by Military Diva
As discussed in previous articles, Shades of Green on Walt Disney World is a Department of Defense owned resort located within the Magic Kingdom area of Disney World property. Open to eligible members of the military, DoD and select other groups, this MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) resort offers deluxe, full service accommodations and a few Disney on-site perks for a very affordable cost.
Guests of Shades of Green are welcome to enjoy Disney Parks Extra Magic Hours (EMH’S) and utilize Disney World Resort transportation when traveling around Disney property. However, the Disney World Transportation does not actually travel to Shades of Green.
So how exactly does one travel between Shades of Green and Disney World Parks/Resorts?
Well, the first option is to utilize your own vehicle and drive to the parks. While offering a time savings, parking on Disney World property can be rather pricey. Currently, a standard vehicle is charged $20 a day.
Another great option is to walk the 5-10 minute path to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. From here, guests can utilize Disney World transportation via monorail, ferry or bus. This is one of our family’s favorite activities. It gives us time to plan our day or talk over the highlights of what we have just done. However, this option may be burdensome for guests with small children, disabilities or park tired feet!
Fortunately, however, Shades of Green also provides its own complimentary bus shuttles from the resort to most Disney World attractions. As long as you are aware of the schedule and drop off/pick up locations, this option is just as convenient as any Disney Resort Transportation.
- Shades of Green buses run on a very set, location specific schedule. Please take note of this schedule, delivered with check-in paperwork. Also pay attention to the notice board located just inside the SOG bus depot area. Any schedule changes will be posted here.
- The first buses will leave Shades 30 minutes prior to the first park opening. This includes EMH’s.
- The last buses from the parks will leave on a schedule based on park hours.
- Shades buses do not travel directly to Magic Kingdom or Epcot. They will transport you to Disney’s Transportation and Ticket center where you have access to the monorail, ferry or bus service to other Disney locations.
- SOG buses have drop off/pick up locations away from Disney Resort buses. Listen to your drivers and take note of where you are dropped off. This will also be your pickup location.
- You will be required to show Shades of Green Resort ID and Military/Photo ID to board the bus.
- Remember there is only one bus that services each location. If you have a set reservation or other need, be sure to arrive early and leave at least 90 minutes for travel. The buses tend to fill quickly!
- If you happen to miss your bus DO NOT PANIC! There are always other options available via Disney Resort transportation, although you may have to take the above mentioned walk. Cast members have always been extremely cordial and willing to provide assistance. (We did not pay attention to the schedule on our first visit and accidentally entered the Disney bus depot at Magic Kingdom looking for our bus. Unbelievably, a Disney cast member called an empty Disney bus and personally drove us to SOG. Please do not expect or ever demand this service, but enjoy this example of exceptional Disney Service.)
Using the transportation schedule from our most recent visit to Disney World let’s look at an example of how we chose to travel.
Magic Kingdom, Friday January 22
9:00am-10:00 pm (EMH 8am-9am)
SOG buses run to the transportation center “every 20 minutes starting 30 minutes prior to park opening”. To make park opening (EMH 8 am), we arrived early to board the 7:30 am bus. Transfer to the Transportation and Ticket Center takes about 15 minutes (note service runs every 20). Monorail and ferry service to Magic Kingdom were both available. We were front and center for rope drop by 7:55. **Driver reminded us of return times and bus location…Space C, #10 for our trip.
To return to SOG plan your ferry or monorail to TTC according to the departing bus schedule. Bus service runs every 20 minutes between SOG and the TTC. First bus leaving from SOG was 7:30am, arriving TTC at 7:50am. Return buses leave TTC every 20 minutes after…8:10, 8:30, 8:50, etc. This service continues until 1 hour 40 minutes after park closing. For this day the last bus would depart for Shades at 11:40 pm.
As you can see, some planning is required, but honestly we have never had any issues maneuvering the transportation options offered via Disney World or Shades of Green. We always leave extra time for hiccups and choose to take any detours as extra adventures.
Again, the most valuable advice I can offer is to be aware of the schedule and drop off/pick up locations. Take the schedule with you or, even better, take a photo of both the schedules and locations as you travel. And most importantly, be kind to your drivers! They have the best stories, most trivia and probably the most advice to offer!