*DIS Contributors review meals, resort stays, and entertainment that they have paid for during their own vacations. They only utilize discounts and offers if they are available to the general public, such as annual passholder discounts, Tables in Wonderland, or DVC membership discounts. They receive no additional compensation for dining experiences or events, so that they may give their honest opinions about price and value.
With the 50th Anniversary, Shades of Green has a pretty cool Disney World history, with its beginnings going back to 1971 as a small clubhouse. In 1973, it grew into an actual Disney resort called the Golf Resort. Later, it became The Disney Inn with the addition of Snow White-themed rooms in 1986. It was in the 1990s that the resort was leased to the Department of Defense for 100 years! It was then renamed and opened as Shades of Green in 1994. A fitting name with the thought to the military branches’ uniform colors at the time and the golf courses by the resort. In 1996, the military purchased and now owns part of the resort area from Disney. You can read more about their history on their website.
This resort is only for military members and their families, as well as other eligible personnel. Check eligibility on their website for more details. Those that are eligible will be able to book a discounted room based on the category they fit. For instance, an active duty member that’s E1-E6 is considered a category 1 and can book a standard room starting from $154 a night (rate from 1 October 2021 until 30 September 2022). If you have any questions, including eligibility and categories, you can contact them through phone or email. Don’t forget to bring your valid military I.D. card to show proof of eligibility for check-in and purchasing discounted tickets!
Those eligible to stay can get discounted tickets for Walt Disney World and other Florida attractions online and at the resort. However, with COVID-19, there are limitations to park capacity, and a reservation is needed for Disney and other local attractions like SeaWorld. Make sure to plan your resort booking and park reservations with tickets well ahead of time. Research and call for questions if needed. You can see the current attraction prices and learn more about ordering tickets and park reservations here.
When you enter through the resort gate, you must show your military I.D. If you have a car, there’s a parking garage with a current overnight parking fee of $15 per vehicle per night (check their website for any fee changes).
The resort itself is serene and beautiful, especially if you go during the holiday time with their decorations. There are restaurants, pools, golf, and more fun activities. If you need food, supplies, or souvenirs, you have an AAFES Exchange, a tax-free store.
You do get complimentary WDW bus transportation when you stay. During check-in, you will receive bus passes for you and your registered guests that you must show to use the bus system. You must also show resort and military I.D. if you are the sponsor. They do not offer Disney’s Magical Express bus service.
My personal experience with my Mom was from a few months ago, and we only stayed a night. We had a car which we paid for for the night and did not use the bus service. We got the standard room for just the two of us with two queen-sized beds, a pull-out couch, a balcony with a small table and chairs, a mini-refrigerator, free WiFi, and more.
The room was spotless and spacious. We had a gorgeous balcony view of the resort and golf course. The golf course had subtle Disney touches with hidden Mickeys. In the morning, we did have people playing golf right outside. They were quiet, but for our privacy, we kept the curtains closed. There were just one or two minor issues, like the water in the shower needing more time than usual to get warm. However, overall it was a lovely room.
The next day, we had a fantastic breakfast at Mangino’s. We got the Cinnamon French Toast along with some scrambled eggs and ham for our side items. It was absolutely delicious and affordable. Our server was also outstanding! *While writing this article, I found out that they are no longer serving breakfast here, unfortunately. They do have dinner and drink service in the evening starting at 5pm. Breakfast can be found at other dining locations at the resort.
I would recommend going to Shades of Green if you are eligible to stay. If you can’t get a room, check out their ticketing center for discounted tickets. Again, you must bring proof of eligibility for resort entry, booking, ticketing, etc. My Mom and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would come back again anytime. It was a relaxing, comfortable, quiet time there. Everything was tidy, clean, and orderly. Throughout our whole resort experience, every cast member we encountered was very kind and helpful. They put a smile on our faces. It was a short visit, but we had a magical time!