Welcome to the third installment of the Shades of Green – Disney Resort Comparison Series.
This post wraps up my series intended to help you determine the differences between Shades and the Disney Resorts. I hope that you’ll find them helpful. Be sure to post comments and questions below.
Also please see How does Shades of Green compare to Disney in Price and the other 2 posts in the series:
Updated Sept. 2023 for Disney 2024 prices and Shades of Green FY 25 Prices.
Shades of Green is the military only, military owned and operated resort on Walt Disney World property. Shades offers great low rates based upon the member’s pay grade.
I hope that you find this post helpful! Be sure to post comments and questions below
The Disney Deluxe Resorts that are eligible for up to 40% off of the full price rate are:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
These Disney Vacation Club Resorts are also eligible for up to 40% off of the full price rate:
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (cabins excluded)
- Cooper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (cabins excluded)
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
- Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
- Disney’s Polynesian Villas
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
3-Bedroom Villas at the DVC Resorts and Suites in Moderate and Deluxe Resorts are also excluded.
Disney Deluxe Resorts include amenities such as: full-service restaurants, room service, luggage service, valet parking, swimming pools with a slide, hot tub and cast member lead activities, beach access, on-site recreation, on-site childcare, and monorail and/or bus or boat transportation and Disney Skyliner access at some..
For this comparison I’ll be using the Beach Club Resort, but all of the Disney Deluxes are similar, varying in the exterior and interior themes.
- Both the Wilderness and Animal Kingdom Lodges are cheaper than the other deluxes due to their slightly smaller rooms and their more isolated locations compared to the theme parks.
- The WDW Swan and Dolphin are third party owned resorts located on WDW property and as such will not be covered in this comparison. They have an entirely different price schedule and their own military discount. See this page for more.
Shades of Green includes amenities such as: full-service restaurants, quick service dining options, limited room service, luggage service, swimming pools and hot tub, an Army-Air Force Exchange Store, discounted ticket sales, and bus transportation.
This is a comparison between the lowest cost room at each resort, a Standard View Room at the Beach Club and a Standard Room at Shades of Green.
The Beach Club’s room in this review is representative of all the other Disney Deluxe resorts except as noted in each section.
Disney’s Deluxes offer various upgraded rooms for from $25 to $120 per night (not including suites or concierge). These upgrades can be in room view or interior decoration.
Views range from the basic covered here through (roughly in order) garden/woods view, pool view, water view, to special types based upon resort like, theme park view, savannah view, premium savannah view, tower theme park view, and tower lake view.
Interior options can be: king beds, bunk beds, or concierge options.
Room – Price
Note: starting in 2018 the Disney Armed Forces Salute room discount rates are not a set 40%. They are “up to” 40%, meaning that depending on your dates you might receive a lower discount amount; the only way to know what your price will be is to call (or have your Travel Agent do it for you).
For this comparison I’ll be using the maximum 40% Disney Armed Forces Salute discount. Disney adds various sales and resort taxes to their room rates, at the Beach Club the rate is 12.5%.
I’ll show the prices for Standard Rooms at both resorts.
Shades of Green – Shades of Green has 3 price categories for the standard room based upon your rank/status:
1 October 2023 – 30 September 2024:
- Category 1 – $174.00 per night
- Category 3 – $214.00 per night
- Category 3 – $224.00 per night
1 October 2024 – 30 September 2025:
- Category 1 – $179.00 per night
- Category 3 – $229.00 per night
- Category 3 – $239.00 per night
Category #1 – E-1 thru E-6 and Cadets
Category #2 – E-7 thru E-9, O-1 thru O-3, WO-1 to CW-3, Widows, Medal of Honor Recipients, 100% Disabled Veterans.
Category #3 – O-4 thru O-10, CW-4, CW-5, Active and Retired DoD Civilians.
There is no tax added to these charges. This rate is for double occupancy, it is $2 less for single occupancy and add $15 per extra adults (ages 18+).
Shades of Green’s prices are the same every day of the year, they do not vary like Disney’s do.
The Beach Club – The Beach Club Resort’s 2024 rates for a standard room varies from $597 – $1084 per night including tax.
When the maximum Disney Armed Forces Salute discount of 40% the rate is applied these rates are reduced to $358 to $650 per night.
For each additional adult over 18 there is a $35 per night charge.
Prices for the other Deluxes for the same type room range widely.
For a closer look at the price differences see our comprehensive post on Shades of Green – Disney Price Comparisons.
Disney’s Deluxe Resorts will never be cheaper than Shades of Green’s category 3! Even on the cheapest day of the year at the cheapest Deluxe (Wilderness Lodge)!
Note: There are times of the year when the Disney Armed Forces Salute is not available at all, these are called blockout dates.
Shades of Green does offer discounts and packages at various times of the year. These vary widely and are often for specific very limited dates and are modified over time or cancelled as rooms fill. In this comparison I’m only comparing the rates available all year long. You should check to see if Shades is offering a discount or package for your dates!
There are other factors such as transportation which affect the bottom line though, so read on.
Room – Size
The Deluxe rooms have a maximum of five-person (four-person at the Wilderness and Animal Kingdom Lodges) occupancy per room (plus one child under 3 in a crib). Shades of Green offers five-person occupancy per room (plus one child under 3 in a crib).
I took full measurements of both rooms. This included the full floor measurements of the sleeping area hall, closet, vanity, and bath areas (including the tub)
Shades of Green – At 514 square feet the Shades of Green room is the winner on size, hands down. This includes a large bedroom with 2 queen beds, a single sleeper sofa, entry hall, seating area with a small table and 2 chairs, a closet, and large vanity area separate from the shower/toilet area. All Shades rooms have an inside hall, room entrance and a balcony/patio with a table and chairs.
The Beach Club – The Beach Club room measured in at 381 square. This includes a bedroom with an entry hall, seating area, closet, and separate vanity area from the shower/toilet area. All Deluxe rooms have an inside hall room entrance and a balcony/patio with a table and chairs.
Other Disney Deluxe rooms range in size from 344 square feet at the Wilderness and Animal Kingdom Lodges to 440 at the Grand Floridian.
Room – Beds
Both resorts have comfortable beds and pillows as well as great bedding.
Shades of Green – 2 Queen sized beds and a couch that converts to a day bed for one. See how the couch-bed works (click next over the picture to see sequential pictures)
The Beach Club – 2 Queen sized beds a fold out sleeper couch. Some rooms only sleep 4 or have a single king bed.
Room – Amenities
Amenities at both resorts were very similar.
Each has complimentary wifi (Shades of Green’s is not very strong or dependable in the guest rooms), flat screen TV’s, mini fridge, coffee maker that uses coffee pods, a safe, iron and ironing board, toiletries, hair dryer, and luggage rack.
Both resorts had receptacles for recycling.
Room – Decor
The biggest difference between staying at Shades and a Disney resort is themeing. Shades is decorated like any civilian hotel and could be placed anywhere, worldwide and fit in.Room – Decor
At the Disney resorts, you definitely know that you are at Disney. Some of their decorating is subdued, and some definitely isn’t depending on which resort you are staying in.
Shades of Green – Many worry that staying at Shades of Green will be like staying in billeting on base, but it’s definitely not, the rooms are top notch. The rooms are decorated in greens (to tie into the resort name) with pictures of scenery and plants. The furniture is all good quality. It should be noted that, before the Army MWR purchased the resort from WDW, it was a deluxe Disney resort.
The Beach Club – The theming at the Beach Club surprisingly is not, “beachy” with cream, and pastel blues and greens. See the Mickey on the dresser, desk, and made of towels (by the maid) on the bed in the pic below? The furniture was all very good quality too.
Resort – Dining
Shades of Green – The food at Shades is, adequate, it is by no means bad, but if you are foodie looking for a fantastic meal perhaps you’d be more happy at one of WDW’s table service restaurants. Much of the buffet food comes off the Sysco truck premade and is served as is.
Shades of Green – has a variety of restaurants:
- Manginos Steakhouse (Steaks and Seafood)
- The Garden Gallery (breakfast and dinner buffets and a la carte)
- Evergreens Sports Bar & Grill (sandwiches, wraps and burgers, salads, pizza, wings, and nachos)
- The Express Cafe (counter service breakfast and lunch sandwiches, pastries, snacks)
- The Java Cafe (Starbucks coffees teas, pastries and ice cream
- Chip n’ Dale’s Deli (grilled hot dogs, wraps, sandwiches).
The Garden Gallery can be very busy in the mornings, when everyone is trying to get going to the theme parks at the same time. MDT recommends a coffee and pastry at the Java Café or the Express Café to have while waiting on the theme park bus instead. Or do the same on arrival at one of the theme parks.
The Beach Club – Also has a variety of restaurants plus the other Epcot Area Resorts (Boardwalk Resort, Yacht Club Resort, and the WDW Swan and Dolphin) restaurants are in easy walking distance.
- The Beach Club Marketplace is a quick service restaurant offering limited breakfast items, sandwiches, flatbreads, soups as well as prepackaged sandwiches and salads, desserts and drinks.
- Beaches and Cream is a 1950s themed soda shop serving burgers, hot dogs, soups, grilled cheese, and course ice cream.
- Cape May Café offers a daily character breakfast buffet featuring Beach-y Goofy and his friends. In the evening, the Cafe hosts a Clam Bake buffet with no characters.
- Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar and Grill – fast food, snacks, and drinks for all ages.
Menus on DisneyWorld.com:
- The Beach Club Marketplace
- Beaches and Cream
- Cape May Café
- The Market at Ale & Compass
- Hurricane Hanna’s
Resort – Recreation
The recreation options vary quite a bit between the two resorts while Shades used to be a Disney Deluxe Resort, the Disney resorts have progressed further since Shades ceased left the fold.
Shades of Green – Shades of Green has two pools, the Mill Pond pool shaped like the Mickey Mouse icon and has a water slide and kids water play area. And the Magnolia Pool which is the quiet pool featuring zero entry, walk in access and a hot tub. Shades of Green has an arcade. There are two lighted tennis courts and the resorts sits in the middle of two of Disney’s golf courses. The clubhouse shares a parking lot with Shades of Green. For the little ones there is a jungle gym/play set (at the Millpond Pool).
The Beach Club – Disney Deluxes offer an outstanding range of recreation options. Your recreation options include, multiple pools and hot tubs including the very best resort pool on WDW property, Stormalong Bay, which is shared with the Yacht Club Resort, a sprawling, sand bottom, zero entry pool with a pirate ship play area, water slide, with cast member led activities, bike and surrey bike rentals, boat rentals (motor, pedal, and kayak), fishing, outdoor movies, a playground, and a video arcade.
Resort – Transportation
It really depends on how you travel to your Disney World vacation:
Shades of Green – Guests arriving in Orlando via airline are responsible for obtaining and paying for their own transportation to Shades of Green.
Those Driving to Shades will have to pay $17 per night to park their car at Shades of Green. If you choose to drive your car to the parks you’ll pay $25 a day for Disney theme/water park parking.
Shades does have their own small fleet of complimentary buses to take their guests to limited locations on WDW property.
Shades of Green currently offers bus service to:
- Transportation and Ticket Center (Magic Kingdom and Epcot)
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Disney Springs
- Typhoon Lagoon
Shades Guests also have free full access to the WDW transportation system, which includes busses, the monorail, and various boat lines.
The Beach Club – As of January 2022, Guests arriving in Orlando via airline are responsible for obtaining and paying for their own transportation to Disney Resorts.
Those driving to their vacation at the Disney The Beach Club will pay no longer pay to park.
Parking is free at the the Disney theme parks for Disney Resort guests. WDW resort guests have the complimentary use of the WDW transportation system, which includes buses, the monorail, and various boat lines.
At the Beach Club bus transportation is available to all Disney World guest areas except Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Boat Transportation to: Disney’s Yacht Club and BoardWalk Resorts, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts, Epcot’s International Gateway, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Epcot’s International Gateway is also a short walk away and Hollywood Studios just a little farther in the opposite direction.
At Epcot’s International Gateway you can board the Disney Skyliner for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the Riviera, Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, and Art of Animation Resorts.
You should be aware that after boarding the Skyliner here, you will have to get off at the Caribbean Beach Station and get into a long line to board the route going to Hollywood Studios.
For Airport Transportation check out the Walt Disney World Airport Transportation section of my Transportation Overview Page.
Resort – Amenities
Shades of Green – Shades features on-site Disney and Orlando area ticket sales (tax free), an AAFES Store (tax free souvenirs and sundries), luggage service, two guest laundries, an on-site Gym with cardio and Nautilus equipment, and a full service Spa.
The Beach Club – features a Disney resort gift shop (souvenirs and sundries, luggage service, a guest laundry, on-site recreation, on-site childcare, an on-site Gym with cardio and Nautilus equipment, and a full service Spa.
Disney – Amenities
Early Entry & Extended Evening Hours
Starting in October 2021, Disney Resort guests including Shades of Green guests will be eligible for the new Early Entry & Extended Evening Hours that replace Extra Magic Hours.
Guests may both enter every theme park early, and stay late on select days at select Walt Disney World theme parks.
Disney Genie, Genie+, and Individual Lightning Lane Purchases
All guests can participate in Disney Genie, Disney Genie+ and in app purchase of Individual Lightning Lane attractions. Guests staying at Shades of Green and Disney Resorts are able to make Genie+ selections and purchase their Individual Lightning Lane attractions at 7 a.m. the day of their visit, while others will have to wait until park opening time.
Those Shades guests wanting to use Magic Bands for their park tickets will need to buy their own, either ahead of time at the Disney Store or at a WDW gift shop.
Deciding which resort is right for your family is a very personal decision, so I’ve tried to present an impartial review of both resorts, listing both the good and the bad.
You’ll need to decide which of these areas/items are the most important for you, cost, amenities, room size, transportation, etc.
I hope you find this helpful! Please leave a comment below with which resort you’d choose and why.
Information on Shades of Green the Military Hotel on Disney World property
See all the current Shades of Green Discounts and Packages
This MDT Post By: Steve Bell
Steve is the the Military Disney Tips Founder. He a retired U.S. Military Member who's been touring the Disney Parks since 1971! Steve's mission is to help military families with their Disney vacations in every way. Check out Steve's Bio.
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Information on Shades of Green the Military Hotel on Disney World property
A Special Note on Shades of Green Discounts: Something to be aware of is that Shades constantly changes the dates and discounts offered of their specials and packages. Shades of Green Links
- Shades of Green
- Military Members Review and Rate Shades of Green
- Why Stay at Shades of Green?
- Shades of Green Rooms
- Shades of Green Room Rates
- How to make reservations at Shades of Green
- Shades of Green Resort Activities and Amenities
- Disney Tickets at Shades of Green
- Magic Bands for Shades of Green Guests
- Shades of Green Fact Sheet and FAQ
Planning a Disney Trip? Want to get the best military discounts that are available? Feeling a little confused?
See Our Great Disney Discount and Planning Info:
- Disney Veteran & Military Discount Eligibility Guide
- The Military Family’s Walt Disney World Comprehensive Vacation Planning and Preparation Guide
- Military Disney Tips Disney Packing Checklist
- Disney Military Tickets – Your Start to Finish Guide
- Resorts/Hotel Overview Page
- Dining Overview Page
- Transportation Overview Page
- Shades of Green, WDW’s Military Only Resort
Military Disney Tips' Recommended Disney Travel Agent
Ears of Experience Disney Only Travel Agency. Military family owned and operated! They know all the ins and outs of Disney military discounts!