Horsing Around at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Friday, October 29, 2010

Welcome to upstate New York and the foothills of the Adirondack mountain range.  Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa was modeled and themed after the town of Saratoga Springs, NY.  The town is known for its many hamlets, coves, and villages.  It’s also known for its beautiful parks, landscaping, and horse track.  These characteristics were translated in a big way at Walt Disney World.  With its soft pastel-colored buildings, beautifully landscaped lakefronts and courtyards, and equestrian touches Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is a resort destination unlike any other. 

Saratoga Springs is part of Disney’s vacation club offerings.  It’s a large, but very spread-out resort.  The first phase opened in May of 2004 with more phases opening later in 2005.  When the resort first opened it was rather undeveloped, but over the past 5 years it has blossomed into something more substantial.  To many Disney Vacation Club members it’s practically resort "eye candy" as you walk and drive through the resort.  Some guests believe the resort is too spread out, but most see it as an opportunity to enjoy the walking paths, scenery, and adjacent golf course that winds through the resort property. 

Only a “driver and 5 iron” away from Saratoga Springs is Disney’s shopping, dining, and entertainment district, Downtown Disney.  In fact, it’s so close you can choose to take a walking path to the Marketplace section, or a short boat ride near Pleasure Island of Downtown Disney.  Both sections are full of Disney souvenir shops, dining and some entertainment. 

Saratoga Springs has several sections.  Each section is named after certain aspects of Saratoga Springs, NY like Congress Park named after the towns many parks or the Grandstand named after the towns horse racing reputation.  In the center of all the resort sections is the Carriage House where you will find the check-in desk, dining, shopping, and other activities. 

Inside the check-in area you’ll find pastel colors and horse related touches to transport you to the quaint town of Saratoga Springs, NY. 

Located down the hall through the breezeway is the Artist’s Palette, the resort’s counter service dining location.  The restaurant is themed after the many examples of culture and artistry located in the town of Saratoga Springs, NY. 

The ordering area

The seating area

Walking toward the back of the Carriage House is the resorts lounge, bar area, and table service restaurant called the Turf Club Bar & Grill.  The Turf Club Bar & Grill was included in 2006 after guests kept requesting a table service restaurant be added to the resort.  Walking to Downtown Disney for a table service restaurant option was somewhat inconvenient when you didn’t want to leave the resort.  

The bar and lounge is equipped with pool tables 

The table service restaurant sits off the bar and lounge area 

Outside the Carriage House is the main resort feature pool called High Rock Spring pool.  Located around the feature pool are other resort amenities like the arcade, a full service spa, fitness room, and pool bar.  Saratoga Springs, NY is known for its many springs and lakes and the resort’s feature pool is themed to reflect those aspects of the town. 

The pool

The Donald Duck water feature splash area 

Win, Place, or Show Arcade 

On the Rocks pool bar where you can find a refillable mug station

If you need a bike or equipment rental you can find them right outside the pool area.

Located just above the pool area is the resort’s spa.  Many guests consider this spa to be the best on Disney World property.  Inside is a full service spa and quite possibly the best fitness center on property. 

Spa waiting area

As I mentioned previously Saratoga Springs is one of the most beautifully landscaped resorts on property.  To be perfectly honest photos don’t do this resort’s landscaping justice.  There’s just too much landscape to cover.  If you ever get a chance to visit the resort be sure to spend some time walking around enjoying the common areas and courtyards.  They will inspire you. 

Also located on the resort’s property are artistic touches that blend in with the landscape and help promote the resort’s theme. . 

Winner’s Circle

Gurgling fountains

Also located through and around the resort is the Lake Buena Vista golf course.  Disney’s Saratoga Springs is more than a resort community.  It can also be a golfing destination unlike any other.  Besides the Lake Buena Vista golf course Walt Disney World offers several other courses to enjoy like the Palm and Magnolia courses located near the Magic Kingdom park. 

LBV golf course

I used to think Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa was just another Disney Vacation Club resort, but over the past 3 or 4 years my attitude has changed.  Watching the resort’s landscape develop, and with the addition of more quiet or semi-feature pools my feelings towards this resort have drastically changed in a positive direction.  It’s no longer a resort to just “hang your hat” for the evening, but a true resort destination.  In fact, you may find yourself or your family spending more time at this resort than in the theme parks. 

When you visit or stay at this resort be sure to spend time enjoying the scenery, amenities, and common areas.  A round of golf on the Lake Buena Vista golf course is a terrific way to view the resort’s beauty.  Get your walking shoes on because a tour of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is a real treat.  After your stay or visit you’ll understand why there’s no horsing around at this resort.  It’s a beautiful work of art. 

Next Up:  It’s ok to pig out at Disney World.  You just need to work out during your vacation…. 

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About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


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