Saratoga Springs Resort review

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is a beautiful, large resort hotel with multiple buildings and picturesque grounds.

When planning a Disney World vacation, Saratoga Springs is a smart resort to consider if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax after a busy day at the parks, or you’re yearning for a more sophisticated atmosphere and upscale accommodations.

But the question is why—what makes this such a great resort and worthy of your money?  In this article, I’m going to explain exactly that (and much more) to you.  Let’s first begin with the rooms at Saratoga Springs, and the resort’s overall decor.

Large, Family Friendly Resort

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa has more than 1,300 guest rooms housed within five different sections of the property. Each section is comprised of multiple buildings with the entire resort spread over more than 65 acres.

While the resort’s décor is somewhat dated, rooms are large and full of extras. The entire hotel is made up of studio suites and multi-room villas. There are also Treehouse Villas available. These sleep up to nine adults and are located in a wooded enclave within The Saratoga Springs grounds. The villas are elevated above the ground and feature full kitchens, spacious living rooms and multiple bedrooms.

You might think with such a large number of guest rooms the resort would be bustling with people. The time of year you choose to visit Disney World can have a significant impact on your overall experience, from the resorts to the parks. But we found that the resort was spread out enough that it never felt over-crowded and lines for breakfast at The Artist’s Palette, the resort’s casual dining restaurant, were manageable.

The main building contains the lobby, The Artist’s Palette, the Turf Club Bar and Grill, meeting spaces and lounge areas. We visited the lobby twice, once on our first morning and once on our last night. Staff was friendly and engaging. We did not have to check in or pick up room keys thanks to Disney’s Magic Bands. Magic Bands are connected to your resort reservations, park tickets, dining plan and Fast Pass ride options.

Guests staying at all Disney properties are sent Magic Bands before they depart for their vacation. If you complete online check-in on the MyDisneyExperience website or app, you can bypass the front desk and go directly to your guest room. On the plane, en route to Orlando, I received a text notifying us of our room number. When we arrived at the resort we went directly to our guest room. You simply tap your Magic Band against the door lock and it grants you access. 

The resort staff is gracious, friendly and helpful. On our last day, I left some jewelry on the bathroom counter. I called from the airport and spoke with the front desk. Within an hour, I had a message from a manager informing me the items had been found and were already packaged to be sent directly to my home. I received them two days later, via FedEx, with a funny note from Mickey Mouse about my forgotten jewelry.

Big, Spacious Rooms

Our last stay, in late 2016, was an extended family vacation. The Saratoga Springs is a great hotel for a large group, whether you stay together in a large three-bedroom suite, a Treehouse Villa, or opt for separate studios, which was our family’s choice.

Each family stayed in a one-bedroom studio, which included a queen size bed, a pull-out couch, a table with two chairs, a kitchenette with refrigerator and mini sink, and a large bathroom. There was ample room for a portable crib, as well. While we brought our own, we found it wasn’t necessary. A portable crib was tucked into the linen closet.

The kitchenette is perfect for families with small children. All of the little amenities you might need (utensils, paper towels, bowls, cups, can opener, dish soap, microwave, toaster, coffee maker) were all included. A small refrigerator made it easy to store milk for bedtime or bottles of water to bring into the parks.

A large entry kept our folded stroller out of the way, while a spacious bathroom made evening baths easy for our little ones.

The resort’s theme, which is inspired by the historic town of Saratoga Springs, an upstate New York retreat made famous by its annual horse races and natural minerals springs, is not as fun or as engaging as some of Disney’s other resorts.

The rooms and public spaces are furnished with Victorian-inspired décor and an elegant equestrian theme is carried throughout the resort. Being a Disney property, there are multiple pools and aquatic amenities, and resort activities are plentiful for kids.

But the resort’s atmosphere skews more mature, with décor, furniture and aesthetics leaning toward sophistication instead of fun. Pathways throughout the property wind around small ponds with fountains and the grounds are meticulously maintained.

Saratoga Springs is a Disney Vacation Club Resort. DVC is Disney’s version of a vacation timeshare. Members join by purchasing a set of points that renew annually and can be used for stays at any DVC resort. You don’t need to be a DVC member to book a stay at The Saratoga Springs, but it’s worth noting that since the resort caterers to DVC members, cast members are very gracious, attentive and go above and beyond the already outstanding Disney hospitality.

Resort Location and Transportation

Saratoga Springs Resort is located among the furthest in distance from the Magic Kingdom park. Its closest park is Epcot. The resort is within walking distance of Disney Springs. Even though it’s location is far from the parks, in general, the complimentary bus transportation makes travel to any park convenient.

Buses arrive on a 20-minute schedule, with additional buses made available during busy travel times, such as when parks open and close each day. There are multiple bus stops at the resort, making transportation easily accessible to most guest rooms. When we were planning our stay, a concern for us was length of time on the buses going between the resort and the parks. At Saratoga Springs, Disney park buses do not stop at other resorts. This helps cut down travel time and is an added benefit of staying at this particular resort.

At other resorts we have stayed at, many share buses and this can add to overly long travel times. The longest bus ride, to Magic Kingdom, was about 40 minutes. All other rides to and from the parks were shorter.

Water transportation is available for guests who want to visit Disney Springs, with water taxis also running on a 20-minute schedule.

The distance of the resort from the parks has its advantages: You have a built-in break from the over-stimulation that can occur when visiting Disney World with small children. The kids in our party enjoyed the resort’s quiet setting at the end of the day, and I think it helped them to relax and rejuvenate for the next day.

The downside, however, it that while you might be able to see some park fireworks in the distance in the evenings, there is no opportunity to fully enjoy them from your guest room patio or balcony.

Delicious and Convenient Dining

Like most Disney resorts, Saratoga Springs offers casual and a sit-down dining options. The Artist’s Palette offers counter service for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is limited, but the food is delicious and the servings are large. On numerous mornings, the children in our group shared a meal with one of us instead of getting his or her own. We still managed to bring fruit back to our room for later.

Breakfast choices include scrambles eggs, Mickey waffles, French toast strata, breakfast wraps and flatbreads, and breakfast sandwiches. Sides, such as bagels, muffins, oatmeal and fruit help round out your meal. Lunch and dinner menu are the same and include a variety of flatbreads, salads, panini and sandwiches. Guests order at a counter and can choose to dine in the seating area or take meals back to their rooms.

The Turf Club Bar and Grill is a reservation-only, sit down restaurant. The restaurant serves only dinner and the menu features a selection of steaks, seafood, and chicken dishes. A limited children’s menu includes fish, steak and pasta. We dined here on the last night of our stay.

Our waiter overheard us commenting about the children’s menu and its lack of chicken fingers as an option. Since the Turf Club is located behind the Artist’s Palette, our waiter ordered the kids in our group chicken fingers from the Artist’s Palette and served them to him on the same china as our meals. The décor is elegant, with white linen table cloths adorning candlelit tables. Cast members are elegantly dressed in black and white.

Three lounges, the Backstretch Pool Bar, the Paddock Grill and On the Rocks, serve limited menu items but include full bars.

Eating at Disney World is always made easy with the Disney Dining Plan. All of the dining options at The Saratoga Springs participate in the Disney Dining Plan.

Affordability and Costs

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort is among the luxury level properties at Disney World, which means stays start from over $300 per night.  High season, which includes the holidays, school breaks, early summer and select dates in the fall, can have the highest room rates.

Low season, which is typically the end of summer and early fall when schools return to session, and select dates after the holidays, can be among the least expensive. For the best choice of rooms and rates, you should book your stay early and pay attention to crowd calendars. The Disney Dining Plan is also a help to budget-friendly families looking to get the most bang for their buck.

Extra Disney Magic

A plus to staying at a Disney property are amenities that truly make your vacation easier. The Saratoga Springs offers a number of services that enhance your stay:

If you shop in the parks, use the complimentary merchandise delivery. Your purchases are sent back to The Saratoga Springs while you continue to enjoy the parks. You can pick up your purchases at the gift shop near the main lobby.

Use the early online check-in. You can go right to your room and relax if you arrive late in the day, or drop off your carry-on luggage and hits the parks if you arrive earlier.

Order room service or have one member of your family pick up breakfast for everyone at The Artist’s Palette. They’ll packaged your meals for take-out so you can eat breakfast in your room if you’re planning on getting to the parks at opening.

Use the resort airline check-in the day of your departure. The front desk at The Saratoga Springs will print your boarding passes for you and collect your checked baggage. Your head to the airport while your luggage is taken directly to your airline. The Magic Express, Disney’s airport transportation service, picks up and drops off right at the resort’s main building.

Take advantage of the childcare services at The Saratoga Springs. Parents can enjoy an elegant dinner while the kids are entertained.

Overall, I enjoyed our stay at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. With this having been an extended family vacation, our trip was a collective planning process. This enabled everyone in our group, including the children, to experience the various parks, rides, shows and activities.

Our group wanted to make the most of our days in the parks, so our time at the resort was more limited than normal. With multiple pool areas and close proximity to Disney Springs, this resort would be a great choice for a down day away from the parks.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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