5 Reasons to Own at Saratoga Springs and 2 Reasons Not To
The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) features 15 magnificent properties in its current lineup and will open a 16th later this year. With so many wonderful places for members to stay/own, choosing the best pace is nigh-impossible.
Fortunately, I’ve stayed at almost every resort and know the ins and outs of all of them. Here are five good reasons to stay at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa plus two reasons why you may choose elsewhere.
The Negatives of Owning at Saratoga Springs
1. Easy to Book without Owning
As far as negatives go, this one is kind of weak, but let’s explore it anyway. As long-time DVC members know, Saratoga Springs is the easiest resort at Walt Disney World to book. Part of the explanation is inventory, as this hotel has almost double the number of rooms available as the next-largest DVC property.
The other explanation is demand. Some guests perceive Saratoga Springs as a fallback option when everything else is booked rather than a destination location. When all else fails, this hotel regularly has availability. For this reason, it gets taken for granted a bit.
Along those lines, the benefit of a Home Resort is that you get to book there before the opening of the seven-month window. Since you’re likely to find a room at Saratoga Springs within seven months, you’ve lost that prime benefit.
2. Massive Complex Requires a Lot of Walking/Extended Bus Times
This aspect falls in line with the previous one. A hotel with 18 buildings spread across several distinct sections isn’t the easiest to navigate. You’ll walk a lot when you stay at this resort, especially when you’re not in one of the Preferred room types, the most desired sections.
Similarly, Saratoga Springs has a prolonged bus route. It has a total of five stops on its internal route, which can delay your trip to the theme parks 10-15 minutes, depending on where you’re staying.
This added layer of overhead may or may not bother you, depending on much of a planner you are. Since the hotel skews a bit older, it caters to a more laid-back crowd who generally don’t mind as much. If you hate wasting a single moment of Disney vacation time, the transportation situation may irritate you.
The Positives of Owning at Saratoga Springs
1. The Beautiful Campus
The entire Saratoga Springs campus is beautifully appointed. The contractor liaised with Disney officials on construction at the former Disney Institute grounds. One of the topics of conversation involved the fact that Disney’s entertainment complex, then called Downtown Disney, was close to the grounds.
For obvious reasons, Disney needed the area around Downtown Disney to look gorgeous. After all, boats transported guests around this part of Disney. The sights that the guests saw on these boats defined a portion of the Disney experience for them.
When you roam the Saratoga Springs campus, it will take your breath away. The lush foliage and water views are sublime. It’s not a coincidence that The BOATHOUSE sells $125 Amphicar tours whose path is primarily by the shores of the resort. Everyone involved with what we now call Disney Springs knows how sumptuous the grounds of this hotel are.
2. Pricing / Points Value
One of the ironclad laws of DVC is that resort price per point trends upward. Today’s prices seem comically cheap only a few years later. So, any discussion of resort cost may seem dated soon afterward.
Keeping that in mind, Saratoga Springs is currently one of the two cheapest DVC resorts at Walt Disney World, alongside Disney’s Old Key West Resort. At the time of publication, the price per point is in the low-$100s range.
Some contracts are even available for $90 or less. Even the most expensive DVC contracts at Saratoga Springs currently max out at roughly $125. Folks, that’s a steal for an Orlando-based DVC property. Additionally, Saratoga Springs frequently ranks as the best economical DVC Resort to own long term when considering price, dues and years left on the deed.
The stunning part is that Saratoga Springs contracts come with a secondary pricing advantage. The nightly room cost is extremely reasonable in terms of DVC point requirements.
A single night is 22 points or less on at least 355 days of the year! Only Fridays and Saturdays during Premier Season cost more, and even they max out at 28 points. I don’t have to tell DVC members how rare this sort of pricing is.
In fact, you can stay at Saratoga Springs for 17 points or less on more than half the days of the year. That’s tremendous DVC points value on top of the cheap DVC contract pricing. This resort is one of the best for maximizing your vacation budget.
3. Disney Springs
In addition to the previously mentioned bus route, all roads at Saratoga Springs seemingly lead to Disney Springs. The resort has specialized boat transportation to and from the themed land. In combination with the beauty of the campus, I find it to be one of the most serene experiences at Walt Disney World.
Of course, Saratoga Springs also offers something that no other Walt Disney World DVC resort can match. It has a bridge that connects the resort to Disney Springs. You can walk straight from the hotel to your favorite stores and restaurants in the entertainment complex. Out of all of the amenities at the hotel, this one is the most important to many guests.
4. Treehouse Villas
The splashiest rooms to book at Saratoga Springs are the exclusive Treehouse Villas. These octagonal suites are a small slice of Disney paradise. They rest on support beams that look like stilts, so they’re elevated and kind of look like they could walk off on their own. From the moment that you see one of these buildings, you’ll be obsessed to stay there.
The symmetrical suites are 1,074 square feet of brilliantly utilized space. They actually sleep nine. Imagineers pulled off this feat by building rooms with one queen bed each plus other areas with bunk beds, a sleeper chair, and a sleeper sofa. It’s an oddly intimate, rustic experience for guests to share.
The most fabulous part of the Treehouse Villas is their location. Disney has built them in a forested area, giving each one an element of seclusion. You’ll be in the heart of Disney yet feel like you’re in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere. It’s a tantalizing, intoxicating proposition.
5. Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course
Are you a golfer? Do you love walking an 18-hole course, only to spoil it with 80 semi-accurate golf shots? Saratoga Springs is undeniably the resort of choices for fans of the links.
Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course is hosted at the resort! When you take the boat to Saratoga Springs, your exit spot is almost on the course. In other words, it’s impossible to miss and a joy to play.
Golf Digest gives the course four stars, while Audubon International has honored it as a Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary. This course isn’t gimmicky, either. It’s so revered that both the PGA and the LPGA have hosted events here. Yes, you’ll be playing the same holes as many of your favorite golf pros! How great is that?