Is Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort (SSR) Good for Autistic Families?
While there are so many conflicting reviews about SSR, we absolutely believe that Saratoga Springs Resort Good for Autistic Families. We’ll discuss the layout of the resort and some of the reasons that it’s one of our favorites!
Disney Vacation Club Saratoga Springs Resort (SSR) is divided into several clusters of villas that contain their own amenities: the Grandstand, the Springs, the Carousel, the Paddock, and Congress Park.
The main action occurs at the Carriage House. Fantastic restaurants, a general store, and the spa and High Rock Spring Pool are located in the Springs. There are four swimming pools total but each is a different experience.
This resort features bus transportation to each of the other bus stops in the resort, Disney Springs, and all Walt Disney World theme parks. Beyond the bus stop, there is also a walking path and boat transportation to Disney Springs.
If you are planning on spending less times in the theme parks, the access to pools and Disney Springs will be tremendously important. If you are taking a week off from the resorts, this is your perfect resort.
What about check-in?
Check-in time is at 4 p.m. You check-in at the Carriage house which is the lobby and concierge at Saratoga Springs Resort (SSR). If you are riding on the Magical Express, you will be dropped directly at the Carriage House. If you drive yourself, follow the signs. Once you arrive at the Carriage House, there are greeters by the door to direct you once you arrive.
Are you curious about the Carriage House? I filmed the experience upon arrival.
You can check-in online before setting foot on Walt Disney World Resort grounds. This lets you put in room requests, attach a credit card to the room, and even select the time you will be arriving.
Disney texts you when the room is ready. However, I never received a text. At 4 p.m., I went to the Carriage House to get our magic bands and asked if the room was ready. It was- so I caution you to check if you are approaching check-in time and have not received a text yet.
What about the villas in The Paddock?
Luckily, the Paddock Villas are in a decent location. The Paddock features a pool that competes closely with the main feature pool. There is also the Paddock Grill, a quick service restaurant that has extended hours and delicious food nearby. The Paddock is close to the walkway to Disney Springs. The circled area is our room in building 61.
We stayed in a one-bedroom with a king-size bed, a full kitchen with all necessary appliances and utensils, and a fold-out sofa. There is a pack-n-play and an ironing board in the closet. The Saratoga Springs Resort villa has decor like turn of the century Saratoga Springs, New York with a focus on horse racing.
Our son has autism and eating in our room is heaven sent. We love the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) because it affords us the ability to eat meals in our room with a full kitchen while staying on property so we can travel between places quickly. To us, the kitchen alone makes Saratoga Springs Resort good for autistic families.
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We love using the kitchen so much that we like to maximize our savings and cater to our children’s special diets. I always make sure I have an active subscription to Amazon Prime before we go. If you’re not sure about the commitment, you can usually sign up for a free 30-day trial.
Amazon Prime allows you to send food ahead of time or order items within 48 hours or less. You also can use Amazon Prime Now which means you can get groceries within a few hours. Prime Pantry means you can order big boxes of food for cheap.
The Paddock Pool
The pool area has a slide that resembles a water tower. The slide is 146-feet-long, the tallest slide of all the resorts, that sends you into a zero-entry pool. When you’ve had enough fun splashing, relax in a horseshoe-shaped whirlpool spa.
If you have littles, it is sometimes it’s nice to kick back and relax. The children’s play area at the Paddock Pool is for children under 48 inches. It features two slides, water canons, dumping buckets and sprinklers. Here’s a video of the entire children’s play area and our little bug with autism:
This pool is on our list of the top ten best Disney World pools, and it’s incredible. The pace is here is so relaxed and we enjoy the ability to return to our spacious room for meals and naps.
While this is not the main feature pool at SSR, we still had a blast here. In fact, the main pool was too croweded and loud for our little guy’s sensory preferences. He declared this pool the best pool of all time.
Can you snag a poolside meal at the Paddock Pool?
The pool features a pool side restaurant called the Paddock Grill with adult and non-alcoholic beverages, sandwiches, and snacks. The grill’s hours are 7am to 9pm. If you have refillable mugs, there is a station at the grill for you to fill them up until your heart is content.
While all Disney World restaurants accommodate our gluten-free diet, the Paddock Grill was so kind and willing to specialize foods for our picky eaters. We were able to get a variety of options. Even on the days that my gluten-free kiddo struggled to find something he wanted to eat, at least there’s always Mickey Bars!
You order at the window and are given a flag to put by your chair. They will bring food out to you, while you wait pool side. We felt completely spoiled at Saratoga Springs Resort when receiving our food poolside.
Since our whol family is gluten-free, we ate a delicious gluten-free dinner. We had a delicious fresh veggie & pesto sauce flatbread and Greek salad with chicken. Saratoga Springs has an extensive menu beyond our kid’s favorite french fries (but thanfully, they have those too!)
Can you walk to to Disney Springs from Saratoga Springs Resort?
We took the pathway from Saratoga Springs to the Disney Springs shopping area (formerly known as the Disney Marketplace or Disney Village). I always come prepared with sensory tools to make the walk less stressful, such as fidget toys and a tablet for communication.
We discussed what to expect with my son and provided a visual schedule with pictures (PECS). Essentially it went like this: first lunch, then shopping, next treat, then pool.
He was pretty excited about the walk after establishing a schedule and expectations. We followed the pathway and made it to Disney Springs without any issues.
Disney Springs is fun because it’s more than just shopping and eating. There are a ton of photo opportunities and special memories as you wander around.
While at Mickey’s Pantry, I noticed they had quite the selection of gluten-free Snacks with Character. This was hugely exciting for our family and we bought one of every flavor.
We went to “Fun Finds” where we picked up some Roadster Racers. Look how excited the kids are to play with their cars!
We were able to get some delicious treats at Goofy Candy Co for later. They were not gluten-free because of contamination, but they were as close as we could get. These were marshmallows that were rolled in chocolate and dipped in M&Ms.
The moral of the story is go with the flow for your autistic kiddos. Sticking to a rigid schedule would have ruined our trip. There were many things that our son decided he didn’t wan to, so be flexible. Sometimes it’s best to know when to pick your battles- it’s everyone’s special vacation- not just ours!
What about the Walt Disney World resort TV channels?
To wrap up the evening, my husband brought us Mickey Bars. The children adore this and it has become a long-standing tradition for our crew.
The best thing about our trip to Saratoga Springs Resort was that we truly stopped and smelled the flowers. There are so many reasons that Saratoga Springs Resort Good for Autistic Families- what are your family’s?