Not being a Disney Vacation Club Member makes me feel like I’m missing out on some of the properties at Walt Disney World Resort. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to snag a room at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa on a recent vacation this past January.
The resort itself is set in a beautiful area of the Walt Disney World Resort. It is somewhat off the beaten path and is surrounded by lots of trees. Saratoga Springs is designed to look like a late 1800’s Victorian resort located in the well-known upstate New York area famous for horse racing. The buildings are very “old world charming” with an equestrian theme that is carried into the main lobby and registration area. In the middle is a circular seating area adorned with a carousel horse on the top. The high ceiling in the lobby is beautifully decorated with a elegant iron chandelier.
During our stay, the area in front of the lobby was quite crowded with Guests awaiting their transfer to Port Canaveral to board their Disney Cruise Line ship and buses to take others to the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs. We arrived well before check-in time, and had planned on eating lunch and exploring the grounds of the resort before our room was ready; however, the Cast Member who took our registration noticed that we had two small children and found us a room that was all ready to go. It’s the small touches like that that make Walt Disney World vacations stand out! My daughter was disappointed that our room was ready so quickly; she was really enjoying making new friends in the small kid movie viewing area off the side of the lobby.
We stayed in a Deluxe Studio room which consisted of a queen-sized bed and a full-sized sleeper sofa. It was enough room for my family of four with two small children, but I think sleeping arrangements might be somewhat uncomfortable for families with larger children. The most impressive part of the room to me was the small kitchenette area. The kitchenette area consisted of a small refrigerator, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, dishes, glasses, silverware, and cleaning supplies. I know these come standard in most Disney Vacation Club resorts, but not in the Moderate and Value resorts that we usually stay in. As our trip was only one night, we did not get to take advantage of this amenity, but it would be so convenient for longer stays! We usually have breakfast in the room before leaving for the parks and snacks during our midday rest. With these amenities, we would have had a lot more options. The bathroom was separate from the vanity area. Both areas were large, and made it very easy for everyone to get ready quickly. The closet was stocked with several items that a family might need during their stay–extra pillows, blankets, and even a pack and play for a baby or toddler to sleep in.
After checking into our room, we decided to walk over to The Paddock Grill to grab some lunch. The Paddock Grill is located just of the deck of The Paddock Pool area. The Paddock Grill had a great lunch menu. I had a cheeseburger with fries. The burger was very large and very juicy. My husband loves a good mahi sandwich. His standards for a mahi sandwich are high, and he rarely finds one anywhere that is better than “just ok.” However, he said the Spice-crusted Fish Sandwich at The Paddock Grill was delicious, and the best fish sandwich he had on Disney property! My small daughters were able to split the kids chicken nugget basket since it was quite a large portion of food. Mainly, The Paddock Grill offers typical poolside, grilled fare, but there are a couple of more sophisticated items such as a Turkey Artichoke Panini and Barbecued Pork Belly. The Paddock Grill is a great little place to eat.
The Paddock Pool is not the main pool at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, but was plenty big. It features its very own 146 foot waterslide and zero-depth entry to the pool. Unfortunately, we visited in January and the weather was too cool for us to enjoy the pool, but hopefully we’ll be back another time when it’s warmer.
The resort grounds were very shady with lots of large trees and were beautiful. Our ground floor room had a sliding glass door that opened out to a little porch. It was nice to have a nice breeze blow through the room and enjoy the beautiful courtyard from the patio. There are also lakes and fountains that add to the beautiful landscape. We had the chance to see a lot of the resort as we followed the walking path that connects Saratoga Springs to the Disney Springs entertainment complex. The walk took about 10 minutes, but there is also an option to take a boat from the resort to Disney Springs.
Transportation is always an important consideration for my family since we push around a large double stroller. We had a resort bus stop right in front of our building. It was very convenient, and the bus was not very crowded when we rode on it. The buses do make several stops around the perimeter of the resort, so there is always a bus stop nearby.
Our stay at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa was too short for my liking. There was a lot more to the resort that we did not get to see or experience. Hopefully, we’ll be able to stay at this Disney Vacation Club resort again soon….or maybe I’ll just have to consider a DVC membership!
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