Each week we’ll review one of Disney’s DVC Resort locations and provide our readers with an overview of the resort, it’s rooms, amenities, and dining options. We’ll also offer our pros and cons list of the resort to help DVC members and renters make the best choice for their future family vacation.
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Reminiscent of New York’s quaint, horse racing town of Saratoga Springs, this DVC Resort is the perfect place to sit back, relax and shop! Located just across the lake from Disney Springs, Saratoga Springs attracts guests who are looking to shop, dine and party the night away just across the lake. Opened in phases from 2004-2007, this 65-acre resort offers is the largest DVC Resort and several unique features like the Treehouse Villas, where families can literally sleep in a treehouse on their vacation. This massive 800+ villa resort is spread over 18 buildings in addition to the 60 free standing Treehouse Villas.
A Bit of History
This resort also has a rich and unique history. Originally the site of a residential community with a nearby shopping area called Lake Buena Vista Village (sound familiar?) built in the 1970s, the resort has gone through several transformations before becoming the Saratoga Springs that we know and love today.
After the planned residential community idea was scrapped by Disney executives, the area was turned into a resort in the 1980s. The Lake Buena Vista Village shopping area was changed to focus on Walt Disney World visitors and eventually would become Disney Springs.
In the 1990s the resort was once again changed, this time into the Disney Institute Resort, which was intended to be an interactive, educational vacation experience for Disney World visitors. After years of lackluster attendance to the Disney Institute, the resort was finally converted to the 7th Disney Vacation Club Resort and renamed Saratoga Springs.
Although the DVC resort officially opened in 2004, some of the buildings, including the 60 Treehouse Villages were actually built in the 1970s.
Saratoga Springs was in the midst of a 2-year refurbishment plan when the resort closed due to the coronavirus. Room renovations began in June 2019 and were expected to be completed in 2021. It is not clear if renovations continued throughout the resort closure or if renovations were placed on hold during this time. What we do know is that the renovated rooms were beautifully updated with all new furniture, paint, cabinetry and countertops.
One Bedroom Villas
Two Bedroom Villas
Two Bedroom Lock-off
Three Bedroom Villas
Standard vs. Preferred Rooms
All Saratoga Springs rooms are available in either Standard or Preferred options, except for the Treehouse Villas. The difference between Standard and Preferred rooms is their location.
Standard Rooms are located in The Grandstand, The Carousel and The Paddock buildings.
Preferred Rooms are located in The Springs and Congress Park and are closer to the resort’s main lobby, boat launch, pedestrian bridge to Disney Springs and other transportation options.
If you’re looking for convenience during your stay, the Preferred Rooms will save you time when heading in and out of the resort.
Disney’s website is a bit confusing because Preferred Rooms are sometimes listed as Preferred/Water Views. In actuality, you cannot choose your room’s view when booking. Standard and Preferred only indicate your location at the resort, not the view you will have from your room.
In addition to the multitude of restaurants available just across the lake at Disney Springs, Saratoga Springs is home to several great dining options right on property.
This racetrack themed table-service restaurant serves classic American cuisine daily for dinner only. Steak, seafood, pastas and more, there is plenty to choose from for the whole family.
Head to the Turf’s bar for a few fun, old world cocktails like Mint Juleps and Blue Jockeys in a relaxed Turf Club Lounge. Sit back, munch on a few light snacks and enjoy the vistas of Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course.
This quick service cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and consists mainly of sandwiches, wraps and flatbreads. Although the menu looks fairly standard, selections here are quite interesting. Expect cheeseburger pizza, lobster sandwiches and robust salads full of fruit, nuts and cheese.
Located poolside, the Paddock Grill also serves up three meals a day to fill the stomachs of the hungriest of pool goers. Fish tacos, burgers and sandwiches fill the menu for delicious, quick options.
Another poolside dining option at Saratoga Springs, Backstretch offers a few sandwiches, snacks and the perfect tropical frozen drinks to quench your thirst during a hot day poolside.
Located at the High Rock Spring Pool, On the Rocks serves cocktails, beer, wine and smoothies. No food is available at this location but guests can easily pop over to the nearby Artist’s Palette for breakfast, lunch, dinner and light snacks.
Pools, pools and more pools! Since Saratoga Springs is such a large resort there are a total of 5 pools where guests can lounge in the Florida sun.
One of the two feature pools on property, the Paddock Pool features a 146-foot slide that starts from a water tower and zips you down to the zero-entry pool below. Along with the main pool, you’ll find a horseshoe shaped whirlpool and two kiddie pools.
High Rock Spring Pool
Located near The Springs area, the second feature pool is another zero-entry pool with waterfalls and a 128-foot slide built into the rocks. Kids will enjoy the Donald Duck splash area and the miniature pool slide.
Three quieter leisure pools are available in conveniently placed locations around the resort. Leisure pools are located at the Treehouse Villas, Congress Park and Grandstand, making it easy for all guests to find a place to cool down in the warm Florida weather.
- Senses Spa
A full-service day spa and health club, Senses offers a wide range of spa services as well as a 24-hour fitness center for guests staying at Saratoga Springs as well as day guests at the resort. Services offered include:
- Massage treatments
- Facial treatments
- Body treatments
- Bath and soak treatments
- Hand and foot treatments
- Lake Buena Vista Golf Course
Located adjacent to Saratoga Springs is this beautiful 18-hole golf course that is sure to entertain avid golfers and novices alike.
Two clay courts are available daily for guests to play a few rounds of tennis. Equipment rentals are available at Horsing Around Rentals.
- Basketball Court
Play a little basketball with friends at the court located in the Sports Court area of the resort. Ball rentals available at Horsing Around Rentals.
A true vacationers game, play a game or two with friends on a relaxing afternoon.
- Horsing Around Rentals
Bikes, sports equipment for various onsite sports
- Sunrise Yoga
Set the mood for your day with a relaxing morning yoga lesson overlooking Disney Springs.
- Fishing Excursions
Reel in a big one on a bass fishing excursion where you’ll spend a few hours gliding through the calm waters around the resort.
- Pool Table
Grab a drink and challenge friends to a game of pool at The Turf Club Lounge.
The kids can go wild at the water playground and two dry playgrounds at Saratoga Springs.
- Win Place or Show Arcade
Not just for kids, play a few rounds of your favorite games at Win Place or Show.
- Jogging Trails
Jog along the various scenic trails at the resort to get your daily workout in.
- Community Hall
Have a family game night at Community Hall where guests can find video games, board games and more.
- Home one of the few full-service spas located at Disney World.
- Great location for golfers with golf course on property.
- Convenient location for visiting Disney Springs.
- Many building have been recently renovated. All buildings to be renovated by 2021.
- Various sports available onsite.
- Unique vacation experience with Treehouse Villas, the only location at Disney with this type of villa.
- Sprawling resort with some building located far from Disney transportation options. This can mean long walks for some after already long days at the parks.
- Buses are the only form of Disney transportation to and from parks.
- Very subtle theming compared some other DVC resorts, which may not appeal to all guests.
Are you considering purchasing a DVC contract or renting points at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa? See the links below for more information.
Have you stayed at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa? Tell us about your experience and what you love about this DVC Resort in the comments below.