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TravelThings to know about Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Things to know about Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Disney fans know well that every Disney resort is unique — and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is no exception. As one of Disney World’s Deluxe resorts, you’ll find spacious guest rooms, glimmering swimming pools, a handful of dining options and that special touch of Disney magic around every corner.

Here are the things that make this property stand out from other Disney resorts to help you decide if this is the right resort for your next Disney World vacation.

What is Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa?

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

To this day, Saratoga Springs, New York, is known for its world-class horse racing, grand hotels and serene spas — all of which inspired the equestrian theme and Victorian-era design of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.

Along with other Disney Deluxe resorts like Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Saratoga Springs is a Disney Vacation Club Resort with deluxe studios and villas. You’ll enjoy more space and amenities when you book a Disney Vacation Club room, like balconies, kitchens, large bathrooms and in-room laundry facilities.

DVC resorts also have more family-focused recreation and activities than other Disney resorts, including bike rentals, tennis and basketball courts, and a Community Hall with movies, video games and daily activities like crafts and games.

Related: Why I bought a timeshare — and am really happy about it

You’ll also get the normal perks of staying at a Disney Deluxe resort, such as 30-minute early entry to the parks, purchasing individual Lightning Lanes at 7 a.m. and extended evening theme park hours on select nights.

How to book Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

As with other Disney World hotels, it’s often best to book directly with Disney. You can do this through Disney’s website, over the phone or using an authorized Disney vacation planner. Disney vacation planners are free to use and can help you get the best price by searching for available discounts at the time of booking and up until your trip.

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Disney also periodically releases hotel discounts that can help you save 30% or more based on your vacation dates and length of stay.


In addition to booking through Disney or a vacation planner, you can also use miles from your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card to book through the Capital One Travel portal or pay using your Venture X card and earn up to 10 miles per dollar on your stay when booking through the Capital One Travel portal.

Even though Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is a DVC resort, you don’t have to be a DVC member to stay here. You can also rent DVC points from a DVC member or a resale site like David’s Vacation Club Rentals. Renting DVC points instead of paying cash for a DVC room through Disney can drastically reduce the cost of staying at a Disney Deluxe resort.

For example, the cash price of a deluxe studio at Saratoga Springs for July 17-18 is $476 plus tax, but you can get the same room by renting DVC points through David’s Vacation Club Rentals for $280, including tax.

Booking link: Rent DVC points via TPG’s partner, David’s Vacation Club Rentals

The resort has an equestrian theme

Saratoga Springs’ equestrian history seamlessly carries over to this Disney hotel, with nods to famous Disney horses throughout the resort. You’ll find paintings of horses from several Disney films in the lobby, framed jockey silks lining the walls that lead to the resort’s table service restaurant and amiable pictures of Disney characters riding horses in the guest rooms.

Entrance to the Turf Club Bar and Grill. TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

The resort also has the relaxing feel of a quiet, secluded retreat. No roller coasters are roaring by in the background, just green trees, wooded paths and playful pools.

There are spacious room types for families of all sizes

Rooms at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa range from deluxe studios to three-bedroom villas and even a few Treehouse Villas (more on those in a moment). Deluxe studio rooms have a kitchenette and a balcony or patio, and villas have separate bedrooms, a full kitchen, in-room laundry and a balcony or patio.

I stayed in a one-bedroom villa that had a sofa bed and a fold-down single sleeper in the living room, a separate bedroom, dining table, full kitchen, stackable washer and dryer, furnished balcony, and a multiroom bathroom with a tub and large vanity in one section, a shower and smaller vanity in another and a third section with a toilet.

No matter the size of your party, there is likely a room here that can comfortably accommodate you. The rooms are designed to give families plenty of space to feel at home while providing Disney touches, like artwork and a Mickey-themed Amazon Echo device.

There is a golf course connected to the property

Disney World is home to three 18-hole golf courses and one nine-hole course. Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course — an 18-hole course that has hosted PGA, LPGA and USGA events — is on the grounds of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. The pro shop is near the hotel lobby, and the course winds around the resort.

You don’t have to be a hotel guest to play here, but advance tee times are recommended. Rental clubs are available if you don’t want to lug your clubs to Orlando, and private lessons are available.

There are several daily activities for families

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

When I arrived at the resort, Chip ‘n’ Dale were taking photos with guests outside of the lobby. I couldn’t resist stopping for a quick picture. You could take selfies, but a Disney PhotoPass photographer also took photos.

Many of the resort activities are near the main lobby at the Community Hall, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can pop in to watch a movie, play video games in the air conditioning or choose from various DIY crafts. I chose to color a free souvenir magnet, but there were several crafts you could make for a small fee.

Horsing Around Rentals at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

Horsing Around Rentals is around the corner from the Community Hall. This is where you can rent bicycles and surrey bikes that seat up to four riders. You can also borrow complimentary basketballs and tennis equipment here.

Other activities include poolside games, nightly campfires (marshmallows are provided, or you can purchase your own s’mores kit), movies under the stars, animation classes (reservation and additional fee required), cornhole challenges and more.

The resort has 5 pools

There are several Disney resorts with multiple pools, but there is typically one heavily themed “feature pool” with a waterslide, splash area and other fun features, and the rest are “quiet pools” without all the bells and whistles.

Two of the five pools at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa are feature pools, and three are quiet or leisure pools. Because the resort is so large, the pools are spread across the property, so you are never far from your next swim.

The High Rock Spring Pool is near the lobby and has a 128-foot-long waterslide, two hot tubs, a splash area for kids with a smaller waterslide, and a poolside bar and grill. The Paddock Pool also has an even taller 146-foot-tall waterslide, a horseshoe-shaped hot tub, a kids splash area with two miniature waterslides and a poolside bar and grill.

The three leisure pools are near the Congress Park area, the Grandstand area and the Treehouse Villas. All three have hot tubs, and the Grandstand pool has a starting gate-themed splash area for young jockeys.

The resort has a storied history

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

Before Saratoga Springs was a hotel, it was home to the Disney Institute campus. At the Disney Insitute, people could take classes on everything from cooking to animation, photography and more during their stay on campus. When the Disney Institute opened in 1996, it had many of the same features as the resort today, including a fitness center, spa, golf course, tennis courts, pools and guest rooms.

The Disney Institute was an entirely new way to experience Disney, but it never gained quite enough traction in its original format to become a popular option for vacationers. In 2000, the Disney Institute shifted its focus to professional development for businesses, and it’s still in operation today.

This new venture didn’t require the use of the entire campus, only the instructional spaces, and in 2004, the reimagined resort officially opened as Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.

Saratoga Springs Resort is also notable because it is one of the few sites at Disney World where Walt Disney himself ever stepped foot. Of course, he visited Florida multiple times while scouting for the parcels of land that would eventually become Walt Disney World, but he died before the park opened.

After the 1965 press conference in Orlando where Walt Disney announced his secretive “Florida Project,” Walt toured the property where Disney World was to be built, stopping for a picnic lunch at a home that was once located on the property, according to the book “Buying Disney’s World: The Story of How Florida Swampland Became Walt Disney World” by Aaron H. Goldberg.

Saratoga Springs Resort has a variety of dining options

Like other Disney Deluxe resorts, Saratoga Springs has both table-service and quick-service dining options.

In addition to the quick-service poolside bars and grills found at the two main pools, the Artist’s Palette in the lobby is the resort’s main quick-service eatery. The Artist’s Palette is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or you can stop in for groceries, bakery items, snacks, cocktails and more.

During my stay, I sampled the plant-based gyro ($10.99) and was impressed by the flavor and serving size. It was more than enough for two meals with the included house-made chips.

The Turf Club Bar and Grill and the Turf Club Lounge are also in the lobby building. The Turf Club Bar and Grill requires advance dining reservations, but you can eat at the lounge without a reservation. My visit coincided with Super Bowl Sunday, so I ate in the lounge and watched some of the game (i.e., the commercials).

The lounge menu differs from the main restaurant’s menu, and I went with the Turf Burger ($22). The burger was topped with bacon, crispy onions, tomato jam and a bourbon glaze and was served alongside seasoned fries. It really hit the spot after a long day of exploring the parks.

You can take a boat to Disney Springs

Only four Disney World resorts offer complimentary boat transportation to Disney Springs: Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — Riverside, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter, Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.

It’s a convenient option because it opens up the shopping and dining experiences at Disney Springs when you want to branch out from what is available at your resort. It only takes about 10 minutes to reach Disney Springs this way. If you were to take a bus, it could take as long as 20 minutes from some Disney hotels.

It’s also a more relaxing way to travel around Disney than on a crowded bus.

You can stay in a Treehouse Villa

Saratoga Springs Resort is also home to 60 secluded Treehouse Villas. These elevated villas have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large deck, a charcoal grill, a full kitchen with a dining table, and a living area. The pool here is the smallest at the resort, and there is no restaurant, but you have access to all of the amenities in the main resort area.

You can reach the lobby by bus or boat to enjoy the resort amenities or hop on a second bus to the parks. Each Treehouse Villa has its own parking spot, so you also have the option to drive to the parks if you bring a car (hotel and theme park parking is complimentary for on-site hotel guests).

Treehouse Villa pricing starts at about $1,000 per night, or you can rent DVC points as you would for other DVC properties and may pay slightly less.

Bottom line

Whether Saratoga Springs Resort is the right choice for you depends on how you like to do Disney, but there’s a lot to love about the equestrian theme, guest rooms with all the conveniences of home and the quiet nature of this pretty property.

Note: Senses Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa has not yet reopened since Disney’s COVID-19-related closure in 2020.

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