As part of the 2-Year Overhaul of Saratoga Springs Resort, totally new villas and hotel rooms are debuting. Thus far, only a handful of buildings with the reimagined rooms have debuted, all in the Congress Park section near Disney Springs. Here we’ll share photos and video from inside the new rooms at Walt Disney World’s largest Disney Vacation Club resort.
After seeing the concept art, construction around Saratoga Springs Resort, and touring the model rooms for Disney’s Riviera Resort, we were really eager to see the end result here. Figuring some rooms would be ready late last year, we booked a strategic stay for the beginning of 2020 during “Adventure Season” when the required points would be lowest.
Even then, we knew we were rolling the dice. Only a small percentage of the rooms at Saratoga Springs Resort have been completed, so there was a strong probability we’d get an old room. Worse yet, with our luck there was a chance we’d end up in an old room in the building half under construction. To the contrary, our luck turned out to be very good, and we won the Walt Disney World lottery…twice!
Not only were we put in a newly-reimagined room but we were also upgraded from a Deluxe Studio to a One-Bedroom Villa. This is exceedingly rare when using Disney Vacation Club points (as we were), but has actually happened to us twice in the last few years. I’m guessing it’s because we’re usually doing one-night stays, which makes it easier to shift around our reservation.
Upon seeing it was a 1BR unit, I asked Sarah whether we should request a studio instead. The are you nuts?! look on her face gave me my answer. I thought readers would be more interested in seeing a Deluxe Studio since that’s more in line with a normal hotel room and what we usually feature in posts here–I’ll guess you’ll just have to imagine how this translates to a Deluxe Studio.
Saratoga Springs Resort is actually our home DVC resort, but we haven’t stayed there in a while. In fact, for a while it was far and away our least favorite Disney Vacation Club resort. We cover the dilemma of which home resort to choose, and which we’d pick if we had to do it all over again in our Bay Lake Tower: Best DVC Home Resort?post. Spoiler: the answer is in the title.
In recent years, Saratoga Springs has grown us considerably. Some enhancements around the resort have given it more depth and character, Disney Springs has blossomed into the culinary epicenter of Walt Disney World, and new resorts have debuted (*cough*Riviera*cough*) that make it look better by comparison.
In any case, we were looking forward to a fun resort-centered visit, splitting time between the room and Disney Springs. We had a couple of meals at Disney Springs (4 Rivers Cantina and STK) and saw a couple of movies (Little Women and Ford v. Ferrari) in between time in the chairs on our balcony.
Not that you care, but even beyond the new rooms, it was a great stay at Saratoga Springs that gave us even more appreciation for the resort. We often mention how Animal Kingdom Lodge is the ultimate resort for a “no parks” long weekend getaway, but Disney Springs might give that a serious run for its money if you’re into eating, shopping, and filmgoing.
Moving on to the new rooms…
Before offering my commentary, check out the above video so you can form your own conclusions.
(Also, please enjoy our smooth and seamless teamwork to “magically” transform the main living room, ha!)
These have me a bit torn. Ultimately, I think the room is a clear and unequivocal upgrade from what Saratoga Springs Resort had before–and I actually liked those rooms at one point.
However, I think the plaid patterning and earth tones were starting to look a bit dated, and not in keeping with the light and bright look of the resort as a whole.
The new rooms are definitely lighter, brighter, and contain a variety of fun Disney touches.
The interior design features is generally low-key, but offers subtle sophistication, clever and engaging uses of texture, an abundance of clean lines, and upgraded finishings throughout. From the herringbone plank flooring to the wheel chandelier, the features have been plussed in a variety of ways.
In terms of functionality, there’s no question–these are far superior to what was there before. The pull-down Murphy bed is far more comfortable than the sofa sleeper.
This is identical to the system added at Disney’s Riviera Resort, and similar to the one at Pop Century and the All Stars (we think the mattress is slightly thinner here, but can’t confirm that).
The artwork is fun and gives the room some nice and on-theme Disney touches.
The concept art and paintings that used to be in the rooms were more my speed, but those were also arguably drab. Having more vibrant and lighthearted imagery is more suiting to the resort.
In the shelves in the living room, I really like the custom-made “Best Dad” and “Best Old Horse” trophies.
These are both very on-brand for Saratoga Springs Resort.
However (there’s always a however, isn’t there?!), a lot of the furnishings and stylistic choices strike me as being very on-trend and off-the-shelf.
Although not by choice, I watch a lot of HGTV, and many of the specific stylistic choices here are exactly what you’d find in the dozen-plus indistinguishable shows on that network. I feel like I’d see a lot of the same things here as a condo in Champions Gate, Davenport, or Reunion.
In some places, I also think the rooms look a bit too monochrome.
This art is a good example of both issues. The idea of inserting Disney characters into the on-theme photos is a neat one, but the display feels a bit drab and the lineup of frames looks really trendy.
I’m not sure whether that’s too harsh, though. All of this stuff is on-trend because it plays well with people, and this is like a good marriage of contemporary interior design complemented by Disney touches.
It’s not themed to the hilt like the new rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge, but nor is the exterior of Saratoga Springs Resort.
The new-look rooms are in keeping with Saratoga Springs Resort as a whole, which is arguably a Disneyfied condo community. If this were Wilderness Lodge or BoardWalk Inn, I’d be deriding the design.
But Saratoga Springs is a very different resort than those, and it’s always been more about function and comfort than theme. (And to be fair, these rooms are unquestionably better than the new ones at BoardWalk or Beach Club–and that’s without grading on a curve.)
Within that context, these new rooms at Saratoga Springs Resort are winners. I suspect most DVC members who call SSR their home resort will appreciate the choices and tradeoffs made here. As someone who skews towards the “highly-themed” end of the fan spectrum, Saratoga Springs Resort was never my favorite to begin with. It has definitely grown on me thanks to a variety of improvements in the last decade or so, and now these new rooms join that list.
Finally, we’ve referenced several other room overhauls in this post. If you’re interesting in reading/seeing our other posts concerning these new rooms to judge for yourself how Saratoga Springs Resort stacks here, here’s the full list of our reviews, with the letter grade I’d give to each in parentheses:
Note that these leaves off a few resorts (Caribbean Beach, Coronado, BoardWalk Inn) all of which we’ve covered elsewhere, mostly in updated resort reviews. See our updated Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page for those.
What do you think of the new rooms at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Do you prefer the look of the old or new rooms? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!