Villas life style

Eduardo Cz 1982

New Member
Original Poster
For years I have herd that The Lake Buena Vista villas ( Saratoga) were supposed to be living houses.... but it came to me recently that some say they actually were living houses before they got turned into a hotel! Does anyone have a blink of information to confirm that?!? And present some evidence and sources( if possible) too!!🤗
 

Bocabear

Well-Known Member
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Saratoga Springs was known as The Disney Institute prior to being Saratoga. It was built as a hotel. If you are talking about the treehouse villas, they were also built as vacation rentals back when Lake Buena Vista shopping village first opened.
I think at one point they were used as cast member housing temporarily... but were never intended to be full time residences.
 

Eduardo Cz 1982

New Member
Original Poster
Saratoga Springs was known as The Disney Institute prior to being Saratoga. It was built as a hotel. If you are talking about the treehouse villas, they were also built as vacation rentals back when Lake Buena Vista shopping village first opened.
I think at one point they were used as cast member housing temporarily... but were never intended to be full time residences.
I am talking about all the villas especially the Model Homes that were built and supposed to be Actuall Homes! I just wanted to know if someone actually lived there for a while before they turned them into villas
 

Bocabear

Well-Known Member
I am talking about all the villas especially the Model Homes that were built and supposed to be Actuall Homes! I just wanted to know if someone actually lived there for a while before they turned them into villas
no one ever lived at the villas at Saratoga Springs as full time residences...They were purpose-built as DVC vacation rentals...styled to look like older homes.
 

Bocabear

Well-Known Member
Yes, there were two bedrooms and a living room on the main level then a master bedroom on the second floor ... All very "California Contemporary" with exposed beams and cathedral ceilings...I remember it being a very long walk to the bus stop to go to the park...
 

kpilcher

Well-Known Member
As far as I know they were built as vacation rentals from the very beginning back in 74... I stayed there in 78' and they were established Disney villas vacation rentals
The original townhomes at what became The Village Resort (Later The Disney Village Resort and now Saratoga Springs) were designed and built as part of what was supposed to be a real city of Lake Buena Vista. They were announced that way in 1973, iirc. and the original designs look like real neighborhoods, albeit with experiments in things like preserving green space and energy efficiency.

But even after proceeding with construction, Disney could not crack the whole pesky "people who own homes have rights" problem. E.P.C.O.T. languished for much the same reason -- eventually leading to a shrug and a theme park in its place. The townhomes, fairway villas and the original treehouse villas were all designed as living spaces. One big tell: each unit had full laundry facilities, unheard of for a hotel in those days.
The Shopping Village of Lake Buena Vista was the first stage of what was to be a downtown that would eventually be linked by monorail to the heart of the property. That, of course, did not happen.

As Foxxy's excellent article points out, a small number of the original townhomes and villas were leased to corporations for a time. When Disney completely gave up on the town idea, they first rented out the villas to guests and evolved that into a resort.

As much as I admire what WED was going for, the designs were -- to be polite -- dated by the time the Disney Institute came along. If I am not mistaken, the townhomes along the lake were the first to be demolished. While all of the purpose-built Institute buildings remain standing and feel somewhat awkward and out of place, Saratoga Springs is by far the most attractive version of that plot of land. I'm sure the theme was picked because the Institute was inspired by the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York. That's about 5 hours drive from the real Saratoga Springs.
 

EngineerMom

Active Member
A

Awesome! Were they nice to stay?!?
Yes they were nice to stay in.

My Dad had a yearly conference there in the 70s and he took our family every year (on of the reasons I got to go to Disney every year as a teen). They were very nice and as far as I now the only places to stay at Disney at the time that was more like DVC. My mom LOVED them and when we invited them to come with our family many years later she said I want to stay at there. I asked Disney about it and they said they were torn down to build Saratoga.

The one thing beyond say DVC now is they were there own little village. My parents mostly hung out there shopping, eating, playing tennis and golf and of course swimming. It was it's own conference center area. Meanwhile my brother and I could take a bus to Magic Kingdom and have fun especially at night. Of course all of this was when Disney did not get the crowds they get now.

After the conference my parents would spend time with us at MK. My family had already stayed at the Contemporary and loved it but my Dad didn't think it was worth switching like we had done when the conferences were not at Disney.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
I have read these! But no heard someone saying that they were for a small period of time sold or something like that... but they just said it no sources
You’re kind of asking for proof of a negative. If they were never offered for sale there would be no record because it never happened. Sale offerings would have been recorded somewhere.
 
For years I have herd that The Lake Buena Vista villas ( Saratoga) were supposed to be living houses.... but it came to me recently that some say they actually were living houses before they got turned into a hotel! Does anyone have a blink of information to confirm that?!? And present some evidence and sources( if possible) too!!🤗

. . . I attended workshops at The Disney Institute the second year of its full operation (1976).
. . . The tree houses first were used for International College Program cast members, but were rented to others if not full.
. . . When the project was finally completed, there were sixty tree houses.
. . . Officially, they were turned over to The Institute in 1996.
. . . Not termed as "villas" until quite some time later
. . . As a General Manger, then Company President, I even sent my managers there for training, especially for "THE DISNEY WAY" classes.
. . . It is funny, the EXCELLENT workbook and leader's manual are available, but WDW no longer sends its own managers for the training!

. . . In addition to this specialized course, they had numerous other topics and classes - both personal and business.
. . . Classes included language, customs, art, experiences, etc - from 2-day to 4-day courses.
. . . We stayed in the tree houses, in "The Village" during each class week.
. . . As I remember, the 4-day classes were in the $1,500/person range and the tree houses about $250/night (expensive for that time)
. . . These were actually inexpensive quarters for multi-person Institute business attendees.
 

kpilcher

Well-Known Member
. . . I attended workshops at The Disney Institute the second year of its full operation (1976).
. . . The tree houses first were used for International College Program cast members, but were rented to others if not full.
. . . When the project was finally completed, there were sixty tree houses.
. . . Officially, they were turned over to The Institute in 1996.
. . . Not termed as "villas" until quite some time later
. . . As a General Manger, then Company President, I even sent my managers there for training, especially for "THE DISNEY WAY" classes.
. . . It is funny, the EXCELLENT workbook and leader's manual are available, but WDW no longer sends its own managers for the training!

. . . In addition to this specialized course, they had numerous other topics and classes - both personal and business.
. . . Classes included language, customs, art, experiences, etc - from 2-day to 4-day courses.
. . . We stayed in the tree houses, in "The Village" during each class week.
. . . As I remember, the 4-day classes were in the $1,500/person range and the tree houses about $250/night (expensive for that time)
. . . These were actually inexpensive quarters for multi-person Institute business attendees.
Forgive me, but I think your memory might inadvertently be running a couple of things together. Happens to me too. The original tree houses were finished and rented out to conference and corporate guests as they were completed In 1975 -6 years before there was an international cast program, though it would not surprise me some of the internationals stayed there at some point before Disney’s first cast apartments, vista way. Some lucky Internationals and cps stayed there again after hurricane Charley made the treehouses too dangerous for guests in 2004.
Disney University started management courses like you describe in the mid 70s. The name Disney Institute was an Eisner invention in the mid 90s. The Disney Institute’s predecessor as a resort was called the Villas, then the Village and later the Disney Village resort. It was definitely renting out the Treehouses before the mid-80s because I visited people staying there as a child.
You are 100% correct that the Treehouses, Fairway Villas, Clubhouses and the townhomes were all absorbed as rooms when the Disney Institute formally opened in 1996 (except for a handful of buildings torn down to build the Institute’s “Downtown“)
 

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