Operated by the U.S. Armed Forces Recreation Center, this resort in the heart of Disney is open only to active-duty and retired personnel from the armed forces, reserves, and National Guard; active civilian employees of the Department of Defense; widows or widowers of service members; disabled veterans; and Medal of Honor recipients. The resort offers standard rooms, family suites for up to eight adults, 23 ADA rooms, and a Wounded Warrior Suite. Two pools are surrounded by expansive decks, lush, tropical foliage, and three golf courses. There's also a full-service spa and enough space for weddings and family reunions. The resort is a short distance from the Polynesian, where you can hop on the monorail.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Room rates rise with rank. Also, the room rate includes only the first two guests in a room. Additional fees are charged for additional guests over the age of 18.
The spacious (roomy enough for scooters and mobility devices) rooms are decorated in shades of green and beige, with tropical accents. The standard room has two double beds, a sleeper-sofa, table and chairs for in-room meals, big flat-screen TVs, plenty of storage, and most have a balcony with chairs. The resort has 23 ADA rooms.
Standard bathrooms have granite or marble vanity tops with lots of space for toiletries around the sinks, and white tiles. The bath/shower has a shower curtain, and a grab bar, a very welcome addition.
The lobby is a pleasant, sociable space, much like a very extensive living room, with stone walls, lots of couches, a fireplace, open beamed ceiling and an extensive deck overlooking the grounds.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The AAFES Exchange shop offers a wide range of tax-free items, from sundries to snacks, even diapers, and also Disney souvenirs, such as t-shirts, princess dresses and more, at exchange prices.
The two heated pools, Magnolia and Mill Pond, are lively spots with a splash play area and water slide, in addition to a lap zone and hot-tub. Activities around the pools include volleyball, water polo, and basketball, plus games of Marco Polo and other kid-friendly pastimes.
Guests with special needs will find ample support, as the pools have four different pool lifts and furniture that meets ADA standards.
The Magnolia Spa offers several different types of massages and facials, and a nail and hair salon. Separate men's and women's lounges are provided, as are robes and slippers. The youngsters are not left out of the relaxation, as there are princess and pirate makeovers.
Reserve early, as the spa is not huge, and can be really busy.
The 24-7 fitness center offers a wide variety of machines, whether you are looking for a cardio or strength workout or a bit of both. Free weights up to 50 pounds, and some resistance and balance equipment are also available.
The property's six restaurants and cafes mean you can relax before or after a visit to the theme parks, without any need for an extra journey. The Garden Gallery offers generous buffet spreads for breakfast and dinner, while Mangino's dishes out large portions of pasta or steak, in addition to theme nights with all-you-can-eat shrimp, or prime rib, and even a clam-bake. Evergreen's sports-bar fare includes burgers, nachos, and sandwiches.
Evergreen's is a classic sports pub, with a full bar, including spirits, wines and local craft beers.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Evergreen's shares space with the arcade's video games, air hockey, and pool tables, so if you are looking for a quiet spot for a drink, this might not be it.
The resort is on Disney property, thus guests have access to all of Disney’s complimentary transportation options, from buses, water taxis, monorails, and ferries. If Universal or Downtown Orlando are on your itinerary, a car or ride-share would be a good option. There’s plenty of parking, but there is a daily parking fee.
The four deluxe resorts around Seven Seas Lagoon are within minutes by monorail or water taxi, affording access to fine dining, a South Pacific Luau, or down-home cooking. A 20 minute bus ride takes you to the shopping and dining extravaganza of Disney Springs. Restaurants include the three-story PaddleFish, a modern take on the American traditional paddleboat, where seafood is king and the outdoor rooftop terrace offers striking views of the lagoon and the entertainment at the Springs. Nearby you’ll find Raglan Road, an authentic Irish Pub owned by celeb chef Kevin Dundon, featuring refined Irish fare and lots of music and dancing; Morimoto’s, an Asian Fusion eatery owned by, and often visited by, famed Japanese chef, Morimoto; and Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ restaurant, showcasing local, Southern food.
If the on-property sports bar isn't your cup of tea, a five-minute walk across the street to the Polynesian Village Resort puts you into a much more romantic, waterfront, South Pacific vibe. From there it's easy to bar hop on the monorail, stopping at the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary and then, by water taxi to the Wilderness Lodge, each of which has a watering hole with its own unique ambiance.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Shades of Green is right in the heart of Disney, just a short walk from the monorail line, and it offers eligible guests the special perks befitting those who serve our country. The resort operates at no cost to the taxpayer, and profits are plowed back into the resort. The room price is affordable, no matter what the rank and meals and souvenirs come with a very reasonable price tag.