DVC Studio Review – Saratoga Springs

Raymond and I have been Disney Vacation Club members since 2011.  Our home resorts are Bay Lake Tower and the Villas at the Grand Floridian.  When Megan and I decided to take our mother/daughter trip to check out Pandora, we needed three nights for specific dates.  The only resort available at the time we booked our room was Saratoga Springs.  This would be our first visit to the resort and we were excited to try a new place.

DVC Studio Review – Saratoga Springs

A bit of research helped me figure out where the best room option for us would be.  I called DVC and requested a studio in the Paddock area as close to the Congress Park section as possible.  Congress Park is popular for its close proximity to the walkway to Disney Springs, but the studios there require a higher point usage.  Because Raymond and Joseph wouldn’t be going with us, it seemed best (and nicest) to conserve points if possible.  Staying Sunday – Wednesday used 47 points.  Our room request was granted and we found ourselves also close to the Congress Park bus stop.  While we weren’t planning on spending any time at the resort except for sleeping, we wanted to be able to walk easily (and safely) to Disney Springs and back for our Paddlefish reservation.

Our first impression of Saratoga Springs was great.  Upon arrival, we parked near the Carriage House to check in and found the grounds and main building to be cheerful and welcoming.  The staff was super friendly and in short order, we were on our way to studio 6612.

The entrance was welcoming, but the hallways and outside entrances felt a little gloomy.  Inside we found a sink/vanity area outside the bathroom (tub/shower and toilet), a queen-sized bed, a small kitchenette area, and a sitting area with a sofa, ottoman and table and chairs.

The details were charming and the space (355 square feet) was perfect for the two of us.  These studios sleep up to four with the pull-out sleeper sofa, but Megan and I thought it would be pretty crowded with more than the two of us unless the second two people were small children.

Final thoughts…

Saratoga Springs Pros

  • Our location was convenient to Disney Springs and a bus stop.
  • We had plenty of space, were comfortable, and we liked the décor.
  • Our studio was quiet – we never heard any noise from neighbors.

Saratoga Springs Cons

  • This resort (like Old Key West) felt more like a condominium complex than a Disney resort.  Very spread out, many rooms are far from the main building/restaurants (which was okay for this visit, but might not work well all the time).
  • When it rained, there was quite a bit of flooding/high water to walk through.
  • The busses were SO slow and crowded.  Particularly horrible leaving Magic Kingdom at the end of the night.

Have you stayed at Saratoga Springs?  How was your experience?  Do you prefer staying closer to the parks or do you like feeling like you’re away from all the commotion?



DVC Studio Review – Polynesian Villas

Polynesian-Check-In-Raymond-and-LisaJust back from our most recent visit to Walt Disney World and what a great time we had!  Everything from the weather to the festive holiday atmosphere to the great dining and surprisingly nice accommodations we enjoyed – all of it was magical.  We used our DVC points for a stay in the newly renovated Villas at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.  We booked later than we normally would and the only DVC room available on the monorail was at the Poly.  A studio was perfect since Raymond and I were taking a 5-night post-Christmas getaway alone.  Our home resorts are Bay Lake Tower and the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian – this was our first stay at the new Polynesian villas and our first stay at the Poly in about nine years.

DVC Studio Review – Polynesian Villas

We arrived on December 26th around noon.  We hopped off the Magic Express and headed for the front desk (we’d tried online check-in, but hadn’t heard anything back).  Polynesian-LobbyWe were greeted by a cheerful Cast Member (their costumes at this resort are gorgeous!) and informed that our room was not yet ready, but this friendly young lady was determined to find a room that was ready now.  Polynesian-Village-Resort-MapThis is where we were pixie-dusted from a standard view original request to a lake-view studio in Moorea.  What a great surprise!  We followed the path from the Great Ceremonial House right to our building and up to the second floor (2023).Polynesian-Tiki-Light Polynesian-Villas-Art

Right away we loved the colors and the theming – those little Disney touches always make everything seem that much more special.  The room was spacious, warm and welcoming.  The slatted doors on the closets and bathrooms (yes, I meant to make that plural) add to the airy, tropical feel.  The dark wood and finishes make the rooms feel luxurious and well-appointed.Polynesian-Villa-Room-Decor Polynesian-Villa-StudioPolynesian-Villa-Living-Area

These studios sleep up to five with a queen bed, queen fold-out sofa, a bunk-sized bed that folds down from a cabinet under the TV.  The artwork inside that little bed is an adorable picture of Lelo and Stitch. Polynesian-Villa-Fold-Down-Bed-Art The small kitchenette offers a sink, fridge, microwave, coffee-maker and toaster.  We didn’t bring our own coffee since we easily found delicious ground coffee in a resort gift shop last time we were at Disney World – this was a huge mistake!  There was no ground coffee (only beans) to be found anywhere!  After we used up our resort-provided serving on the first morning, we were coffee-less each morning until we struck out for our daily adventures.  We will be sure to be better prepared in the future.Polynesian-Villa-Kitchenette

Now, back to the bathrooms.  Yes – there are two! This split-bath setup makes a huge difference when multiple people are trying to get ready at the same time – even the two of us.  One room has a toilet, traditional bathtub/shower and vanity.  Polynesian-Villa-Bathroom-Vanity Polynesian-Villa-BathThe other has a vanity and a large shower with two showerheads to choose from!  One is a traditional showerhead (detachable) and the other is straight overhead for a rain or waterfall effect -heavenly!  Polynesian-Vanity Polynesian-Villa-ShowerBoth bathrooms have motion-sensors that turn on the fan automatically when the room is occupied.

Our balcony overlooked the new DVC Bora Bora Bungalows and Seven Seas Lagoon.  In the distance we had a lovely view of Cinderella Castle and Space Mountain.Polynesian-Villa-Moorea-Lake-View Polynesian-Villa-Moorea-Lake-View2I’d heard that the boat horns were a huge problem for people staying in lake-view rooms and we did notice them on the first night – I think being in a new place had a lot to do with it.  After that, we were so exhausted by our full 15-hours of park touring each day, no sounds bothered us and we slept like babies in our super comfortable bed.  The pillows and linens were fabulous!

Pros of the Polynesian DVC studios:  Roomy with great theming, split bathroom with deluxe shower, easy walk to every building from the Great Ceremonial House, and gorgeous, lush surroundings.  Moorea is a very short walk away from the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC).

Cons:  Boat noise bothers some people, current resort renovations are underway which means quite a few construction walls mar the beauty of the landscaping and walkways.  There are not as many restaurant choices as at the other monorail/Magic Kingdom resorts.

Are you a fan of the Polynesian?  What would you recommend about it?