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!