Review: Shades of Green Resort at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute


Test-NieceletsMy family has made a number of trips to Shades of Green.

We visited most recently last month, in a trip sponsored as always by my father (retired career Navy) that included my test niecelets—that’s them in the photo.

Based on these visits, Shades of Green is a wonderful choice for eligible returning visitors to Walt Disney World.

However, for first time family visitors, it is not the best choice. 

It does not participate in key programs that Disney owned and operated resorts offer, especially the Disney Dining Plan and Disney’s Magical Express.  (It does participate in Extra Magic Hours.)

Shades of Green has little kid appeal, and despite a great location across the street from Disney’s Polynesian Resort, so-so convenience.

Families who need to take advantage of Shades of Green’s great value—it is indeed one heck of a bargain—will have their best first family visit to Walt Disney World by staying in it as part of a “split stay.”

That is, they should split their visit into some time at Shades of Green, and some at a more highly recommended Walt Disney World resort.

See this page for more on the best way to fit a stay at Shades of Green into a first family visit to Walt Disney World

Another great option—though much harder to pull off—is to get overflow rates from Shades of Green for a recommended Walt Disney World resort.  See this page on for more on overflow rates.


What is now Shades of Green opened in 1973 as the Golf Resort, and changed its name in 1986 to the Disney Inn.

In 1994 it was leased to, and in 1996 purchased outright by the US Government, to create a resort for U.S. military personnel and their families and friends at Walt Disney World.

Shades of Green ResortIt is an Armed Force Recreation Center, and is managed and staffed by federal employees.

In 2004 a massive expansion was completed, and Shades of Green now offers almost 600 enormous rooms—at 480 square feet, the largest standard rooms on Walt Disney World property.

Shades of Green Standard RoomThese rooms sleep five in two queens and a daybed, and in terms of quality of furniture, fixtures, and other amenities, are directly comparable to Walt Disney World deluxe resorts.

The most remarkable thing about Shades of Green is its prices.

Shades of Green sets three basic levels of prices, increasing by military rank. Standard room prices per night range from $95 through $131.  (See this for details)  This means that during most times of the year, you get a deluxe-level room for less–often much less–than what you would pay to stay in a Walt Disney World moderate resort.

Moreover, unlike other hotels in Orlando, these prices are not jacked up during the various higher-demand seasons of the year.

These rates can be shared with family and friends:

  • Eligible guests can sponsor up to three rooms for family and friends, and, during most times of the year, their spouses can sponsor three more.
  • Such guests must be checked in by the sponsor,  no earlier than when the sponsor checks in, and check out no later than when the sponsor checks out,

The setting is quite lovely, across the street from Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and nestled between two of Disney’s premiere golf courses, the Palm and Magnolia.


This review continues here.

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1 Debra { 01.31.12 at 8:31 pm }

My son in law is an active Sargent in the US Army. He has served to tours in Iraq. He wanted to purchase us 4 tickets to Walt Disney for February. He is however not going with us so after reading all the information I am confused and sounds like you need to have a military member with you to supply the ID at the gate. Is this true? Please let me know the details so I can let my son in law know if he is able to purchase tickets for his family. Thank you.

2 Dave { 02.01.12 at 7:48 am }

Hi Debra, yes, the military member does need to be with you in person at the park gate to activate the tickets.

3 Heather Hatch { 02.08.12 at 3:00 pm }

Hi , my husband has been serving in the Royal Air Force based at Scotland for over 15 years. However due to government cut backs. The largest RAF base in Scotland has been forced to close making over 400 redundant. My Family are coming to Florida in July and my question is are we entitled to any discounts now that he is a veteran.

4 Dave { 02.08.12 at 4:11 pm }

Heather, I’m sorry, but the only veteran discounts I’m aware of are for the US services. Do see this section though:

5 Ruthie { 08.03.12 at 5:59 pm }

My husband and I were both in the army reservs, we do have dd214’s and we both received a general discharge. We were in the military during the 1970’s and I am wondering if we would qualify for the military discounts available at Disney World. We are interested in taking the grandchildren maybe next summer (2013). Thank You

6 Dave { 08.04.12 at 5:02 pm }
7 Shelly { 08.15.12 at 8:35 am }

Im planing to take my daughter to Disney world this late summer, and I was wondering if I could I get the military discount. My father served in the Marines for over 12 years, & he has passed down military ID’s for his children. With the military ID will it be able to get the discount?

8 Dave { 08.15.12 at 11:36 am }

Shelly, only he (or his spouse) can reserve Shades, and only if career retired. Sadly “regular” vets and their families are not eligible…except for the months of September and January

9 Sharon LaVier { 08.25.12 at 8:29 am }

I am a Family Resource Coordinator working with 2 families of veterans. They both have been given a trip to Disneyworld via Wounded Warrior. I am trying to locate free tickets and perks (fast pass) for the families who will be in Orlando in October and November. Each family’s veteran has suffered a catastrophic injury due to the war. Can you please tell me if tickets are available under these circumstances?

10 Dave { 08.25.12 at 3:22 pm }

Hi Sharon, at WDW fastpass is free to any ticket holder. I’m not aware of any free tickets, even for such hugely deserving people, but there are heavily discounted tickets for which they might be eligible–see this:

11 Renee { 12.30.12 at 9:28 pm }

Hi Dave! I was wondering if the military member needs to be with you at the gate for military discounted Universal Studios tickets (and possibly even be required to have their own ticket)?

12 Dave { 12.31.12 at 10:08 am }

Hi Renee, I don’t track the Universal military discounts closely, but my friend Steve does. Check out this page on his site:

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13 David mc { 01.31.13 at 12:03 am }


I am a British shoulder serving in Afghanistan and due back at the end of April.

Are British forces entitled to any discounts and what will be the most cost efficient way to stay, ie: would it be cheaper to stay in a villa and get park tickets separately as I will be using what ever money I am able to save to take my family.

Kink regards,


14 Dave { 01.31.13 at 7:28 am }

Hi David! I’m not aware of any discounts for British forces unless they fall in certain US-stationed liaison positions, but I’m gonna double check this.

Lodging is the cost component that you have the most control over, and it can be much less expensive to stay off-site–although that in turn requires a rental car, which staying on site does not require. See this:

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15 Steve From - Military Moderator { 01.31.13 at 8:08 am }

Hi David,

The only military discounts for non US forces that I am aware of is the Disney Armed Forces Salute for which the eligibility would be those stationed with US Forces and the required proof of eligibility would be a US issued CAC Card (ID) with a blue stripe indication a foreign national.

16 Dave { 02.01.13 at 7:10 am }

Thanks, Steve!

17 Todd Warner { 04.13.13 at 3:27 pm }

Hi, I am currently in Afghanistan and will be until aug this year. I am an active duty US Army soldier and was looking at your site, alot of great info. My intent is to take leave when I get home and goto Disney world. I have never been there and have two girls (7 years old and 9 years old). Do you k ow of any really great deals or ticket options? I read about the 5 day park hopper purchasing at my posts MWR ITR office which is a huge savings, but if you have advices on where to stay and prices I would be very grateful. Thank you for your support.

18 Dave { 04.14.13 at 9:23 am }

Hey Todd! For US services there’s a great 4 day ticket deal out now, and also a great room rate deal–see this: Both expire in late September, so you’d need to go right after your return!

The room deal is also subject to availability, so once you’ve firmed your dates you want to book your room soon. For my suggested hotels, see this:

There’s also some really fun dining to do if you can afford it, but the best of it books up to 6 months ahead. See this

Hope this helps, and I’m gonna ask Steve–who helps with military comments on this site, and runs –to weigh in too!

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19 Steve From - Military Moderator { 04.14.13 at 10:47 am }

Hi Todd,

The Disney Armed Forces Salute (which has 4 not 5 day park hopper tickets) runs through 28 Sept 2013. We do not know yet if Disney will renew the offer for FY14. So you might want to take advantage of it before it is scheduled to end.

This is the best deal going, the 4-day tickets are sold to the military (at your ITT, Shades of Green, or Disney ticket windows) at over half off the regular price and the offer also includes 30-40% discounts on Disney hotel stays.

You left this comment on the Shades of Green page and while Shades is certainly an option this site does not recommend it for first time visitors to WDW (unless you can split your stay between Shades and a Disney resort).

With the great discounts available through the Armed Forces Salute, a Disney resort will be a great option for you. Be sure to check out the Where To Stay section of YFV:

Let us know if you have any more questions!

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