Alex loves animals and is an experienced licensed veterinary technician with a BS in Biology and an AS in Veterinary Technology.
Getting All the Facts
If you have ever heard that it can be a little pricey to stay on property at Walt Disney World you heard right. Though, chances are pretty good that if you are looking at staying at one of Disney's deluxe villas that saving money on your hotel is not exactly a high priority for you. And that is perfectly alright. These are the resorts where you will find the largest rooms Disney has to offer, you will also find no higher accommodations than the deluxe villas on Disney property.
The deluxe villas are a part of the Disney Vacation Club program. In an effort to not sound like a sales pitch for the club I will be brief in its description. The Vacation Club, or DVC as members call it, is a time share program that gives members exclusive benefits. One of the biggest perks is that members get priority over nonmembers when it comes to booking at the deluxe villas. This is because these resorts were built for the Disney Vacation Club. However, you do not need to be in the vacation club to stay at one of these resorts.
In all there are nine separate villa locations throughout the Disney property: Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, Old Key West, Bay Lake Towers at the Contemporary, the Villas at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Animal Kingdom Villas- Kidani Village, Boardwalk Villas, Beach Club Villas, Villas at Wilderness Lodge, and Animal Kingdom Villas- Jambo House. Of these nine only four actually stand alone, in that the villas are completely separate from the deluxe resorts: Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, Old Key West, Animal Kingdom Villas- Kidani Village, and the Bay Lake Towers at the Contemporary.
If you are a member of the DVC then chances are high that you will be using your points to pay for your resort stay. If you are not a member of the DVC then you will need to pay the old fashioned way: with money. These deluxe villas have a wide price range, from as low at $350 to over $550 a night. Currently the lowest prices are for Kidani Village, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. While on the other side the higher prices are for Bay Lake Towers and the Villas at the Grand Floridian.
The Deluxe Villas Around the Magic Kingdom
Currently there are three deluxe villas located in the Magic Kingdom Area: the Bay Lake Towers at the Contemporary, the Villas at Wilderness Lodge, and the Villas at the Grand Floridian. Two of the newest deluxe villa resorts are in this group: Bay Lake Towers (BLT) and the Villas at the Grand Floridian. Having stayed at two of these resorts I can assure that they are all that and a bag of chips.
In addition to the amenities of the deluxe resorts the villas offer very nice bonus: larger rooms. All of the villas also offer some kind of kitchen or kitchenette if you stay in a studio or larger. The studios have kitchenettes stocked with a mini fridge and microwave. The one bedrooms and up have kitchens that come come fully stocked with all the cutlery and cooking utensils you could ever need while on your vacation. I speak from experience when I say that cooking breakfast in your room every morning before heading off to the parks is a great way to start the day. The one bedrooms and larger rooms also have a washer and dryer right there in the room. Even if your stay isn't long enough to require you to wash all your clothing wouldn't it be nice to go home with a suitcase full of clean laundry? Trust me, on a hot day in the middle of summer and everything you wear is drenched in sweat the ability to do laundry in your room becomes a luxury.
Many of the deluxe villas located at one of the deluxe resorts offer private pools to guests staying at the deluxe villas. Though, guests staying at the deluxe villas can use whatever amenities available at both level of resort.
The guests staying at the Villas at the Grand Floridian and Bay Lake Towers have the added bonus of being able to use the monorail to get to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT right from their resort.
While Disney does provide you with sponges and dishwashing soap for the dishes you will need to bring, or purchase at the resort store, laundry detergent and dryer sheets if you wish to do any laundry.
If you happen to find yourself in a studio that does not offer an in-room washer and dryer don't worry. Just like at every other Disney resort there are laundry facilities throughout the resort.
If you spilled a little wine on your nice jacket or dress during dinner at the California Grill Disney has you covered. You simply need to request dry cleaning services and your garment will be laundered and brought back to you.
The Deluxe Villas in the EPCOT Area
There are currently two resorts located near EPCOT: The Boardwalk Villas and the Beach Club Villas. I will also make the argument that these villas are near the Disney Studios as well since that park is within walking distance on the villas. Just like with all of the other resorts in the EPCOT area you have choices when it comes to transportation to EPCOT and the Disney Studios: walking, boats, and buses.
The deluxe villas are designed to feel like a home away from home. This is why they offer amenities like kitchenette, kitchens, and washer and dryers. There is even a plethora of furniture in every room for your comfort. For this reason Disney has opted to not offer cleaning services each day of your stay for DVC members. If you wish to leave the pull out bed out all day that is your choice. You can use the dishwasher or clean dishes by hand. Disney even has vacuums in each room if you choose to do some light cleaning on your vacation. Every three or four days a cleaning crew will tidy up your room and change out the towels and linens. If you wish to have your room tidied more frequently you can simply give your request to the concierge staff when you check in. Of course, there will be an additional fee. However, if you are not a DVC member your room will be cleaned and provided with fresh essentials (sheets, towels, and coffee) daily.
Disney recently opened a new resort called Riviera. I was only able to see it from the road and on the skyliner. It looks very fancy from the outside. I really liked that it had the skyliner as another transportation mode to get to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. We ended up not having time to stop by on our 2021 trip, that story is in the emergency response post... We'll have to add it to another day when we visit again.
The Animal Kingdom Area
There are two deluxe villas in the Animal Kingdom Area: The Villas at Kidani Village and the Villas at Jambo House. These two resorts are unique in that they are both at part of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. The main difference between the two villas is that the villas located in Jambo house are a part of the original and main building for Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Kidani Village Villas were built exclusively for the DVC.
One thing that is very unique to the Disney villas that separates them from the rest of the resorts, in addition to all of their extra amenities, is that they have many different sizing options. The rooms can be as small as a studio, perfect for a family with a small child or two, all the way up to a grand villa. The grand villas are completely unique to the deluxe villas. Some of the deluxe resort hotels offer one or two bedroom accommodations, but only the villas have the grand villas.
Studios are said to hold up to four guests, one bedrooms up to five, two bedrooms can sleep nine, and the grand villas can house up to twelve guests. The grand villas are a two story three bedroom villa. Once more Disney makes sure that the more than one guest can get ready for the day at one. The studios have the same bathroom layout found in all of the Disney resorts; the toilette and shower are in one room while the sink remains open to the rest of the floor plan. The one bedroom has two bathrooms, one in the master bedroom and one just off the foyer. The two bedroom villa has three bathrooms: one for each bedroom and one in the open area. The grand villa follows in this trend and has four bathrooms.
The Deluxe Villas Near Downtown Disney
There are two deluxe villas in the Downtown Disney Area: Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa and Old Key West. These two resorts are the largest of all the deluxe villas. Old Key West is the original home to the DVC and offers some of the largest rooms of all the villas. Another added bonus to this resort is that it was recently renovated. Saratoga Springs boasts beautiful grounds and walking paths to Downtown Disney. Saratoga Springs also has a little known secret: it has tree houses. Disney has brought back it's treehouse villas. These room typically book up very quickly, and usually go to DVC members.
All of the studios and larger have a sleeper sofa, in addition to a queen sized bed. The one bedrooms and up have a king sized bed, a sleeper sofa, and a twin sized pull out chair. Of course, the two and three bedrooms have more king and queen sized beds.
During our 2021 stay we stayed at a grand villa at Saratoga Springs. It was amazing. There were 8 adults in our group and we had plenty of room. The villa is listed as being able to sleep 12 adults and I feel that this very easily true. There were four full bathrooms, a full kitchen, a large dining room table, and a lot of closets. The only thing we were slightly disappointed with was the balcony. There was only one and it only had room for 2 chairs. When we had previously stayed in two bedrooms villas they have had larger balconies. But, in the end we didn't spend much time outside on the balcony, but the idea of morning coffee on the balcony was very nice.
- Disney offers a DVD rental program where you can rent a Disney DVD for a night or two. This program is free for DVC and available at a slight fee for non-members. Its great for a non-park day or a particularly rainy day.
- If you have made purchases in the parks or at Downtown Disney and do not wish to carry them with you all day you can have them shipped back to your resort free of charge. Just ask any cast member and they will provide you with assistance.
- Most of the deluxe resorts and deluxe villa resorts offer valet parking for a small fee.
- There are ATMs located in the lobby of each deluxe villa resort.
- The DVC (that's Disney Vacation Club to those of you that don't know the secret) has added a members lounge to celebrate its anniversary. There are pool tables, video games, movies (with TV to watch them on), computers, and a photo booth. What is really cool is it is free for resort guests. There are also arts and crafts for a small fee.
I have never stayed at a deluxe villa and not enjoyed my stay. I can say with complete honesty that I am looking forward to my next stay. My most recent trip had my parents, little brother (that is not so little anymore), my boyfriend, and me in a two bedroom. There was more than enough room for all of us to have our own space. It was absolutely fantastic!
Have fun. Stay safe. Enjoy.
Saratoga Springs has gotten a much needed update. The new rooms are just beautiful! The rooms are brighter and more sophisticated. Saratoga Springs had a bit of a reputation as being the worst of the DVC villas, but now that is absolutely no longer true.
The Renovated Grand Villa
© 2013 isharkbait