It’s never too early to start planning a getaway for when this global COVID-19 crisis is over. Has Florida’s Walt Disney World been on your bucket list? What if I told you that after an exhausting, long day at the parks, you’re just a short drive from a resort where you can settle in and feel right at home? Enter Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, a fantasy getaway where you can indulge in more grown up activities and make sure the kids have an unforgettable Mouseketeer experience.
Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is one of several themed lodging experiences that dot Disney’s sprawling 25,000 acres of property (see: Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Port Orleans Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort and Polynesian Village). Disney’s “Imagineers”—the creative minds who design and build all Disney parks, resorts and attractions—must’ve known how special our part of the world is, with its elevated small-town charm, Victorian architecture, horse racing prestige and healing waters, because they sought to replicate it in a four-star resort right smack dab in the motherlode of vacation destinations: Walt Disney World.
What better way to make sure Disney’s Saratoga Springs did justice to the real Spa City than to enlist the services of a native? At the time of the resort’s design in 2004, Saratogian Kevin Cummings had been a Disney Imagineer for more than a decade, and was a shoo-in to oversee the project. The finished product certainly reflects the impressive grandeur of North Broadway, as well as the cultural importance of a fantastic spa getaway. In fact, Disney’s Saratoga Springs might just give you a glimpse at what the turn-of-the-century version of Saratoga looked like.
Saratoga-inspired attractions include the High Rock Spring Pool, the Paddock Grill (great for poolside burgers and salads) and the Turf Club Bar & Grill, a steak house emulating a 19th-century horse racing club. The Turf Club’s lounge is the place to go for adults-only freedom, or you can spend some quality family time indulging in Disney’s pizza delivery service, followed by a trip to one of the resort’s arcades. “The architecture of the buildings drew inspiration from the sprawling New York country retreats,” a Disney Parks & Resorts rep told Saratoga Living in 2018. “The team was inspired by Saratoga Springs’ architecture and its focus on health, history and horses.”
OK, logistics time: Let’s suck down some helium, put on our mouse ears and get started. Scheduling is key to any successful Disney vacation, so before your trip (i.e. now, while you’re stuck at home in quarantine) get ready by creating a detailed itinerary. It may sound stressful now but will allow you to enjoy being in the moment when you get there. I’d also recommend purchasing FastPasses for the family, so that when you’re in the Disney parks—that is, if you ever want to leave the Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa—you’ll spend less time waiting in line and more time at shows and on rides.
Sure, getting to the parks from Disney-ified Saratoga is super easy: Buses, shuttles, water taxis and Mini Mouse cabs can all have you there in mere minutes. But why not take a day or two away from the crowds to explore and enjoy the faux Spa City? Check out Senses, the onsite spa, and the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course. Set amidst a lush wildlife sanctuary, Lake Buena Vista is designed as a full-on country club experience. Other Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa amenities include a gym, outdoor fun areas, pools with waterslides, Sunrise Yoga classes, nighttime showings of classic Disney movies under the stars, bike rentals, tennis courts, basketball courts and walking paths that stretch the entire resort. All this, with your home base being a Disney Deluxe Villa—that has a kitchen, washer, dryer and separate bedrooms. It might be the perfect resort getaway for you and your significant other. And if you have them, you can tell the kids it’s all about them.