Season 2 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 Review Series
In Episode 057, Chad is joined by Jim Quicksell from Episode 017, Russ Clark from DVC Info and Episode 018, and first-time contributor Tammy Nutt. In this episode, the group is talking all about the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. We discuss room requests, transportation, parking, and the overall vibe of the Treehouse Villas. All things said and done we love the Treehouses but don't think they are a good fit for every family.
Treehouse Villa Room Information (Courtesy of DVCInfo.com)
- 60 freestanding treehouse units that run adjacent to Sassagoula River and the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course
- 1,074 sq ft (SSR 2BR is 1,070 sq ft)
- Three-bedroom layout sleeps 9
- Queen Bed (Bedrooms 1 & 2)
- Single Sleeper Bunk Beds (Bedroom 3)
- Queen Sleeper Sofa (Living Room)
- Sleeper Chair (Living Room)
- Full-Size Portable Crib with Mattress
- Standalone, octagon-shaped units, built approximately 10 feet off the ground
- Each unit features:
- Large deck space
- Charcoal grill (starter kit can be purchased at Artist’s Palette)
- Heating and cooling utilities located in central “trunk” of structure
- One designated parking space
- Accessible Treehouses with ramps are available upon request
How Would You Describe the “Feel” of the Villas?
- Tammy said the Treehouses have a very rustic, log cabin feel to them. Wooden furniture, earth tones, and natural elements can be found throughout the space.
- Russ said the Treehouses remind him of state park campgrounds, with campsites off of a central pathway. He noted that the exterior of the structure is quite bland, but the interior has that rustic cabin feel that one would find at a cabin campsite.
- Jim shared that the Treehouses remind him almost of the bayou, as they feel very secluded but connected at the same time because you can see the unit next to yours.
- Chad described the Treehouses as “glamping,” with modern amenities and woodsy touches throughout the space.
The #1 Challenge of Staying at the Treehouses: Transportation
- An internal bus system services the Treehouses, helping to connect guests with other parts of Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- Each member of the group has utilized the buses and cautions guests to allow at least 60 minutes for travel to theme parks or other resorts
- The Treehouses have their own boat dock, located on the Sassagoula River
- Chad shared that the boats have three “loops,” and that the boat for the Port Orleans Resorts will not stop at this boat dock, even though they pass it.
- Tammy found the boat transportation “tough” to use, as the schedule was unpredictable. Her family only used them if one happened to be docked as they walked by.
- Walking Path
- Guests can utilize a walking path that connects the Treehouse Villas to the Grandstand section of the resort
- From the closest Treehouse to the Grandstand is approximately a 6-minute walk
- Personal Vehicle
- Parking is an issue. Disney only built one parking spot per Treehouse Villa. However, they each sleep to nine people. Most passenger vehicles only hold 5 to 7 people.
- Chad, Russ, and Jim all recommend guests have access to their own vehicle or a rental during their stay. This is due to the fact that some Treehouses are about a five to ten-minute walk from the Grandstand area. The internal bus system can take a long time to get guests where they want to go and does not run all night.
- Chad recommends guests rent a minivan or large passenger van, as each Treehouse only has one parking space. Guests with two vehicles will need to leave one vehicle parked in another section of the resort.
- Tammy has only used a personal vehicle twice and said she recommends but doesn’t require one. She said it certainly makes certain things easier, like picking up groceries, but she finds the walking path and bus system satisfactory.
Location, Location, Location! Room Requests at the Treehouses
- Some of the Treehouses can be quite far from the walking path leading to the Grandstand, so room requests are key!
- Tammy has stayed in the section closest to the Grandstand and says the walk to that bus stop or that of the Carriage House is short. She’s also stayed in Treehouses with a golf course view and finds that catching the bus to the walking path is faster than remaining on the bus. She notes the walking path can be quite dark with all the thick foliage, so she recommends guests bring a small flashlight or use their cell phones.
- Russ recommends Treehouses 7020-7040, as they are centrally located to the pool, boat dock, and walking path.
- Jim recommends the 7020s due to their close proximity to the Grandstand and Carriage House.
- Chad has stayed in Treehouse 7028, which had an amazing view of the Sassagoula River. He has also stayed in 7053, but the view was quite obstructed by thick foliage.
Treehouse Swimming Pool
- Jim’s family uses the pool on every vacation, as his kids love it. He finds the Treehouse pool to be bigger than those on Disney Cruise Line, and notes they are often not very crowded. The only downside is that the pool is not staffed by Cast Members, so he has often had the experience of people smoking by the pool.
- Tammy’s family has used the pool a few times, and she said it’s the perfect way to wear the kids out before a nap. She does prefer the Grandstand’s pool with the splash play area.
- Russ’s family prefers the Paddock Pool, due to its splash play area and food service.
Dining and Food Options
- Quick Service – Artist’s Palette
- Variety of packaged and fresh food
- Accepts Tables in Wonderland and DVC discounts on food and merchandise
- Table Service – The Turf Club
- According to Tammy, groceries are a must! It’s difficult to just “go out a grab something quick” from the Treehouses.
- Russ points out if you were to walk to Artist Palette to purchase a Mickey Bars for the kids, they would melt before you got it back to your freezer
“Artist's pallet has 20% off with tables in Wonderland which is unique, for all DVC resorts. And if you have a DVC or AP discount, with both cards, you are essentially getting 20% off everything, whether it's considered food or whether it's considered snacks.”Russ Clark from DVCinfo.com
Pros of the Treehouse Villas
- Tammy notes the Treehouses are great for multiple families vacationing together, as there is a lot of common space for activities and the privacy of three bedrooms.
- Chad pointed out that the Treehouses give guests three bedrooms for the point cost of a Two-Bedroom Savanna View at Animal Kingdom Lodge or on the Monorail Loop.
- Russ enjoyed having enough space for his family members to have privacy when they needed it.
- Jim said the layout was perfect for three couples vacationing together and this configuration was preferable to getting three Studios (for approximately the same point cost).
Cons of the Treehouse Villas
- Transportation is a huge issue if guests do not have access to their own vehicle.
- Octagon shape is a very different layout than most guests are used to.
- Bedrooms are a little tight on space.
- Tammy noted that the villa receives a lot of natural light during the day, but can be quite dark at night, due to the lack of sufficient overhead lighting and low wattage bulbs.
- Russ said that people who prefer resorts with a little more “hustle and bustle” and large lobbies may not like the remoteness of the Treehouses.
- Jim said the layout worked for 6 adults, but since his group did not utilize the bunk beds, not every couple had their own private space.
- Russ said the room is advertised as sleeping 9 but feels it is more suited to 7 adults and 2 children.
- Both Russ and Chad commented that the bunk beds are too small for taller adults, but perfectly suited for kids.
What Families Would Enjoy the Treehouse Villas the most?
- A family that is planning more of a resort-focused stay
- Family with their own vehicle to get them to and from the parks and other destinations
- Longer stays because everyone has room to spread out
- Multiple family groups that want to have a central hang-out location, but also have their own space
- Bargain for the point cost
- Families with younger children, because the “kids can be kids” and there are no adjacent rooms, so other guests will not be disturbed
- Larger families
- Couples vacationing together
- Families trying to stretch their points but still have large accommodations
- The bunk beds are great for kids
- Start or end a split stay at a more relaxed pace
Connect With Us!
Russ – DVCInfo.com Community Forums
Jim – My DVC Points Community on Facebook
Tammy – Saratoga Springs Resort Owners’ Group on Facebook
Today's episode was produced, edited and engineered by Chad Pennycuff. 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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