055 Senses Spa Review at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
My DVC Points Podcast

 
 
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This episode of the My DVC Points Podcast was made possible through financial support from DVC Resale Market, Vacation Club Loans and by community members in My DVC Points VIP Producer Club.


Part of the Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort series, we're heading over to Senses Spa. On today’s episode, Chad is joined by his wife Laura, Chris Salata (Episode 015), and Ella Porter (Episode 016), to discuss their experiences with the Senses Spas at Walt Disney World. In E015, Chris had challenged Chad to try a spa experience while on vacation, assuring that his “man card” would not be revoked. We discuss Disney spa services with more emphasis on Senses Spa at Saratoga Springs.

Senses Spa at Walt Disney World Resort

  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    • Located in the same building as the resort’s Fitness Center, across from Villas at Grand Floridian
    • Smaller of the two WDW locations
    • Features a small Relaxation Room
    • Progressive food and beverage selections available to guests
    • Lounges do not have Whirlpool Spas or heated marble lounge chairs
    • Often booked by wedding parties preparing for their ceremonies
    • Tends to be frequented by larger parties, so can feel crowded
    • Shorter operating hours
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
    • Located by the High Rock Spring Pool, adjacent to The Carriage House; shares a building with the resort’s Fitness Center
    • Larger of the two WDW locations
    • A split-level design with lounges on the lower floor and massage services on the upper level
    • Features a large Relaxation Room
    • Progressive Food and beverage available to guests
    • Spas have Whirlpool Spas and heated marble lounge chairs
    • Not often crowded, not frequented by large parties or wedding parties
    • More relaxed and quiet of the two WDW locations
    • Tends to have more availability, due to longer operating hours and larger facility

Locations other than Walt Disney World

  • Disney Cruise Line
    • Dream
    • Fantasy
    • Magic
    • Wonder
  • Grand Californian Resort & Spa

Guests can also find select spa services at Deluxe Resorts with dedicated salon and esthetic locations.

  • Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Yacht & Beach Club
  • Wilderness Lodge

Booking Spa Services

  • Guests can book spa services at Walt Disney World by calling (407) WDW-SPAS (407-939-7727). Currently, an online booking portal is not available.
  • Guests can also book spa services in-person at their resort or a Senses Spa location.
  • When booking, be sure to ask about discounts and bring your blue DVC card with you.

Transportation to Senses Spa at Saratoga Springs

  • Chris and his wife decided to take an Uber from Animal Kingdom Lodge to Saratoga Springs, (in the time before Minnie Vans). They had a pleasant experience, and the trip cost them approximately $12 plus tip.
  • Ella’s family typically rents a car or drives their own to WDW, so she drives and parks beside High Rock Spring Pool.
  • Chad and Laura typically rent a car for their family vacations, so they drive themselves to Saratoga Springs.
  • The group agrees that driving yourself or using a rideshare service is preferable to using the buses, (have to go to a park, then connect to SSR bus). 
  • Parking at Grand Floridian or Saratoga Springs is free for guests with spa reservations.

What Has Your Spa Experience Been Like Before Booking at Senses?

  • Chris has never booked a spa service for himself outside of Walt Disney World, as he considers these services as luxury treats he adds onto his Disney vacations.
  • Ella books high-end spa services for herself whenever she’s on vacation, even to non-Disney locations. She has also been to several local spas where she lives in Philadelphia. Ella considers her spa appointments as “half-day self-indulgences,” and says that these treatments are worth the cost of a nice dinner while she’s on vacation. 
  • Chad has been to a local spa chain that employs Massage Therapists right out of school. He started booking appointments at this chain while going through a very tough workout regimen, at the suggestion of a trainer. 

What Spa Services Have You Tried at Senses?

  • Chris has booked a 50-minute Couples’ Massage for him and his wife on their past two summer vacations. On their next vacation, they’ll be experiencing the Foot & Leg Massage service for the first time.
  • Ella and her husband typically spend the second to last day of their vacations in the Senses Spa at Saratoga Springs, and they usually book massages and facials. Her favorite treatment is the Citrus Grove Signature Body Treatment. She has also booked massages and facials for her husband.
  • Laura booked a 50-minute Swedish Massage for herself on her family’s last summer vacation.
  • Chad booked an 80-minute Swedish Massage for himself during a May vacation, after hearing feedback that 50 minutes just wasn’t enough time!

How Early Should Guests Arrive at Senses for an Appointment?

  • Chris arrives at least 60 minutes before his spa appointments. Since he and his wife have been there before, they can skip the tour and enjoy the Relaxation Room. Chris likes to sit in the heated marble lounges for at least 15 minutes and listen to relaxing music before his treatments.
  • Ella arrives at least 60 minutes before her spa appointments. She and her husband know the drill so, they also skip the tour and head straight into the Relaxation Room.
  • Chad arrived 75 minutes before his appointment to allow himself time for the tour and to take in all the details for this review.
  • Laura arrived 30 minutes before her appointment and did not utilize the heated marble lounges or Whirlpool Spas, due to her vacation falling in the summer.
  • Chris and Ella recommend guests stay for at least 60 minutes after their spa treatments to enjoy the Relaxation Room and get the full experience.

What Was Your Experience at Senses Spa?

  • Chris was initially nervous about his spa appointment, as he is a “bigger guy.” He was worried they wouldn’t have a robe or slippers that would fit him comfortably. When he was booking, the Cast Member asked him what size robe and slippers he would like, and everything was waiting for him when he arrived. He said the staff was very professional and made him feel comfortable right away, making him a “customer for life.”
  • Ella has enjoyed every treatment she’s had at Senses Spa, and says the Saratoga Springs location is second only to Aulani in the “Disney microcosm.” Compared to other spas she’s been to, she finds Senses to be the best. Her husband was reluctant about trying a spa treatment, worried he would be entering “Girlyville.” He changed his tune after Ella booked him the Gentleman’s Facial on one of their trips, and now he frequents the spa with her.
  • Chad enjoyed the experience at Senses and felt the service was excellent and very high-end. However, both he and Laura doubt that it is worth the high cost.

Why Should DVC Members Book Spa Services?

  • Chris enjoys trying something new on his vacations, and the spa services are an excellent way to enhance his experience. He and his wife really enjoy their time at the spas, and it has become something special they do for themselves while at Walt Disney World.
  • Ella encourages members to look into spa services due to discounts and exclusive enhancements for DVC members. She received a free aromatherapy upgrade on one of her treatments.
  • Chad and Laura discussed DVC member discounts. Blue Card members receive 20% off all spa services and can sometimes receive discounts as high as 40% during special promotions that have been offered the past two summers.
  • Most of us have annual passes and pop into the parks to use up our FastPass+ reservations. That leaves a lot of time to do other things at WDW. Why not take a few hours out for a spa treatment on vacation?

Guests can also find select spa services at Deluxe Resorts with dedicated salon and esthetic locations.

  • Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Yacht & Beach Club
  • Wilderness Lodge

Would You Travel to Saratoga Springs for Senses if Staying at Copper Creek?

  • Chris said he would definitely travel to Saratoga, even if a similar spa treatment was offered at Copper Creek. All of the extra amenities make the experience worth it.
  • Ella agreed with Chris that the real value would be experiencing the spa at Saratoga.
  • Laura chooses to book a spa treatment at her resort if the massages are comparable to one offered at Saratoga.
  • Chad would look at his schedule for the vacation to see if he could prioritize time for a treatment at Saratoga.

Ella Throws the Gauntlet

  • Chris’s challenge is to try a facial, which he is hesitant about because the treatment doesn’t seem very “manly.” Ella encouraged him to try it, then update the community with his review.
  • Chad and Laura’s challenge is to try the spa at Aulani on their 2021 vacation. Ella shared that she had “one of the best days” of her life at the resort when she and her husband spent half the day at the spa, then had dinner at Ama Ama. She also encouraged them to arrive at least 90 minutes before their appointment to get the full experience of the spa’s amenities.

Mandatory 20% Gratuity Added

  • Disney automatically adds 20% gratuity to all spa services.
  • The group agreed this was a fair practice, as they would typically tip 20% anyway. Chris adds that the experience would have to go “horribly wrong” for a Cast Member not to deserve that gratuity. Ella said that most people don’t realize how tip-driven the spa industry is, so this ensures that Cast Members are well-compensated.
  • A 20% tip is added before discounts or promotions.

Final Thoughts

  • Chris encourages all members to add spa services at Senses to their bucket lists. Senses offer a variety of treatments, and Cast Members will make suggestions depending on your budget and vacation time frame. He also encourages members to check out the spas on the Disney Cruise Line.
  • Ella considers herself a connoisseur of spa services. She thinks the Senses Spas at Aulani and Saratoga Springs to be world-class spas. The best she has ever experienced.
  • Laura said the massage she booked was one of the best she’s ever had and believes her sister (a massage therapist) would approve. 
  • Chad said his experience was great and added that members can pay with Disney gift cards. 

Today's episode was produced by Chad Pennycuff. Audio editing and engineering by Kenny Kingborough of Harbor Red Studios. Show notes by Samantha Kurtz-Seif. Facebook admins and moderators of the My DVC Points Community Group: Andrew Darden, Valerie Fairnington, Donna Bickert, and Jeremy Murray.

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