Shades of Green
With all the talk about strengthening our military during this election year, I thought it an appropriate time to spotlight the Shades of Green resort at Walt Disney. At this Armed Forces Recreation Center, not only can the men and women who defend our nation regain their strength with a little R and R, but they can also improve their golf swing.
Before infiltrating this military installation, I enlisted the help of my 4-year-old daughter, Thea. She provided the necessary cover for me (I hid my notepad in her Winnie the Pooh folder) while giving me the all-important kid perspective.
Our first observation of the resort: Wow! This place is right smack dab in the middle of two golf courses.
Second observation: Look out for that golf cart!
Overall, we discovered a woodsy getaway that, while short on frills, was ship-shape and respectable in every way.
After the receptionist told us there were no rooms for us to view, we decided to snoop around the hallways. Stationed near a maid cart, we waited for the door to open.At last a peek inside! The room looked much like the brochure pictured it: bright decor in shades of beige and green with tasteful natural wood furnishings. However, we couldn't quite tell if the beds were made well enough to bounce a quarter off of.
Oak, pine and magnolia trees surround the resort's brown and tan buildings. While the grounds are meticulously cared for, there is nothing really "showy" about this place - no Mickey topiaries, no marble-floored lobby, no employees dressed like hosts of Fantasy Island.
And while there are no fountains or waterslides at the swimming pool either, there are two very respectable pool decks. One contains an ordinary, quiet pool with lots of lounge chairs. The other features a large freeform pool situated by a manmade stream and waterwheel. Nearby is a kiddie pool and small playground. A snazzy, new sports bar and arcade overlook the large pool. No lifeguards are on duty.
A note to kids: Thea was impressed with the big heated pool, but thought the kiddie pool was "kinda' dirty " and that the nearby playground was "boring" because it had only two swings and one - albeit a fun one- slide.
Well if you want to rub elbows with an officer or two, all you have to do is step out your hotel room and onto the greens. The resort is flanked by the Palm and Magnolia championship golf courses, as well as a 9-hole executive golf course. Green fees vary according to season, but resort guests receive a military discount.
We were pleased with the staff at Shades of Green. When I asked where was the closest place to get a Happy Meal, the front desk clerk told me to by-pass the pricey McDonald's on Disney property and head to one on Highway 192. Why, she even drew me a map! Now, that's service.
Since you're already on Disney property, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios and Animal Kingdom are just minutes away. Plus free transportation is available to all the Disney theme parks and attractions.
The Shades of Green on Walt Disney World Resort is totally self-supporting and fully operated with nonappropriated funds. Room rates are determined by military grade and apply to both active and retired military personnel and Department of Defense civilians. Pay grade verification is required at check-in. Valid military ID or current LES is accepted as verification.
1. E-1 through E-5:$62* 2. E-6 through E-9, O-1 through O-3, WO-1 to CW-3, GS-1 through GS-10, NF-1 through NF-3, Widows, Medal of Honor Recipients, and 100 % Disabled Veterans: $873. O-4 through O-6, CW-4 and CW-5, GS-11 through GS-15, and NF-4 and NF-5: $924. O-7 through O-10, Active Duty Foreign Military**, Retired DoD Civilians, and NF-6: $99
*E-1 through E-5 Sponsor and dependents will receive the rate that applies to category 1 ($62 per night). Any additional sponsored rooms will receive the rate that applies to category 2 ($87 per night).Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times