Did you know that the Department of Defense has a resort located on Disney World property? As a National Guard family, we’ve had the privilege of staying at Shades of Green twice and we have enjoyed it both times. The landscape is beautiful, the rooms are spacious and the location on Disney property can’t be beat for a resort that is not actually owned by Disney.
Shades of Green is located near Magic Kingdom-within walking distance of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. This made it so convenient if we were in the mood to explore the resort or wanted to take advantage of the Polynesian’s monorail transportation to Magic Kingdom or the Transportation and Ticket Center.
I was very impressed with our room- it was spacious and comfortable. Each room had a balcony or patio that overlooked the resort. Both times we stayed there, our room was on the first floor so it led out onto a small patio facing the golf course. It was so fun being able to eat dinner outside and watch all the turkeys and geckos come by. The turkeys came up really close to us while we were eating- it was quite hilarious and a little frightening watching a turkey try to steal Ladybug’s pizza. (She wasn’t amused.)
While we’re on the topic of pizza, I highly recommend the room-service pizza. We ordered the margharita pizza (my favorite) and it was amazing. I scarfed down way more than I should have, which made me so uncomfortable later but I couldn’t help myself.
Shades of Green affords its guests some of the perks of staying at Disney, one of which being access to free transportation to the parks. There is a bus service that runs directly from the resort to all four of the theme parks, both water parks and Disney Springs. It was so nice being able to walk outside and hop on a bus without having to pay for parking or worrying about losing our car in the massive parking lots. (However, should you choose to drive, Shades of Green guests can park for free at the parks by showing their resort IDs.)
The one complaint I have about the transportation is that the first bus to the TTC doesn’t leave until 30 minutes before park opening. The buses at Shades of Green do not go directly to the entrance of Magic Kingdom- they drop off at the TTC. You then need to take the monorail, ferry or bus to the Magic Kingdom. So if you want to arrive in time to catch the Welcome Show or be there right at opening, you will not make it by taking the bus from Shades of Green.
But the great thing is that Shades of Green is about a 15 minute walk from the Polynesian which has monorail service directly to Magic Kingdom and the TTC. We are early park goers- we like to get there early, take a break during the hottest part of the day and then go back around dinner time. It is so nice to be able to beat the crowds and knock out a few rides before the lines get too long. (Not to mention the Polynesian itself is beautiful and after walking around it to find the monorail, I now have a very strong desire to stay there during a future trip.)
This leads me to another great perk of Shades of Green- extra magic hours. Although not a Disney resort, guests at Shades of Green still can take advantage of extra magic hours which allows them to enter the parks before opening or stay after closing on certain days. We planned our trip around the morning extra magic hours mostly so we could get a lot done in the morning before the crowds arrived.
One of our favorite amenities at Shades of Green is the Mickey shaped pool. Ladybug can spend hours splashing around in the splash pool and jumping off the edge of the Mickey pool into my arms. And I’ve already mentioned how much Buddy loves the water. It was a great way to cool off in the middle of the day.
I was a little sad that there wasn’t much of a Disney theme to the resort. I understand why as it’s not owned by Disney but I wish there was a little more. There was a giant patriotic Mickey in the lobby- which Ladybug loved- but that’s about it.
If you’re a military or DoD family planning a Disney World vacation, I highly recommend staying at Shades of Green. But make sure to book early. It fills up quickly so make your reservation ASAP because if you hesitate, it might be full by the time you make up your mind.
Have you stayed at Shades of Green?
This is not a sponsored post. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts written in this post are my own.