I can't believe I had never heard of this place until I cracked open the Times yesterday — Shades of Green. It's a vacation spot for soldiers on active duty (and other eligible service folks) to call their own when they come home to visit their families or need a vacation.
Nestled within Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, the name is inspired by camouflage colors and features everything you'd expect from a fun-in-the-sun resort — all housed on property leased by the Army. Shades of Green is one of five Armed Forces Recreation Centers (the other fun-spots: Hawaii, Germany, South Korea and Virginia) where servicemen and women can reunite with families.
The resort has the usual — swimming pools and tennis courts — but there are some service-specific goodies as well. The pond has radio controlled boats emblazoned with service insignia so branches can compete with one another, and strict attention is paid to making the resort ADA-accessible. To see the other perks, read more.
There's the Disney attention to detail. Keeping the resort family-friendly, video games are not permitted to have any blood, gore, or foul language. Staff uniforms, nail polish, and mustache length are all regulated and potentially dicey magazines have all inappropriate material edited out before they're put on display. And adult beverages? The Shades of Green's cocktail lounge, Eagles, closed due to lack of business.
Spending time with family is only one bonus of the resort — as a military haven, it gives service members a chance to spend time with sympathetic strangers who understand the challenges of being in uniform. One Army MP just back from Iraq said: “You can enjoy the esprit de corps of being with other military.” Another attraction? The price. A room at Walt Disney world can cost as much as $350 a night while an "oversized" room at Shades of Green is available for $89. Oh, and lines for rides? Taken care of. Sea World has a special Heroes line on popular rides getting them to the goods that much quicker.
Have you been to one of the Armed Forces Recreation Centers? Did you know they existed?