We have covered values, moderates, and deluxe resorts at Disney World. If you are looking for a little more space in your room and a kitchenette or full kitchen, then you should take a look at this resort category.
The deluxe villas were built for Disney Vacation Club (DVC) owners. People who buy DVC points will buy them at a certain resort and that becomes their “home” resort. Even though the villas were built for DVC owners those of us that are not part of the DVC can still book a stay in one of the villas.
The villas are located near the deluxe resort with a similar theme. Kidani Village is near Animal Kingdom Lodge, Bay Lake Tower is near the Contemporary, The Villas at Grand Floridian Resorts are near Grand Floridian, the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows are with the Polynesian Village Resort, the Beach Club Villas are near the Beach Club Resort, the Boardwalk Villas are next to the Boardwalk Inn, and the The Villas at Wilderness Lodge are located with Wilderness Lodge. The Animal Kingdom Villas (Jambo House) are located in the original building of the deluxe resort. There are two DVC resorts that were built specifically for DVC and they are the original DVC resorts. The first is Old Key West and the second is Saratoga Springs.
Like the deluxe resorts, the villas are located close to certain areas at Disney World. Bay Lake Tower, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian, and The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge are all located near the Magic Kingdom. The Beach Club Villas and Boardwalk Villas are both near Epcot. Kidani Village and Animal Kingdom Villas-Jambo House are just a five minute bus ride to and from Animal Kingdom. Finally, the original DVC resorts, Saratoga Springs and Old Key West are close to the Downtown Disney area.
All of the rooms at the villas will have a kitchenette or a full kitchen. The studios have the kitchenette, which includes a microwave, sink, small refrigerator, cups, utensils, coffeemaker, and a toaster. The full kitchens come with the 1 and 2 bedroom villas. The full kitchens include, counter space, full refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, sink, microwave, toaster, glasses, silverware, plates, bowls, pots and pans, and a coffeemaker. You really get everything you need to cook meals on vacation with the full kitchen. We made use of our kitchen when we stayed at Kidani and it was great. There was also a table next to the kitchen with a bench and two chairs for dining. If you don’t want to eat every meal out then I would recommend going with the full kitchen.
The size of the rooms will differ depending on where you are staying. As I mentioned, we stayed at Kidani on the last trip and our room was huge. We booked a 2 bedroom villa and had 5 adults and 4 kids in the room (one child was in the pack ‘n’ play that comes with every villa room) and there was no shortage of space, even with all those people in the room.
Kidani is one of the newer DVC resorts, so they did make the rooms bigger and you can fit an extra person in them. In resorts like the Beach Club Villas you can fit 8 people, but the Kidani rooms fit 9 because they have a chair that converts to a twin sleeper. This is a great feature! Our 2 year old used the chair and we were able to move it into the master bedroom so she could sleep in the same room as us and her little brother. Even with the king size bed, the pack ‘n’ play, and the twin sleeper chair, there is still plenty of room in the bedroom.
Our friends had room to spare in their bedroom as well. The second bedroom has 2 queen size beds, so their kids were able to share the bed no problem. Each of the bedrooms has a television on a good sized dresser and each also has separate bathrooms with showers as well. The bonus with Kidani was that there is a third full bathroom in the main area of the villa. This is very useful if you have someone sleeping on the couch (like our group did), because they have their own bathroom to use to get ready. The older DVC resorts don’t have as much space. but if you are not packing the room to capacity that might not matter as much.
The 1 and 2 bedroom villas also have a washer and dryer right in the room. This was a huge bonus for my group, because we didn’t have to pack as much. We just did laundry a couple of times on the trip and we were fine. If you stay up planning your next day, like we did, that is the perfect time to do some laundry.
One thing that I really liked about the villas, and this goes for the deluxe resorts too, is that there are interior hallways. In the values and moderates your room door opens to the outdoors, where as the deluxe resort and villa rooms open to a hallway. It is nice that you don’t have to worry about the weather when leaving your room. The values and moderates do have overhangs, you don’t just open up the door and get soaked if it is raining, but I liked having the hallway and windows. Plus, we were staying at Kidani Village, so we were able to see the animals as we walked in the hallway.
The one downside to the villas, if stay on points, is that you will not have mousekeeping service everyday. On the fourth day you get trash and towel service and on the eighth day you will have full mousekeeping service. You can get additional cleaning, but you will have to pay extra for that. We didn’t mind the difference in the mousekeeping schedule for the villas (they supplied a vacuum in the front closet, some laundry detergent, and some dish washing soap with a sponge), but some people like to have them come everyday. If you are worried about having cleaning supplies the store in the lobby should sell some cleaning products. They probably won’t have a huge selection, but chances are if you need something they will be able to help you. If you pay cash for the room instead of staying on points then you should have mousekeeping everyday.
Since the villas are located in or near their sister deluxe resorts, all the dining and shopping that is available at the deluxe resorts is also available for those staying in the villas. Saratoga Springs and Old Key West are the exceptions since they are only DVC resorts and do not have a sister deluxe resort. At Saratoga Springs you can dine at The Turf Club Bar and Grill and Old Key West has Olivia’s, which is a restaurant that I hear has delicious food. These are both table service restaurants, so you can make reservations there if you want. Both also have quick service dining available. Kidani Village has a restaurant in the lower level of the building. Sanaa is unique, because it has windows that look out to the Savannah, so you can watch the animals as you dine.
In addition to the shopping and dining the villas will have the same transportation as their sister deluxe resorts available. If the deluxe resort has boat and bus transportation available, the sister deluxe villa will be able to use that transportation as well. For Saratoga Springs and Old Key West, both resorts have bus transportation and boat transportation (to certain locations) available. If the resorts are really spread out, like Saratoga Springs, there will be multiple bus stops throughout the resort. That way you don’t have to worry about getting to the main building to catch the bus. The map below shows the different stops around Saratoga Springs for the bus.
Since this map is of Saratoga Springs, let’s cover a different kind of experience at Disney, the Treehouse Villas. These are part of Saratoga Springs, but are located a bit away from the villa buildings, they are the cluster to the left. The Treehouse Villas are actually elevated 10 feet off the ground and are surrounded by woods. There is one pool located in the Treehouse Villas area and a boat launch where guests can take boats to Downtown Disney.
The activities for the villas will also be similar to those that are available for the deluxe resorts. For the Boardwalk Villas the nightly entertainment on the Boardwalk is as close as it is for the Boardwalk Inn. When you check in to the villas you will receive an activities sheet that will let you know what activities are going on for that week and whether they are free or if there is a fee. There are usually lots of things available for guests to take part in and this includes the usual activities like Movies Under the Stars, campfires, playgrounds, arcades, and jogging trails. There are fun tours that take place at some of the resorts like the Boardwalk Ballyhoo Guided Tour (this tour is free of charge!), so make sure to look over that activity sheet. You never know what kind of fun activity you will find!
The pools that are available to the DVC resorts vary. Some, like Kidani Village, have their own separate pool and others, like Beach Club Villas, use the same pool as the deluxe resort. If the DVC resort does not have it’s own pool then it will at least have it’s own quiet pool, but if they do have their own pool, both pools are available for use to both the deluxe and the villas.
Saratoga Springs has 2 feature pools (with waterslides), the Paddock Pool and the High Rock Spring Pool, as well as 3 other pools, hot tubs, and play areas for the kids. Over at Old Key West there is a main pool with a waterslide through a giant sandcastle. There are 3 other pools, hot tubs, and a play area for the kids (all the resorts on Disney property have aquatic play areas for the little ones).
Aside from Kidani Village and Bay Lake Tower, the other villa resorts use the same main pool as their sister deluxe resort. To get a rundown of the different pools at the deluxe resorts check out Part 3 in this series. Kidani Village has a fun pool and the waterslide is a lot of fun too! I don’t remember the last time I had been on a waterslide before this last trip, but I definitely tried out the waterslide at Samawati Springs. The pool is pretty big and it feels hidden from the rest of the resort, so it was both fun and relaxing.
Like the deluxe resorts, there is a lot to do at the villas. If you are looking for somewhere to stay that has the option of a kitchen, washer/dryer, more space, fun themes, and a lot of activities, then you should take a look at this resort category. Happy planning!
Check out the other parts in the series to compare resorts:
Thanks for reading!
We have a time share at Saratoga springs resort and we love it , we have Ben members since 2006 and we love it and on Dec 25 2015/ Jan 05 2016 we go every yr can’t wait til Dec see you there and as always have a Disney Day Mike