Old Key West or Saratoga Springs - Buying Direct

Jimmy Geppetto

Earning My Ears
Joined
Sep 4, 2021
Hello,

I'm looking to buy a 150 point contract direct. I'm torn between OKW and SSR. We would rarely stay in studios. Prefer one and two bedroom villas. We have a 5 year old and 2 year old. I'm leaning towards OKW because of the availability charts. With the 11 month window I feel like I will have a better chance at getting the grand villa or bedroom villas. When I look at the SSR availability charts it looks like most of the rooms are available at the 7 month mark. To me, SSR is the better resort for young kids and I love the proximity to DS, but I also cant overlook the 2057 expiration with OKW and the incredible point chart. If we wanted to stay at SSR, it should be easy to do.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Am I looking at this properly?

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

dvc lover 1970

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 29, 2013
Both are nice resorts. OKW rooms are larger and they have the best value for the grand villas. Downside of OKW is not all buildings have elevators. But if you are buying them for the blue card benefits then I would purchase OKW because the expiration is 2057, vs SSR which is 2054 so you get an extra 3 years with OKW. Honestly, you should be able to get SSR rooms in the 7 month window, but you cannot get OKW grand villa rooms in the 7 month window
 

Sandisw

DVC Forums
Moderator
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
I think that either are good options as both are available many times at 7 months.

The chart is a really nice part of OKW especially those GV!

I have never stayed there but there are times I think maybe it is where i should add the next set of points to save over the new VGF.
 

DonMacGregor

Sub Leader
Joined
May 13, 2021
I think that either are good options as both are available many times at 7 months.

The chart is a really nice part of OKW especially those GV!

I have never stayed there but there are times I think maybe it is where i should add the next set of points to save over the new VGF.
We were in a 2BR villa in February and it was very nice. The room was huge, the grounds were clean and quiet, and overall it was very relaxing. The room decor could use a soft goods refurb, but still very warm and welcoming.

I will say this though, the bus times, while not as bad as SSR, can still seem like an eternity, and I don't think the common area amenities are anywhere near big enough for the size of the resort. The gift shop is tiny and you only have Olivia's for sit-down dining and it's about the size of a small diner (which it is). For quick service you're stuck with Good's Food to Go, which is the size of a mall food court counter. The bar, the Gurgling Suitcase is literally a 4-stool outdoor bar on the walkway outside of Olivia's. The resort really was designed assuming most guests would be preparing their own meals in their villa. If you don't plan to, or your plans change, you really have no options.

As to the grounds, while they are clean and well-kept, they still remind me more of an apartment complex in Tampa than a resort hotel. Oh, and there are only two sizeable pools and the main pool is semi-themed while the Turtle Shack pool isn't at all. The other two pools are much smaller.
 
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npatellye

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 30, 2019
We love the space at OKW. We stayed with our kids in November 2020 and, at 7 and 5, they loved it. The space of the 2 bedroom was perfect for 4 of us and they loved having a balcony large enough for a table that could seat all 4 of us. The lack of elevator was probably most annoying to my husband, as he was in charge of our luggage and in charge of carrying the then 5 year old if her legs were too tired. I can’t speak to buses as we rented a car and drove everywhere. But we loved the laid back feel and ended up adding on 150 direct there earlier this summer simply because we wanted to be able to book the GVs there in a few years.
 

TCRAIG

Member Since 2010 SS/OKW/HH/BCV/WLV/BLT/GF
Joined
Jun 17, 2011
Correct, only bldgs 62, 63, and 64 have elevators I think, and from what I'm told it's a mad dash to get those at 11 months.
Elevator buildings are request only - they’re not a booking category- and they do try and give priority to disabled guests.
 

OKWFan88

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 23, 2019
I debated between SSR and OKW for a good year before I finally went direct with OKW 150 pt a few months ago. Best decision I made. I love both SSR and OKW but the size of the rooms for OKW is what pushed me over. The laid back atmosphere at OKW is exactly what I want when I go to Disney. I don't have kids and it's only hubby and myself but after the craziness of the parks, the feeling I get when I stay at OKW is something I can't quite explain. It really feels like home. We usually rent a car or drive our own car when we visit but also often take the buses. We've had great and not so great experiences with buses at OKW and SSR but we try not to let it ruin our stay. Olivia's is a fantastic place to eat. Highly recommend the chicken. We aren't pool people so can't give any advice on that. The point chart and size of the rooms at OKW with the 2057 expiration when buying direct helped push us over to the OKW side. It all really depends on what is best for your family. You can't go wrong with either. :)
 

DonMacGregor

Sub Leader
Joined
May 13, 2021
Elevator buildings are request only - they’re not a booking category- and they do try and give priority to disabled guests.
I was kinda speaking tongue in cheek. I know they aren't a booking category, but OKW stalwarts will be doing that location request the second they link the resevation and can begin online checkin.
 

TCRAIG

Member Since 2010 SS/OKW/HH/BCV/WLV/BLT/GF
Joined
Jun 17, 2011
I was kinda speaking tongue in cheek. I know they aren't a booking category, but OKW stalwarts will be doing that location request the second they link the resevation and can begin online checkin.
Got it - and I wish it was bookable or at least reserved for disabled- I love OKW but can’t take the risk of not getting one of the elevator buildings and I don’t like ground floor.
 

mrsdoubie

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 1, 2021
I love OKW. Out of every resort I’ve stayed at, it’s by far my favorite. The larger rooms are great if you have kids because you’re not on top of each other. It may not be as close to DS as SSR, but it’s a short boat trip there when they’re running again.

We tried to buy resale there just to save a few bucks but Disney kept taking them, so we just bought direct last week. I don’t regret a thing.
 

igrsod

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 11, 2010
While our home resorts are AKL and SSR, we LOVE OKW. We stay there about 50% of our trips. We love how big the rooms are. We love the relaxed feel of the resort. There are some downfalls, no resort is perfect. For us, the buses and the small quick service are the major downfalls, but we love everything else so much, that we have learned to live with those. If I was buying direct right now, I would buy at OKW.
As for SSR, we do own there, we stay there occasionally. It has a better quick service, but the bus situation is the same. BUT, prior to renovation the rooms were not great, and it doesn't have the nice vibe and feel that OKW has... it does however have proximity to Disney Springs, and more interesting pools.
The other thing to keep in mind, is that once you have the points, you can book almost anywhere at 7 months.
 

Sandisw

DVC Forums
Moderator
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
I have thought about adding on there just to get the GV rooms. Those rooms are never available in the 7 month window
That is the only reason I got to thinking about it. The ability to get a GV occasionally and to stretch points as my retirement plans take shape after I finally give it a shot.

We have 500 SSR so unless I buy VGF, I don’t need any more of those and I think my 300 RIV points are plenty for getting what we need there at 11 months.

So, it will be wither VGF or OKW for the next direct points we buy!
 

Jwaire

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Honestly, I don't prefer either resort. They are both so far away from the theme parks, unless you have your own transportation, it takes what seems like forever to get to each park.

With that said, we are staying at SSR in December because of the lack of the availability during our week this year at 7 months. I own at Poly and Rivera, but this was a last minute decision (6.8 months in advance is a last minute decision in the DVC world, lol)

SSR has Disney Springs and more entertainment and dining options at night. This may not matter now, but as your kids get older they're going to want to do stuff on their own. You can't beat having the AMC theater, plethora of restaurants and shopping at DS. I'm not sure if this is the case anymore due to COVID, but you used to could walk over to the marketplace section of Disney Springs and catch a bus to every park. That was the quickest direct way to get to the parks.

OKW only has Olivia's and the Gurgling Suitcase. It's point chart is economical, but it's very spread out and secluded.
 

davidl81

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
SSR would be my choice as I like the resort a little more than OKW, but to be honest neither are our favorite DVC resort. OKW has a neat feel to it, but very limited dining and very basic pool area. SSR is like a giant apartment complex, but it does have some very nice pool areas, easy access to Disney Springs, and club house for the golf course is on site.
We own SSR and rarely stay there, usually swap at 7 months. Nothing wrong with the resort really, just not our favorite.
 

CarolynFH

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 5, 2000
you used to could walk over to the marketplace section of Disney Springs and catch a bus to every park.
Disney discontinued buses from DS to the parks some years ago. For a while they had buses from parks to DS after 4 PM, but those haven’t yet returned since reopening. Ironically, an option frequently mentioned here is for people to park at DS then walk to SSR and take an SSR bus to the parks!
 

Jimmy Geppetto

Earning My Ears
Joined
Sep 4, 2021
Thank you everyone for the wonderful insights.

Would any of you anticipate the availability of SSR to change over the next two or three years? I'm leaning towards OKW simply because there is a small benefit at the 11 month window (grand villa bookings) where SSR seems to be wide open at the 7 month mark for all room types.

OKW is $10 pp cheaper and has longer deed.

We only plan to stay at OKW for extended family vacations with Grandparents. All of the other times we plan to stay at SSR or another DVC resort.
 

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