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Shades of Green at Disney World Taking Reservations for December Reopening

American Forces Press Service

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 28, 2003 – Reservation lines are open for the Dec. 15 reopening of a new, improved Armed Forces Recreation Center Shades of Green hotel on Walt Disney World Resort here.

Shades of Green has been closed for expansion and complete renovation since early 2002. Meanwhile, guests eligible to stay there have been booked into Disney's Contemporary Resort at Shades of Green's daily rates. The rates are based on rank from a low of $66 for E-1s through E-5s to $99 for senior officers. The range starting Dec. 15 will be $70 to $116.

"We've already booked our first military wedding on Dec. 29 for 250 people," said Jim McCrindle, the hotel's general manager since it opened in 1994.

When Shades of Green reopens, he said, it will have double the guest space at 586 rooms, a new 500-space parking garage and 7,500 square feet of flexible special-event space for reunions, weddings and other family-oriented social functions. There will be 11 suites, up from just one.

He said more rooms will conform to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. "We had handicapped-accessible rooms before, but now we will have bona fide ADA-designed and equipped rooms with the wider bathroom doors and the roll-in showers," he said. Nine of the existing rooms were completely renovated to ADA standards.

The near-two-year project includes complete makeovers of all the existing rooms to the same standards as the new ones -- new carpet, paint, curtains, mattresses and bedspreads.

"All the rooms are exactly the same size and everything is brand new," McCrindle said. In essence, he said, guests who want a new room don't have to ask -- every room will be new.

All rooms will have standard amenities such as ironing boards and televisions, but there will be some new twists -- refrigerators, wireless TV keyboards and 12 hours of Internet access for about $6. Guests will be able to play TV video games, in-room movies and order attraction tickets online from the hotel's tickets and tours office.

The hotel restaurants are being remodeled. The four include a new Northern Italian-themed trattoria. Shades of Green has its own two heated swimming pools, a kiddie pool, play area and tennis courts. It's situated among three Walt Disney World Resort golf courses: two 18-hole championship courses and a nine-hole executive course with discounted greens fees for military players. Free shuttle bus service transports guests to and from Disney attractions.

The hotel has operated at or near 100 percent occupancy from the moment its doors opened, McCrindle said. Guests who could not be housed at Shades of Green were placed in other hotels on and off the Disney resort. Customer demand has been so high, it's spurred the whole expansion project, he said.

Shades of Green is financially self-sustaining; no taxpayer dollars are used for operations. The hotel expansion is funded by a civilian commercial loan.

For more details or to make reservations, visit www.shadesofgreen.org or www.armymwr.com/shades/index.html, or call toll-free 1-888-593-2242.

"The best way to make a reservation is to use the Web site," McCrindle suggested. "That way, you're guaranteed a response within 72 hours. Give alternate dates to your first choice." The phones tend to be overloaded, he added.

The Army Community and Family Support Center in Alexandria, Va., operates the four Armed Forces Recreation Centers as the Defense Department's executive agent. The other three are the Hale Koa Hotel on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii; the Dragon Hill Lodge in the Yongsan area of Seoul, South Korea; and AFRC-Europe, which has Bavarian resorts in Chiemsee and Garmisch, Germany.

AFRCs are open to DoD identification card holders in all the active and reserve components, active members of the other uniformed services, active DoD civilians assigned outside the United States, military and DoD civilian retirees, and their families. Also eligible are several other smaller groups, such as Medal of Honor recipients and 100-percent disabled veterans.

(From a U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center news release.)

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArtist's rendering of a new waterfall built at the entrance to the expanded Shades of Green Armed Forces Recreation Center hotel on Walt Disney World Resort. There are five waterfalls, each a tribute to one of the five branches of military service. Photo courtesy of the Army Community and Family Support Center.  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAn early aerial view of the Shades of Green hotel complex (left) shows the cleared construction site that is host to a 500-space parking lot, a hotel expansion with nearly 300 rooms, and a 7,500-square-foot indoor center for reunions, weddings and other family-oriented social functions. Photo courtesy of the Army Community and Family Support Center.  
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