Road & Travel Magazine - Adventure Travel  Channel

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Climate Views & Videos
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory
Automotive Channel
Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate News & Views
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Bookmark and Share

Walt Disney World's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Florida Disney World Resort Echoes Old Saratoga Springs, NY

by Jessica Howell

The sun sinks behind the landscape that is Saratoga Springs… Florida. Modeled after the city of the same name in quiet, upstate New York, this Walt Disney World Resort and Spa is a sweeping grounds complete with colorfully painted Victorian buildings spread over rolling, green hills. Ponds that boast spraying fountains and pretty stems weave through the gentle property, indicative of a simpler, slower time. That’s right—all of this in the commotion that is Orlando's Disney World.

Consider it a step back in time. Disney does. They quote the resort's theme as "health-history-horses," inspired by the indefinable charm of its namesake city during it’s heyday in the late 1800s.

Walt Disney World's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Just across from Downtown Disney, the magical playground’s shopping-centric area, Saratoga Springs Vacation Club plays host to families of all sizes—and caters specifically to extended stays. Consequently, it's the largest Disney World resort with 828 guest units, and for that reason it offers a vast collection of amenities to keep everyone in the family happy.

Bike carts—the ones that carry a family of four or five—are being strategically pedaled past me as I make my way to the resort's check-in facilities. Centrally-located near the two dining establishments, pool and spa, the lobby operates as the heart of Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. Here, guests are handed a critical map of the property before they're golf-carted to their assigned unit. Want a room that’s close to the always-hopping High Rock Spring pool? (If you have kids, you probably do.) Ask upon making a reservation—your odds will jump considerably.

My room, located in the Congress Park building, was as far away from the "heart" of the property as you could get. Free shuttles roll through the resort on a regular basis, but most were on their way out—not toward the lobby, pool or dining.

The room, however, was well-worth the walk that I endured to get to and from it. A one-bedroom villa, it featured a foyer, a full kitchen, sitting room with pull-out couch, elegant bedroom and spacious Jacuzzi-equipped bathroom. Sliding glass doors led to a balcony that offered lakeside views of nearby Downtown Disney, whose twinkling lights glittered rewardingly at dusk. After all, a day accomplished at Disney is something to be proud of. And in some parts of the resort, guests can catch Downtown Disney’s nightly fireworks without leaving their balcony.

Walt Disney World's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
One-Bedroom Vacation Villa

To pamper your will-be tired tootsies, the spa is available for massages, facials, aromatherapies and more. Saratoga Springs, it happens, is home to what The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids (Wiley, $16.99) refers to as "Disney World's Best Fitness Center and Spa." Just outside, is the fore-mentioned High Rock Springs pool, where day-time visitors are treated to weekly pool parties and evening guests are privy to outdoor movie showings.

It might be the farthest resort from Disney's many theme parks, but Saratoga Springs is a sophisticated lodging option that's both practical and plush. For adults, it's an ideal option thanks to its "adult pools," proximity to Downtown Disney (and Pleasure Island), and upscale, character-free atmosphere.

A few tips you'll want to consider when booking a room at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa:

  • Request a room close to the pool area. Evenings are relatively quiet everywhere on the property and some buildings are a very far, and inconvenient, walk from the center of the resort.

  • Upon check-in, schedule check-out bell service for departure. You’ll likely need a golf cart to pick you and your luggage up. When I attempted to schedule a golf cart pick up the night before I was leaving (7:00am the following morning), the bellmen were booked from 5:30am on.

  • Dining on this property is limited. Guests have the option of eating at the cafeteria-style Artist’s Palate or the tame Turf Grille (try the Grille’s signature Grilled Caesar Salad!), but full kitchens allow for in-room dinners.

  • Use buses to get to Disney’s theme parks; use the boat launch to visit Downtown Disney, across the lake.

If You Go:

Walt Disney World’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Downtown Disney Area
Telephone: (407) 827-1100
Reservations: (407) WDW-MAGIC (939-6244)
Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa Website