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Guest Review: The Artist’s Palette at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

A HUGE thanks to guest author Sarah Orr! Today, she’s highlighting The Artist’s Palette at the Saratoga Springs Resort in Walt Disney World. Take it away, Sarah!

Hello everyone! Get out your crayons and color me happy today…because like most of you, I love talking about Disney Parks restaurants. So grab your paintbrush (or tip sheets?) and please join me as I step foot inside The Artist’s Palette for the first time.

Atmosphere

The Artist’s Palette is inside the Carriage House at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa in Walt Disney World and is one of our choices in the “trifecta” of eateries at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. (The other two are Turf Club Bar and Grill, a table-service restaurant, and The Paddock Grill, a quick-service dining venue located at the Paddock Pool.)

Entrance at sunrise.

Entrance to The Artist's Palette.

The Artist’s Palette is a quick-service restaurant, market, and gift shop in one. It is connected to Turf Club Bar and Grill on one side, and the lobby and reception area of the resort on the other.

Outdoor Tables.

Forget any “muddy track” visions. A few tables, chairs and rocking chairs are waiting for you outside on the patio, and overlook the beautiful High Rock Spring Pool.

Outdoor Seating at The Artist's Palette.

Rocking Chairs.

Classic, pastoral music sets a serene tone as your eyes are drawn up to the canvasses painted by New York artist Laura Fayer hanging from the ceiling. (No monorails whooshing overhead here!) This is a fairly peaceful place when it’s not too busy.

The glow from the bold colors of the modern light fixtures (some resembling jellyfish and amoebas) tints the indoor seating area warmly.

Light Fixtures.

Lamp detail.

Art hanging from ceiling. Hidden Mickey, maybe not.

In 2003, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort commissioned New York artist Laura Fayer to paint a large-scale, 9-piece installation for The Artist’s Palette.

Art hanging from the ceiling.

Guests hungry for breakfast, lunch, or dinner can safely bet on The Artist’s Palette across the board. Just trot up to the deli counter to order.

Ordering Area.

Menus are displayed on video screens overhead, but Cast Members are quick to hand you a menu so you can read it up close.

After ordering, you are given a numbered table stand (if dining in) or a pager (if you ordered your food to go). Receipt in hand, get any self serve bakery items and drinks you need and head to one of three cashiers. Cast members will direct guests to open registers.

Beverage Station.

After gathering utensils and condiments near the drink station, you head to a table, where your food will be promptly delivered — even during peak “post times” when betting windows are busy. ;-)

Condiment Bar at Breakfast.

The market section is stocked with milk, juice, and many other items for resort guests to purchase and take back to their villas.

Market beverages.

Grab 'n Go Market Items.

Market Items.

Wine display.

Character cookies.

Goofy's Candy Co. snacks.

Chip & Dale snacks in the market section.

I found my souvenir favorites in the small gift shop located inside The Artist’s Palette. The “sure bets” here include Disney pins, lanyards, autograph books, shirts, jackets, hats, beach towels, purses, etc.

Here are our “long-shots”: The Artist’s Palette sells jars of salsa and bottles of other gourmet condiments from Saratoga Salsa and Spice Company, Saratoga, New York. Who knew these “mudders” would show up in Florida?

Saratoga Salsa & Spice display.

Small artist easels with crayons and plain paper are set up on many of the tables. My kids used these, and it was fun to see their drawings displayed with other guests’ colorings at the official “Artist of the Day” display.

My kids at the easels.

Eats

Mickey waffles, breakfast potatoes, omelets, and biscuits and gravy are on the breakfast menu.

Breakfast and Kids Menu.

Soups, Saratoga Chili, salads, gourmet sandwiches, and flatbreads grace the lunch and dinner menu. There are Chef’s Dinner specials offered in the evenings.

Lunch and Dinner Menu. Click image for larger version.

The flatbreads are made after you order, then baked as you watch (if you want to) inside the in-wall brick oven.

The Saratoga Lobster Club Sandwich wins by a length over Columbia Harbour House’s Lobster Roll.

Saratoga Lobster Club Sandwich.

While my New England friends may sneer at my favorite, and even though it has been years since my last trip to the Northeast, I’d bet on this one again.

This sandwich is made with a refreshing yet hearty lobster salad, with tomato and just the right amount of lemon mayonnaise on thickly sliced and grilled multigrain bread.

Close-Up of Saratoga Lobster Club Sandwich.

Ok. It is true that Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Roll from the Hops and Barley Marketplace at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival has got this one by a nose, but the Saratoga Lobster Club was my favorite out of everything I saw and tried at The Artist’s Palette.

Oh wait…did I mention that it is topped with smoked bacon? :-) No need to go back to the drawing board on this one.

Next, this huge Saratoga Salad with Chicken is full of field greens plus all the good stuff — Ocean Spray Craisins, dried blueberries, apples, honey roasted walnuts, and lemon poppy seed dressing. The lemon poppy seed dressing was a wonderful blend of sweet and tangy. (Don’t hesitate to ask for a little extra after you try it. I did!)

Saratoga Salad with Chicken.

The oversized crispy ciabatta croutons were perfectly seasoned and fresh. It was a great salad and some of it went back to my villa’s refrigerator for later.

Next up was my husband’s favorite. It is sliced roast beef with au jus and horseradish (the real horseradish — not sauce) on a Kimmelweck roll (pretzel salt and caraway). The Beef on “Weck” reminded me of some of the fabulous deli sandwiches I’ve had in New York City, and is an upstate New York specialty.

Beef on "Weck"

My 13 year old daughter’s favorite, this flatbread has fresh spinach, grilled chicken, and artichoke hearts with rich Alfredo sauce and mozzarella. We loved the crispy crust. No these aren’t from the ovens of Via Napoli, but this flatbread was my daughter’s “sure bet” for refueling during our week at the resort.

Chicken, Spinach, and Artichoke Flatbread.

Overall

If you are staying at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, I’d bet on The Artist’s Palette for the “Win,” based on price, selection, taste, and service.

Staying in the Springs section of the resort? Even better. The Artist’s Palette is less than a furlong away, so I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a refillable mug, as it is very easy to grab a refill of your favorite drink. The restaurant is open from 7:00 am – 11:00 pm.

Now that I’ve discovered a whole new corner of Walt Disney World, if I found myself in need of an escape from my shopping trip in Downtown Disney (or the soon-to-be Disney Springs in the next few years) I’d hop on a boat at Paradiso 37 Pier and take the tranquil ride to Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. The boat lets you off at the Carriage House, so just head inside past Turf Club Bar and Grill and turn left into The Artist’s Palette.

Thanks for letting me share about my first trip to The Artist’s Palette. I know many of you (any Disney Vacation Club/DVC members out there?) have probably eaten here many times, so please share your thoughts, agreements, disagreements…or any good jokes :-)

Sarah lives in Missouri with her husband and two daughters, ages 13 and 3. She’s been visiting Walt Disney World since her parents took her for the first time in 1972. Thanks again, Sarah!

What are your “sure bets” at The Artist’s Palette? Share in the comments below!

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17 Comments

  1. Prof. Brainard says:

    This morning I’ve learned a lesson, and it is to read the introduction to the blog posts more carefully! I thought this was written by A. J. Wolfe herself, and, as I read, I became increasingly addled. First came the mention of a husband, which I hadn’t been sure existed until that point, and then an actual photograph of children, which made me think, “Hmmmm . . . I didn’t know A.J. had children that age!” And then came a vision of a vinyl-sided house in the suburbs with A.J. standing at the stove wearing a pearl necklace. And then I became worried about Brad, A.J.’s podcast partner, he of the deep, sexy, masculine, mysterious voice. “Where does poor Brad fit into the picture,” I fretted. I couldn’t even concentrate on the review. . . . and then, finally, all was revealed to my Absent-minded Professor mind: here before me was a guest review (which I shall now re-read in an entirely new light)! I post this comment not because it is relevant to the content of the article, but so that others may profit from my mistake. As I always say, if you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.

  2. Sarah O. says:

    Prof. Brainard, You story made me laugh so hard! Sorry to alarm you! Yes, my husband, my kids…now to find that pearl necklace ;-)

  3. Jennifer says:

    We are DVC members and have the majority of our points @ SSR, and we LOVE the Artist’s Palette!

  4. Prof. Brainard says:

    And thank you, Sarah O., for an excellent review of an excellent establishment. Never mind about the pearl necklace; my own sainted mother wore a feather boa, but that is a story for another day.

  5. Kristina says:

    We are DVC members and Saratoga Springs is our home resort but I’ve never given the Artists Pallet a try for lunch. Sure we grab a quick breakfast most mornings unless we have an in park ADR but after reading your review I am wanting to try that beef on Weck!! And I’m sure my girls would love the flat breads too!
    Thank you for opening my eyes to all I’ve been missing especially since now the Turf Club is only open for dinners, it will be great to grab a lunch here before or after hitting the pool :)

  6. AJ says:

    Prof. Brainard — BA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!

  7. Rocket4d says:

    We’re DVC members and Saratoga Springs is our home resort. We’ve stayed there twice, and I’d say we’ve probably tried Artist’s Palette 4 or 5 times. We’ve never been impressed. The food is at best mediocre, sometimes just plain bad. The setup is a complete mess, and it’s very difficult to navigate your way through if it’s not completely empty. Utensils and condiments are hard to get at. The checkout line blocks access when trying to get from one side of the store to the other (like going from the gift shop area to the grocery area. In general, that lack of decent food facilities is one of the (several) factors makes us wish we’d gotten ANY other DVC property for our home resort.

  8. Sarah O. says:

    Prof. Brainard,
    Thank you for making my day…my feather boa needs mending, but I did find my pearl necklace. You’re the best!

    Jennifer,
    It sounds like we had similar experiences. I would love to have points there. It’s a beautiful place. 

    Kristina, 
    The girls and I had lunch several times during the week, and it was especially nice to bring our food right outside to the poolside tables (in the shade) and then keep right on swimming.

    Rocket4d,
    Thanks for posting about your experiences! Even though in the seven days in a row last month  I visited The Artist’s Palette  I didn’t experience any problems, (cashiers were always open, and cast members were plentiful in making sure everyone was taken care of,) I can see how navigation may be a problem with high crowds. 

  9. LisaB says:

    We eat there on our stays at SS. We found most things we tried to be decent and I LOVE the Saratoga Chicken Salad. It’s refreshing and a good change when you just want a salad as a meal. Plus if you have TIW you can use it there.

  10. Sarah O. says:

    Ok, so I just realized that the table “service” (a la lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom) at The Artist’s Palette is fairly new. Does anyone know when it started? Are there any other counter-service restaurants in WDW other than those two with this type of table “service?” I can’t think of any others. I do know when I was at Contempo Cafe last February, we waited at the counter for our food, and sometimes cast members took it to the tables, if it wasn’t picked up right away, but it wasn’t “standard.”

  11. Sarah O. says:

    LisaB,
    I keep forgetting to buy my TIW card. Great tip! I’m going to try to recreate that salad at home! The dressing was my favorite part.

  12. Niki M says:

    The multi grain bread at Artist’s Palette makes great sturdy sandwiches. I think I’m going to make that breakfast flatbread on Sunday! Cholesterol schmesterol!

  13. Sarah O. says:

    Niki M,

    I’m jealous! The breakfast omelets looked good too.

  14. Becky S says:

    My family and I are DVC members too, and Saratoga is our home resort, so we eat at Artist’s Palette all of the time. My old standby was the Turkey and Brie sandwich, but the Lobster BLT has stolen my heart. I also love the Saratoga Chips! On our last trip my mother fell in love with the cheeseburger flatbread, while my father swears by the Beef on Weck. I also really like the sausage gravy and biscuits at breakfast.

  15. Sarah O. says:

    Becky S,
    Love those super crunchy chips. The cheeseburger flatbread looked like it was quite popular. I hope I get a chance to try it!

  16. Sam G. says:

    Hello to a fellow Missiouri-an!
    I’m visiting Disney in May and staying at Saratoga Springs. I was wondering if you knew if the Artist’s Palette had a hot water station for tea?
    Great review!
    Thanks :)

  17. Kathy P says:

    We are also DVC members and own at SSR. We love the peaceful location, the closeness to DTD, and have found the food at Artist’s Palette to be freshly made and tasty. We always visit at off-peak times, so cannot attest to how crowds affect service, but we are always able to find a seat easily, and service is wonderful. We ARE staying there over the 4th next year, so I will see if I think differently after our first (and hopefully last) summer visit!!!

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