This Disney Deluxe Villa resort features a theme wordily described by Disney as recalling an â€œ1880s, Victorian, upstate New York lakeside retreatâ€ amid â€œpastoral landscapes, formal gardens, bubbling springs, and natural surroundings.â€ Saratoga Springs comprises 1,260 studio and one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas across the lake from Downtown Disney. Housed in 12 buildings, most accommodations are of recent vintage, while the fitness center, check-in building, and spa are retooled vestiges of the erstwhile Disney Institute. An adjacent 60-unit DDV complex, Treehouse Villas at Disneyâ€™s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, opened in 2009.
The fitness center is by far the best at Walt Disney World, and in 2007 the spa was named one of the top five resort spas in North America and the Caribbean by readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Surrounded on three sides by golf courses, Saratoga Springs is the only Disney-owned resort that affords direct access to the links (the military-only Shades of Green also provides golf on-property).
The main pool is the resortâ€™s focal point. Called High Rock Spring, it tumbles over boulders into a clear, free-form heated pool. A waterslide winds among the rocks, two whirlpool spas, and an interactive wet-play area for children. Two quiet pools serve villas far from the main pool. One of these is scheduled for a major expansion in 2011, tripling its size and adding a 140-foot waterslide, childrenâ€™s play area, and quick-service-dining location. Other recreational features include tennis courts, playgrounds, and paths for jogging, walking, and biking. Disney buses provide transportation to the theme parks. Downtown Disney is accessible by boat or by foot from some accommodations.
Furnishings and soft goods in the villas and studios are less whimsical and a little more upscale and masculine than in other Disney resorts. Chairs, sofas, and tables are quite substantial, perhaps a little too large for the rooms they inhabit. The overall effect, however, is sophisticated and restful. A Gulf Shores, Alabama, family, however, takes a slight exception to the restful part, writing:
Saratoga Springs Resort was beautiful, comfortable, and exactly what we needed for our family of five. It was VERY quiet..except for the toilets. When you flushed, it sounded like the space shuttle launching. I was always afraid of what might get sucked down in there from the surrounding room! A father of three from Temecula, California, was also sold on Saratoga Springs: We really liked Saratoga Springs. There was so much to do there for the kids between the pool and the community hall that they wanted to skip the parks one day, so we just spent the day at the resort.
A couple from Peru, Indiana, takes a more critical tack:
Saratoga Springs is our least favorite resort. We didnâ€™t enjoy the theming, and unless you have a car, getting around by the bus system is a real hassle. The food court is very small for the size of the resort, and the food is expensive for what you get. We were very surprised by the menu items at the food court, which were nothing close to basic foods. Also, the checkout process was very slow, and our room seemed smaller than comparable rooms at BoardWalk Villas and O ld Key West. O verall, our stay at Saratoga didnâ€™t give us that Disney feeling we usually experience while staying at other WDW resorts, but rather the feeling we normally get when we stay off-propertyâ€” like staying at a high-priced apartment complex.
Cartersville, Georgia, reader echoes the previous complaint about bus service:
No matter what time we attempted to leave a park for Saratoga Springs, there were no buses. Forty-five minutes was the norm. The cab business is booming, which is a shame. We loved Saratoga Springs, but why pay the premium when we ended up driving or taking cabs so as not to waste 2â€“3 hours per day?
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since 2010)|
|Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa||76% + (7%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||74% (+3%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||79% (+10%)|
|Average for vacation homes & condos||95% (N/A)|
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since 2010)|
|Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa||90% + (13%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||90% (+1%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||94% (+5%)|
|Average for vacation homes & condos||100% (N/A)|
Good (and Not-So-Good) Rooms at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
This resortâ€™s sprawling size puts some of its best rooms very far away from the main lobby, restaurants, and shops. If you donâ€™t have a car, the best rooms are those in The Springs, numbered 3101â€“ 3436 and 3501â€“3836. Ask for a room toward the northeast side of these buildings (away from the lobby), as the southwest rooms border a well-traveled road. Avoid Rooms 4101 through 4436 in Building 14; a pedestrian walkway runs behind the patios of this building and gets a lot of use early in the morning from guests headed to breakfast.
If youâ€™ve got a car or you donâ€™t mind a couple of extra furlongsâ€™ walk to the lobby, Rooms 1101â€“1436 and 2501â€“2836 in Congress Park offer quietness, a view of Downtown Disney, and a relatively short walk to the bus stop. Also good are Rooms 4501â€“4826, 6101â€“ 6436, and 6501â€“6836 in The Paddock. Avoid rooms on the northeast side of the 5101â€“5435 building of The Paddock, as well as the northwest side of the 5501â€“5836 building; these border a swimming pool and bus stop.
In addition to being quiet, Rooms 1101â€“1436 of Congress Park and Rooms 6101â€“6436 and 6501â€“6836 of The Paddock afford the closest walks to Downtown Disney shops, restaurants, and entertainment.
|Extremely nice studio rooms and villas||Traffic congestion at resort's southeast exit|
|Lushly landscaped setting||Small living areas and villas|
|Best fitness center at WDW||Distance of some accommodations from dining and services|
|Convenient self-parking||Limited dining options|
|Close to Downtown Disney||No character meals|
|Best spa at Walt Disney World||Most distant of all Disney resorts from the theme parks|
|Golf on-property||Theme and atmosphere not very kid-friendly|
|Hiking, jogging, water recreation|
|Excellent themed swimming complex|
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa Dining
- Backstretch Pool Bar (Bar or Lounge)
- On the Rocks (Bar or Lounge)
- The Artist's Palette (Counter Service)
- The Paddock Grill (Counter Service)
- The Turf Club Bar & Grill (Table Service)
- The Turf Club Lounge (Bar or Lounge)
|Magic Kingdom||15 minutes|
|Animal Kingdom||18 minutes|
|Disney's Hollywood Studios||15 minutes|
|Quietness of Room||C|
|Shuttle to Parks||Yes|