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Personal Review: We have no review of Shades of Green, as we've never had the opportunity to stay here (we're not eligible). We've heard good things about it from our readers, however -- especially the excellent prices!
Other Reviews: See PassPorter's feature article on Shades of Green by Betsy and Eric Walton.
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Shades of Green is a beautiful resort overlooking Disney's Golf Courses. It is not uncommon to see small alligators lounging around the several ponds on property or wild turkeys strolling around as if they own the resort! The resort has a lodge feel to it that you notice immediately when you step into the "Great Room" area that separates the "new wing" from the "old wing". This main area is where you check in, or can just sit and relax in one of the many seating areas set up an overlooking the fireplace and big outdoor deck. There is another fireplace on the outdoor deck and this area also has numerous area to sit and relax.
The rooms at SOG are large with two queen sized beds, a fold out couch (rooms sleep up to 5 comfortably), table and chairs, TV, small refridgerator and either a balcony or patio. Bathrooms are also goodsized with tub/shower, and double sinks. SOG also offers "family suites" that can sleep 6 to 8 depending on the room.
SOG has two pools, a small kiddie pool, large hot tub, playground, exercise room and tennis courts. Restaurants include The Garden Gallery serving morning and evening buffets, Manginos, an Italian restaurant, Evergreens Sports Bar and Grill serving things like pizza, sandwiches, burgers and adult beverages. The buffet restaurant is just ok, nothing to write home about. DH and I love Evergreens and we have heard that Manginos is worth getting a reservation for. There is also an Express cafe by the bus depot that serves "to go" things like muffins, egg and cheese sandwiches, sandwiches, pastries etc. Starbucks also has a cart on the premises. An old fashioned ice cream parlor is open in the evenings.
Park tickets are available at SOG for guests who are eligible to stay at SOG. Guest Services is also available to help with child care services, restaurant reservations and other "off property" shows, parks, etc. There is an AAFES General store that sells sodas, bottled water, snacks, small food items, milk, toiletries, magazines, newspapers, souveniers and beer and wine.
SOG has its own bus transportation to the parks. A bus departs SOG to the Ticket and Transportation Center every 20 minutes throughout the day. Another bus goes directly to Animal Kingdom and Blizzard Beach once per hour on the half hour and another bus departs for MGM and Down Town Disney every 30 minutes. Bus schedules are given to you upon check in and are also posted at the bus depot area. Times are adjusted accordingly depending on park hours, and extra magic hours as well as special events in the parks. It is also possible to walk to the Polynesian to catch the monorail (10 minute walk for adults) or catch a ride in the "Shady Shuttle" to the end of the property and then a short walk to the Polynesian.
While SOG is located on Disney property, it is not considered a Disney Hotel. Therefore, you cannot get wake up calls from Mickey, you don't have Disney themed rooms, and you won't find the wonderful Disney gift shops that the other resorts have. However, for the great rates (based on military ranking) this resort can't be beat. We love it.
Here are some of the things that we love about Shades (in no particular order)
Location: I love that we feel that we're right in the middle of the magic (you can see Wishes from many spots all over the property) and that we can walk to a monorail station.
Ambiance: I love that SOG is smaller and quiter than alot of the other resorts. It's very relaxing and peaceful.
Decor: I love all of the indoor and outdoor waterfalls and streams. The decor reminds us of Wilderness Lodge but with a lighter color pallet and no totem polls. There's a beautiful stone fireplace in the lobby and fireplace on the terrace/balcony outside and I think they're usually lit.
Comraderie and friendliness: People are so polite and respectful of each other. Yes, the kids still have melt downs when they're over tired but generally parents are aware of other guests. I really noticed this on my last trip and this is big... Men stood up on buses while they let ladies and children sit.
Size and layout of rooms: I love that I get my own patio or balcony and I love having an indoor hallway. We love having queen beds and a sofa sitting area. The room is very large but the bathroom is huge. Lots of room for privacy.
Price: Who can forget about price? I think the most that you pay for a standard room is $125 and you don't pay tax on that. Now they don't have value seasons but neither do they have a premium season. The price depends on you pay-grade so you might be paying as low as $93 a night .... still without tax. As Kathy said, you can buy your park tickets at a reduced price without any added tax and you can shop in the stores and not pay tax.
Food: There is a couple of quick CS that we like along with a sports bar that we eat at many times each trip. The prices are more in line with the real world. We've alos eaten at Mangino's Italian and it was very good. Not excellent but really very good. Shades also has a buffet but we're not overly impressed with it.
Cleanliness: Hands down the cleanest room and resort on all of Disney property. I've stayed at CSR, Contemp, Pop, and I've visited BC and Poly.
So that's our take on Shades. I'm sure that I have more things that I'll think of that I love about Shades. I'll post them here when I think of them.
Oct '99: CSR ~ May '02: CR ~ Nov '04: SOG ~ May '06: SOG ~ Dec '07: Solo @ Pop ~ May '08: Pop w/friends ~ Oct '08: SOG ~ Dec '09: Pop w/LeAnn ~ Sept '10: Solo @ Pop ~ Spring '11: AKL ~ Jan '12: Pop for 1/2 Marathon ~ Sept '12: 1st trip for DL 1/2 Marathon? ~ Feb '13: Pop w/pals? ~ Mar '13: Tokyo Disney w/PP's?
Last edited by Minnie Lor; 01-20-2008 at 04:23 PM..
Oh the Shades of Green. There should be more of these resorts around. If you happen to be able to stay at this resort, please don't give up the oppurtunity. At the very least, if you have a military ID go and check it out, I guarentee you'll be impressed. We were on the bottom floor which I was initially disappointed about because I wanted a balcony. That was until one morning I woke early, decided to let everyone sleep in and just stroll the grounds at a quiet 7am. It was so peaceful and quiet. I took a lot of pictures and when I returned, My family was up out on the patio, surrounded by ducks! The lady at the desk (of which all of them are simply the nicest ever) said they are so used to people, they will walk right in the room if you let them. (We didn't) The shades also has some amazing things you might not find elsewhere. Like noted before, the manners and hospitality of the guests are an old fashioned military style. Men do stand up for the ladies, open doors, ect. This was so refreshing. The pools and rooms are extremely clean as was the whole resort. We ordered in room pizza and it was fantastic. There is a photography service that will take all your vacation pictures from your memory card and make them into a collage. Its one of my most prized possessions from the trip. DO walk across the street to the Poly at night sit on the beach and watch wishes and the electric water pagent parade!!! Or, watch right from the top of the parking garage!!! Many do!!
We stayed at SOG for a week, last week. The room was very big. We liked having the sofa to separate our kids. It wasn't anywhere as fancy as a deluxe resort, but you have to remember it's the Army. Since we are Army, and are used to Army BOQs, I thought the hotel was nice. We stayed in the new wing, and I thought the rooms there were nicer than in the old part. We had a first floor room, overlooking the golf course. It was really quiet. The only think that bothered us was that somehow, the lights on the golf carts at 5 in the morning shown bright in our room, even with the curtains drawn.
It kicked me to pay $5 for parking each day, but I just figured that the room cost was just increased by that amount each day. For the closeness to MK and Epcot, I really liked the location. So much so, I'd either stay here again, or say somewhere on Disney ground. After stays off disney grounds, the closeness of everything was important to us, with younger kids.
Also, having the free parking at the disney parks was great. We used the SOG bus once, the first night we got there. We went to DS, and caught the bus with only about a 10 min. wait. Good drop off stop. Well, we returned to the stop at 9:05 pm, and were told we just missed the bus, and the next bus would be 10 pm. Ugh, it showed up at 10:15 pm. During both rides, we were contantly dripped on by the water from the air conditioner. The rest of the time, we drove our rental car or took the monorail/boat from the Poly. We thought the walk to the Poly was easy, and not very far, and also felt safe late at night with all the lights on the path.
If you want to feel like you're at disney, go to a disney resort. Other than mickey in the entrance and mickey waffle irons, it definitely reminded me of any other moderate hotel on beautiful grounds.
The pool areas are nice, but noisy the few times we used them.
We ate at the bar and the buffet. Both had good food, but nothing outstanding. However, costs were reasonable and not having to travel was a bonus.
I don't know why I have never left my review for Shades of Green.
Anyways . . .
My family loves Shades of Green. It is affordable for all ranks and paygrades PLUS there are no resort fees or taxes tacked on the the room rate . . . how can you NOT love that?!
We enjoy getting a bite to eat (or having a drink ) at Evergreens and the Express Cafe is VERY convenient for breakfast on the go in the mornings on the way to the parks. The "gift shop" is a nice amenity should you need to utilize it (although we rarely do). We are also very pleased with the ticket prices at SOG as they are often much cheaper than if we were to buy them from the MWR office on base.
We love the fact that SOG has its own bus system and that it is in close enough proximity to the Polynesian should we want/need to take a Disney bus around property. We have found the SOG buses to be very efficient and run on a fairly steady schedule. We have very rarely had to wait more than about 20 minutes for a bus to any park.
All in all, we very much appreciate the fact that Shades of Green is there for us military families and look forward to our next stay there in June of 2009!
ETA (8/3/09): Having just returned from a 2 week long stay at SOG this past June/July, I need to add and update a couple of things.
As usual, we had a wonderful time and great service. We avoided Garden Gallery buffet like the plague and heard from several people staying there at that time that the buffet was just as bad as it has always been.
We ate at Mangino's several times, for both lunch and dinner, and had excellent meals and service every time. We also grabbed quick breakfasts at the Express Cafe and Java Cafe and found both to be excellent as well.
As far as the Evergreens situation goes . . . it is not closed, technically. While it is closed in the capacity that it once was, as a sports bar, it is still open as a snack bar of sorts. Anymore it is used as a snack bar for pool-goers and a place where golfers can stop through for a quick snack and a drink. There is still a full bar there and a ton of video games and pinball machines in the arcade. A few of the more popular menu items from Evergreens (including the pizza delivery/pickup) were merged with the Mangino's menu. Those items are available for lunch and dinner . . . Mangino's offers their more hearty meals (steak, pasta, etc) only at dinner.
We used the services of the photographers who are stationed in the lobby. They got a great shot of us with the patriotic Mickey Mouse in the lobby. A great thing about their service is that you have your photo(s) taken, pay for them then can go off and enjoy your time at the parks or what have you . . . they will deliver your photos right to your room when they are ready!
Our room was very spacious and VERY comfortable. Typically, I do the "I'm too exceited to sleep!" thing at WDW because the beds always seem so uncomfortable, but slept pretty well this time!
We are a category 2 rate, so we paid $117/night for the room . . . but there is no way (short of being overbooked and having to be put elsewhere) that we could find a room this nice and with that size for that cheap on property (or off property, really). :
We've stayed at Shades of Green 4 or 5 times now and have always has a good experience.
The entire resort was remodeled in the 2002-2003 time frame and has a beautiful entrance and lobby. The Starbucks coffee stand and gift shop are very convenient. The gift shop is reasonably priced for a resort and has Disney items as well as food, drinks and other convenience items including baby food and diapers.
There are too pools (and a kiddie) pool on property - one is Mickey shaped. We usually visit in the fall or spring but have never found the pools to be crowded or rowdy.
The resort overall is quiet and relaxing. Unlike some other Disney locations where the kids can take over, all of the families we've encountered have been very well behaved and enjoyable. Our young daughter can get a little overwhelmed at some of the kid hot spots but loves Shades of Green.
The walk (or golf cart ride) to the Polynesian is a scenic and easy way to catch the monorail to MK or transportation center. Buses to the other parks are convenient and we've never had any problems.
The exterior and lobby area are nicely "themed" but there is not a lot of Disney "magic" (no Disney characters or decorations, etc.). Small price to pay IMO.
Our one complaint is that the beds are not very comfortable. Some of the hardest hotel beds I have encountered in the States.
The buffet restaurant is OK for breakfast but we don't like it for dinner. Mangino's Italian restaurant is good. Evergreen's was a good, simple restaurant/bar with good pizza, burgers, etc. and a slower more relaxed atmosphere than any Disney restaurant but as of summer 2009 appears to be closed or changed to only a snack bar. That's too bad, we really liked it and it was convenient to the pool and rooms.
We stayed at Shades of Green last week for 5 nights and LOVED it. I wish we had known about this resort a long time ago. We would have traveled to Disney World more often if we had.
The rooms are large and comfortable. There's plenty of room to walk around without bumping into the bed or someone else in the room. We had a room overlooking the main pool. Even though it's open 24 hours and people used it at all hours, it was quiet in our room.
It was easy to get around Disney using the SoG bus system. Their buses take you everywhere you need to be. We did walk over to The Polynesian a few times to pick up the monorail. It was an easy walk over and back. Since you can also utilize Disney buses, monorail and boats along with the SoG buses, it makes it very easy to get from Point A to Point B in a reasonable amount of time. I kept reading how we'd need to estimate our trips to take 30 min or longer, that never happened. The longest trip we had was from SoG to Downtown Disney, and I believe it was 20-25 min.
I can't comment on the restaurants since I didn't eat here. But the express shop downstairs by the buses had really good pastries in the morning for a quick bite. The PX was an added bonus. We were able to get drinks, snacks, souveniers and whatever we may have forgotten to bring.
Shades of Green was a great place to stay. I wouldn't hesitate to stay here again and am actually planning our next trip to stay here (although not in the summer like this year).
Last edited by Judy L; 08-09-2011 at 09:37 AM..
Reason: Didn't add ratings
Love this resort for the value it offers if you are eligible to stay there. Rooms are very spacious. Each room has a balcony. Breakfast buffet the best at WDW. Staying there in December 2016 for $120 a night with 2 free breakfasts each day.
Stayed here with my mom, nephew, and niece May 25 - 31. We were very close to the pool in the Magnolia wing, room 281. For us, the location was great because we could easily get to the pool. We also took advantage of the spa and got my niece a princess makeover. We did not use the buses, but did use the monorail at Polynesian, which was an easy walk from SoG. The room was very spacious especially with 4 people. The restaurants are great and service is always spectacular. They do have a covered parking garage and if you are staying there, they do charge $7 per night. If you are eligible to stay here, you cannot beat their rates and location.