Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa is in the Deluxe Villa Category at Walt Disney World and is in my opinion, one of Disney’s hidden gems. I love this resort and although I know many that also enjoy staying here, for others it is a less popular choice and would rank low on their Disney Resort Wish list. So what is it about Saratoga Springs that puts people off and why do I love it despite this?
Well the three main negatives that get thrown around when people talk about Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa are –
- The Resort is too large
- It is not near a theme park
- Theming is too generic
Although these statements are perfectly valid, I feel that by looking at them from a different angle you can turn each of these into a positive and a good reason to visit this lovely resort. So here goes…
The Resort is too large
This resort is one of the largest on property and is made up of 5 sections – The Springs, Congress Park, The Grandstand, The Paddock and The Carousel. Each section is made up of deluxe studio suites and multi bedroom villas. There are also the Tree House Villas, a relatively recent addition to the left of the Grandstand Section, however they are located further away and not within easy walking distance. On paper it certainly appears overwhelmingly large and depending on the location of your villa, you may not be that close to the main building that contains check-in, The Artist’s Palette (a quick service restaurant), The Turf Club Bar and Grill(a table service restaurant) and the Main Feature pool. So for many, they feel it would mean just too much walking. I guess after a long day in the parks the last thing you want to do is to have to walk more at your resort.
However, although the resort is very large you may have no need to walk as far as you imagine. Here is why! Each section of villas have their own amenities. They all have their own dedicated bus stop. Congress Park and The Grandstand have their own leisure pool which includes a whirlpool spa. The Paddock has a larger pool that includes a 146-foot-long waterslide, a whirlpool spa and an aquatic play area with smaller slides for younger children. This section also has a quick service restaurant called The Paddock Grill which is open throughout the day and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a soda refill station. So with all these amenities near your villa you may not need to walk to the main buildings at all.
Another issue that can arise from a large resort is the five bus stops which means your journey to and from the parks can feel longer due to the multi pick up/drop off locations. However if you are boarding the bus at the first pick up location and have a slightly longer journey as a result of the additional stops, you will most likely be the first to be dropped off on your return journey. So although any time delays can be frustrating you will hopefully only have an issue one way.
On the other hand the benefit that comes from staying at a large resort is that the crowds tend to disperse well and in my opinion it never feels overcrowded, even during peak season. This means that if you want a quiet midday swim at your nearby pool or a scenic stroll around the lake you may just get it! The atmosphere is always very calm and tranquil and is exactly what you need after a busy day in the parks.
It is not near a theme park
Saratoga Springs is located near Disney Springs and so is a little further away from the theme parks than some of the other resorts. This puts some people off this resort, as they simply want to be closer to the magic! However, although it may take that extra 10 minutes to get to one of the theme parks, the location of Saratoga Springs does have its own perks. It is the only resort that you can walk directly to Disney Springs with its own dedicated walkway. It means that you won’t necessarily need to rely on other transportation to get to Disney Springs and you will also enjoy lovely views of Disney Springs as well. This is ideal for anyone that plans on spending lots of time at Disney Springs enjoying the array of shops, restaurants and evening entertainment. It could also be a useful option if you plan to resort hop during your vacation. Instead of transferring to a Theme park bus to return home from visiting another resort you could get the Disney Springs bus and take the walkway back to Saratoga Springs.
Theming is too generic
Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa is themed to represent the late 1800s Saratoga Springs of New York known specifically for its horse racing. However, some feel that the theming is not historically authentic. Others simply think that the theming is not as immersive enough compared to other resorts. I do appreciate that some people, especially families with young children may prefer more immersive themed resorts like Art of Animation or Animal Kingdom Lodge. However, regardless of how historically authentic the theming is, I really love it. I think it is visually a very beautiful resort especially the areas around the lake, and I don’t mind if the theming is slightly underplayed compared to other resorts. When you have spent your day wondering around Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom I think it is nice to be able to step back from the completely immersive Disney Theming and come back home to a simply lovely resort with subtle decor.
So the next time you are planning your Walt Disney World vacation and would like to try a new resort, you should definitely consider Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. It is well worth a visit!