The beginning of this post needs to give a big shoutout to my dad (and mom, honestly) for their 30+ years of military service. Without it, I would not have had the amazing experiences I’ve had throughout my life, including the ability to stay at Shades of Green hotel at Disney World.
Shades of Green Hotel Review
The Walt Disney Company thinks very highly of our country’s uniformed servicemen and women. It’s well known that Walt himself wanted to join the military as early as 16, so he completely understood the desire to serve the our country and everything that entailed.
Because of this, great places that offer wonderful amenities and special discounts exist to serve members of the military, whether active or retired. Shades of Green is one of those places, and I’m here to answer all of your questions about it in today’s post.
What is Shades of Green? Who can stay there?
First of all, Shades of Green is a spacious, large resort hotel situated between two of the excellent golf courses on the Disney property. It is not a Disney Good Neighbor Hotel, nor is it a Disney owned hotel. It has standard rooms, but they are some of the most spacious on the Disney property.
A valid military I.D. is required to access Shades of Green, including use of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES Exchange for short) and dining areas. A dependent spouse may stay at the hotel without the military sponsor, but only if the spouse has a dependent I.D. Much like the policy for purchasing discounted military tickets, valid military I.D.s are your ticket to just about everything on property.
However, a spouse or sponsor with a valid military I.D. may book up to three rooms with their I.D. As I am married with my own family now, I am not longer a dependent of my parents and thus have no military I.D. My dad was able to book us a room along with his room because of his retired military status and I.D.
What are the Rooms like at Shades of Green?
As previously stated, the rooms are some of the largest on property. Their website likens them to the deluxe category of Disney hotel rooms. I would agree with this assessment.
We had the fortune of staying in their newly renovated wing a few years ago, and it was quite nice. Most rooms have two queens beds and a pull-out sofa, but there is plenty of floor space and a balcony that’s great for fresh air if you need it.
The bathrooms are a good size, and they have enough counter space to hold everyone’s toiletries.
Amenities at Shades of Green Hotel at Disney World
One of the things we loved about our stay was the ability to use their amazing pools. The Magnolia Pool is a zero-entry pool with a nearby hot tub that is perfect for adult relaxation. Over at the Mill Pond Pool, there is a three level slide, cushioned splash park, and nearby playground. There is also an arcade if the kids get tired of the pool.
We also took advantage of the AAFES Exchange when I ran out of contact lens solution and the girls needed new swim goggles. The prices were definitely more reasonable than a Disney hotel gift shop!
Transportation at Shades of Green
If there were a downside to the wonderful price and size of Shades of Green, their transportation would be it. They have a complimentary shuttle bus that will transport you to the Disney theme parks, but no other transportation to other area attractions unless you pay for it. Like the Disney resorts bus system, Shades of Green has a complimentary bus system. However, it is not as efficient or as quick as Disney’s resort system, so it is not a perk in my opinion.
During one day of our trip, my family opted to walk to the Polynesian Village Hotel and try the monorail. Even though it was a bit of a lengthy walk that involved crossing a very busy road (with a crosswalk, so it was safe mind you), we found that process to be much faster than waiting for a Shades of Green bus and hoping it wasn’t full.
Additionally, if you chose to drive to the property, unlike Disney hotels that include parking at the theme parks, parking as a guest of Shades of Green involves a daily parking fee at the hotel and a daily parking fee at the theme parks. Those costs really add up after a while!
Restaurants at Shades of Green Hotel
Our only experience with the restaurants at Shades of Green include the Garden Galley and Evergreen’s.
Garden Galley is the largest restaurant on property, and it serves food buffet style. We had breakfast their during our stay, and it was fine. We also ate late night snacks at Evergreen’s, which is near the pool area. Other grab-and-go spots include Express Cafe, Java Cafe, and Bistro to Go.
Finally, Mangino’s is the Shades of Green steakhouse. It is only open for dinner, so we haven’t had the chance to try it, but the menu looks appetizing.
Is it Worth it to Stay at Shades of Green?
Lastly, is Shades of Green worth it? I get that question a lot, especially with so many different places to stay on your Disney vacation. I think the benefits of cost savings are really great. However, if you’re looking for a total Disney experience, you may find the Shades of Green hotel at Disney World comes up short. The Disney theming is not there, and the “Disney-esque” service we all love and expect is not there either.
It really depends on what is most important to your family: cost savings or Disney quality service. Having experienced both, I would stay at Shades of Green again. I would definitely be more cognizant of the transportation challenges and extra time added every day. Time is money on my vacation!