Shades of Green
Last week, Craig, Charlotte, and I spent five days at the Shades of Green Resort at Walt Disney World. This blog entry will highlight the good, the bad, and the ugly.
When I asked for feedback on the resort a few weeks before our vacation, I was surprised about the mixed responses I received. It seems people either loved or hated the resort. When we arrived, I realized, however, the staff take their military resort seriously. With a gated entrance, and identification check, we felt safe and secure for the duration of our time there. Check-in was quick, and our room was ready early. Surprisingly, we felt comfort in our Navy Lodge-esque surroundings.
The Cost. We paid $133 nightly, for a pool-side “suite” with two double-beds, a large TV and dresser, pull-out couch, and small table and two chairs. There was also a large closet (with very few hangers) and a mini-fridge.
The Pool. They’re currently renovating one of the pools (turning it into a splash/pool area for small children), but the other pool is a great size, and has two points of shallow entry walk-in shallow. My favorite part, being the mother of a brave two-year-old, was the abundance of neoprene life-jackets at our disposal. We also had fun watching the ducks waddle around and come into the pool, not at all afraid of people.
The Play Area. We didn’t find this until our last night at the resort, but there’s a new and amazing jungle gym next to the pool currently under construction. We all had a blast playing on it. Word of warning though–stay off the big slide if it’s potentially wet! We dried off everything after a rain storm, but my 6’3,” 215 pound Marine still shot off the slide like a canon. It looked like so much fun that I decided to try it too and ended up with a massive welt (as well as a new fear of slides!).
The Exchange. There are tons of Disney treasure items in here (less expensive toys, dresses, etc.), but also the essentials you may have forgotten at home, at a reasonable price. Make sure to grab water here before hitting the parks! (Note: we picked up the bubble wand for $7.50 and it was mind-blowing. If you’re there, get one and try to stop yourself from running through the hundreds of bubbles created from one swipe of the wand.)
The Location. The resort is about a quarter mile away from the monorail at the Polynesian resort, and I highly recommend walking there to get around (more on that to come).
Charm. Several people said that there is very little “Disney charm” at the resort, and I’d have to agree. There’s a giant Mickey statue when you first enter, but very few other signs that you’re at the happiest place on earth.
The Buses. Here is the grumpy part of this blog entry. Again, we were warned that the bussing system is not ideal, but we decided to take our chances (bad idea). The bus schedule is pretty standard, but make sure you are waiting a few minutes early. We were headed to Epcot one afternoon and were disappointed to learn we needed to catch a bus to the Transportation Center, then jump on the monorail to Epcot (we could have taken the monorail to the TC and saved ourselves a lot of trouble). Our last day, we took the bus to Hollywood Studios and, were one minute late waiting for the elevator. Craig sprinted down the stairs to ask them to wait and the bus driver said curtly, “If I do not see them in one minute, I will leave.” Luckily we made it into his line of vision in time, but then Craig was yelled at for pulling the stroller onto the bus before it was collapsed. The bus drivers were not friendly, the buses were crowded and hot, and waiting for them to pick us up at the parks was the most painful part of the entire trip (including the ten hour drive to and from Florida). If we ever stayed there again, I would happily walk a mile out of my way to just jump on the Disney resort buses, or boats.
Overall, it was a pleasant experience. For the money you save in room charges (half the price of the Polynesian), it’s worth it, in my opinion. Have you stayed at the Shades of Green resort? Leave your thoughts below! Stay tuned for our next blog entry, where I will discuss all things Disney parks, including lunch at Be Our Guest (so amazing, and so hard to get in). Look for tips on how to get in!