The History of Saratoga Springs Resort

Saratoga Springs Resort first opened in May of 2004 and was the seventh DVC resort at the time of its opening. This resort was named Saratoga Springs after the city that inspired it: Saratoga Springs, New York. This large resort features 18 Villa buildings as well as 60 extravagant Treehouse Villas. Saratoga Springs is home to four pools, a fitness center, and a full-service spa. Saratoga Springs also has several recreational offerings like a Community Hall, campfire activities, movies under the stars, bike rentals, fishing excursions, and more. What more is there to this resort, and how did Saratoga Springs become the resort that we know today? Let’s dive into the history of DVC’s Saratoga Springs Resort.

DVC Resorts

Before Saratoga Springs was constructed there were already 6 DVC resorts. However, only 4 of these resorts were located at Disney World. Old Key West, Vero Beach, Hilton Head Island Resort, Boardwalk Villas, and Wilderness Lodge- Boulder Village were the DVC resorts that preceded Saratoga Springs.

DVC Ferry
The ferry ride to Disney Springs from DVC’s Saratoga Springs Resort. Photo: Emily Murray.

Construction Phases

In 2003, construction began on what would become Saratoga Springs Resort. The construction was conducted in several phases, the first phase being 4 of the Villa buildings. Gradually, more Villas buildings were constructed and opened resulting in a total of 4 phases, the last of which involved the opening of the Treehouse Villas in 2009. These villas were located in natural forests and stood 10-feet off the ground along the Sassagoula River. The Treehouse Villas were formerly part of the Disney Institute which closed down in 2003 to allow Saratoga Springs to take its place.

Disney Treehouse Villas
Treehouse Villas. Photo: Disney.

Disney Institute

Disney Institute was a resort and learning center that was opened in 1996 by then CEO of Disney: Michael Eisner. Originally imagined as a residential community, Disney Institute opened as a resort that focused on learning during your vacation. Disney Institute hosted over 80 programs for its guests that varied in length from 3 days to up to a week long. The Institute came with a hefty price tag, some programs costing upwards of 3,000 dollars. Programs for participation were categorized under Animation, Gardening, Outdoors, Photography, Television, Culinary, and Youth. Due to poor attendance, the institute began to focus on offering seminars to businesses in the year 2000, but then ultimately closed altogether in 2003 to make way for Saratoga Springs Resort. Disney Institute still operates as an advising and training program for customer service industries throughout the world.

Disney Institute
Disney Institute Still Offers Training Programs. Photo: Disney Institute

Disney Vacation Club Preview Center

Saratoga Springs Resort is also home to the Disney Vacation Club Preview Center. The Preview Center is the central hub for guests who wish to learn more about Disney Vacation Club and all it has to offer. The Preview Center features full-scale models of some of the newest DVC villas, and a DVC agent who is ready to discuss all things DVC with you and your family. The DVC Preview Center offers guests private transportation to and from the center as well as beverages and snacks to enjoy during their meeting. Afterwards, guests are invited to indulge in some free ice cream at Saratoga Springs’ own specialty ice cream parlor.

Turret - Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa

Overall, Saratoga Springs Resort was constructed to be a DVC resort specifically, and with that comes with some great accommodations. The Treehouse Villas are unique to Saratoga Springs and you can’t find anything like them at any other Disney property! This resort has beautiful manicured grounds and is definitely worth visiting especially if you are thinking of purchasing DVC and visiting the Preview Center. Have you ever stayed at Saratoga Springs Resort? What do you like about it? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured Photo: Emily Murray.

Written by

Megan Woodard

Contributing Writer

Megan was born into a Disney family. Her first trip to Disney World was when she was only 18 months old. Now as an adult, Megan loves to share the magic of Disney with her two toddlers. Keeping up with Disney news and Disney World knowledge is a fun hobby for Megan. Disney World is her favorite place to be and continuously brings back her childhood joy.

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