Saratoga Springs, a Disney Deluxe Villa resort, has a theme described by Disney as recalling a late-1800s, Victorian-style, upstate New York retreat. It consists of 1,260 studio and one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas across the lake from Disney Springs. Housed in 18 buildings, most accommodations are of recent vintage, while the fitness center and check-in building are retooled vestiges of the erstwhile Disney Institute Resort.
The fitness center is by far the best at Walt Disney World. The Senses spa, like the Grand Floridian’s, was refurbished in 2013 along the lines of those on Disney’s cruise ships. Service and decor are very good, and this Senses location is easier to get to than the one at the Grand Floridian if you’re staying east of the World.
Surrounded on three sides by a golf course, 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).
Furnishings and soft goods are less whimsical and more upscale and masculine than at other Disney resorts. Chairs, sofas, and tables are substantial—perhaps a little too substantial for the rooms they inhabit. The overall effect, however, is sophisticated and restful.
Studios sleep up to four people and include one queen-size bed and one double sleeper sofa. The total Studio room size is 355 square feet, with about half of that being dedicated to the kitchen and bathroom area.
The one-bedroom villa sleeps 5 and provides a formal kitchen, a second bathroom, and a living room in addition to the studio bedroom. The living room’s chair and sofa fold out to provide beds for three more people. One-Bedrooms Villas are 714 square feet.
Two-bedroom villas sleep eight and include all of the kitchen amenities found in a one-bedroom, plus an extra bathroom. One of the baths is attached to a second bedroom with two queen beds or a queen bed plus a sleeper-size sofa. As with the one- bedrooms, a sofa bed and sleeper chair in the living room provide extra places to snooze, though they’re best suited to small children. Two-Bedroom Villas are 1,075 square feet.
The two-story Grand Villas sleep 12 and include four bathrooms, the same master-bedroom layout, and two bedrooms with two queen beds apiece. An upstairs seating area overlooking the main floor provides a sleeper sofa and chair. Grand Villas are 2,113 square feet.
Saratoga Springs has five pools, including the Treehouse Villas. The main pool is the High Rock Spring Pool, located in the Springs section next to the Carriage House, the resort’s lobby. Carriage House is also home to the food hall, check-in, and is adjacent to the Sense Spa.
Smaller pools are located in The Grandstand (with a child-friendly water play area and the Backstretch Pool Bar), The Paddock (home to the Paddock Grill), and Congress Park sections of the resort. The Carousel section of the park has no pool and is quite a walk to the closest one, which is at Paddock.
The Turf Club Bar & Grill is the resort’s only sit-down restaurant. When the weather’s nice, ask for an outdoor table; you can spot golfers on the adjacent Lake Buena Vista golf course and look across the way to Disney Springs. Tucked off the lobby of the Saratoga Springs Resort, the dining room is equestrian-themed.
The Artist’s Palette is a small counter-service restaurant offering a limited menu of sandwiches, salads, and wraps.
The resort is vast. If you’re staying at the Congress Park section of the park, for example, it is a quick walk to Disney Springs and the section has a pool, but it is way too far from the other amenities of the hotel.
Walking or taking the resort shuttle bus to get around is very time-consuming. Going to—and returning from—the parks by bus takes up a lot of time, depending on where your bus stop is located. Also, if you are staying at the last bus stop before the bus leaves for the theme park, then there may not be room on the bus by the time it reaches you. This is especially true on EMH and during the morning rush hour to the parks. For that reason, going to the Carriage House for breakfast and thinking you’ll be ready to hit the parks right away after you’re done is a bad idea, as the bus does not originate there. If reaching the park early and having a seat is a priority, it is best to catch the bus at The Grandstand station. While you will be taking a tour of the resort before heading out, you at least will be off to your destination comfortably. The order of the outbound bus stations is: The Grandstand, Carousel, Paddocks, Congress Park, and Springs.
Unless you have a car, getting around is a real hassle.
Saratoga Springs is the lowest-rated Disney Deluxe Villa resort this year in terms of whether readers would stay there again or recommend it to a friend. The key issues seem to be room upkeep and bus transportation.
For more information on all accommodation at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter here.