Resort Review: Saratoga Springs Buildings

Saratoga Springs is a Deluxe villa resort at Walt Disney World in the Disney Springs Resort Area. It is a Disney Vacation Club resort, which means all the rooms are deluxe studios, 1,2 and 3 bedroom villas. It’s also the home to the Treehouse Villas. These rooms can be booked through Walt Disney World, your local travel agent, DVC point rentals and of course through DVC for DVC members. This is our home resort and we’ve stayed here four separate times. It’s a sprawling resort with 5 pools (ranking it second for most pools on Disney property), a community hall, 3 quick service locations, and 1 table service restaurant. There are 5 different building areas of Saratoga Springs, 6 if you’re counting the Treehouse Villas. We won’t be including the Treehouse Villas today because we’ve never stayed in these before. We’re going to take a look at what makes each of these areas different, and therefore what you can expect when staying at any one of these areas. If you want an overview of what the resort itself is like check out this resort review.

Grandstand

The Grandstand is the newest area of Saratoga Springs. These buildings were built after the resort had opened, creating more property for Disney Vacation Club to sell. This area is the buildings you see on your right as you enter onto the property. It has the best views of the Lake Buena Vista golf course. If you have an outer facing room you’ll get views of golfers and the greens. Which, of course, are immaculate. The Grandstand is home to the Grandstand pool which has two areas. One is a gated quiet pool with deck chairs and a whirlpool. The second area is a water play area. Made up to look like horse gates for a horse race. Water is spraying everywhere. It’s a great place to cool off and play with your littles.There are deck chairs surrounding the area, giving you a place to relax while your littles tire themselves out. There are four buildings in this area, all sharing one bus stop. It’s the first bus stop on your back from a park. Which means you’ll be the first to be dropped off but also you’ll be riding the bus the longest when you are heading to the park. There are a few exceptional things about this area. One is the pool. This pool is very under used because it’s a far walk from the other areas of the resort and many guests don’t even know about it. Two is the quick service pool bar. The Backstretch pool bar offers a few entrees, a few snacks and some delicious drinks. This means you don’t even have to leave your area of the resort. You can sit pool side all day while enjoying refreshing drinks and snacks.  Three is the proximity to the main building. As I mentioned earlier, this resort is very large. Some of the buildings being a mile away from the main building. Not Grandstand. Even if you’re staying in the furthest building, you’re a short 500 meter walk from the main building. So you’ll be close if you need the help of the concierge desk, want to use the gym, community hall or are enjoying the dining plan and want to breakfast at Artist’s Palate. We’ve stayed in three areas of Saratoga Springs and this is my favourite. Jeff loved it because of the golf view and I loved it because of it’s location. It’s perfect for running. I could leave our building and do a whole loop around the resort, giving me a great 5k run. These villas are not considered preferred so you won’t even be spending more points or dollars.

The Springs

The Springs is in the middle of the resort property, making it slightly more expensive to stay at. Costing more points and dollars. These villas and studios have views of the lake that is at the heart of the resort, the parking lots or the main building. The bus stop is steps away from any of the Springs buildings, so you’ll have quick access. The main building, Carriage House, is so close you can enjoy quick refills on your coffee or drinks. Being this close also means you’ll be hearing the hourly horse ring. Every hour, at the top of the hour, the Carriage House plays a horn call as though you were at the track. Very cool until you’re trying to get two littles to have a nap. There’s very little privacy in this area because there’s so much traffic around this area. With the main road that runs through the resort steps away you’ll see a lot of vehicles going by. Saratoga Springs is home to the Disney Vacation Club preview centre, increasing the amount of traffic flowing into the resort. Also, it’s home to the Lake Buena Vista golf course. So you have increased traffic from that.  This bus stop is also very busy. Many guests go grab a bite to eat at Artist’s Palette before heading to the parks, making this bus stop their destination. If you’re leaving a half hour before park open this bus will be full. Opt to go earlier and take advantage of the buses heading to the parks an hour and a half before park open. There are many pros to staying in these buildings. High Rock Spring Pool Pool. Saratoga Springs main pool is just across the road. With it’s two water slides, one for littles and one for everyone else, zero-depth entry, water play area and pool bar. There’s something for everyone. You can park here for the day and still be close enough to your room to run back for more sunscreen.

The Community Hall. Another great part of Saratoga Springs is steps away from your door. The Community Hall offers activities all day long, many are complimentary. Movie Under the Stars. Typically taking place by High Rock Spring Pool. Again steps away from your room. As you can tell, staying at the Springs really puts you in the heart of the resort. If you plan on spending some non-park days at the resort than it’s worth the extra money or points to stay in these buildings. I would just recommend opting or asking for a villa on a higher floor to steer clear of all the traffic and guests walking by your patio door.

The Paddock

The Paddock has the largest number of buildings at Saratoga Springs. There are buildings hosting studios, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom villas. Many of the Paddock views have look outs onto the water at the heart of the resort. These buildings offer privacy from the excitement of this resort. Staying here, you are further away from the main building, the Carriage House. Far enough that you won’t hear that hourly call. One of the things I love about this area of Saratoga Springs is the pool area. This pool area has a fantastic preschool, littles water play area. With two slides, shallow water, and water spraying everywhere. It’s the perfect way to spend a hot day at Walt Disney World. Perfect for your kids first water slide. It’s gated off and there’s chairs circling the structure. It also has a fair bit of shade. With tables and chairs you can bring food in from the pool bar/quick service restaurant located close by.

The Paddock Pool itself is dynamite. It’s not as busy because it’s not the “main pool”. It’s out of the way for those staying at the Grandstand building and Congress Park. It’s zero-depth entry and has a 146-foot long water slide. It’s one of my favourite pools on property. The Paddock Grill is one of the few pool side dining experiences that opens for breakfast. Opening at 7:30am you can get breakfast until 11am. They serve Breakfast Burritos and an Egg Florentine Wrap, not the best use of your dining plan quick service meal credits but they also offer bagels and muffins which are snack credits. If you and your fellow travellers don’t want to be among the busyness that’s found at the main building, the Carriage House, but still want to be close to some action, The Paddock is perfect. You may think there’s a down side because the map shows only one bus stop for all these buildings. But if you look closer, the bus stop for Congress Park is very close to the further building on the east and the Carousel Bus Stop is actually in front of a Paddock building. Giving you plenty of choices of where to pick up the bus on those park days.

Congress Park

This is one of the most sought after areas of the resort because of it’s stunning views of Disney Springs. From evening until early morning you’ll see the lights of Disney Springs from your patio. It’s breathtaking. There are four buildings at Congress Park. This location at Saratoga Springs places you close to the Disney Springs action. Giving you close proximity to the dining that is lacking at Saratoga Springs and a multitude of shopping.

Congress Park is home to the only playground on Saratoga Springs, which makes up for the non kid element to the quiet pool. The quiet pool is found at the heart of this building area. There’s not a lot of resort excitement at Congress Park but you can expect to receive some of the nightly noise from Disney Springs, but it’s worth it for that view. Sunrise yoga takes place on the grounds of Congress Park on Monday and Wednesday mornings weather permitting. You can walk out your front door and start your day off with deep breathing and relaxation. If you plan on spending a lot of time at the main building enjoying meals, pool time and resort activities, you’ll find you have a bit of a walk. But a nice one. The main reason to stay here as I mentioned is the view. It does cost more, points and dollars, just be sure to ask for a view to account for that difference.

The Carousel

The Carousel is home to two buildings. It is the furthest area from the main building and for everything for that matter. These buildings can be seen on your left when you enter the resort. Some of the rooms will have a view of the resort, where as others will have a view of the parking lot. If you’re driving your own vehicle then staying here won’t be as much of an issue. But if you plan on relying on Disney transportation than you’ll require a special van to take you to your room upon check in. Unlike all other buildings of the resort there is no pool in close proximity. The closest pool is the Paddock. But that’s still 500 meters away. Making a stroller necessary if you’re staying here with littles. If you plan on visiting Disney Springs while staying here then you’ll have to take the bus, because getting to the boat transportation is a km walk, and that’s if you take the most direct route, not if you get lost or confused and add an extra 500 meters. If you’re planning on doing only parks for your whole vacation then this building will suit you fine. But if you’re planning on doing some non-park days or only doing partial park days do your best to stay somewhere else.

Request another building when doing your pre arrival check in or ask when you arrive. We stayed here on our last vacation. We were only here one and a half nights. I say half because we arrived at midnight. Luckily we had been here before so we knew where we were the following morning, but if we’d arrived that late, been dropped off by the resort van, the next morning I would have been totally confused as to where we were. I am sure there are people who love this building area but that was not us. The landscaping was very pretty. The kids really liked the pretend carousel in the courtyard. It was also very quiet. So if you’re looking for quiet and secluded than this would be your best building.

We do love Saratoga Springs. The resort is beautifully designed. There’s lots to do, with the 5 pools, the gym, community hall, golf course, and the close proximity to Disney Springs. We are definitely biased because this is our home resort. We will continue to stay here. It’s the easiest for us to book because of our home resort booking time and because we truly enjoy all the resort has to offer. It is a very large property. Which can be very overwhelming the first time you stay here. Hopefully this has given you enough information that you feel you know the resort a little better before you check in and settle in for your Disney vacation. Happy Planning, Friends.

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