Artist Palette

The main food court at Saratoga Springs Resort is called Artist Palette. My mom and I along with Corey Fiasconaro and his wife Haley were at Saratoga as Fiasco was set to sign his first DVC contract. We arrived early and decided to grab lunch at Artist Palate. Before I get to our impressions of the food, a little history…

Before there was Artist Palate, there was once Seasons Restaurant. Seasons was a table service restaurant that specialized in fresh, seasonal menus during a time when it wasn’t all the rage. It was one of the best restaurants on property at the time, but sadly it closed when the resort made the transition to Saratoga Springs in 2003. In it’s place, we have Artist Palate – a quick service area that offers the typical array of items you would expect at a Disney resort quick service location. Here’s a look at what we ate, and what we thought:

Thin Crust Cheese Pizza – $9.49

The impressive brick oven behind the counter almost beckons you to order a pizza – DON’T!  Even by Disney’s generic standards, this was among the worst pizza’s I’ve ever tasted.   For starters, there was virtually no sauce on the pie – which I think you would agree is kind of important for pizza.  While it was a ‘thin crust’, the crust was soggy and literally had an aftertaste.  It was like the Sweet-n-low of pizza crusts.

Turkey and Brie – $10.99

The turkey and brie sandwich wasn’t nearly as bad as the pizza, but that’s not to say it was necessarily ‘good’.  It had lots of greens (and most of that was arugula), in addition to the turkey there was a small amount of brie as well as cranberry mayo .  We wondered why there was so much arugula – then we tasted the sandwich without it.  In spite of the fact that the turkey was fresh, the sandwich had almost no flavor – the arugula was there to make sure it didn’t seem like you were biting into a half-pound of pressboard.

Buffalo Chicken Panini – $11.49

The Buffalo Chicken Panini got much better reviews.  Pulled chicken with a mild buffalo sauce, some finely chopped carrots and celery on a toasted multigrain bread.  This was delicious, the chicken was tender and the buffalo sauce was just right.

Turkey Club Wrap – $10.99

Much like the Turkey and Brie sandwich, this wrap did not have a lot of flavor.  The wrap had fresh turkey (not processed), tomatoes, cheese, lettuce and an aioli sauce.  While it wasn’t overly flavorful, it was fresh, simple and satisfying.  If you’re a turkey person, this is a better option than the turkey and brie sandwich.   

Meatball Sub (special) – $9.99

I’m a sucker for a good meatball sub.  This item was listed as a ‘daily special’ so I decided to give it a go.  As meatball subs go, this one wasn’t bad.  The meatballs were good and it had sauce on it (which was a step up from the pizza).  

Overall I found this place to be on the lower end of the scale for food courts.  It baffles me, as Disney has made great strides in the last 5 years improving the taste and quality of quick service offerings (Sunshine Seasons anyone)?   This just feels like a ‘we have to have a food court, so here it is’ location.  I don’t think the person selecting the menu is actually tasting the food.

But here’s the rub – I can’t imagine we’re the first people to eat lunch at this location prior to signing a $15k timeshare contract.  I realize a food court is not a barometer for a resort by any means, but the thought occurred to me that if I was a brand new member who had never stayed DVC before and this was the food at Saratoga, I’d be wondering how ‘high quality’ this product is.  There is no excuse any more for any quick service location at WDW to be sub-par, but I have think this is especially true at Saratoga Springs – the epicenter of the DVC sales universe and currently one of only two stand-alone DVC resorts at Walt Disney World.  

Time to give this menu an overhaul – but next time, taste the food first before you put it on the menu.

18 thoughts on “Artist Palette

  • June 11, 2019 at 9:19 am
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    Pete, a great write up, having stayed at Saratoga nearly ten times in the last 12 years we have seen some decline in the quality of the food at the Artist Point but not as bad as your review so perhaps it was a bad day for them, yes it may not be to the high standards before and it would be great to see a make over of the food menu for sure but we see the food on par to other places that serves similar food. Yes this is meant to be a DVC location and I get the idea of what your paying for when buying DVC points and the idea of popping in for a quick service food before signing a DVC contract but i would rather judge the room standards then a food when I am staying at a resort.
    Like one of your previous reviews at Boulder Ridge, I personally would rather have a great room and poor food court then what you experienced at Boulder Ridge which is great food but a very tired room.
    That said i agree we should expect better of both room and food.

    Keep up the great work, lover reading and watching the blogs.

    John UK

  • June 11, 2019 at 9:51 am
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    Pete, we stayed at SSR in June 2017 and also found Artist’s Palette to be very underwhelming. On the other hand, Paddock Grill was much better for QS offerings and closer to our room luckily. We would return from the parks and get the food there a few times during our stay.

    • June 11, 2019 at 9:10 pm
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      Totally agree. I find that The Paddock really is a hidden gem. It has a great pool area and their quick service is actually quite good. I would go so far as to say that amongst DVC resorts, The Paddock is one of the better “Second Place” areas, if not the best.

      That said, there is still no excuse for Artist’s Palette to be what it is. You can get in a boat and ride up the river, and find superior quick service offerings at both Port Orleans resorts. I love Port Orleans. And, I love their food courts. But, for a Deluxe/DVC property to have significantly lesser food quality than a moderate is simply unacceptable.

      I’ve never found anything at Artist’s Palette that was worth going for. I would much rather just hit up DS. We have actually stayed at SSR and gone down to French Quarter for dinner before.

  • June 11, 2019 at 10:10 am
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    We stayed at SSR 5/12-5/19. Although we own at OKW, we frequently stay at SSR. On our last day of the stay, we received a call saying that Artist’s Palette would be undergoing renovations beginning that day. Hopefully, some of this will improve including the manner in which you check out which is currently awkward.

  • June 11, 2019 at 10:14 am
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    SSR is one of our home resorts.. We do like staying there. However, we agree completely with your review of the food options. One other thing we’ve noticed is that SSR food is a little more expensive than other QS at the DVC resorts. $11.50 for a panini? We walk over to Disney Springs and get much better food! Perhaps they don’t want to even compete with Disney Springs?

  • June 11, 2019 at 10:50 am
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    If you don’t have a car, it is the only place at the resort to eat lunch. I own at Springs and they gave me an ice cream sundae before committing. Lol. Now with Disney Springs a short walk or boat ride away, why bother with artist palette. BTW miss Sean and both Corys.

  • June 11, 2019 at 11:40 am
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    Hi Phil, you spelt palette wrong even though it is in the photo lol. We love Saratoga Springs because of location. Have stayed in 2013 and 2015 and now Going back on July 20th from uk on dining plan and all my 14 year old daughter talks about is flaming chicken nuggets and chips. Loves this quick service location

    • June 11, 2019 at 11:43 am
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      Thanks Kevin for catching that. But it’s Pete, not Phil 🙂

      • June 11, 2019 at 4:29 pm
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        I really enjoy the Saratoga Salad with Chicken!! I also have has the Turkey and Brie sandwich. I only ever get these 2 items there (my go to options) Along with the Mickey Waffles 😀

  • June 11, 2019 at 11:42 am
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    Great review.

    Artist Palette has taken a downgrade but in fairness, so have many WDW restaurants. Just look into Via Napoli, Tokyo Dining and Rose & Crown.

    When Disney has it right, they then seem to attempt at cutting corners, cost and service. The experience and quality is downgraded but then it’s just a theme park and I believe Disney management is well aware that you are indeed captive.

    As for Artist Palette: Simply walk or boat over to The Polite Pig (Disney Springs) for similar (but superior) food quality.

  • June 11, 2019 at 12:12 pm
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    Great and fair review, Pete. SS is my home resort and will be heading there next month. I am not surprised at your thoughts and agree things should be at least at “bar level” if not a bit higher, since SS is a showpiece to DVC sales. Have to admit, the first time I went there I, too, thought the same thing. Although to be fair, the breakfast offerings there were as good as Captain Cook’s IMO. ( that being my favorite QS).
    Paddock Grill over by the other pool at SS does have a handle on food options and my family prefers that to Artist.
    May I add, I have fallen in love with your mom. My mom is 91 and I enjoy her company and seeing her happy, just as you do! We are both truly blessed IMO>
    Thanks for bringing a piece of the magic into my life each day.

  • June 11, 2019 at 12:51 pm
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    Lol, sorry Pete mind a million miles away. Love the YouTube streams every week

  • June 11, 2019 at 2:03 pm
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    Love your blogs,I’ve stayed in almost every hotel and dvc resort.When it comes to tray service it’s one of the best.When it comes to pizza Disney has a lot to learn.Even Napoli in Epcot wasn’t good, Mama Melrose had the best pizza in Disney.Food courts as a whole not great.To me no matter where you eat at hotel food courts it all taste the same.Im not an expert just someone who has visited Disney, November will be my 59 th time.You guys do a great job don’t get me wrong. Everyone has a n opinion but you guys do it right. Thanks jdkyankees@gmail.com

  • June 11, 2019 at 2:10 pm
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    I thought in the video discussion on this, Corey said the buffalo chicken sandwich was bad and way too spicy. Did you also try the sandwich, Pete?

    • June 12, 2019 at 8:52 am
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      Am I missing something as I see no video just a write up review?

      • June 12, 2019 at 12:03 pm
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        No, some of these reviews will be photo blogs and not video.

  • June 12, 2019 at 7:14 am
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    Went to Seasons back when it was in the Disney Institute. My chicken salad sandwich there was so good that I based my own recipe on copying it.

  • June 15, 2019 at 12:12 pm
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    Saratoga Springs is my main home resort and I’ll will be staying there again next month. We often eat at Artists Palette. I nearly always order the Saratoga salad with chicken. I love it. I must say too, that the tuna salad sandwhich from the grab and go is great. It’s the same one as at the Backstretch pool bar and at old key west. Did you know Saratoga shares a kitchen with old key west? I once asked for Lactaid milk, and they told me they’d have to run over to OKW to get it, then told me they share a kitchen, and that the resorts are managed as one.

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