I’m currently planning a multi-generational family trip for the summer 2023. The group includes me and my husband, my parents, my two sisters and their husbands, and 6 kiddos (my son, 4 nieces, and 1 nephew) for a total of 14. My BIL is an active duty marine and we are planning to use his military discount. I’m familiar with the planning for WDW, but not military discounts. My sister is familiar with DL military discounts, but not WDW. We’re going to tag team this whole process.
Our current plan is
- Book 3 rooms POR at 499 days out w/o military discount. Two of the families need the 5th sleeper.
- Book 3 rooms at Shades of Green at 365 days.
- Call to apply military discount to rooms at POR upon release of discount information.
- Compare price and amenities of both resorts once/if military discount is applied to POR.
- Cancel the booking not chosen.
Those with experience, are the any flaws in this plan? Any advantages/disadvantages to either resort?
Does staying at Shades of Green become tiresome for the military sponsor since this will be a trip with a larger group? Will my parents, for example, be able to return to the SOG without BIL if he decides to stay at the parks? Answer to this and similar questions would be great.
Thanks in advance for all the help. I’m sure I’ll be here again with questions about military park ticket discounts when the trip gets closer.
It’s a good plan, overall.
Once you check-in and get keys issued, no one will have any trouble getting back into SOG without the sponsor. I think they gave us little paper cards to go with our keys, but I don’t remember ever actually needing it (I lost my dependent ID before our last trip).
SOG is so cheap and convenient (especially once Poly’s monorail reopens). And the rooms are huge (biggest standard rooms on property supposedly) and easily sleep 5. It’s hard to beat with any Disney hotels.
We are military, and we’ve stayed at both and brought non-military guests. The year we stayed at POR was when Shades guests didn’t get the on-property FastPass advance booking, which is now not an issue. I think you will not be able to beat the price of Shades of Green, but even if it’s close, I think you get more for your money at Shades. The rooms are larger, the location is great, there are some taxes you don’t have to pay, and we never had problems with the transportation. We walked across to the monorail at the Poly for MK and took the Shades bus to everywhere else. The food options are reasonably priced (for WDW), if nothing special. As @ISUamanda said, no one will have trouble getting back on property – they give everyone a paper card. The theming is not in-your-face Disney, but the resort has a relaxing atmosphere.
The military member can order everyone’s tickets ahead of time from the Shades ticket counter, and they will ship them. This is a better option than getting them at a base or waiting until you arrive. Plus they know all the ins and outs of the options and can answer questions.
POR is very pretty, and there’s nothing wrong with making reservations there too, but my own calculations come down on the side of SoG.
Poly’s monorail had reopened as of October when I was there. I don’t know the exact dates it was closed.
We’ve done SOG twice (honestly we’d do it again because it’s so darn cheap but my Dad was our sponsor and he just can’t make the trips anymore). Have you looked into the suites? We went with my family of four plus my parents and my in-laws (so 2 kids and six adults) and the large suite was awesome. It had two bedrooms with 2 beds each. There used to be a third bedroom with bunks but I think they remodeled them out. Might have fold outs in the living room. Having a living room/dining area plus a full kitchen was pretty awesome for a week long trip and served as a central hangout. An option to consider if you decide SOG.
In my head, we were just there and it was closed, but reliable sources are telling me that was … April.
It reopened about Sept 17.
Between the wonderful reviews SOG gets here and the opportunity for extended evening hours, I’m sold on booking our rooms there. One additional question - would you continue with a backup plan at POR? I’m anxious about the availability of rooms at SOG especially due to needing multiple rooms. Has anyone had trouble booking SOG at 365 days out?
I probably would, because I’m an over-planner, but odds are good you’ll be fine getting what you want at SoG.
It’s recommended that you book as far out as possible w/ SoG. I find the closer to my dates I try to book the more difficult it is to get a reservation.
SoG only allows booking 1 year in advance.
I’ve never had trouble at 365 days out at SoG. It does fill up eventually, but it’s not like getting dinner reservations at CRT or whatever.