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by Brendan M. Lynch | May 01, 2005

Shades of Green resort

At ease: The Army’s
Shades of Green resort in Orlando

What would a resort hotel be like if it were run by the U.S. military? There’s no need to wonder, since the Department of Defense owns and operates several top-notch “Armed Forces Recreation Centers” around the globe.
    In downtown Tokyo, soldiers rest up at the 149-room New Sanno Hotel, operated by the U.S. Navy; in Seoul, South Korea, the 394-room Dragon Hill Lodge is run by the U.S. Army; in Garmisch, Germany, the 337-room Armed Forces Recreation CenterEurope provides R&R for soldiers based on the continent; and in Hawaii, the 817-room Hale Koa Hotel, or “House of the Warrior,” sits on 72 beachfront acres in Waikiki.
    The only AFRC in the continental United States is Shades of Green, a 586-room resort in Orlando’s Walt Disney World. The complex, comparable to deluxe Disney resorts like the Polynesian, provides room service, valet parking, two outdoor heated pools, an exercise room, a video game arcade, two lighted tennis courts, a nature walk and access to five Disney golf courses.
    Before you rush to book, be aware: These military resorts are not for civilians. Patronage is strictly limited to active-duty members of the armed forces, military retirees, reservists, guardsman and civilian personnel with the Department of Defense, along with their immediate families. Room rates, like so many things in military life, are based on rank: The lower the rank, the lower the rate.