My family (myself, wife, and two kids) recently stayed at The Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs Resort in Disneyworld.
We loved it, but I don’t think everyone would have (and I’m not sure it would have been great for us on some previous stays!).
The Villas have stark pros and cons and I think will be an amazing experience for some and the wrong spot for others.
I’m a DVC member and annual pass holder who has stayed in several of the resorts over the years.
In this post I’ll tell you about my experience with the Treehouse Villas, and also go through all of the pros and cons.
I’ll also share some specific tips and information based on our stay, and make sure you leave with all of the information you need to decide if the Treehouse Villas are right for you.
In This Article
Who Will Love the Treehouse Villas? (Or “Treehouse Villa Pros”)
You will absolutely love the Treehouse Villas if the following pros are enticing to you:
- Great Rooms – Our villa was great great great (actual pictures from our stay are above and sprinkled throughout this post). The room was gorgeous and a perfect fit for large or multiple families (we had four people but it was way, way more space than we needed and we all remarked that we could have comfortably fit another family). The theming of the Treehouse Villa itself was also very cool (it felt a little like Wilderness Lodge, actually).
- Close to Disney Springs – Saratoga Springs is right near Disney Springs, so there’s easy access to shopping and restaurants (probably the best dining around Disney, really – especially if you’re frustrated with the price and quality of the on-property / in-park dining options recently).
- Great On-site Amenities – The resort itself has a lot of cool family-friendly amenities on-property (pool table, basketball court, shuffleboard, an arts and crafts room, golf course, multiple pools and restaurants).
- “Cheap” & Available – As all the Chapek haters will point out there’s not much at Disney that’s actually “cheap” any more (and whether you think it’s worth it or not the cost of DVC in general is obviously significant), but if you’re comparing DVC points charts for the various resorts, your points will go a relatively long way at Saratoga Springs. It’s often the “cheapest” by points conversion. Additionally my experience looking for resorts (particularly for popular dates or on short notice) is that Saratoga Springs has the best availability of any of the DVC resorts.
My whole family loved the Treehouse Villas and we had a great stay – but my wife actually commented that if it had been our first trip she thought it may have been “a disaster.” Why, you ask?
Who Will Hate the Treehouse Villas? (Or “Treehouse Villa Cons”)
You may hate the Treehouse Villas if any of the following cons are deal breakers for you:
- Park Access – This (and resort layout, which I’ll get to in a minute) was the big reason my wife thought we may have hated the villas if we’d been here for our first trip. We are a bit spoiled because: A) Our home resort is the Polynesian which has both monorail and boat access to Magic Kingdom and B) we’ve been to Disney a lot already. Saratoga Springs is a good ~10-15 minute bus ride from basically every Disney World park. It’s also frequently a 10-15 minute wait for the busses. My family has been to Disney a lot – particularly in the last 5 years – and my kids have basically ridden every ride and had most of the coolest experiences in the parks already. My daughter also has a DAS pass, and we’re pretty expert (not to brag) at getting in the rides we care about pretty efficiently. If you’re going to Disney for the first time, though, you’ll likely want to “rope drop” and use your time super efficiently (while trying to make sure your kids get enough sleep – believe me!). That means that the extra commute time to the parks could make or, in this case, break a day or more of your very expensive (thanks Chapek!) stay.
- Pools – We stayed in the villas in March so the weather was uneven (some days in the high 70s, some in the 50s) and two of the pools (including the nicest one) were closed for renovations. That said we’ve stayed at and been to virtually all of the on-property resorts, and overall the pools at Saratoga Springs are very nice for a hotel pool, but underwhelming compared to some of the better resort pools (like the Beach Club, Polynesian, etc.) if that’s a major issue for you. We like a nice pool but honestly my kids have had fun in small lap pools at Holiday Inns so this isn’t a deal breaker for us as long as there’s a pool option (we are also pretty big park people).
- Theming – The biggest thing about the pool situation we did miss versus the Polynesian was really the theming. The Polynesian really does make you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation (especially when the weather’s great). Other resorts like Wilderness Lodge have awesome theming and some have great character integration as well – Saratoga Springs has an equestrian theme, obviously, and for adults the theming is fine (though if horses aren’t your thing probably particularly underwhelming) but it’s definitely not a “walking into another world” type of Disney experience.
- Resort Layout – This can be a big one! We were very lucky here. If you look at a Saratoga Springs resort map, our villa was right at the edge of the Treehouse Villas, as close to the grandstand (where we often got the bus), the boat to Disney Springs, and the carriage house (where you check in and where food and convenience items are located, as well as most of the family-friendly stuff I mentioned) as possible. We were also close to the Treehouse Villa pool, and subsequently two other pools (though two of those three were closed for us!). This meant for us that we could:
- Walk to Get the Bus & To the Carriage House – This took about 5 minutes. The walk was along side the golf course and some of the rooms, and was pleasant. Our daughter has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and has trouble with longer walks on occasion, but didn’t have any issues the entire trip. Our experience was it was often quicker to walk than to wait for the bus.
- Take the Bus – There is a bus that brings you from the Treehouse Villas to the front of the resort, but there was a wait of ten minutes or so and the one time we took it we regretted it (and just walked the rest of our stay).
If we’d been further back in terms of where our villa was and had a really tight rope drop-y schedule for the parks, this extra bit of time to get to the bus before taking the bus over to the resort may have been a major major con. As it was we had literally zero complaints from our kids and I didn’t regret the location once. I’d definitely recommend doing what you can in terms of calling and leaving a request on your reservation for a villa close to the Grandstand and Carriage House.
BUT worth noting: we didn’t have a car. Which leads me to one of the most-asked questions about staying in the Treehouse Villas.
Do You Need a Car???
I got this frantic text from my wife when one of her friends had read a different review of the Villas (also worth checking out if you’re looking for a different perspective) that recommended you rent a car if you’re staying at the villas. I found a differing opinion.
I think the answer to this is “it depends.”
We did not have a car, and never regretted it or had any major issues with transportation. But again: if you have small kids and are keen to make sure you squeeze everything you can out of the parks, or if you have a member of your party who has a lot of trouble walking you may want to rent a car and will need to think about access to it.
But again: for a week-long stay with a family member who has moderate issues walking where we went to the parks every day, we had no issues with taking the buses (though we did get a prime spot in terms of location within the villas).
Resort & Room Location
The Treehouse Villas are located towards the back of the resort as it faces the parks. Again where in the Villas you stay will make a difference.
The positives about the location within the resort are that you do have access to a bus, it’s near the Treehouse Villa pool (if its open when you visit), and the area is near the boat to Disney Springs.
The negatives about the location are that you’re about a five minute walk from the Grandstand to get the bus or the carriage house (where you check in and most of the main dining and recreation options are located).
Again the resort location’s utility will have a lot to do with how important easy access to Disney Springs is versus easy access to the parks is.
Again: renting a car is an option, but you want to confirm where your room is in relation to the Treehouse parking lot and that you can get a spot. The busses from the villas to the grandstand or carriage house and the busses from Saratoga Springs to Disney Springs and the parks do run every 10-15 minutes.
Again: make sure you build this in to your plans as you think about when to leave for and from the parks!
In general if you’re looking to spend time on-resort and at Disney Springs the location relative to other resorts is great, if you’re looking to spend time at the parks location is one of the major drawbacks compared to other Disney World resorts.
The Rooms! Bedrooms, Kitchen & Floorplan / Layout, Real Pictures!
The rooms are just awesome. You can see the layout above – they’re spacious, there’s a great main sitting area. These are all pictures I took during our stay – here’s the living room:
Which then adjoins a fully stocked kitchen:
There are bunk beds in one of two smaller rooms:
And a great master suite:
With it’s own bathroom:
The kitchen is really a game changer versus a suite that doesn’t have one (you can get similar full kitchens in many of the 2+ bedroom DVC villas so it’s not unique).
We ordered Instacart twice during our week stay. We had two table service meals (at Via Napoli, a family favorite – although it wasn’t our best stop there! – and The Turf Club which I’ll get to in a minute) and a lot of snacks at the park (my kids eat about a billion pretzels and buckets of popcorn every trip, and the Felucian Garden Spread at Docking Bay 7 in Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios is my wife’s go to).
The rest of the week we basically just ate in the room! This is an awesome feature of having a full kitchen like this. We got cookie dough, a frozen pizza, salads, Mac and Cheese, plenty of protein bars and bottled water, among other things.
Having that much space also meant my wife and I got our own room, the kids had plenty of space and it was much easier to keep the room neat.
Plus you also have a grill outside, multiple bathrooms, closet space – it’s almost like staying at a nice AirBnB right on property.
The “tree house” feel is really neat too. You’re surrounded by nature, the outdoor deck is lovely, and while we could see the golf course and the water peaking through the trees outside our room it still felt completely private.
Here is the path leading to our villa:
Our seating area out on the deck:
And an initial shot of the surroundings:
And one more:
Restaurants & Dining
There are a couple of different options to eat at Saratoga Springs. The Turf Club Bar & Grill is the primary bar area at the resort as well as the main sit-down restaurant, and you can also get meals and convenience items (and of course: overpriced souvenirs!) at the Artist’s Palette.
Again having the full kitchen in the Treehouse Villas made it so we didn’t even need to venture to the dining areas for food often, but we did grab some different snacks and had dinner at the Turf Bar & Grill.
The Turf Club Bar & Grill
My family has a couple of vegetarians and a couple of distinctly non-vegetarians, so we gave the menu quite a workout.
My wife and son (the vegetarians) had a tough time finding something to eat here (as you might expect, really).
The layout is interesting – there’s a few pool tables and a waiting area as you walk in, then you hook over into the dining room. We got late reservations (between 8 and 9) after a day at the parks, and it was still somewhat busy.
Our waiter was awesome – very attentive, took a lot of time to talk to our kids, told us stories about acting (my daughter is into theater) and sports (my son plays several).
I found the food to be just OK unfortunately. We got the mussels to start, which were very good. My daughter had the onion soup as her entre, which she liked. My son got pasta and my wife got a mix of sides.
I also got the Filet Mignon – I didn’t enjoy the sauce and seasoning and didn’t think it was great. The cost of the meal with the seafood and steak was expensive but about what you’d expect.
Overall I think if you’re staying at the resort and are in a pinch and really want a sit-down meal it’s fine, but nothing to go out of your way for.
The Artist’s Palette
The Artist’s Palette has a mix of sandwiches, desserts, and other quick service type meals and snacks. It’s pretty standard faire as quick service goes (and many of the items are things you’ll literally find in all the resort quick service locations). Like a lot of the DVC resort quick service stops everything’s conveniently located in one large spot (souvenirs, convenience items, and the restaurant).
Important to mention here is obviously that many of the “best restaurants at Disney World” are easily accessible from Saratoga Springs in Disney Springs, so if you’re either willing or planning to head there frequently or you’re looking for cool dining experiences that’s a definitely plus in the dining column for Saratoga and the Treehouse Villas.
Amenities & Recreation
Again we’re pretty big park people (and actually spent a fair bit of time in the room!) but there are some cool family-friendly amenities here:
The pool table was cool and never occupied when we were there.
The arcade adjoins it and our kids had fun – again it wasn’t crowded (pretty standard arcade stuff here).
There is an arts and crafts room, they run movies, there’s a golf course, pools of course, etc.
I would say there were more amenities at the hotel than many places.
This is one of Disney’s pictures of the Hard Rock Springs pool at Saratoga Springs. I didn’t take pictures but when I was there the water was green and a bunch of people were doing work on and around the pool :).
The treehouse pool was down too while we were there, but the Paddock Pool was up and running. It’s smaller than the Hard Rock (and the main pool at most resorts) and relatively no-frills compared to some of the crazy resort pools around Disney, but the water was wet, it had a water slide, and there is a grill that serves alcohol and food so our family spent a nice afternoon there.
We booked directly through DVC around 4 or 5 months before our stay. You can also rent points from a DVC member or marketplace and stay in the villas, but they aren’t always available for non-DVC members.
Again price and availability are two selling points for Saratoga Springs generally, and for the size of the Treehouse Villas we got a very reasonable DVC points exchange on relatively short notice.
The Treehouse Villas do sleep 9 and are limited, so they frequently sell out before other Saratoga Springs rooms and may not be readily available, but for the week we found and the level of accommodations they offered we were happy with our choice.
Another thing worth noting: in terms of DVC points Saratoga Springs is often the cheapest option to buy (save for deals that are running on other resorts – frequently the newest resorts overall or resorts that just opened up blocks of DVC points), so if this is your home resort you’ll have an extra 4 month booking advantage to get the villas and shouldn’t have much trouble on non-peak times.
- We had an amazing stay at the treehouse villas – they are beautiful and spacious.
- The resort location is close to Disney Springs, but relatively inconvenient to the parks when compared with other premium Disney resorts.
- The theming and on-site food was pretty meh.
- There are a good amount of cool family-friendly activities to do on-site.
- We didn’t rent a car and didn’t feel like we needed one, but your mileage may vary (get it???)
- I was actually pleasantly surprised by how well the transportation and walks within the resort went given everything I read prior to the trip (but again we got a great location within the villas).
Treehouse Villa Video Reviews
If you’re looking for some other perspectives on the Villas and particularly a video walk-through there are a ton, like this one by Paging Mr. Morrow:
Another by DVC fan:
A third by Here with the Ears:
And a final one by Adults at Disney:
And not a video, but I thought this aerial view of the villas was cool:
Aerial view of some of Disney's Treehouse Villas. pic.twitter.com/Lras0QFpO8
— bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) September 7, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa?
A: The Treehouse Villas are a unique DVC room option located within Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. They are stand-alone, multi-story villas that offer “an elevated living experience in a wooded, natural setting.”
Q: How many guests can the Treehouse Villas accommodate?
A: Each Treehouse Villa can accommodate up to 9 guests, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a fully-equipped kitchen.
Q: How do I book a Treehouse Villa at Saratoga Springs?
A: You can book a Treehouse Villa through the official Walt Disney World website, the My Disney Experience app, or by calling the Disney Reservation Center. Or by renting DVC points from a member or marketplace.
Q: Are the Treehouse Villas part of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) properties?
A: Yes, the Treehouse Villas are part of the Disney Vacation Club properties, but non-DVC members can also book them based on availability.
Q: How close are the Treehouse Villas to the theme parks?
A: The Treehouse Villas are located within Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, which is somewhat close proximity to Disney Springs and EPCOT. They are also a bus or boat ride away from the other Walt Disney World theme parks and attractions.
Basically: they’re closer than off-property hotels to the theme parks, but among premium Disney World resorts they’re one of the few resorts that are the furthest away from the 4 parks on average.
Q: What transportation options are available to and from the Treehouse Villas?
A: Guests staying at the Treehouse Villas have access to complimentary Disney bus transportation to all theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. Additionally, there is boat transportation available to Disney Springs from the main area of Saratoga Springs Resort.
Check out the rest of this post for a more detailed transportation breakdown.
Q: Are the Treehouse Villas pet-friendly?
A: No, the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa are not pet-friendly.
Q: What amenities are included in the Treehouse Villas?
A: The Treehouse Villas come with a fully-equipped kitchen, a washer and dryer, complimentary Wi-Fi, a private deck with a barbecue grill, and access to Saratoga Springs Resort’s amenities, including pools, dining options, and recreational activities (like a pool, the game pool, an arcade, golf course, arts and crafts room, and more).
Q: Can I use the Disney Dining Plan at the Treehouse Villas?
A: The dining plan’s depreciated but you were able to and likely will be able to if its reinstated.
Q: Is there parking available for guests staying at the Treehouse Villas?
A: Yes, there is complimentary parking available for guests staying at the Treehouse Villas. Each villa has its own designated parking area nearby, but sometimes there are issues with the parking area filling up.