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My family have been Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members since 2006 and let me tell you, from their daughter’s standpoint, this is the best investment my parents have ever made. Our home resort is Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. I have grown an appreciation for this resort, but I also despise it at times. If we do not plan our vacations 11 months in advance, which is typical for us, we are stuck staying at Saratoga Springs. In this article, I will discuss reasons why I have a love-hate relationship with Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.
Why I Love Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
1. Its proximity to Disney Springs, especially my favorite part (The Marketplace):
Guests at Saratoga Springs can walk to Disney Springs in about 10 minutes! The walk may be even shorter if guests stay at Congress Park, one of the five sections of this resort, which is the closest section to Disney Springs. I specifically love how the path from Saratoga to Disney Springs leads directly and is the closest to the Marketplace. The Marketplace Stores are my favorite aspect of Disney Springs because that is where I always gravitate to, including the World of Disney, Earl of Sandwich, the Marketplace Co-Op, Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop, etc. There are also boats to and from Disney Springs from The Carriage House (right across from The Springs section of the resort) to the Landing and the Marketplace every 20 minutes, and buses to and from Disney Springs if walking is not accessible.
2. It is one of the cheapest DVC resorts to stay at point-wise and has one of the lowest maintenance fees for DVC resorts:
Point-wise, Saratoga Springs ranges from as little as 11 points per night to as much as 22 points per night for a Deluxe Studio, according to the current Disney Vacation Club Point Charts. This is something major to take into consideration if you and your family want to stay on Walt Disney World property for a long period of time or visit multiple times a year. For example, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa range from 17 points per night to 37 points per night for a Deluxe Studio! Saratoga Springs allows my family to visit Walt Disney World more than once a year since we will have extra points to spare and there is usually availability at this resort.
For maintenance fees, Saratoga Springs comes in at $6.40 per point in 2019, which is one the cheapest out of all the DVC properties. Other resorts’ maintenance fees run more than $6.40 per point to almost $10.00 per point (with the exception of The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland). These fees must be paid yearly and they add up quickly, depending on how many points members allocate for themselves, so investing in Saratoga Springs is a smart move for economic reasons alone.
3. The Paddock:
The most commonly requested sections of stay at Saratoga Springs are The Springs and Congress Park, which do cost more money or points since those sections are considered preferred rooms. On the contrary, I believe that The Paddock should be guests’ request of stay. The Paddock is right in the middle of the resort. It is not a far walk from The Springs, the closest section to the resort’s main amenities (such as the main pool and quick service), and the walking path to Disney Springs.
As a bonus, The Paddock has its own pool with a slide, its own quick service called The Paddock Grill (which I think is better than the resort’s main quick service called The Artist’s Palette), and has no additional cost or point value like the preferred sections. The Paddock is also the third stop out of the five bus stops at the resort. It is before the most crowded stops of Congress Park (fourth stop) and The Springs (fifth and final stop), so guests are almost always guaranteed a seat on the bus going to the parks.
Additionally, if guests do not want to walk to Congress Park or The Springs, they can hop on any bus from the Paddock in order to get to those destinations since the buses stop at The Paddock before Congress Park and The Springs.
Why I Hate Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa:
1. The rooms are outdated:
The rooms at Saratoga Springs desperately need some love, and thankfully the rooms are being refurbished as we speak. This is the first hardcore refurbishment of its kind since the resort opened in May of 2004! This baffles me because other DVC resorts, like Disney’s Old Key West, have had multiple refurbishments in the same time frame. In my opinion, the rooms are very dingy because of the bland colored walls, dirty carpeting, old furniture, and outdated kitchens. I am looking forward to how the refurbishments turn out, and maybe the rooms will become some of my favorites in the future.
2. It is not as close to the parks as other resorts are and are only accessible by bus transportation:
The fastest park to get to from Saratoga Springs is Epcot, in my opinion. In order to get to the parks, guests must takes the buses, unless they utilize Minnie Vans or other transportation options. I wish Saratoga was near the parks more or had its own special transportation service, like the monorail system around the Magic Kingdom resorts or the soon-to-be Disney Skyliner around the Epcot resorts, because it would make the resort more appealing and accessible to stay at in terms of getting around Walt Disney World.
3. The Artist’s Palette is not suitable for picky eaters:
For picky eaters like myself, the main quick service called The Artist’s Palette is not suitable, specifically for lunch and dinner. They only serve house-made chips with meals instead of french fries, and the meals themselves are not your typical burgers or chicken nuggets. There are some nice options like the Cheeseburger Thin Crust Pie, but sometimes I just want to eat a basic, adult meal and not a meal from the kids’ menu.
4. The size of the resort is huge and it takes time to get around property:
Don’t get me wrong, the grounds are beautiful and kept up at Saratoga Springs; however, if you are not up to walking to the pools or to get food, this is not the resort for you. The bus rides are quite long around the resort itself because there are five bus stations and it is the largest DVC resort. Not to mention, I see animals lurking around the grounds that I prefer not to see and which should stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
By all means, I am not bashing Saratoga Springs with my reasons for disliking it. It will always have a special place in my heart no matter what, because it is truly my home away from home, being someone who is from New York and owns at a New York-themed resort. This resort has allowed my family to visit Walt Disney World often for over 10 years.
I believe that the cons of this resort are outweighed by its pros. I encourage anyone who has never stayed or seen this resort to stop by at least once to broaden your horizons of Walt Disney World property. I look forward to seeing how the room refurbishments turn out. With a few more months to go until my next trip to Walt Disney World, I am happy to say that my family will be staying at Bay Lake Tower for most of the trip, but unfortunately and thankfully, we have to stay at Saratoga Springs for the last few days of our trip due to availability.