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A hidden gem in plain sight: What it's like at Disney World's Treehouse Villas

Sept. 26, 2022
10 min read
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Did you know that you can stay in a treehouse at Walt Disney World (without having to be a magical squirrel or other woodland creature)?

Disney World has such a wide variety of lodging options that it would be difficult to stay at all of them without investing some serious money and time. At Disney, you'll find everything from budget-friendly properties like Disney's Art of Animation to high-end resorts, such as Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, with each offering its own decor, amenities and highlights.

Yet of all the accommodation options available on Disney property, there's one unique option that's often overlooked: the Treehouse Villas.

Located at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, the treehouses are certainly some of Disney's most unusual accommodations. While not as luxurious as other properties by Disney World, they have a lot going for them, especially if you are traveling to Orlando with a larger group.

What exactly can you expect when staying in one of the 60 Treehouse Villas? Here's what my experience was like during a recent visit.

Booking

Officially called the Treehouse Villas, these three-bedroom, two-bathroom accommodations at Disney's Saratoga Springs are bookable in a couple of ways. The easiest way to reserve one is directly through Disney World, as they're in limited supply. However, you may also occasionally find them available via online travel agencies like Expedia.

When you're ready to book, you'll have two ways you can pay for your stay. Cash rates for the villas are in sort of a sweet spot for Disney accommodations, as they fall between two-bedroom units and three-bedroom grand villas. They're by no means cheap, but can be hundreds of dollars less than most other three-bedroom units, like this three-bedroom we tried out at Bay Lake Tower. Expect to pay at least $1,000 per night, though rates around the holidays often climb above $2,000 per night.

However, if you have Disney Vacation Club points -- or decide to rent DVC points -- you can also use them to cover the cost of your stay. This can be a more affordable option, as you'll often save hundreds of dollars per night when you use points, which typically cost between $20 and $22 each to rent from sites like David's Vacation Club.

A single night in a Treehouse Villa ranges from 38 to 76 DVC points per night, which at a rental cost of $20 per point could cost you as low as $760 on the low-end. As a DVC owner, I redeemed 45 points per night for this two-night stay. That's a bit more than we would normally spend (though a better deal than the cash options).

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Treehouse was the perfect fit for us in a sticky situation where our daughter tested positive for COVID--19 ... at Disney World.

Related: How to save a lot of money by renting Disney Vacation Club points

Location

As you may expect, the setting for the Treehouse Villas — which sit between Disney's Old Key West Resort and the main Disney's Saratoga Springs complex — is nature-focused. Preserved wetlands surround the villas, with each treehouse nestled among the trees, creating a quiet oasis unlike anything else you'll experience at Disney World.

Roads are available but are narrow and rarely see cars, so you'll likely spot kids playing on them or walking to the on-site pool when you're out and about.

While you can certainly use them to drive to the parks, boats that come in and out of the property's canals are also available to transport guests around Disney. Or, you can head to Disney's Saratoga Springs (which is accessible from the Treehouse Villas by boat and bus) to get on a different boat or bus that will take you to one of the theme parks.

EDWARD PIZZARELLO/THE POINTS GUY

Should you decide to drive — I recommend renting a car or using Uber, Lyft or Disney's Minnie Vans — know that Disney's attractions and amenities are a bit removed from the villas. Still, the drive isn't too terribly long. Getting to Epcot, the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios takes about 10 minutes, while Disney's Animal Kingdom requires a 15-minute drive.

Related: These are the best times to visit Disney World

Check-in

Unlike traditional hotels, there is no lobby or front desk for the villas. In fact, the gate at the Treehouse Villas isn't even staffed by a Disney cast member.

While you can enjoy a physical check-in experience by visiting the lobby at the larger Disney's Saratoga Springs property, it's a hike from there to the villas whether you drive yourself or request a ride in a golf cart from a cast member. Because of this, technology will be your friend.

To use the online check-in option, you'll need to already have a working MagicBand in your possession since the gate at Treehouse Villas is unstaffed. We chose this option since our family was dealing with a positive COVID-19 test during our recent visit. Because we checked in online, we were able to completely bypass cast members at Saratoga Springs and go straight to our treehouse.

EDWARD PIZZARELLO/THE POINTS GUY

Related: 14 reasons to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort property

Room

Situated about 10 feet above the ground, each Treehouse Villa offers the same layout with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a sizeable deck for outdoor dining or lounging. Most have staircases leading to the entrance, though a few offer ramps for those with mobility limitations. A small charcoal grill is also available at the base of the steps.

As you enter your treehouse, you'll find yourself in a large, open space with a cathedral ceiling and rustic decor fitting of a treehouse. There's plenty of wood everywhere you turn, as well as tree-inspired details in accents like lamps. Don't expect any traditional characters, though, as these accommodations are all about nature.

EDWARD PIZZARELLO/THE POINTS GUY

Beyond the large dining room table, you'll notice immediately after walking in is a kitchen with a breakfast bar and full-size appliances, plus a living area with a couch, a chair and a flat-screen TV. You'll also get Disney's "mid-tier" coffee option, which is a Mr. Coffee-style coffee maker. If you want a more modern approach, the rooms at some of the nicer and refreshed rooms, like at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, have Keurig machines. Large windows let in plenty of natural light to brighten the feel of all the rooms.

While each bedroom can accommodate multiple guests, the living room's couch and chair fold out into a queen-size bed and a twin bed, respectively, to provide additional sleeping space. Unlike other pullout sofas you may be used to, the ones at Disney World are the most comfortable I've ever slept on, so contrary to what you may assume, an adult can absolutely get a good night's sleep on one of these beds.

To the right of the kitchen are the two smaller bedrooms — one with bunk beds and another with a queen-size bed. Both of these bedrooms have flat-screen TVs and share a bathroom located at the end of a short hallway. Across from the bedrooms is a closet with a washer and a dryer.

In the largest of the three bedrooms, you'll discover the same vaulted ceilings featured in the main area, as well as a queen-size bed and a wall of windows. There's an en suite bathroom with a large whirlpool tub and a rain shower, too. Between the bedrooms and the living room, you can comfortably sleep nine people.

EDWARD PIZZARELLO/THE POINTS GUY

Related: Yes, you can visit Disney World on a budget: Here's how I did it

If you lost count, in total that's two queen beds, one queen-sized sleeper sofa, one set of bunk beds and also a twin-sized sleeper chair, if you want to count that one (as Disney does).

Amenities

Given the outdoorsy setting and private nature of the treehouses, there are few guest amenities available here. Other than a small pool, a hot tub and a couple of small trails, you won't find many amenities outside your villa.

However, as a Treehouse Villa guest, you can take advantage of the amenities and facilities at Disney's Saratoga Springs. There are a bus and a boat that you can take to reach the larger property, where you'll have access to additional pools and a few dining options, including quick-service venues and a sit-down steakhouse.

Related: There's a new line to wait in at Disney World you probably don't expect

Overall impression

After completing our second stay at the Treehouse Villas, it's safe to say that our family still loves this property. While we wouldn't choose to stay here for every trip, the theme and the seclusion are big pluses for us.

Because there's ample shade around the villas, you'll remain comfortable even on the hottest of summer days in Florida. As a result, you can take advantage of the more affordable cash and DVC points rates during this time of year without feeling like you'll burst into flames.

EDWARD PIZZARELLO/THE POINTS GUY

Sure, on-site amenities are a little lacking compared to some other options, but this is not the kind of property you come to for sprawling pools and abundant restaurants. Instead, the real draws are the quiet, shaded setting and the comfortable treehouses that can sleep up to nine people.

If what you're after is a calm getaway from a hectic day at the theme parks, you'll absolutely find that at the Disney Treehouse Villas.

Related reading:

Featured image by SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees