Disney’s Saratoga Springs is perhaps the most underrated of the Disney Vacation Club resorts. Its interesting history as the site of the former Disney Institute gives it a structure unlike any other resort. The resort is also the starting point for the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course. There are eighteen vacation villa buildings throughout this 65-acre resort, housing Studios all the way to Three Bedroom Grand Villas. The theme is not as universally appealing as some of the other DVC Resorts, as Saratoga Springs pays homage to America’s first vacation destination in upstate New York. Home to historic horse racing and healthful recreational activities, Saratoga Springs, New York, in the early 20th century inspires the relaxing setting of this resort.
The closest Disney-owned resort to Disney Springs also feels further away from the theme parks. Still, there is a lot of charm to be found here. You can actually walk to Disney Springs and be there in a matter of five to ten minutes depending on your villas’s location. The road that Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort resides on is Disney Vacation Club Way, which is also home to the first ever Disney Vacation Club resort, Disney’s Old Key West Resort. This part of Disney property feels more relaxed. If you want to be in the middle of the theme park action, this resort is not it. But if you enjoy the incredible dining and shopping offered at Disney Springs, or are looking for relaxing atmosphere, there is no better choice than Saratoga Springs Resort.
With its extraordinary location facing Disney Springs, you can easily walk over or boat over for an evening of bar hopping at Disney Springs. Check out our video of the Top Five Bars at Disney Springs:
This resort is exclusively Disney Vacation Club Deluxe Villas, ranging from Studios all the way to Three Bedroom Grand Villas, and even freestanding Treehouse Villas. Members and regular guests can book these accommodations. I have stayed in every type of accommodation offered here at one point or another during the resort’s fifteen year history. While they aren’t my absolute favorite on property, they are comfortable and great for families. The decor is cozy with subdued colors, and themed art that depicts the history of Saratoga Springs, New York. Couples looking for a romantic getaway should consider this resort thanks to the individual buildings allowing for more peace and quiet compared to a large hotel, the proximity to Disney Springs, and the resort’s blissful Senses Spa.
The Studios are standard with one queen bed and one sleeper sofa, a kitchenette, and other features including a DVD player and balcony. The one-bedroom and larger villas have fully equipped kitchens, dining table, stacked washer and dryer, soaking tub, glass shower, and a sleeper sofa, as well as a sleeper chair, providing the comforts of home. The main bathroom in the one bedroom and larger villas has two entrances, one for guests coming in from the living room, and another for guests who are in the master bedroom. These extra doors feel like a weird set up until you get used to it.
The Three Bedroom Grand Villa has two floors. Downstairs you will find the master bedroom and bathroom, living room, kitchen, and dining room. Upstairs are the remaining two bedrooms each with their own bathroom, and a loft area that overlooks the downstairs living room. The upstairs has its own entrance so guests can enter near their bedroom from the exterior hallways if they wish.
This spread out resort is divided into five sections: The Carousel, The Paddock, The Grandstands, The Springs (so named well-before the creation of Disney Springs), and Congress Park. It does take more Disney Vacation Club points to stay in Congress Park as it overlooks Disney Springs with great views and a quick walk to this dining and shopping destination.
You can use the TouringPlans Room Finder to help you narrow down the exact room location you would like. Plug in your preferences and find rooms that match your needs. Then when you make your reservations and check in you can request your desired rooms. This tool is free to use!
Imagine having your own freestanding, small home at Walt Disney World. Now take that imaginary home, put it on stilts so it sits among the tree tops surrounded by natural Florida wetlands. This is the type of blissful experience you get at the Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs. These treehouse style accommodations connect guests with nature, providing a tranquil getaway unlike any other accommodations at Walt Disney World – aside from perhaps the Cabins at Fort Wilderness. If you’re looking for quick access to the parks, I would suggest looking elsewhere, but if you want dedicated space your family can call your own, then consider the Treehouse Villas. I have been fortunate enough to stay in the Treehouse Villas multiple times and each trip has been a welcome respite that still has the magic of Disney.
The Treehouse Villas sleep up to nine adults with three bedrooms ( one of which only has a bunk bed for children), two bathrooms, and a full kitchen. The master bedroom and bath is one of my favorites of all the Disney Vacation Club accommodations. Parking is very limited here due to the protected wetlands, and all units require the use of stairs in order to enter, aside from a number of ADA-compliant villas. There is a very small quiet pool for the Treehouse Villas, and guests of these villas can use all of the amenities at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort.
Come with us on a tour of a Treehouse Villa in our video:
The dining options at Saratoga Springs offer a few unusual experiences. What would normally be the traditional quick-service option, Artist’s Palette, is slightly elevated compared to other counter service options. There are a few creative options on the menu and the dining area is adorned with artistic works. There is also a small market for basic groceries and refrigerated items. Located just behind this area is the Turf Club Lounge and Restaurant. This hidden gem of a lounge feels like you’ve entered a wealthy father’s rumpus room, and the restaurant feels quite masculine as it overlooks the golf course.
Two of the sections of the resort have their own small, poolside quick service dining so guests do not have to venture all the way to the Carriage House for dining at Artist’s Palette or the Turf Club. The Backstretch Pool Bar located at The Grandstands section and The Paddock Grill at The Paddock section each offer casual dining and specialty beverages for guests enjoying the pools in that area, or simply wanting to stick close to their villas. The Paddock Grill has a larger menu that even includes hot breakfast items, perfect to grab before heading out to the parks. Finally, there is a pool bar at the main feature pool called On the Rocks. There is no food menu because of its proximity to the two main eateries of the resort, but it has one of the largest seating areas of any Disney pool bar. If you feel like staying in, there is on-site pizza delivery.
Of course, you’re near Disney Springs so you have countless dining options there too. Securing dining reservations at popular full service restaurants like the many wonderful options at Disney Springs can be frustrating and time consuming. You can use the TouringPlans Reservation Finder to help you secure dining reservations and save time. Simply select your desired restaurant, then plug in your desired date and time or meal period, select to be notified either via email or text message, and voila! This incredible tool is available with or without a TouringPlans paid subscription, but you do need to create, or have, a TouringPlans login.
A resort themed after a springs destination better have lots of ways to enjoy the water, and sure enough Saratoga Springs has one feature pool, plus a small feature pool and two leisure pools, plus the small pool at the Treenhouse Villas. All of the five pools are open to all Saratoga Springs and Treehouse Villas guests. The main themed pool, High Rock Spring Pool, has numerous gushing waterfalls, zero-depth entry, and a 128-foot-long slide that winds through the rocks. It’s one of my favorite Disney pools. There’s also The Paddock Pool which could be considered a second feature pool with its smaller corkscrew water slide and fantastic water playground for little guppies. There are two leisure pools, one in Congress Park and another at The Grandstands.
Hold onto your horses because there are a lot of recreational activities at Saratoga Springs. All DVC resorts have a Community Hall, which is a wonderful amenity. Here you can enjoy games like foosball and ping pong, plus video game consoles and crafts. There is also a video arcade near the High Rock Spring Pool, surrey bike rentals, sunrise yoga, movies under the stars, a nightly campfire, a tennis court, and a basketball court – which is a rarity at Walt Disney World. There’s also a regular playground at Congress Park.
You can enjoy a leisurely boat ride to The Landing at Disney Springs, or follow the walkway near Congress Park which will take you to The Marketplace at Disney Springs. To head to the theme parks and water parks you’ll need to hop on a Disney bus. There is one main bus stop near the Carriage Horse and individual bus stops at each section of buildings, like The Paddock and Congress Park. Getting to the parks feels like it takes a little longer here due to the size of the resort and its location on the edge of Disney property. Still it’s generally an additional five minutes compared to other resorts, and the serene atmosphere and plethora of recreational activities may be worth it for your family.
We sure ran through a lot of information about Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, so we’ve summed it up in this handy dandy infographic:
Are you a fan of Saratoga Springs resort? Which section of it do you like to stay in? Let us know in the comments.