Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is a Disney Vacation Club deluxe villa hotel at Walt Disney World that is themed to an area of upstate New York that is known for horse racing. Saratoga Springs Resort feels like an idealized version of Saratoga Springs, New York, as it’s surrounded by golf courses, winding waterways, and features cookie-cutter buildings all in an inviting pastel color palette. It feels like the perfectly planned community.
Depending upon your perspective, this theming could be the perfect vacation resort for you, or it could feel like a experiment in city planning taken too far. If you’ve read our Disney Vacation Club Resort Rankings and have seen that we placed Saratoga Springs Resort dead last, you might assume that our take is the latter. It’s not. We’re actually somewhere in the middle. We agree with the criticism of Saratoga Springs Resort’s theme–it’s very generic, and feels to us like a nice timeshare resort that you might find anywhere. The equestrian layer seems tacked on as a random layer of artifice.
It feels like Disney was trying to cast a wide net with Saratoga Springs Resort’s theming so it wasn’t really off-putting to anyone, which might very well be the case since it was Disney’s most ambitious Disney Vacation Club property to date when built. In the process, though, they made it too bland. On the plus side, it’s more of a buyer’s market on Saratoga Springs Resort Disney Vacation Club points than on any other resort. It’s our home resort and the Disney Vacation Club resort we recommend buying via the resale market.
It seems like horse racing could be removed and replaced with some other random thing, say competitive canine frisbee, and is set in the quiet community of La Mirada, California, famous for its many canine frisbee World Championships. Yes, Saratoga Springs Resort might bear some resemblances to Saratoga Springs, New York, but it’s such a generic look that it’s likely to bear resemblance to any number of real world places. Because of this, we feel it lacks the type of theming that we enjoy in Disney hotels.
Conversely, we recognize that those who are not looking for a transportive theme are likely to love Saratoga Springs. Once you get past the horse racing thing, there’s little pretense. It simply looks and feels like a nice, sprawling timeshare. Those who are used to vacation clubs elsewhere that don’t have extensive theming and backstory may like this, as after a long day of the “Disney experience” in the theme parks, they may be looking for an escape from that in their hotel.