Review: Shades of Green Resort at Walt Disney World, Continued

By Dave Shute

(To go to the first page of this review, click here.)

NEGATIVES OF SHADES OF GREEN

Shades has several negatives for first time visitors who are not sure whether or not they will ever return, and want to see the best of Walt Disney World for a reasonable price.

In particular, this site ranks resorts for first time family visitors based on their kid-appeal and then their convenience, and Shades of Green comes up short on both.

Mickey at Shades of GreenKid Appeal. Unlike the richly kid-appealing theming of the Walt Disney World Resorts this site recommends, Shades of Green has very little evidence that you are staying within a mile of the Magic Kingdom.

Disney theming is limited to a pool shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head, and a statue of Mickey in the lobby.

Otherwise, Shades has more of the look and feel of a country club, or a business or convention hotel, and could be anywhere.

Convenience. Shades of Green has its own buses, and they run too infrequently, and (especially during off-peak seasons) too late in the morning for the result to be convenient.

  • Buses are available to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC), Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
  • The first morning buses to the latter two theme parks arrive too late for you to follow this site’s itineraries.
  • The bus to the TTC is not nearly as convenient for Magic Kingdom visitors as are the buses from the other Walt Disney World resorts, which drop you off just outside—and 15-30 minutes closer—to the Magic Kingdom.
  • Shades of Green visitors can walk to Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and take advantage of its transportation options. But this walk adds another 10-30 minutes to your transportation time (depending on your pace and your room location).

Furthermore, Shades of Green does not participate in key money-saving Disney programs.

Families following the itineraries of this site are encouraged to sign up for the Disney Dining Plan and Disney’s Magical Express. These two programs combined will save such families hundreds of dollars.

Shades of Green guests cannot participate in either of these programs.

For some families, the hotel savings from staying in Shades of Green will more than make up for the extra costs that come from not being able to participate.

However, one only saves money at Shades of Green if one would otherwise have stayed in a deluxe resort, or, for most families most times of the year, at a moderate resort.

Given the level of discounts Walt Disney World is currently making available (see this) value rooms during most seasons will be less expensive than Shades of Green for many families.

During the value season, depending what on deals Disney makes available, moderates may be less expensive as well, especially when transport and dining costs from the Disney Dining Plan and Disney’s Magical Express are figured in.

No value or moderate has rooms anything near the quality of what you will find at Shades of Green; but you will find Disney owned-and-operated resorts that are much more fun, and as convenient or more. See this for more on where to stay at Walt Disney World.

Dining at Shades of Green continues to improve—I had the best pizza there I have had anywhere in years.

Dining is much better than that available at the value resorts, but not nearly as good as that available at the typical Disney deluxe resort. It is comparable to dining at moderates.

ELIGIBILITY FOR SHADES OF GREEN

Rooms at Shades of Green can be reserved by active duty and retired US military personnel, plus a number of other individuals meeting specific military, Department of Defense, or related criteria. See this page on the Shades of Green website for exact eligibility criteria.

RECOMMENDATION

Eligible families looking for deluxe rooms at Walt Disney World at prices comparable to or well below that of a Walt Disney World moderate resort should investigate Shades of Green, after noting any deals and discounts that may bring Disney owned and operated resorts into their price range.

This is particularly the case for families returning to Walt Disney World.

First time visitors will likely have a better trip by staying at a Disney owned-and operated resort.

If that can’t work, the next best option is to do a split stay, dividing your visit between Shades of Green and a Disney owned and operated resort. See this page for more on such a split stay.

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EXTERNAL LINKS FOR SHADES OF GREEN

LINKS FOR MILITARY FAMILIES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Comments moderated by Steve Bell of Military Disney Tips



12 comments

1 Ronnette { 08.06.11 at 10:15 am }

My family and I have been to Disney three times within the last year. One thing that makes it affordable for us is Shades of Green, as my husband and I just can’t sleep comfortably together in a standard sized bed. To get a queen bed, SOG is our best value option. I agree its not kid oriented, but for two 50 year olds with grown kids, we appreciate the fact there are fewer small children there. Its fairly quiet there and much appreciated after a hectic pace at Disney all day. So although it has been downgraded here for lack of kid stuff, its important to realize some of us (in between the little kid and grandkid stages of our life) think its just right for us. Thanks.

2 Dave { 08.06.11 at 11:51 am }

Hi Ronnette! I love Shades, as do my parents–who are our sponsors when we visit. This site, however, is for first time family visitors with kids who may never return, so everything gets filtered through that lens. If I was writing it for people our age who had visited multiple times, it would be very different and Shades would be near the top!

3 Yvonne Eng { 03.22.12 at 2:41 pm }

Your right. Shades has no “kid-appeal”. But that can also be a good thing, especially when you are dealing with kids on STIMULUS OVERLOAD! And adults can suffer from SO too! It’s nice to return a somewhat isolated (surrounded by golf courses) location, that has “the look and feel of a country club, or a business or convention hotel, and could be anywhere” to decompress and get some downtown. My kids are now adults, but I’ve taken both to WDW when they where around 10 years and found that WDW to the max is not always the best way to go. A day planned in the literary to hang around the pool and rejuvenate is sometimes required, and while it might not be monetarily a sound deal, I would rather maximize on family time and the memories, and focus on the cost second. My first visit to Shades was 1998 prior to the expansion, and back again in 2002, during the remodel, which plunked the family into the “Shades” corridor of the Contemporary hotel…and between the two, the Contemporary came up short room wise! And the first visit after the remodel was in 2006, and all I can say is WOW, the rooms are indeed large and well appointed. I confess, we did walk to the TTC via the Polynesian everyday of a 10-day stay, but I managed to loss pounds on a vacation and that for me is a PLUS. Thanks. Your web site does rock, and I’m looking at info here to plan my 65th b-day in WDW 2013.

4 Dave { 03.22.12 at 7:52 pm }

Hi Yvonne, and thanks for weighing in and the kind words about the site!

I get you on the respite from stimulus offered by Shades, and the need for days off!

My parents also saw a lot of other WDW resorts during the Shades remodel, and were delighted to see them, but returned to Shadess as soon as it re-opened…Have a great 65th birthday at WDW!!

All the best, Dave

5 Heather { 07.03.12 at 5:57 am }

Our first family Disney World Vacation we stayed at SOG, our kids were 1,9 and 6. We had a fantastic time! The room was perfect, the slight divider in the room was perfect for a bit of separation for our little one to sleep, our bottom floor room was wonderful and the kids loved seeing wild turkeys in the morning. If they missed any “Disney Theme” they sure didn’t complain about it. It was actually nice to get away from it. I respectfully disagree with you Dave about the transportation. We thought it was great! We never had a problem in the 10 days we were there. We did walk over to the Poly a couple of times for the heck of it, but otherwise there is nothing wrong or sub par about the transportation at SOG. At least not in our experience. We have since tried out a couple of the other resorts but we always keep SOG in mind for our family trips because it really is the best bang for the buck! In fact the kids (two of which are now teens!) said for our family trip 2013 they want to either stay there or two rooms at Pop! lol Incidentally my husband and I are going to Disney for our 17th anniversary this fall (no kids!) and after having booked and cancelled two other onsite Disney resorts have finally decided to stay at SOG. Can’t wait!

6 Dave { 07.03.12 at 8:12 am }

Hi Heather, thanks for your thoughts and giving the “other side”! And have a wonderful anniversary visit…

7 Julie { 03.29.13 at 2:01 pm }

Thanks for the site! I have a question about Magnolia vs Palm Wing. I get conflicting reports about which wing has the double vanity separate from the bathroom. I’ve seen pictures of the double and then another with one vanity in the bathroom. Really want separate of course, but reservations can’t tell me either. We are trying to pick the location and floor we want based on the site map – so wondering which wing has the double vanities! Thank you!

8 Steve From MilitaryDisneyTips.com - YourFirstVisit.net Military Moderator { 03.29.13 at 3:08 pm }

Hi Julie,

My most recent stay at Shades was in the “New” wing, with the attached parking garage. The rooms there have the double sink outside the shower/toilet room.

Pictures: http://www.militarydisneytips.com/Shades-of-Green/Shades-of-Green-Room-Pictures/index.htm

The old wing was recently remodeled but I’ve yet to stay in it so don’t know if they changed those rooms to the better arrangement or not.

Hope this helps!

Steve

9 Dave { 03.30.13 at 8:05 am }

Thanks, Steve!

10 Loretta { 09.16.13 at 9:38 am }

We stayed at Shades of Green on our 1st trip to WDW in 2011. Our son was 7 years old & he loved everything about the trip. He thought SOG was awesome – the room, the pools, the golf carts & the buffet breakfasts & dinners with fun kid themes. He did not want to eat dinner at WDW – we had to get back to SOG for the buffet (luckily they serve late). We’re going again this November & he’s already talking about the great buffets! For transportation, we took the golf cart rides to the end of the SOG property & walked across the street to the Polynesian to catch the monorail. There was no waiting & it was really convenient! We didn’t feel deprived of more Disney-themed décor, since we were immersed in Disney all day long. We all thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Shades of Green & highly recommend it.

11 Dave { 09.16.13 at 10:29 am }

Loretta, what a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing it, and the recommendation!

Was this even remotely helpful?

Well then mosey on over to the home page, and like it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest!

12 Steve From MilitaryDisneyTips.com - YourFirstVisit.net Military Moderator { 09.17.13 at 7:56 am }

Thanks for sharing Loretta!

Shades certainly is a great benefit for us! Enjoy your next trip.

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