Disney Resorts: Old Key West vs. Saratoga Springs

by admin on September 15, 2016

Disney’s Old Key West and Saratoga Springs Resorts

There are 2 Resorts at Walt Disney World that often have last minute availability AND are cheaper per night than most other Deluxe Resorts. I get a lot of questions about these properties so here are some basic pros and cons about each.

The bottom line: These are great options for large families, last minute travelers, and/or those wishing for a slower, relaxing Disney Vacation.

SaratogaSpringsKeyWest

Old Key West is the very first Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Resort. In fact, it used to be called THE Disney Vacation Club resort. Old Key West and Saratoga Springs are the only resorts on Disney property that are standalone Disney Vacation Club Resorts (not connected to or sharing property with another Disney Resort. Other Deluxe Resorts have added on Disney Vacation Club sections also known as Villas to their properties (most recently, The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and The Polynesian Village Resort). The good news is that you don’t have to be a Disney Vacation Club Member to stay at these resorts or book the DVC Villas.

DVC Villas (including Studio Rooms, 1, 2 or 3 Bedroom Suites) can be a little tricky to book since DVC members “own” most of the rooms and book them throughout the year. Disney does have rooms at each DVC property that they make available to the public to book. Of course, as expected, the more popular and newer resorts fill up fast and can be hard to snag. However, Old Key West and Saratoga Springs almost always have some availability. Don’t let that scare you, they are definitely not the “sloppy seconds” or “leftovers”. It’s partly because they are solely DVC resorts and so they simply have more rooms available. I have stayed at both properties and have some info/experience to share about each. Overall I had great experiences and happy memories were made at each place- I would stay at both again!

The type of trip you have planned as well as your unique needs and wants will play into the best resort for you. If you are planning a last minute trip and/or have a large group or family, or want the most affordable suite options, then read on – these 2 resorts are perfect for you!

Both resorts offer Deluxe Studios which is the DVC equivalent of a Standard Room. Deluxe Studios offer quite a bit more space than your standard hotel room and include a small kitchenette as well. Suites/Villas are available in 1, 2, or 3 bedroom sized and Saratoga Springs also offers the unique Treehouse Villas that sleep up to 9 people.

Old Key West ResortInspired by the coastal communities of the Florida Keys
Pros:

  • Rooms are a bit larger/roomier than Saratoga Springs.
  • The theme of a charming beach community offers a relaxing atmosphere. Bright colors and details throughout the resort with some Disney and Mickey hints present.
  • The main pool and water slide are conveniently located and the slide is one of the better on Disney property (according to my husband who is a self-proclaimed water slide critic).
  • Easy transportation by boat to Disney Springs.
  • Olivia’s restaurant – GREAT service, GREAT menu for all meal times, affordable, and usually easy to get in without a reservation.
  • Close to Disney Springs, golf courses, and water parks. Great option if you want to relax and enjoy the resort and other offerings besides the parks during your stay.

Cons:

  • Not as walker friendly as other Disney Resorts. The most efficient path is usually though parking lots and in the path of golf carts. Not bad, but not as relaxing as a stroll through, say Alligator Bayou at Port Orleans Riverside (a moderate resort).
  • Rooms open to the outside. The rooms are still very nice and the amenities are definitely in the Deluxe category but something about rooms opening to the outside still gives me a moderate resort/motel feel. It could be argued that this is more of a condo feel but for me, it’s on the con list.
  • Dated rooms. Again this is my opinion, but while the overall resort theming is nice, the actual rooms have always seemed a bit dated to me.
  • Far from any of the parks. This is a good option if you are wanting to explore other things to do besides the parks and take it slow. Disney Springs, Golf Courses, and Water Parks are nearby.

Best for:

  • Large groups or families needing an affordable option for suites/villas.
  • Last minute travelers, especially during busy times (Summer/Holidays) who want a Deluxe Resort.

OldKeyWest

Saratoga Springs Resort & SpaVictorian Architecture inspired by Saratoga Springs, New York
Pros:

  • LOCATION- Walking paths to Disney Springs make this a convenient location even though it’s far from the parks. Request a room in Congress Park and be at Disney Springs in 5 minutes. Also offers boat service to Disney Springs.
  • 2 Pools with 3 Water slides plus a splash area for kids. My husband says these are GREAT water slides.
  • Artist Palette Quick Service is one of the best quick service/food court options I have tried. I still crave the Saratoga Salad.
  • Full Service Spa and Health Club on site.
  • Treehouse Villas are a unique option for a villa/suite and sleep up to 9 people in a standalone building on the river.

Cons:

  • Smaller rooms than Old Key West but still roomier than regular rooms.
  • For me, the theme is a con. It’s pretty, but not as vacation-y to me. The dark colors are bit more “serious” and you don’t necessarily feel like you are at a Disney resort. Which might be the point, but I like the Disney touches to be a bit heavier.
  • Like Old Key West, the rooms open to the outside though here you walk through an outdoor hallway or breezeway. The rooms are still very nice and the amenities are definitely in the Deluxe category but something about rooms opening to the outside still gives me a moderate resort feel/motel feel. It could be argued that this is more of a condo feel but for me, it’s on the con list.

Best for:

  • Large groups or families needing an affordable option for suites/villas.
  • Last minute travelers, especially during busy times (Summer/Holidays) who want a Deluxe Resort.
  • Quick stays before/after a cruise with easy access to Disney Springs.

 SaratogaSprings

I’d love to help you plan your next Disney vacation – I have stayed at most of the Disney Resorts and in each level and can help you choose the best resort option for your family.

Aleshia Sokoloski, Travel Planner affiliated with Travel with the Magic

Specializing in Universal Resorts and Disney Vacations including Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Adventures by Disney, and Disney Cruise Line.

Email me, Call me at 1-800-670-4312 ext. 139 or
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