Shades of Green or on property?
My boyfriend and I are beginning to plan our first trip together to WDW for April 2010 and can't decide on a hotel. He is in the military and in leaning towards Shades of Green for that reason and to cut down on costs. I am leaning towards a Disney themed hotel because I love the theming and the transportation to the parks. Any suggestions? Has anyone stayed at Shades of Green and has any insight? Do you get a "Key to the World" at Shades of Green? I know it's a long way off, but planning the trip is almost enjoyable as the trip itself!
03-19-2009 01:57 PM
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I have not stayed at SoG but have had reason to visit the property several times. While it's not Disney-themed at all, it is completely gorgeous and a very good choice if you have the option. Probably my only complaint is that they don't use WDW transportation- instead they have a contracted bus line just for SoG. The busses are old and run infrequently. If you'll have a car (and I always recommend getting a car for WDW trips) then I think you'd do well to give SoG a try.
From what I've heard parking at SoG is $5.00 a day, but you do not have to pay for parking at the parks. And, I believe you can still do EMH. Book as early as possible. I tried to book for the end of next month and it has been booked for a loooong time. I would stay there if there was a significant cost savings, but depending on the deals Disney is running at the time, a value may cost about the same. This year Disney has 40% for military so since we are saving so much, I wasn't even disappointed about not being able to get into SoG.
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Shades of Green is an excellent choice. I've stayed there twice and loved it. The rooms are larger than all but the best deluxe Disney rooms and are very nice. The property is surrounded by Disney's two PGA golf courses. The pools are nice as well if simple. True, very little Disney theming. Disney movies and cartoons play in the lobby at least! Anyway, the buses run regularly to all Disney destinations but on 30-minute intervals. My favorite option is to walk 1/2 mile to Polynesian Resort along a very scenic path and ride its monorail. That system will get you to MK and Epcot seemlessly. The room rates combined with deluxe-quality rooms cannot be beat for value. Remember, it's tax-free as well. The only cheaper rooms on property are at the Value resorts.
This June trip we're staying at AKL, however, for two reasons: fantastic theming and 40% discount on rate. That rate isn't an option right now for 2010. We did SoG in Oct 2007 and loved it, but we're really excited about the AKL theming with 9 and 6 yr old kids. Boyfriend-girlfriend ... it's a no brainer, do SoG!!
We don't have the option of SOG anymore since DH is no longer active duty, but a friend of mine has stayed there. She really enjoyed it. To me, I would prefer to stay on property regardless. I'm just one of those people though.
At SOG you will have access to extra magic hours, but I think you will still have to pay for parking at the parks. I'm not 100% sure, but I'm getting that information from another website. Like someone else pointed out, you won't have access to Disney transportation to and from the parks. Of course, if you park hop or want to leave a park to go a resort restaurant, you can use Disney transportation. If you wanted to try the dining plan, you will need to stay on-site. I think your tickets are separate from your hotel room key so you wouldn't have a Key to the World card.
On the flip side, the rooms are very nice for the price. I think it just depends on how you decide to structure your trip. We have 2 kids, so it's all about the most convenience. For us that means staying on-site.
Shades of Green is on site. It's physically located 1/2 mile from Polynesian Resort via walking path and just a few feet further from Grand Floridian (no walking path). Parking at the hotel is $5 per day, but this allows free parking at all Disney parks. You'll have a pass on your dashboard. Bus transportation is free to all Disney parks/TTC/DtD. It has restaurants, pools, hot tubs, and golf. You will not receive a "Key to the World" card, Disney tickets are conventional paper tickets. You will not be eligible for Disney Dining Plan. But for everything else, you are a Disney on-site guest, including the Extra Magic Hours. The property is on long-term lease to the DoD from Disney. In the old days when I was a little kid, the hotel was known as the Disney Inn.
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Hmmm, I was under the impression that Shades of Green was available for Active Duty, Reserves, and Retired military . Is that not correct ?
Originally Posted by turkeymama
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You don't have to be retired to not be active. My BIL isn't "Retired" Military, but he has completed the military obligations that he agreed to with Uncle Sam. He was honorably discharged.
My husband is not any of those. He has completed his obligation and was honorably discharged. He actually is classified as a Disabled Veteran.
Originally Posted by Greg in TN
edit: I just checked the SOG website and DH may actually be eligible based on his service-connected disability.
Last edited by turkeymama; 03-20-2009 at 12:52 PM.
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The list of people who qualify is actually REALLY long. Here is the whole list from their Web site:
Originally Posted by Greg in TN
- Armed Forces Servicemembers and their family members- Service Members on Active Duty, Reserve Components (Ready Reserve and National Guard; Reservists in Training) Cadets of Service Academies.
- Other Uniformed Services- Members of the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service and Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on active duty.
- Armed Forces retirees and their family members- Armed Forces Retirees (and their families) who retired from active duty or retired from the Reserves with pay, and retired without pay (gray area).
- Others separated from the Armed Forces and their family members- Honorably Discharged Veterans with 100% service-connected disability (and their families) and involuntarily separated service members under the Transition Assistance Management Program. Personnel separated under the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) and Special Separation Benefit (SSB) programs for two years after separation.
- Special category- Medal of Honor Recipients.
- Others associated with the Department of Defense- Former Prisoners of War (POWs) and spouses of current POWs or Service members missing in action. Unremarried surviving spouses of personnel who died while on active duty or while in retired status.
- Former and/or surviving spouses and family members- Unremarried former spouses who were married to military members for at least 20 years while the military member was on active duty to the Armed Forces. Orphans of military members, when not adopted by new parents, under 21 years old (or over if they are incapable of supporting themselves, or 23 years old if they are in full-time study)
- Other supporters of DoD- U.S. Federal employees when assigned in areas outside the U.S. Medical personnel under contract to the military DoD Component during periods when they are residing on the installation. Military personnel of foreign nations and their family members when on orders from the U.S. Armed Forces, or in overseas areas when the major command commander grants privileges in the best interest of the U.S. Paid members of the American Red Cross, Young Men's Christian Association, United Service Organization and other type 1 private organizations identified in DoD Instruction 1000.15 (reference (s)) when assigned with U.S. Armed Forces outside the U.S. U.S. employees of firms under contract to Department of Defense working on an installation when assigned in areas outside the U.S.
- U.S. DoD civilians and family members- Both APF and NAF, and retired DoD civilians.
- DoD contract personnel and technical representatives- Working full time on the installation.
- Other Federal employees- Non DoD Federal employees working on a military installation.
- Guests- Who are not otherwise eligible to use MWR programs, when specifically invited and accompanied by an authorized patron.
- Members of the public within the U. S.- Leaders in the local community designated by the installation commander Individuals are recertified annually. Members of the general public can attend infrequent MWR-sponsored events when the installation meets controls established by the DoD Component, to include at minimum, to the following criteria:
- Commander (General Manager) determines that adequate facilities are available and currently underutilized by authorized patrons
- Written agreements are obtained from local government officials or other appropriate community leaders indicating that they have no objections to expanded use of military MWR programs
- Allowing these individuals to use these facilities is beneficial to both the military members and civilians in the community
- No conflict exists with Federal, State, or local laws and specifically approved by the DoD Component. This approval authority may not be delegated below the Military Service level.
- Others associated with the Department of Defense- Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets when participating in field training or practice cruises. Delayed Entry/Delayed Training Program (DEP/DTP) recruits (these recruits are part of the Ready Reserve force.
So for example, honorably discharged persons qualifies but ONLY under very specific eligibility requirements, and would otherwise not qualify.
I've never stayed at the Shades of Green but the main things to remember are that your rate will depend on your husband's rank, so an E2 pays a lot less than an O3 for THE SAME ROOM. So depending on his rank, you might wind up paying something comparable to a value resort room, but get a much nicer room. Many of the rooms are as nice as the deluxe hotels... mostly what I hear is that they are very spacious. Neither the food nor the transportation is part of Disney, if those are important for you.
Most importantly, since Shades of Green caters specifically to the military, it's truly an R&R resort... you will be among others who are in the military, and they will understand your situation and lifestyle better than the civilians. If that is an important part of your experience, then SoG will be like home away from home.
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SoG is seeming like a better option the more I hear about it! Especially if there is a path to the Polynesian. One more question: Does SoG have Magical Express privileges? I have never rented a car before when going to WDW and have always used the Magical Express instead...
Not to my knowledge.
Originally Posted by Lynn57
Question is... do you want to seperate yourselves from the military for a few day's. If you do not, then stay at Shades of Green. If you do, then stay at a Disney hotel.
Although SoG is leased by the DoD for use by the military (among other demographics), the hotel resort is not in the least bit "military." By no means did I feel like I was still in the bosom of the military at that resort in my two separate stays. Many of the families staying there have one family member serving in the military, but nobody wears a uniform, there is no advertising, recruiting ... nothing. In fact, the only way a guest might determine that there were military folks staying there is the occasional short haircut. I strongly disagree with the notion that if you want to get away from the military for a vacation you should avoid SoG.
Yes, the path to Polynesian is convenient. The only problem my family faced using it (on a daily basis, mind you) is that a 1/2 mile walk after a long day at MK or Epcot can seem tiring. But you can always take the bus back from the parks to the hotel rather than monorail to Poly + walk. Obviously, for DHS and AK and Downtown Disney you should take the shuttle bus roundtrip.
SoG is not a part of the DME program. You will need to either rent a car or take a shuttle. We took an airport shuttle roundtrip and it was convenient. Cost difference depends on how long you'd rent a car. Also, there is an auto rental desk at SoG. The hotel's website has a link.
You can also be a veteran (they have specific months) that you can stay there or a DOD contractor or a GS employee.
Originally Posted by Greg in TN
We are going next summer when my oldest graduates from HS. My dad is retired, I am a vet and I work as a contractor on a government site.
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