Sunday, May 29, 2016

Day 1245: Saratoga or OKW

With so many various DVC Resorts out there now, I know just how hard it can be to choose the right one for your vacation. But when it comes down to distinctly DVC Resorts, there's some debate going on: which is better? 

I'll start out by saying that Saratoga Springs and Old Key West are drastically different some ways more than others. We'll start with what they have in common though. Both Resorts are usually open even closer to your vacation date, although that may be due to the higher number of DVC Member rooms available compared to other resorts. They both have decent rooms and are split up between various buildings over a large "campus" that includes multiple bus stops rather than just one for the whole resort. In addition, they both are near Disney Springs and provide boat transportation, have quick service and table service restaurants, and are rather lightly themed in comparison to some of the other hotels on property. 

Saratoga Springs is themed on the real Saratoga Springs, bringing the Victorian, horse racing style to Central Florida right from New York. The resort is split into five sections: The Grandstand, The Paddock, The Carousel, Congress Park, and The Springs. The downfall here is that the 18 very large buildings that house the rooms can get to be quite the distance from the main building, and while a major benefit of staying at Saratoga is the walkway that takes you directly to Disney Springs, such a walk can take over a half hour depending on where you are at the resort. On our last trip we even stayed in the middle of the resort, near the Carousel bus stop, and the hike took about 30 minutes. When we stayed at the Grandstand before that, it was nearing 45 minutes. Meanwhile, you can take a bus (if it comes immediately) and be there within 10 minutes. Still, the rooms are all a decent size, although they are a bit smaller than rooms at similar resorts. 

Meanwhile, the rooms at Old Key West, which takes the gingerbread architecture of the conch republic to the Walt Disney World Resort, are the largest on property. As the original DVC Resort, you'll consistently meet fellow visitors who travel to WDW time and time again, which almost gives it an extra homey feel. Like Saratoga, the resort is split into five sections: The Hospitality House, Peninsular Road, Old Turtle Pond, South Point, and Millers Road. While still spread out into over 50 different buildings, the entirety of Old Key West is easily within walking distance, as it's only a short walk from the furthest South Point buildings back up to the Hospitality House. 

All in all, the comparisons really come down to room size and amenities. Old Key West's large, spacious rooms easily beat out Saratoga's, especially now that they've been refurbished. However, the food selection at Saratoga greatly beats out Old Key West with the Turf Club, although Olivia's provides a nice middle option that's not available at Saratoga. In addition, if you're looking at swimming, the pools at Saratoga are themed well and are much larger than the few scattered at Old Key West. 

Still, and maybe it's because I'm bias, I'd much rather stay at Old Key West. Despite the fact that it's not connected to Disney Springs, the entire resort seems much more convenient. If necessary, you can walk to the front within minutes, and since the rooms are much larger, you have an incredible amount of space to spread out. The rooms at Saratoga, in comparison, feel cramped. 

Which resort do you prefer? 

Have a magical day!