Pop vs. Shades of Green?

Hello! I was helping a friend plan her trip this morning and we priced 5 nights in December at Pop w/ free dining/park hopper tix. Her family can get the military discounted tickets somewhere so we priced those along w/ 5 nights at SoG (after confirming which rate class they qualify for). When we estimated roughly what they’d out of pocket for food - because I don’t think you have the DDP option at SoG, am I correct on this? If not somebody please let me know as I have no experience w/ SoG! - the grand total was only about a $200 difference, and that’s not taking into account the refillable mugs w/ the DDP and magicbands/ability to make FP+ selections 60 days out vs. 30.
The real question I have for her is does anyone have experience at one or both of these resorts? We’re WL addicts ourselves and have never stayed elsewhere. How is Pop? Anything I should know and tell her? And SoG, any reviews there?

Long time SoG guest and also experience at POP. Up front, I’ll say I don’t do the DDP or FD, so all meals are OOP for me. Factoring out the food, POP is the cheaper option - even more so if you get a military discount on a room (but you couldn’t bundle this with a meal plan). SoG does NOT offer the DDP.

SOG is basically a deluxe resort; the rooms are larger than the GF, it has internal hallways, and a nice lobby and landscaping. The pool is not spectacular, but it’s fine for getting wet. They may have added a water slide since the last time I was there.

Some “hidden” down-sides to SoG: No free parking at the parks, and if you have a car, it’s $5/night to park (all inside a garage, attached directly to the hotel). FPPs at 30 days vice 60 days. SOG busses are very reliable, but not as frequent as the Disney busses at other resorts. But if a bus is scheduled to leave at a given time, it WILL, and if there are too many people for it, they will have another one there almost immediately. MDE does not serve SoG; if you fly in, you’re on your own to get from the airport to WDW (average of $100-120 RT).

Food options at SoG are not great. Breakfast and dinner buffets; mediocre food, but at about half the cost of most Disney buffets. The “upscale” restaurant is on a par with Olive Garden, with fewer choices. Only “bar” is the sports bar at the far end of the old wing; if you stay in the new wing, it can be up to a 10 min walk to get there. Plus side is there is an AAFES located there where you can buy alcohol at “regular” (non-Disney) prices, so I just had drinks in the room.

SoG was the only resort I stayed at for quite a long time, but when I found I could stay at POP for less/night, and have the parking and FPP perks as well, I switched over. Now, unless it’s a “special” trip with DW (when we rent points), I stay at POP. It’s a fun resort, has a reasonable food court, and dedicated bus service to the parks. I rarely do more at the resort than sleep and shower, so it works for me just fine, but for more than 1 or 2, I would have to assume that the tiny rooms would get very “crowded” after a while.

Happy to answer any other specific questions that you might have.

Wow, this is a ton of good info., exactly the kind of stuff I was hoping to find out. Thanks so much, I’ll reply if I have any more questions from her!

I would call and see what they could get for the military room discount at a Disney resort. We just booked a 1 bedroom villa at SSR with military discount and dining plan for 4 adults for $2900. We are purchasing our park tickets through SOG. We could have stayed cheaper at a value but decided to splurge on a deluxe since it was an adult only vacation and we are splitting the cost 4 ways.
When I called for prices every person I talked to was very helpful and patient checking for different resorts under the discount.

I reread my earlier post and I may have confused you on something. You CAN sign up for the DDP at POP using a military discount on a room, but you can NOT participate in the FD option; for that, you have to pay full rack-rate for the room.