Saratoga Springs: An Under-appreciated Disney Resort

If you aren’t a Disney Vacation Club Member chances are probably good that you’ve never stayed at Saratoga Springs. And even if you are a DVC member, if you don’t own at this property you might overlook this resort. As the Disney resort I’ve probably stayed at the most I’m here to tell you that Saratoga Springs is an under-appreciated Disney Resort.

Now my family are DVC members and they do own at Saratoga Springs so I might be a little biased in some regards. But I have also stayed at a majority of the Disney owned properties in Orlando and I can say this is one of the best.

Saratoga Springs Buggy
Just another part of the great theming at the resort.

A little background on the place. In the 1990s then CEO of the Disney Company, Michael Eisner, had an idea for a new resort experience. After visiting the educational and summer resort for adults and children, the Chautauqua Institution in New York, Eisner wanted to create something like that in Disney World. The premise was to create a place where adults could come on vacation and take part in seminars and development classes. The Disney Institute was born out of this but Eisner’s bold idea never took off with the public. It opened in 1996 only to close in 2003 due to low attendance.

Saratoga Springs Rec Area
One of the many buildings at Saratoga Springs.

That site would become Disney’s Saratoga Spring Resort & Spa. This massive resort is housed exclusively with Vacation Club Villas and sits on 65 acres with 17 separate buildings. While some might think this is too big I find the size to bring a welcome and relaxing environment. More space means people are more spread out and aren’t on top of each other all the time. Plus the fact that Lake Buena Vista Golf Course runs through it only adds to the calmness.

Map of the massive resort.
Map of the massive resort.

I love the theming here too. Based on the horse racing heritage of upstate New York it brings a subtle but elegant feel. While it might not be an identical replica of Saratoga it certainly is reminiscent of the area. Subtle nods to horse characters from Disney films can be found in and around the resort.

Saratoga Springs Horse Statue
Based off of the horse racing tradition you can see nods to the sport everywhere at the resort.

Rooms are massive. If you’ve stayed in DVC rooms before your familiar with the layout. Living room with a built in kitchen table, full kitchen plus big bedrooms and bathrooms. While the rooms are obviously offered first to DVC members for booking the resort is still big and laws require a certain number of rooms to be available to the general public. They might be expensive but if you are coming down with a large group this might be a good option for you.

Artist Palette Quick Service
While Artist Palette is good new food at Disney Springs is a welcome addition.

Over the last few years I’ve developed a new favorite reason for staying at Saratoga Springs. That is of course the expansion of Disney Springs. The transformation from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs was remarkably well done. There is so much to do and see there. Staying just across the way at Saratoga Springs means getting to Disney Springs is as easy as taking a nice walk or hopping on a boat (which is my favorite form of Disney transportation). With so many restaurants and bars to check out it brings in some great dining options during your trip. Plus for all its positives, Saratoga Springs does lack good food options. More options at Disney Springs helps in that regard.

Main Pool Area at Saratoga Springs
The main pool area by the Carriage House is also quite impressive here.

Overall I think Saratoga Springs is an awesome resort. It brings a peacefulness you might not find in every other Disney resort but being close to Disney Springs gives you close proximity to shopping, dining and entertainment. Plus you’ve got the great Disney theming to bring it all together.

Have you stayed at Saratoga Springs before? What did you like about it?

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