Resort Review: Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs resort is a Disney Vacation Club resort. This means there are no regular hotel rooms. Each room is a villa. There are 6 separate areas to this resort: The Grandstand, The Paddock, The Carousel, The Springs, Congress Park and Treehouse Villas. Each has it’s own pool, with the exception of the Carousel. Each area has its own bus stop, which can save a lot of time walking from your room to the bus stop. This resort is beautiful. There are paths everywhere, bridges, lakes, fountains. It’s a beautiful place to put up your feet and relax.

Location

Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa is located in the Disney Springs resort area. This resort is walking distance to great golf, great restaurants and great shopping. When you stay here you don’t even feel like you’re on Disney property, in a good way. You can stay at the resort and not have to visit the parks. On one side of the resort it is very quiet with the only noise coming from the early morning golfers or the pool. On the other side of the resort it is quite noisy because of it’s close proximity to Disney Springs.

Transportation

The only transportation to any park is via bus. There are 6 bus stops. This means when you catch your bus you are going to either be on it for a long time on your way to the park or on your way back to the resort. Once you’re familiar with the resort you can get off at the first stop and walk to your building from there.

The only location you can get to by another method of transportation is Disney Springs. From Saratoga Springs you can catch the boat to Disney Springs or walk in two separate directions.

To walk to Disney Springs you can head towards Congress Park and then follow the path to the Marketplace area of Disney Springs. The other option is to head to the main building, where you check in, and follow the golf path to the bridge which will take you to the West Side of Disney Springs. Be aware. It’s a long walk.

The boat launch is behind the golf clubhouse. If you are coming from the west side of the resorts you follow the path towards the clubhouse. You’re going to feel like you’re going the wrong way and that you’re heading onto the golf course. Once you see the water walk towards the water and you will see the boat dock. If you’re getting there from the eastern side of the resort, head towards the Spa and Fitness Centre, DVC preview centre and main pool. Before you get to that part of the resort take a left and pass the tennis courts. Then follow the pathway to the dock. Taking the boat to Disney Springs is relaxing. They will drop you off at the West Side and then take you to the Marketplace. If you are staying on the East Side of the resort it is much easier to walk. It’s not close but it’s easier then getting to the boat. You can always take the bus as well.

Pools

This is one of the biggest features of this resort, it has the second largest selection of pools on Walt Disney World property. There is a pool for everyone.

Treehouse Villas

This pool is called a leisure pool. There are no slides. It’s quiet and has lounge chairs around it. There’s a whirlpool spa along with a regular pool. This pool is really only for those staying at the Treehouse Villas. I wouldn’t recommend taking the extra hike to get to this secluded pool.

The Grandstand Pool

This pool area is located in the middle of the Grandstand buildings, on the western side of the resort. There are three sections to this pool area. First is a splash park area. There are water guns and archways reminiscent of horse race stalls. It’s a fun spot to run and play with littles. Second is a regular pool. It’s deep, so it’s not ideal for littles. It’s gated off which is great for sectioning of the area that is suitable for younger and older individuals. It also allows you to sit back and relax while your kids play in the splash park area without concern of them falling into the pool. Third is the always prevalent whirlpool. A place to relax in hot, bubbling water. This is a super fun spot to play with your kids on a hot day away from the parks. With the Backstretch Pool bar here you can easily grab a snack to tide you over until your next meal.

High Rock Springs Pool

This is the busiest pool on this resort because it’s located at the main building. You have to walk here from other parts of the resort so it’s not close to your room. It has a zero entry pool. Great for littles and adults not looking to fully submerge. There’s a kiddie slide into the shallow end of the pool. The 128-foot water slide is a major feature for this pool area. Appropriate for the young and adults. Our 4 year-old went down it last year and loved it. I went down it and couldn’t believe we had sent her down. There’s a kiddie play area off to the side. But it’s located very close to the deep end of the pool. I don’t feel comfortable having my kids play there on their own. So I have to make sure I’m right there with them. And that they don’t get too silly. There’s a whirlpool just next to the On the Rocks Pool Bar.

The Paddock Pool

This is my favourite pool at this resort. Located in the heart of the Paddock buildings there are two separate areas. One is a splash area, sorry it’s way more than that. This is a splash structure. With a covered slide and an open slide. There’s a great big bucket that fills with water and then splashes all over the structure. This whole area is gated off. Within the gated area are patio chairs and tables. The second area is a zero-entry pool with a 146-foot long water slide. There are plenty of patio chairs and tables around the pool, giving lots of places to sit and relax while your kids play in the pool. The Paddock Grill is located by the pool. With a wide variety of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As always there is a whirlpool nearby.

The Congress Park Pool

This pool is what’s coined a quiet pool. There are no extra bells and whistles. Making it ideal for a relaxing swim. It has a beautiful view of Disney Springs and it is a very quiet area because it’s tucked away from the rest of the resort. You need to be looking for this pool to find it. There is a playground near by so it could be suitable to younger kids but it adds a lot of work on the parent because it’s a deep pool. With the other three amazing pools on this property I would only use this one if I was on vacation sans children. There is no bar beside this pool which will also decrease the amount of people using this location.

Restaurants

There is only one table-service restaurant at Saratoga Springs. There’s one quick service restaurant and a few pool side bars.

The Turf Club Bar and Grill

5:00pm-9:30pm

The Turf Club Bar and Grill leaves much to be desired. The atmosphere is mediocre. The patio is concrete with not a very nice view. It is on the lower end of the spectrum for sit down dinners in my opinion. With Disney Springs around the corner there are many other great options to check out instead of this full service restaurant. I almost feel like this restaurant is forgotten about. Or it’s an after thought. The food is average, especially for the price. And the service is on par with the rest of the experience. This restaurant is located at the back of the main building of Saratoga Springs. Head to the lobby and follow the appropriate signs. This is a restaurant that you can always get a last minute reservation at though.

The Artist’s Palette

7:00am-11:00pm

This quick-service restaurant is a great spot to fill up your Dining Plan Mug and to grab a quick snack or breakfast. It’s a cafeteria style restaurant and shop all rolled into one. This restaurant delivers the necessities. You can pick up a quick burger and fries or bagel for breakfast. It’s nothing memorable. It’s adequate. You can find this restaurant in the heart of the main building just past the High Rocks Springs Pool and to the right of the spa.

The Backstretch Pool Bar

12:00pm-6:00pm

This pool bar is located beside the quiet pool at the Grandstand Pools. Offering mostly alcoholic beverages, there are a couple sandwiches and snacks allowing you to stay by the pool through lunch hour. This pool bar is only open during peak season.

The Paddock Grill

7:30am-8:00pm

This quick-service restaurant is located by the Paddock Pool. This is an outdoor spot, so there’s no real shelter for eating. They serve some sandwiches, burgers and salads. Similar to the Backstretch Pool Bar, it’s ideal for a day by the pool. Grabbing a quick bite without having to loose your lounge chair. It’s very popular so they can run out of more popular food. Don’t try to get breakfast their anytime after 10am because they will be very limited in their selection. Great spot to fill up your refillable mug though.

Lounges

On the rocks

11:00am-10:00pm

This lounge is located at the High Rocks Springs pool. You can fill up your refillable mug here and enjoy an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage to keep yourself cool on a hot Florida day.

The Turf Club Lounge

4:00pm-11:0pm

Located in the entrance of the Turf Club Bar and Grill, this is the quietest place to unwind on this property. Being located inside the main building, away from the excitement of the pool and the busyness of the bus traffic, you can take a moment here and relax from a busy day or wait for your dinner reservation.

Rooms

As mentioned above, Saratoga Springs is a Disney Vacation Club resort. There are no hotel rooms, only villas. This does allow you to make a few meals of your own, or have multiple families in one space.

Deluxe Studio

These are larger than your average size hotel room. On one vacation we had our 3 year old on the pull out couch and our youngest in a crib, while we slept in the queen size bed. These rooms have a tv and a private patio, which is great for those nights the kids go to sleep early and you still want to enjoy the evening. That being said there are no lights on the deck making it a little dark in the evenings. These rooms have a kitchenette, with a fridge, sink and microwave. One thing I love about these rooms is there’s a nice size entry way, giving you lots of room to unload, or store strollers, cribs, purchases and so on. For a full review on these rooms click here.

$330-383 per night. Cost varies depending on building.

1-Bedroom Villa

These 1-bedroom villas have a full kitchen (oven, full-size fridge, dishwasher) and all the silverware and seat placings you would need. The main living room has a bench seat, table and chairs. A high-top counter with bar stools. Giving you two great areas to eat or play games. There’s a tv-unit, double-size pull out couch and chair. This room has a patio with chairs and table. The master bedroom has a king size bedroom with a soaker tub and sink. This room has access to a stand up shower and sink with a doored off toilet. This bathroom is also accessible from the main room. This villa also has a washer and dryer. These are great size rooms with everything you could need or want.

$452-517 per night. Cost varies by building.

2-Bedroom Villa

All of these villas have two bedrooms with a main living space. One bedroom is the master bedroom and the other is either a deluxe studio attached or it’s what you would consider a normal hotel bedroom. So basically you’re getting a one bedroom villa with a deluxe villa attached or a one bedroom villa with a hotel room attached. The latter are great because they have 2 double beds instead of a queen bed and pull out couch. All of these villas have two bathrooms and can sleep up to 8 people.

$645-777 per night. Cost varies depending on building.

Treehouse Villas

These unique villas are situated in a remote part of the resort. These off the ground villas can host up to 9 people. It’s a stand alone unit lifted up in the trees. With a full kitchen, three bedrooms, spacious living space and 2 bathrooms, it’s an amazing retreat. It would be an ideal place to enjoy a family celebration, bridal party getaway, or bachelor party. Especially with golf a stone throw away. You have your own parking spot and you’re not connected to any other room. The rooms are spacious and deluxe. You walk in to a main living space, open kitchen, dining table, couch, chair. Off of this room is a room with a bunk bed, closet and tv unit. At the end of the hallway there’s a 3 piece bathroom. This bathroom is next to a small room with a double bed, tv unit and closet. Lastly, off the living room is the master bedroom, which has a double bed and ensuite with a soaker tub that has a handled shower head. This is a unique spot that you won’t find anywhere else.

$794 per night.

Extras

Community Hall

This community hall is located just before High Rocks Springs Pool. To get to it you have to go through this beautiful courtyard. At the community hall you can rent equipment, play ping-pong, pool, rent movies and do crafts (some crafts need to be paid for). This is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon or a great place to go with one child while another is doing something else.

Horsing Around Rentals

Located across the street from The Springs Bus Stop and beside the High Rocks Springs Pool.

Rent a bike for $18.00 and pedal around this beautiful resort. You can bike along the paths within the resort or bike along the path leading you to Old Key West. Bike there and have a bite to eat and then head back. You can rent a bicycle or a surrey bike built for 2 or 4. This is a fun and unique thing to do on your vacation.

Find other equipment to rent here as well. For Tennis and for Basketball.

Tennis

Find these courts behind the main building. Walk towards the LBV Golf Club house. If you are coming from the Congress Park area they will be before you get there, if you’re coming from the Grandstands they will be after the club house. Pick up your racket at the Horsing Around Rentals located beside the High Rocks Springs Pool. Courts are available at a first come first serve basis.

Basketball

The basketball courts are right beside the Tennis Courts. Find your basketballs at Horsing Around located in the same building as the Community Hall. Find the address on the street across from The Springs Bus Stop.

Playgrounds

There is one playground located at Saratoga Springs. On the Walt Disney World website it states there are 3, one wet and two dry. There are two wet discussed in the pool sections, found at the Grandstand Pool and the Paddock Pool. The dry playground is located beside the Congress Park Pool. This playground is a perfect way to pass an hour or so with some youngsters. With some slides and climbing you can tucker any kid out. It’s a beautiful spot for you to relax. You can look out at Disney Springs while your kids burn off some energy.

Win, Place or Show Arcade

This arcade is located at the top of the courtyard next to High Rock Springs Pool. Play some old school and some newer arcade games. Great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Movies Under The Stars

Every evening head to the High Rock Springs Pool to watch a Disney Family Favourite. Relax and enjoy on a pool deck chair. These are generally not busy so there is no need to get to this before the movie starts. The screens are large so there is plenty of room for everyone to watch without an impeding view. These do start at dusk so it can be late for some youngsters. If the weather is an issue, they’ll play the movie in the community hall. For more information on Movies Under the Stars click here.

Campfire Activities

Head to the courtyard just off of the High Rock Springs Pool and find the firepit. Every evening around 5:30 roast some marshmallows with a cast member. At no cost enjoy some relaxing family time by the fire.

Running Trails

This resort is so large there are so many places to run. You can stay on the resort and weave in and out of all these buildings or you can head to Disney Springs and do a nice circle route with a beginning and end. There is a path that connects this resort to Old Key West, and the Treehouse Villas are connected as well. This allows you to conquer some long distances if you’re so inclined. Just be sure to stay off the golf green. So whether you are running during your RunDisney vacation or getting in some miles on non-park day, Saratoga Springs is a great resort to do that. Follow the link below to see a route we have run a few times on recent vacations.

4 Miles Saratoga Springs

http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=7034736

Senses- A Disney Spa

Relax at this Senses Spa location on Walt Disney World property. One of two on property. Receive a Facial, Massage, Body Therapy or get your nails done. Or if you really want to indulge, pamper yourself with a full spa package. You can even get a manicure or pedicure for your son or daughter. Be sure to make a reservation ahead of time at 407-939-7727. This spa is located to the left of the main building. You can enter in just before the courtyard or at the top of the outdoor stairs.

BBQ Areas

There are a few of these BBQ areas around the resort. There’s one located by the pools at the Grandstand buildings. One located at the Congress Park buildings, again by the pool area. Lastly, one is located in between the two Carousel buildings. Head to the community hall to pick up your BBQ equipment.

Golf

Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course is on this resort. There are holes scattered along the property. The clubhouse is located at the back of the main building. Head to the boat launch to get there. When staying on Walt Disney World property the price ranges depending on the time of day and the time of year. For 18 holes anytime before 3pm $99-115, after 3pm $72-85 and after 4pm $52-65. A great deal is the Sunrise 9. Golf 9 holes for $35-39 and receive a breakfast sandwich. Great way to go golfing without spending your whole day on the golf course. Call (407) 939-4653 to make a tee time. Golf carts must be used on this course and golf attire is required.

Shopping

There is very little shopping at Saratoga Springs. The only shop of any kind is located in the Artist’s Palette which is in the main building. It’s mostly souvenir pieces for Saratoga Springs, shirts, sweaters and mugs. There are a few housewares items and things you may have forgotten at home. This is one of the only places you can find Disney Vacation Club merchandise. All the other merchandise can found at many other locations on property.

Personal Touch

I love this resort. It’s a wonderful, quiet place to spend your vacation. We spent a few days here last vacation and went to all the pools and had such a fun time. We had planned on spending a day at Typhoon Lagoon but then realized we really didn’t need to because of all the water slides and splash parks. I would go back in a heart beat.