A note: I feel that it is important to let readers know that this post is purely my personal opinion. I am not being paid to promote Shades of Green nor do I get paid in any capacity from Shades of Green. My only motivation is to give everyone the information so that they know why I suggest staying at Shades of Green Resort.
Since most Military Servicemembers do not know much about the Shades of Green Resort or for those who have never heard of it, I felt it was important to share why you should consider Shades of Green Resort over a Disney resort or off property accommodation.
Why Shades of Green?
First and foremost, the PRICE
Staying at Shades of Green is BY FAR, the best value you are going to get on Disney property. When we are talking about Standard Rooms, the rooms at Shades of Green are THE LARGEST on Disney property. Then, when you consider what you’re paying in a nightly rate for the largest standard room, Shades of Green will not be beat.
Now, when it comes down to the cost. Some Value resorts may be cheaper than Shades of Green with the Military Room Discount that Disney offers. HOWEVER the Military Room Discount is subject to availability, so keep in mind that not every hotel will be available for your travel dates . **Know that the Military Room Discount does have eligibility requirements and some restrictions, so make sure you read the offer details.
For argument’s sake lets say you were able to call and you could get the discount on a room at the All Star Movies Resort. Normally $171.13/night for 6 nights. Discounted rate is now $119.80/night. Multiplied by 6 nights PLUS TAX, the total ends up coming to $815.84. Which works out to be $135.97/night when you factor in the taxes. The standard room nightly room rate at Shades of Green is $139 for Cat I, $169 for Cat II and $179 for Cat III. Rooms at Shades of Green are TAX FREE. So depending on what category you fall in to, the difference might be less than $20. But what if you stay at a Moderate or Deluxe Resort?
For a Moderate Resort, lets use the same 6 nights but at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Normally $300.75/night, but with a discounted rate of $195.49 x 6 nights + tax = $1,319.55. Divide that back by 6 nights and you get a cost of $219.92/night. Even before adding in the tax, you can see that the nightly rate is going to be more than at Shades of Green, regardless what Category. Same thing with the Deluxe resorts. At discounted rate, the Boardwalk Inn would be $326.10 before tax. You can tell it’s going to be significantly higher than staying at Shades of Green.
Keep in mind that even though a Value Resort may be slightly cheaper than staying at Shades of Green, but they are also the farthest away from all the parks, have the smallest standard rooms and the resort has the fewest amenities. Which brings me to my next point.
Shades of Green Amenities
As I said above, Shades of Green has THE largest standard rooms on Disney property. A standard room at Shades of Green is 450 Square Feet. The next closest is at The Grand Floridian with 440 Square Feet and then the Contemporary with 437 Square Feet. Now, I realize that 10 Square Feet is nothing and none of us would even realize the size difference. But remember above, with the big price difference between Shades of Green and the Deluxe Resort. The Grand Floridian and Contemporary are Deluxe Resorts but can cost you upwards of $500-$700/night even WITH the Military Discount. Still considering a Value Resort? The standard room size at any of the All Star Resorts is 260 Square Feet. YES! TWO HUNDRED and SIXTY. Which is substantially smaller than the rooms at Shades of Green.
Outside of the rooms, Shades of Green also has other selling factors. One of which are the dining options. Shades of Green has a full table service restaurant called Mangino’s which offers breakfast and dinner. It also has a buffet style restaurant called Garden Gallery that serves breakfast and nightly themed dinner cuisines. There is also Evergreens which is a sports bar located next to one of the pools that also features a take-out window. These are things you will not find at a Value Resort. Disney Value Resorts only have quick service food options in the Resort’s food court. And in case you’re wondering. Shades of Green does have it’s own quick service options for when you’re on the go; Express Cafe has plenty of hot and made-to-order breakfast, lunch and dinner items, and the Java Café has coffee, fresh pastries, fresh fruits and yogurt.
Another great amenity that Shades of Green has is the Magnolia Spa. Only a handful of all the Disney Resorts actually have spas. And I can guarantee that none of them are as affordable as the Magnolia Spa. With a 80 Minute Swedish Massage at the Magnolia Spa for $105 in comparison to other spas $195 for a 80 Minute Massage. But NOTHING compares to the Magnolia Spa’s Magnolia Grand Package that includes a 50 minute Full Body Massage, a 50 minute European Facial, a 20 minute Foot Massage and a Hand Paraffin Dip…. ALL FOR $125!!!!! I can tell you from my own personal experience, that these prices are insanely low. And because of that, every time we stay at Shades of Green, we get massages. And after walking 11-13 miles a day, come day 3 or 4, a massage is greatly needed!
Probably one of the best Deluxe Resort amenities at a Value Resort price, are the pools at Shades of Green. At any Disney Value Resort, all you will find are basic swimming pools. All be it, they have some amazingly fun theming, they are a little lackluster. Only Disney Moderate and Deluxe resorts have pools with water slides and only the Deluxe Resorts have water slides and splash pads. At Shades of Green, you will find the Mill Pond Pool, that has a great sized Mickey shaped pool with a water slide and a splash pad with a mini water slide for the smaller kids. There also is a second pool that I would compare to the Disney “quiet pools”. There are no noise restrictions but it does seem to be less noisy. The Magnolia pool is a zero entry, U shaped pool and a hot tub.
Another couple family favorite amenities that Shades of Green has is the Playground that is located just next to the Mill Pond Pool. And just next to that, is a little patio area that has large outdoor games like cornhole, Jenga and Connect Four. Inside, next to Evergreens sports bar; is the Arcade with lots of fun games, pools tabls and air hockey table. And the final amenity you can find at Shades of Green is a fitness center…just in case you didn’t get all your steps in, in the parks.
My last reason for staying at Shades of Green is the location. I know my other reasons were solely in comparison to Shades of Green and Disney Resorts, but this point goes for ANY other accommodation in comparison to Shades of Green. I know a lot of people consider staying off property because they have found some place that is cheaper but personally, the location of Shades of Green far outweighs any off property savings. And! Don’t forget when comparing off property locations to Shades of Green to account for any rental car, parking or shuttle fees.
Shades of Green is located ON Disney property. Directly across the street from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and less than a 2 mile walk from Magic Kingdom. It is a short bus ride to the Transportation & Ticket Center where you can ride the Monorail to Magic Kingdom or Epcot. It’s also a short bus ride to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Shades of Green is in a Deluxe Resort location without the expensive nightly room rate. And because it’s on property, you get all the same perks as staying at a Disney Resort (Advance Dining Reservations extended window, Early Theme Park Entry & Extended Evening Hours, and 7am Individual Lightning Lane bookings!)….something you can’t get with staying off property. With it’s location to the parks and single resort bus stop, it makes for quick rides to/from the resort and parks. Whereas, some Moderate Resorts have several resort bus stops and depending on where your room is located, you could be stuck on a Disney bus for a lot longer than you anticipated.
If you are comparing resorts and interested in a Disney Resort Comparison calculator that I used above, please let me know and I’d be happy to share it with you.
Another amazing benefit of staying at Shades of Green is the fact that the resort has an AAFES Exchange! Having an Exchange inside of your resort is so helpful for a number of reasons. The first being that you can cut down on the number of things you have to remember to pack. Toiletries, diapers, sunscreen, fist-aid kit, it’s all at the Exchange. Second, being able to buy snacks, breakfast items, PB&J and bread, bottled water and alcohol from the Exchange will save you soooo much money. Where a bottle of water will cost you almost $5 inside the parks, you can purchase a liter bottle of water for less than $2 at the Exchange.
And just in case you didn’t know, you CAN bring your own food into the parks. One of the ways we utilize the Exchange is by buying quick grab ‘n go items that we can take with us to the parks. If your kids are anything like mine, they aren’t ready to eat before we hit the parks; but it never fails 20 minutes later they are starving. Doing this holds them over until we grab lunch or head to our dining reservation and we’re not paying $4 for a small bag of Lays potato chips.
So now you can at least make a more informed decision about where to stay when you’re planning on going to Walt Disney World. If you want a little more information specifically about Shades of Green or to find out if you’re eligible to stay at Shades of Green, check out my other post where I go over everything at Shades of Green Resort. And if you decide it’s not for you or still really want to stay at a Disney Resort or your family’s timeshare, you’re still going to have a fantastic time! But at least now you know all your options!
Spreading magic one post at a timeKristin