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Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs

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In 1975 a unique accommodation opened at Walt Disney World, the Treehouse Villas. Nestled deep within a pine forest a short distance from the Walt Disney World Village (now Downtown Disney), these octagon-shaped suites offered a full kitchen, two upstairs bedrooms and a downstairs den which was later converted into a third bedroom. These units had a loyal following and many felt that they had “bragging rights” if they had stayed here. But over the years time took its toll and this once special place became tired and showed its age. In 2002 this property was closed to the public. For a short period of time, many of the international cast members and those on the college program called these units home. However Disney knew that this wasn’t the best use of the property and eventually decided to give this area a much needed facelift. But how do you do this without destroying the very forest that makes this place so special.

To begin with, all of the treehouses were razed down to their foundation. In an effort to be environmentally friendly, over 65% of this demolished material, including concrete and metal, was recycled. Then a unique construction process began. For the first time since the Contemporary and Polynesian Resorts were built, these houses were constructed modularly. The living area is comprised of three sections and were built in Pennsylvania and trucked down Interstate 95. The roof is comprised of two modular sections and these were built locally. The deck makes up the sixth section.

On any given morning during construction, the three sections of the basic house were brought onsite. A giant crane lifted each section up and over the trees and dropped it into place. In the afternoon, the two roof sections and the deck arrived and by 2pm the basic structure was complete.


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Opening on June 1st, these new villas are now part of the Saratoga Springs, Disney Vacation Club complex. All sixty units are identical and offer a living and dining area, three bedrooms, and two bathrooms. They are perched ten feet off of the ground and sit on a pedestal and beams designed to blend into the forest. They sleep nine and offer modern luxuries like flat-screen TVs and high-speed internet connection. For you DVC members, the Treehouse Villas are considered a “two-bedroom equivalent.”

I think Disney did a great job with the décor. They captured a rustic feel yet were able to incorporate modern amenities into the design. These units are very warm and inviting. The home we visited today is located on the 17th hole of the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course.


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Here are pictures of the kitchen and living area.


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If you look closely, you can see hidden Mickey’s in the carpet.


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The end table is also designed to be a hidden Mickey.


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Following are pictures of the master bedroom and bath.


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Here are pictures of the other two bedrooms and the “guest” bath. Notice the bedspread on the bunkbeds.


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Every unit has its own BBQ. Also, there is no longer any living space on the ground floor.


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The Imagineers decided to keep the original pool, but it had a depth of 8 feet, which by today’s standards, is a little deep. The pool was filled in and now sports a depth of 3 feet to 4 feet 11 inches. There is also a spa and restrooms in this area but no food or beverage service is available. Note, this pool does NOT have a lifeguard.


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Check in for the Treehouse Villas takes place at Saratoga Springs. There is a lovely walking path between the two areas and a cast member will be happy to use an electric vehicle to transport you and your luggage if you don’t have a car.

Internal transportation is provided by a bus that makes the rounds between Saratoga Springs and the Treehouse Villas. For transportation to the theme parks there are two bus stops located among the treehouses. For transportation to Downtown Disney a new dock has been constructed on the Sassagoula River for a leisurely boat trip.

If you’re not in the mood to cook, head back over to Saratoga Springs (via bus or walkway) and try Artist’s Palette and the Turf Club Bar and Grill. No room service is available at the Treehouse Villas.

I think future occupants of the Treehouse Villas will also have bragging rights. This is a wonderful spot to spend your vacation.

AllEars Founder Deb Wills, along with Debra Martin Koma and Jack Marshall will be spending the first 2 days at the Treehouse Villa beginning Monday. Look for more photos and updates from them next week!

The previous post in this blog was Star Wars Weekends 2009.

The next post in this blog is Bay Lake Tower.

Comments (33)

Sara:

Oh WOW!! Those look amazing thanks for posting..

regina baker:

looks awesome really wish i could afford to stay there just not in my budget.
regina

Lee:

New to the world of Disney. The Treehouse Villas are not available to the general public? Only if you are part of the Disney Vacation Club?

Jack's Answer:

The Treehouse Villas are part of the Disney Vacation Club and available to members first. But units are occasionally available to non-members for cash. You need to call Disney reservations for availability.

Heather Young:

I remember passing the tree house when they were closed and they always looked 'sad'. I'm cock-a-hoop they are up and running again. And now my WDW places to stay list has just got longer. LOL

I may just have to wander over there on my next visit to WDW, they really do look amazing.

Annie from NH:

So just to clarify points, the Treehouses will be the same as a Saratoga Springs 2-bedroom? As always, wonderful reviews and pictures....thank you!!

Jack's Answer:

That's what I was told. It takes the same amount of points to rent a 2-bedroom unit at Saratoga Springs as it does to rent a 3-bedroom treehouse.

Ashley:

I remember passing by the old treehouses a few years ago when we were staying at Port Orleans Riverside, and they looked so forlorn but seemed like they had so much potential. The boat driver said there was whispers that they were going to be rebuilding them and I told my sister right then that if they ever did, someday we should go there!
Well, this year they surely did build them and when we were planning my sister's 25th birthday trip (on 09/09/09, no less) we thought on a lark we'd check out the Treehouse Villas to see if they were available, and they sure were! We booked about three weeks ago for our September trip, and there's eight of us going so it's actually costing only about $50 more total than staying in a Moderate resort! I encourage everyone to check it out as an option, we're so excited to be staying here this coming September!
Thanks, Jack Spence. You've made the wait till September unbearable. :)

Cheri P:

Incredible! Makes me want to buy DVC even more. So can anyone take a tour of a treehouse villa? And do you have to go through a DVC presentation in order to do so?

Jack's Answer:

I was on a press tour of the villas. They officially open on June 1st so there are no tours available. Sorry. However, check out the DVC preview center at Saratoga Springs for more informaiton.

Deanna:

Jack, did they tell you anything about bus service? The official word from a few months ago was that shuttle service would run between the Treehouses and Saratoga Springs, and Treehouse guests would pick up buses to the theme parks from Saratoga Springs. Many have been concerned about congestion on the buses as a result, and rumours have been flying about direct service from the Treehouses. Did they give you any indication?

Jack's Answer:

This is what I was told about bus service.

Internal transportation is provided by a bus that makes the rounds between Saratoga Springs and the Treehouse Villas. For transportation to the theme parks there are two bus stops located among the treehouses. I imagine these buses will also make stops at SS, but I don't know this. For transportation to Downtown Disney a new dock has been constructed on the Sassagoula River for a leisurely boat trip.

Julie Wolsos:

I am a Disney Fanatic and I love allears, I've noticed that you know just about everything there is to know about Disney.

I'm hoping you can help me with something. When I was a little girl, we as a family stayed at a Disney resort that was right next to Downtown Disney. They were like 2 story condos, Disney transportation and everything. I can't remember what they were called and they have since been torn down.

It was one of the best trips, since it was one of the last with my Grandma, who has since died of AIDS from a blood transfusion from the tainted blood in the 80's.

Can you help me?

Thanks!

Julie

Jack's Answer:

Disney originally planned to build and sell homes in the area that is now Saratoga Springs. A number of models were constructed, but a decision was made not to sell these units. Instead it was decided to rent them to the public. The area was called "Walt Disney World Village Resort Villas."

There were four types of "homes" to choose from, Vacation Villas, Club Lake Villas, Fairway Villas, and the Treehouse Villas. Each had its own configuration and style.

I hope that answers your question.

susan hall:

Hi Jack,

WOW! There's lots of excitement surrounding our 3 week December trip and now we finally get to see where we will be spending out last 8 nights! Great photos and info as usual Jack, thanks! After sharing a cabin on the Disney Magic and an Inn room at Vero, I think three bedrooms will be just what we need. From the rumours, we just might be better keeping the hire car whilst we're there though. What are your thoughts on the distance to the main resort?

Jack's Answer:

I always recommend that folks rent a car if they can afford it. Don't get me wrong, Disney does an excellent job at providing transportation around property, but a car is quicker. And since it seems that the treehouses might be sharing buses with Saratoga Springs, I think a car is a wise choice.

Wendy Snelgrove:

Great photos Jack. I am looking forward to staying there, and very glad that we own points at SSR.

Thanks, Wendy

Dan in NH:

We have booked a week in November in a treehouse villa...what I could not tell from any of the pics, is the how the parking setup for these are? Are there spaces near each unit or just a central lot?

And I must also say I appreciate all you (and everyone at Allears) do for everyone to better prepare (and get ramped up!) for the next trip. Thanx just doesn't cover it.

Jack's Answer:

There are spaces for parking in front of each unit. It's all very convenient.

Melody:

Gorgeous! Thanks for the pictures and information! I'm very proud to be an SSR owner and cannot wait to book a stay here!

Josh Olive:

My family stayed in the Treehouses back in the early '80s, and we loved everything about it except for the bus service, which, at the time, was a bit lackluster.

Looking through all these pictures, it's a shame they got rid of the old barrel-shaped (upright, with a hinged door on the side for access) bathtubs. They weren't particularly practical, I don't suppose, but we were fascinated by those as kids.

Hopefully I'll get to stay there again sometime, now that they've been reopened.

Mark:

Thanks so much for the pics!!!!!! we are staying in the Treehouse Villas the first 10 days of June!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ONLY 3 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!! We can't wait. ^.^

beachpup:

How many units are there?

Jack's Answer: There are 60 treehouses nestled between the Sassagoula River and Saratoga Springs. But you'd never know it they're so beautifully hidden within the trees.

Stephanie:

Hi Jack!
Thanks the great pictures! We own points at SS so are looking forward to trying the treehouses. My question is, did they make any accessible? We want to try the tree houses but if my dad goes, who is in a wheelchair do we have to stay in the main area?
Thanks!

Jack's Answer:

Yes. Disney did build a couple of accessible treehouses. I asked about them while on the tour, but the representatives really couldn't tell me anything except that they are completely ADA compliant. I asked for pictures, but they had none to share with me at the time.

Merry Shippee:

Jack, that you so much for the photos!!! The Treehouse Villas look absolutly stunning and we can't wait to try them out. We are so glad that SSR is our "home" resort since now we will get first priority when booking!!! We look forward to more information and photos next week when they officially open.

Vince:

Is there a map available showing the location of each building & it's number? This would help when making a reservation. Thank you for the photos. I can't wait for Oct.

Jack's Answer:

Yes, there is a map that shows each building and the entire property. They give it to you when you check in. Sorry, I don't have one.

However, you can only "request" a specific unit. Disney cannot guarantee a specific treehouse.

Marc Acosta:

Jack,

Great pictures! Thank you for sharing. What did you mean when you said "Also, there is no longer any living space on the ground floor."?

Jack's Answer:

The original treehouses had a den/bedroom on the ground floor accessible via a spiral staircase from the living room above. All of the rooms in the new treehouses are on the second floor.

OMG, I used to LIVE there! And believe when I say it was NOTHIN even close to it!

Ann:

Is there laundry in the units?

Jack's Answer:

Yes. The Treehouse Villas have a laundry facility with stackable washer and dryer.

Kate Cahill:

Thanks for the pictures. My family and I (12 of us in all) are staying at 2 treehouises Thanksgiving week. Now I know what to expect. We are very excited!

Brad Brewer:

These look like alot of fun the only problem I see is: Bus stops will be another for Saratoga Springs which is already the largest DVC resort. We love staying at SS but sometimes the waits are very long compared to others. But I guess beats driving any day...lol

Nathaniel Powe:

How will the buses run at night? Will it be a long, dark, spooky walk from the bus stop to the Tree Houses. And how is security? Please let me know after your stay. Thanks for the pics and the info.

Louise:

Jack,
Was so excited when learning about this. Do all the units have bunkbeds in the 3rd bedroom, or do some have full/queen in all rooms?

Jack's Answer:

All of the units are identical so all 3rd bedrooms have bunkbeds. In reality, this room is somewhat small. That's all that can fit in here.

Theresa Konno:

The treehouses are so cute! The sure look cozy and inviting!
Thanks Jack for another great report!
Theresa

tamara:

Pretty darn cool!!! I would love to stay in one however correct me if i am wrong i just cant justify disney vacation club$$ Cool pad though i may try to get one if any are open next year i am already staying at jambo house.. thanks allears i love love your web site!!

Jessica:

I'm so excited to see these pictures!!

We're staying at the Treehouses the last week of September (we're not DVC), and I've been anxiously awaiting some pics! Now I have something to send the rest of the family. They were a little worried about booking sight unseen, but everything looks great.

Thanks!!!

Heather Myers:

I remember as a kid seeing the villas from the river and dreaming about staying in them, like a modern day Swiss Family Robinson. I am happy to hear they are open to the general public as well as DVC members as I can't afford membership at this time.

The pictures look great, thanks for taking them and for sharing the info. You always do a great job!

Glenn Watts:

Jack,

Thank you for the great pictures and review!

Regards,

Glenn

Joe:

My family and I are splitting ten days in August between BLT and the treehouses. Thanks to All Ears for giving me a good 'look' at the new resorts.

Laura:

Very much enjoyed your photos - gives a great look at THVs. I'm guessing we may not be able to resist an add-on at SSR - they look perfect for inviting extended family & friends along !!

Thanks again for keeping us so well informed !

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 27, 2009 4:39 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Star Wars Weekends 2009.

The next post in this blog is Bay Lake Tower.

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