Is Saratoga Springs now the best DVC value destination?

Disney's Old Key West Resort has long stood as the best value proposition for a Disney Vacation Club destination at Walt Disney World.  Despite sharing the same condo-style layout with Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Old Key West had the advantages of a more recognizable theme, larger guest rooms and lower nightly point costs.  

SSR Springs

Disney cannot do much to address the theme or guest room size without significant investment, but they can make changes to the points charts.  And they have revealed plans to make just such a change.

Starting in 2017, eleven of the eighteen buildings at Saratoga Springs will be classified as "Standard."  Note this is not exactly a view classification, rather it appears to be related more to the building location or desirability.  The seven buildings in Congress Park and The Springs will henceforth be dubbed "Preferred" while The Paddock, The Carousel and The Grandstand fall into the Standard classification.

Disney's goal appears to be balancing demand for certain buildings at Saratoga Springs, while also increasing the resort's overall desirability by lowering nightly point requirements for the Standard accommodations.  

The first chart below compares the 2016 nightly costs for these two properties before the separation of Standard and Preferred villas at Saratoga Springs.  Listed are costs for Deluxe Studio, One Bedroom and Two Bedroom villas at both resorts across all DVC seasons.  

SSR vs OKW 2016

Old Key West vs. Saratoga Springs - 2016

The advantages of Old Key West are immediately identifiable.  Of the thirty villa / date combinations displayed for both resorts, Old Key West is the lower-priced destination twenty-seven times.  Twice the two resorts are priced identically and only once is Saratoga Springs cheaper.  

The disparity is most evident for a Choice Season One Bedroom villa where a week at Saratoga Springs costs 32 points more than Old Key West--206 points for Saratoga vs. 174 points for Old Key West.  

Now compare the cost of Saratoga Springs' Standard rooms to Old Key West.  

SSR vs OKW 2017

Old Key West vs. Saratoga Springs Standard - 2017

 Beginning in 2017 there will be eight instances where Saratoga Springs is cheaper and seven when the resorts are priced identically.  Even when Old Key West is still the lower-cost option, the disparity is consistently less than 2016 and prior.  That Choice Season One Bedroom Villa which previously cost 32 points more at Saratoga Springs will only be 18 points extra for a 2017 Standard room.

Note that some of the cheapest accommdations in the entire Disney Vacation Club program are Value rooms at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas.  However the scarcity of those villas eliminates them as a viable destination for most DVC owners.  

Will the introduction of Standard and Preferred classifications help boost the appeal of Saratoga Springs?  The degree of impact is certainly debatable but it seems that this move can only help.  Members looking for the lowest-cost option will soon find that Saratoga Springs beats-out Old Key West in many scenarios.  Others will gladly pay equal cost or a modest point premium to stay at Saratoga Springs for its proximity to Disney Springs, the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course clubhouse, dual feature pools and other amenities.  

Meanwhile fans of Congress Park and The Springs face a difficult decision.  While they will soon be guaranteed a room in one of those two preferred sections, the trade-off will be a higher price paid for each stay.  

Reader Comments
Re: Is Saratoga Springs now the best DVC value destination? -- KNWVIKING 2.0
2015 Dec 29 01:57:14 PM
Well, I don't call it "the Projects" for nothing.

Jk

Jk
Re: Is Saratoga Springs now the best DVC value destination? -- imdizfan
2015 Dec 29 03:06:09 PM
This should boost demand for SSR as a lower cost option. Low dues and now a booking option that is closer to OKW (and in some cases lower than OKW) points.

It will be interesting to see where the new demand goes. Will the demand be toward saving points and maybe spending time at WDW or will the Preferred locations remain the most popular locations?

DW and I don't own at SSR, but the lower point option is certainly more attractive to us now than it was before. Additionally, there are times we would be happy to pay a few more points to be guaranteed in the preferred buildings.

As someone mentioned in another thread, if they made near lobby an option for Kidani we would also be willing to pay a few more points.
Re: Is Saratoga Springs now the best DVC value destination? -- denlo
2015 Dec 29 03:53:32 PM
No, SSR not the best value destination when only looking at points, OKW and BWV still beat SSR in many categories. However, SSR is a good option when the other two resorts are not available, or if they do not provide what you want in a resort.

Personally the point difference between OKW and SSR differs so little that I would choose base on resort preference. SSR would be my preferred choice.
As an AK owner, I just hope this doesn't increase costs for me... -- drsql
2015 Dec 29 03:53:32 PM
I have NEVER been able to purchase a room for the AK value rooms, even as an owner. They are snatched up faster than bacon on the buffet. When I purchased my first 120, and then my second 100, I figured this to be the case, so it had never bothered me.

But when I am making plans within 6 months, I often end up at OKW (will be there in Feb) or at Saratoga Springs because the price can be cheaper (and we are park fanatics who see the room almost always for 20 minutes at night, and 30 minutes in the morning (regardless of weather :). So it will really depend on how many rooms were made value versus standard.

I assume that the balance they are bound to would mean they have to balance not only points per level, but rooms at a level, so it remains to be seen if this is a good thing or not.

Louis
Re: Is Saratoga Springs now the best DVC value destination? -- simbasmom
2015 Dec 29 04:15:55 PM
It certainly won't change things for us. And seeings how the demand for the highest price resorts (VGF, BLT, Poly) is so high, my guess is that saving a few points isn't high on the priority list of the average DVCer. We're lucky-one of our favorite resorts is OKW, and it doesn't have to do with the low point values. We originally owned at VWL, and Guy wanted to switch to OKW. He was shocked (in a positive way) that OKW was actually fewer points. Note, I'm not arguing about favorite resorts, just making the point that most DVC owners want what they want, regardless of the point value.

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