Have you heard of Shades of Green?
No, we’re not talking about different colors of green, we’re talking about the resort at Walt Disney World! Unless you’re part of the Armed Forces, you might not know about this hotel because it’s pretty exclusive. But, today we’re taking you with us around the little-known resort option so you know EVERYTHING before you book your trip!
Let’s kick things off with who exactly can stay at this resort. Shades of Green is an Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC) Resort, meaning that it is owned by the United States Department of Defense but located at Walt Disney World. What’s unique about the hotel is that you must be a member of the Armed Forces (or be sponsored by one) to book a stay. The resort is meant to be an affordable option for service members and their families so room rates are on a scale. We were able to check out the resort since one of our team members is an active duty spouse.
What does that mean exactly? Well, pricing is based off of the military member’s pay grade. So one can expect to pay less if they are just starting out in their military career compared to someone who has worked their way up the ranks.
This feature is unique only to this resort and is meant to make your vacation to Walt Disney World more affordable if at all possible.
Though Shades of Green isn’t owned by Disney, the hotel is still up to the standards you might find at any other Disney World resort.
When you enter the resort area, you’ll be greeted by a guard at the gate who will check your ID and temperature before you head in. To the right, you’ll notice the Magnolia and Oak Trail golf courses. Straight ahead, is the main entrance to the resort and guest drop off and loading area.
Once checked in, you can take a left to park your car in the parking garage (each level in the garage is named after a branch in the military – Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard!) and explore the grounds!
It’s certainly worth looking around outside because it really is beautiful! It feels a lot liked a well-groomed golf course, but in hotel form!
Because the resort is located on Disney property and they know you’re headed to the parks, there is complementary transportation.
Just find the bus stop out front located underneath the guest drop off area!
The lobby is located on the second floor of the main building and has tons of nods to history. The lobby invites you to come and stay for a while with lots of seating and a fireplace.
If you’re ever staying here, we recommend grabbing a fun photo with the Patriotic Mickey Statue located in the lobby!
He’s decked out in red, white, and blue, and his yellow feet feature pieces of U.S. history! On one foot is the Declaration of Independence, and the other foot features the Preamble for the U.S. Constitution.
The lobby opens up to a large outdoor patio that overlooks the main grounds of the property. And, it’s hard to miss the huge yellow “I AM” on the outside wall of the patio. Don’t just walk past because this decor is actually a big deal!
It is from the Invictus Games of 2016, which were held at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney World. The Invictus Games are an international sporting competition for armed service personnel men and women who were wounded, injured, or sick during their service.
Orlando was the host city for the second Invictus Games back in 2016 and many of the athletes stayed here on property at Walt Disney World! It was a huge deal and is why they still keep the logo in place with a plaque underneath!
Dining and Shopping
Walk down the hallway from the lobby and you’ll find the Exchange. The Exchange is basically a general store and everything is tax-free!
It’s worth stopping in here because it has some exclusive Disney merchandise for service members. You’ll find hats, jackets, polos, and more featuring Mickey Mouse and different branches of the armed forces.
Near the Exchange, you’ll find the Attractions Ticketing Sales office. Stop in here if you need any help throughout your vacation with park tickets to multiple Orlando area attractions including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, and more!
If you’re in the mood for a bite to eat, there are quite a few dining options to choose from at the resort. There are two grab-and-go-style cafes in the main building of Shades of Green, including Java Cafe and Express Cafe. Currently only Java Cafe is open, and a great place to grab a coffee, tea, pastry, or ice cream!
More formal dining options include Garden Gallery which is a restaurant that traditionally serves buffet-style meals. Currently, it is functioning as a bistro so you can find grab-and-go meal options and take it back to your room or enjoy it outside.
The other restaurant at Shades of Green, Mangino’s is currently open with modified hours. Here, you’ll enjoy a sit-down meal for breakfast or dinner.
Two other dining options are located just a short walk from the main building. Evergreens Bar & Grill is a sports pub-style light eatery located next to the resort’s Mill Pond Pool (more on that later).
Another counter-service restaurant is actually located on the Magnolia Golf Course near the resort. The Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Deli serves up hot and cold sandwiches and other quick bites to snack on while you’re golfing or swimming in the neighboring resort pool. You’ll also find beer, wine, and other mixed drinks on the menu (and Arnold Palmers, of course!).
If taking in the beautiful scenery of the resort isn’t enough to keep you busy, there is a lot of outdoor activities around the resort. As we mentioned before, the Magnolia Golf Course is a short walk away. But there are a lot of activities (some that you wouldn’t find at most Disney World hotels) like tennis courts…
…ping pong, a pool table, and checkers…
…and even a playground!
If you and your family love to swim, there’s a splash pad and two pools! One of the pools is Mickey-shaped…
…and the other is a zero-entry u-shaped pool called the Magnolia Pool. It is located right next to the Magnolia Golf Course and Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Deli so you can grab a bite to eat, take a dip in the pool, and golf all in one spot — fun! Probably one of the coolest features of the pool is that it is zero-entry on both sides so gone are the days of making a splash.
And, we’ve mentioned golfing enough already but if you’re lucky, you might even get to spot Mickey Mouse in golf cart form!
And that concludes our tour of the Shades of Green Resort! We certainly hope that you learned something about this little-known resort at Walt Disney World. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and we’ll see you next time!
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Have you ever stayed at Shades of Green? Let us know in the comments!