Saratoga Springs 2-Year Overhaul Update
Saratoga Springs Resort is in the midst of a massive 2-year refurbishment project. In this post, we’ll share construction photos, a tentative timeline, and thoughts on how this will impact stays at Walt Disney World’s largest DVC resort. (Updated January 9, 2020.)
We first published this early last fall, and have returned to update our SSR construction report with how things are progressing as of early 2020. We stayed at Saratoga Springs Resort this week and won the lottery twice. Not only were we put in a newly-reimagined room (photos, video, and review coming soon!) but we were also upgraded from a studio to a one-bedroom unit. This is exceedingly rare when using DVC points, as we were.
Our room was in the Congress Park 1501-1836 building. Currently, all of the work is confined to this area of the resort, which was also the first section to open during Saratoga Springs Resort’s phased opening 15 years ago. The two buildings closest to Disney Springs have already reopened, and renovations on the other two Congress Park buildings are nearing completion…
Previously, we’ve dropped in to check on this construction by walking from Disney Springs. On a cool winter day, it’s a lovely stroll and pretty easy to walk along the promenade up to the lobby to dine at Artist’s Palette, which is an underrated Walt Disney World counter service restaurant.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the layout of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, here’s a map to familiarize you with what we’ll be looking at in this post:
The buildings that are pictured here are those in Congress Park, which is the red area nearest Disney Springs.
One of these two buildings in Congress Park is entirely under construction, while the other appears to be partially a work in progress (at least from what we could see at night) with some rooms occupied.
Given what we observed, Congress Park should be finished entirely by sometime in February 2020.
As of January 2020, a large portion of the parking lot in Congress Park is also walled off with as a staging area (pictured below). In addition, there’s also now a staging area in The Springs, and that’ll presumably be the next section of the resort to have its rooms refurbished.
This marks Saratoga Springs Resort’s first hard goods refurbishment since it opened.
Saratoga Springs opened in three phases from 2004 to 2007, and in the most extreme cases (such as Congress Park), that means it hasn’t seen this type of work in just over 15 years.
Above is a closer look at the building interiors.
As you might be able to see, the windows are tagged, some have already been gutted, and there’s equipment inside.
The same styles of sofa sleeper being utilized at Disney’s Riviera Resort are being installed during the Saratoga Springs Resort refurbishment.
Due to the opening night “incident” when one of Riviera’s beds fell from the wall, the Saratoga Springs pull-down Murphy bed are also being tested/reinforced, which has led to some temporarily being out of commission.
Most are already back in use and we’re told the rest will be finished very soon.
We are big fans of this pull-down style bed, and think it’ll be a nice addition to Saratoga Springs. We assume that this will become the new standard for all DVC resorts as they undergo future hard goods refurbishments.
In speaking with Cast Members at Saratoga Springs last summer, we’ve learned a few things.
First, this project began last June and is projected to last 2 full years.
Second, Congress Park is not expected to be totally finished until January 2020. (UPDATE: Slightly behind schedule, but still accurate.)
Third, after Congress Park, the next section that will close is the Paddock. (UPDATE: It now seems like a near-certainty that The Springs will be next given that’s where the new staging area is located.)
Finally, the refurbishment will take two buildings out of commission at a time, with extensive interior and exterior work being done during that time.
That last one can more or less be gleaned based upon what we see happening, and recent refurbishment patterns at other Walt Disney World resorts.
Note that there are currently about a dozen lifts, closed pathways & parking, and dozens of construction workers in Congress Park as they work on the interiors and exteriors of the remaining two buildings that aren’t yet totally completed as of January 2020.
Despite this, we felt the construction impact is minimal during our stay in Congress Park. We had zero issue finding a parking spot despite a large section of the nearby lot being closed off, and never heard or saw construction from our room. Perhaps we would’ve felt differently if they put us in the room that’s also actively being worked on.
The closed paths and parking area are around buildings that are closed, so these won’t impact you. Noise is minimal, and there are no large walls or heavy machinery outside of the construction area. The paths to Disney Springs are still open, and while walking those, you might mistake this for routine exterior cleaning or maintenance. The quiet pool over here more or less separates the areas of Congress Park that’ll open from the buildings that aren’t.
Suffice to say, we would not hesitate to stay at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa during this construction. Another thing to note is that the rooms being remodeled right now are in Preferred areas, which is something to keep in mind when booking stays at Saratoga Springs later in 2020. We’ll keep you posted with periodic updates on this construction at Saratoga Springs!
Thinking about joining DVC? First be sure to read our Ultimate Guide to Disney Vacation Club. This covers the pros & cons, resale v. direct, how much money you’ll save, and other important things to know before taking the plunge. If you still can’t decide whether membership is right for you, “try before you buy” and rent points from DVC Rental Store. If you are convinced a membership is for you, check out the discounted options at DVC Resale Market. Planning a Walt Disney World trip? For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know.
Are you looking forward to the room renovations at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa? Will these new rooms plus easy access to Disney Springs make Congress Park more appealing to you? Any additional insight into the construction? If you’re an owner at Saratoga, what do you think? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!
Hi! (Love the blog). I know you’ve updated your other post that has all the resort renovation info on it but you haven’t touched on the rooms at SS in a while. Do you know how the room renovations are going and if all the areas are completed yet? We’re staying in a 1 bedroom villa standard view room soon and are wondering if we have a good chance at getting an updated room. Thanks!
Any update on the construction at Saratoga Springs?
Thank you for such a helpful blog! Do you know if all the rehab in SS will be completed for our visit 10/21?
Does anyone know if the tree houses will be refurbished as well? I’m sure those will immediately become a hot commodity if they are!
My parents, sister, and I (four adults) will be staying here May 10th-12th in a deluxe studio with preferred view that we got by renting DVC points. We splurged to celebrate and we have never been there before. Any tips or advice for us?
We spent a few days last week at the Saratoga Springs Treetop Villas. Hope they are on a renovation list soon.
Has remodeling only happened at Congress? Any update for The Paddock, The Grandstand and The Carousel?
Tom mentioned that Preferred Room buildings are being done first, so that only includes buildings in Congress Park (just about done) and The Springs (just about starting). Congress Park has the best views, and is my favorite neighborhood. The Springs provides the optimal location with regard to the main building and pool. I’m going in early April and booked a Preferred Room – for those extra points, that better include an updated room in Congress Park.
Did you get a renovated room ?!
We stayed at a refurbished dedicated two bedroom for Christmas. The room featured the small twin Murphy bed under the living room television set as well as the large Murphy bed integrated into the wall unit above the couch. Both Murphy beds were Exceedingly comfortable.
The new apartment sized washer and dryer did an excellent job.
These two bedrooms should soon be reclassified as officially sleeping nine, due to the new additions, however there were only plates and glasses for eight.
The kitchen counter over looking the living room no longer features a dining bar. So the only designated eating space is the rather petite dining room table.
We dragged the footstool from the master bedroom out to be used as an additional seating space for the table. But other than utilizing the high chair, I do not think it could seat more than six people with the current chair options,
The luxury Vinyl Plank flooring was fantastic, the deep non-whirlpool tub relaxing. The Peek-a-boo bathroom window into the Master bedroom is mercifully gone.
The finishes were upscale and the color palate refined and elegant. I used to detest the old decor, but I will happily stay here again in a refurbished room.
The television sets were amazing! So much clarity! It was fun to watch movies.
Well it is about time. The annual fees at Saratoga have gone through the roof for the past 5 years.
Have the Disney imagineers ever been to Saratoga? Other than the horse statue and the cupola, the architecture and color scheme seem more beach themed to me then historic (and stuffy) Saratoga. Am I missing something?
So thrilled that the renovations are taking place. We were there a year ago and when we sat on the sofa in the room we sank to the floor. The decor and colors are dreary. I hope it is truly a change. Those carpets need to be burned. Love the location. Love the pool. So happy inside of rooms being completely updated.
Is there any chance that they will add a twin sized murphy style bed like they’ve added at some of the other resorts? I would really like for these rooms to be able to sleep 5.
It’s possible, but I’m not sure.
I stayed in Congress Park in end of September and the room had been renovated with a Murphy bed in place of a pull-out. The room was beautiful. My favorite upgrade was they got rid of carpet, it was beautiful herringbone laminate flooring.
Yes I wish the rooms slept 5!
On the DVC Fan page on Facebook, a member posted pictures from one of the test rooms about a month or so ago. It’s very close to the pictures released last December. And there are pictures of the bathroom as well.
I’m curious, the articles on Disney tourist blog don’t seem to have a publication date. It seems to get an idea when an article was published, one needs to look at the date of the first comment. Just wondering if this an oversight?
I wish that Tom had a date stamp at the top of his articles too!
Yes, a date stamp is needed. This is the only blog I follow (Disney or otherwise) that doesn’t include a date on the articles. I have no idea how old the info is.
I agree on this point, too! I try to follow along as Tom posts, but I’d still like to see a date stamp at the top.
Agreed, date stamps would be appreciated.
I have a preferred 1-bedroom booked for the last week of January. Reeeeally hoping to get one of these units since my friend will be sleeping in the living room.
Did you get an updated room? How was it?
As owners, it’s great to see Saratoga Springs getting its much deserved refresh, just in time for the resort’s appeal to be optimized as Disney Springs approaches a final state. I wrote the same in the review of the resort itself after we there stayed last November, but our building in Congress Park (and I’m sure the other neighborhoods as well) was way overdue for exterior paint work – the red and green hues were severely faded. The buildings just looked really weathered, and not in a good way. The interior of our Grand Villa was surprisingly pristine, but one area I really hope(!) the remodel addresses is the ridiculous amount of dead space at the top of the landing on the second floor. This is a perfect spot to place a pool table. (any furniture added there may tempt people to exceeed the stated maximum occupancy) The Grand Californian utilizes this same space in this fashion, so Saratoga Springs can as well. As I also noted in the hotel review, it’s almost as if this was the intent from the start (i.e. Turf Club adjacent), but budget cuts nixed the idea at the last minute and the space has remained vacant for fifteen years and counting. C’mon Disney Design team – you can do better than wasted space!
Ok great! Regardless, the pull-down bed is a major plus! I hope they go in the direction of the photos. Seems lightened up and more relaxing to me.
The photo in the article is Riviera, not SSR.
We are staying in a Grand Villa in mid November. I requested the Paddock, near the wooden bridge to the Springs. If they are ahead of schedule by then and make it to the Paddock, I would assume they would be working on the buildings closer to Congress Park. Fingers crossed.
You say they haven’t posted concept art however I found this https://dvcnews.com/index.php/resorts/saratoga-springs/news-94078/4354-first-look-at-saratoga-springs-refurbishment. Are you saying that these renderings most likely aren’t accurate? Thanks for the photo updates. Love all the hard work you put into your posts!
I don’t know if those photos are accurate as to the thematic flourishes and specific design elements, but they’re definitely accurate as to the pull-down sofa sleeper. What’s pictured there is the same thing offered in the new/upcoming rooms at Disney’s Riviera Resort.
Ok great! Regardless, the pull-down bed is a major plus! I hope they go in the direction of the photos. Seems lightened up and more relaxing to me.
Those new sleeper sofas look nice, but I don’t see how they can be used at OKW except maybe the studio. And I would hate for them to remove the second queen sized bed in the OKW studio. That’s the only studio we’ll book because of two real beds.
I absolutely love all your posts and follow you regularly. I thought I read somewhere, and of course cannot find it, a website you can go to where Time Share Owners of Disney Properties will rent them out if they cannot use them. I have celebrated my kids 1st Birthday with Mickey and now my first grandchild is having his 1st birthday and my daughter is keeping the tradition.
I started going to Disney when I was 17 and I have been 71 times. I just turned 60 and had the best time celebrating in Disney!!! There is nothing like Disney. I have been lucky enough to have gone to Disneyland Paris!
Thank you so much for all you do for us Disney Lovers!!!!
Sherry, I believe you are referring to services like DVC Rental Store. Tom has referenced them, and I have used them to book AKL several years ago and they were great.