Shades of Green Resort: Disney’s Hotel for Military Members
The resort has two main dining facilities: Mangino’s restaurant and the Garden Gallery buffet. We ate 3 meals at the Garden Gallery and ordered from Mangino’s to-go menu. The food is not spectacular. The selection at the buffet is limited but tasty. Every evening they have a theme: Asian, Italian, Mexican, etc. and there is a small children’s buffet table with kid’s favorites such as mac and cheese and tater tots. Still, at $15 per person they could afford to have a wider selection of foods at mealtime.
The restaurants weren’t open when we arrived at check-in time and we were told that the only place besides the coffee cafe that was open was the burger place by the pool. Since we had just arrived and didn’t know where the pool was we decided to wait until dinnertime to eat.
While Shades of Green is considered a Walt Disney World resort, it’s really not. There are some perks you can enjoy while staying at Shades of Green and some that you miss. Extra Magic Hours are one of the perks you can enjoy. Airport transportation is not. I had been staying with my grandparents for a week when we drove to Orlando and my husband flew in to spend a few days with us at Disney. When it came time for him to fly home we chose to book a shuttle for him instead of having to get up at 5 am and take him myself. The recommended airport shuttle company charged us $60 to take him to the airport. That would have cost $120 round-trip, an expense we wouldn’t have had if we had stayed at another Disney resort. However, the airport transportation is a private shuttle so the $120 round-trip cost is for up to 4 people.
Prior to booking our room at Shades of Green I did call Animal Kingdom Lodge and they offer an unadvertised military discount. They too were running a special offer during the time period we were visiting and a standard room at their resort would have been $200 per night, compared to $105 per night at Shades of Green.
The Verdict: Shades of Green has its pros and cons. For a stay of a week or more the overall savings would probably be worth it for a family who doesn’t plan to spend much time at their hotel. However, if you want to experience the Disney magic 24/7 from the parks to your hotel, especially if this is your first visit to Orlando, I would recommend staying at one of the other Disney resorts.
Tips and Tricks: If you have elderly relatives staying with you be sure to ask for a room near the main hub. Some of the rooms can be a bit of a walk. Also Shades of Green buses don’t start running until half an hour before the parks open and if you want to go to Magic Kingdom or Epcot they will only take you to the Transportation Center where you get on the monorail. If you want to be sure to get to the parks early enough, skip the bus and take a 15 minute walk over to the Polynesian Resort to catch the monorail from there.
Child Friendly? Definitely. The lobby has a television that continuously plays Disney movies and includes small child-sized chairs for watching. There are two large pools and children’s activities to participate in. One evening there was a popcorn and movie night that we thought Stink would enjoy but she was mostly interested in sitting on everyone else’s pillow and chatting up. We didn’t want her disturbing the other kids so our movie night didn’t last too long but it was great that the resort organized things like that.
Pet Friendly? No