolia Pool and Hot Tub is open from 10:00 to 10:00 March to November and 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm from December to February.

Credit: Monica

The AAFES Exchange is where you will find souvenirs, food, toiletries, and alcohol. I really love that A) everything here is tax free, and B) you can use your Military Star credit card if you have one.

Shades of Green also has a fitness center, spa, playground, laundry facilities, and arcade onsite. If you need to host an event or conference, there is a gazebo, ballroom, and several boardrooms.

Of course, we can’t forget golf! Golfing is what this hotel was founded on! You will find the Palm Golf Course, Magnolia Golf Course, and Oak Trail Golf Course on Shades of Green property. You can receive a discount of 15% off your golf experience by showing proper military identification. Be sure to book your tee time early!

Credit: Monica

Did you know you can receive a princess or pirate makeover at Shades of Green? They are available daily at the Magnolia Spa for $35 (princess) and $25 (pirate). This is very reasonable compared to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, and you can take your receipt over to the AAFES Exchange for a discount on a princess dress!

Finally, you can purchase tickets for Disney World and other area attractions at the Attraction Ticket Sales office. You can order them ahead of time to make sure you have your tickets and park passes all set before arriving, but they do have a physical office as well. There are way too many attractions and ticket types to list out in this guide. You can take a look at the attraction list order form on the Shades of Green website to see what all they offer and how to purchase your tickets.

Final Thoughts

Credit: Monica

Shades of Green may seem overwhelming if you are used to staying at a Disney-owned resort. However, once you learn the ins and outs of staying here and using the transportation, it’s actually a really great option. The spacious rooms are much cheaper than what you would find through Disney. There are plenty of reasonably-priced dining options to choose from, and purchasing your attraction tickets here will save you a ton of money!

When you check in, definitely ask for the bus schedule, a map, and any other pamphlets you can get your hands on. Be sure to keep your Guest ID card on you at all times if you plan to use their bus transportation. For the most part, I recommend walking over to the Polynesian and using Disney transportation.

What questions do you have about Shades of Green? Ask them below, and I’ll be sure to answer them! Share this post with a friend who may also be interested in staying here!


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Thomas Patton

Wednesday 6th of September 2023

We are going to WDW from 19-23 SEP 2023. Staying at SoG. I heard the walk way to the Monorail is now closed. Any suggestions on using the SoG bus to the parks? Also, where do you get the SoG ID's??

Monica Street

Wednesday 6th of September 2023

Yes, that walking path is now closed. SoG will take you to Transportation and Ticket Center by bus so you can monorail to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Their buses will take you straight to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. They will give you the ID cards when you check in!

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