Shades of Green is a resort hotel, located on Walt Disney World Resort, exclusive to servicemembers, retirees, DoD civilians and their family members. It is a safe haven for military families, whether they're reintegrating after an overseas deployment, having one last "family fling" before mom or dad deploys, or simply getting away for a weekend.
"If I suddenly break down and cry in a Holiday Inn, everyone's going to be looking at me funny," one guest recently explained. "Here, if it suddenly dawns me he's leaving in a week and I start to cry, I've got ten people asking how they can help and offering support."
The resort manager, Brian Japak, is a retired Soldier, and his son has already survived two attacks involving improvised explosive devices while serving in Iraq.
"I have great empathy for the families that we serve here," he said.
According to Japak, every effort is made to ensure the guests are pampered-well-Disney style, with just a touch of "home," like the tax-free AAFES shoppette and the Mickey Mouse statue all decked out in red, white and blue. Security at the hotel complies with standard base force protection regulations, ensuring the Soldiers and families can sleep soundly and not worry about their personal safety.
Shades of Green is and Armed Forces Recreation Center, run by the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command based in Alexandria, Va. FMWRC's mission is to provide Soldiers and their families with the same quality of life they are sworn to protect. Rates are set on a sliding scale, based on rank, and with no shareholders to answer to or profits to be made, the rates are kept remarkably low.
Beginning this month, Disney is chipping in to make vacations for servicemembers and their Families even more affordable.
With the "Disney's Armed Forces Salute" offer, active and retired U.S. military personnel, including active members of the U.S. Coast Guard and activated members of the National Guard or Reservists, can enjoy complimentary, multi-day admission into Disney's U.S. theme parks, and additional special ticket offers for family members and friends.
"For so many of the men and women who serve in our U.S. military, time together with their families is cause enough for celebration," said Jay Rasulo, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "We are grateful for their service and hope 'Disney's Armed Forces Salute' will allow our troops to create wonderful, magical memories with their family and friends."
At the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, From Jan. 4 to Dec. 23 each active or retired member of the U.S. military may obtain one complimentary five-day "Disney's Armed Forces Salute" ticket with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options.
This ticket is valid for five days of admission into the four Walt Disney World theme parks, plus a total of five visits to a choice of a Disney water park, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park or certain other attractions.
During this offer period, active or retired U.S. military personnel may also make a one-time purchase (up to a maximum of five) of five-Day "Disney's Armed Forces Salute Companion" tickets for $99 per ticket, plus tax, for family members or friends.
Although this ticket for family members and friends does not include either the Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More options, this ticket can be upgraded to add either such option, or both, for an additional $25, plus tax, per option. All tickets and options are non-transferable and must be used by Dec. 23, 2009.
A similar offer is in place at Walt Disney Land, in California, as well. For more information on the "Disney Armed Forces Salute," active and retired military can contact the ITT/ITR office on their local installation, or visit www.disneyworld.com/military.
AFRCs offer four other world-class destinations for families, including Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany; Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul, Korea; the Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu and the Cape Henry Inn and Beach Club at Fort Storey, Va.
AFRCs set the standard for military travelers with resort hotel accommodations, restaurants and entertaining attractions - all designed to create world-class vacation opportunities in unique resort locations for service members and their Families.
For more information, visit www.armymwr.com.