Is it the French or Italian Riviera? Why not both! Disney’s Riviera Resort is the newest of the Disney Vacation Club Resorts at Walt Disney World. On December 16, 2019, Disney’s Riviera Resort opened its doors to DVC members and guests. Located between Hollywood Studios and Epcot, the resort is a short Skyliner ride away from either park. It’s time to find your linen pants and fedora as we’re off to the European coastline for our DVC Duo review of Disney’s Riviera Resort.
Disney’s Riviera Resort is a look back to the EuropeWalt Disney fell in love with during his travels. The exterior of the resort is simple, elegant, and looks like it was just plucked off the Mediterranean Sea and placed in Florida. Meandering around the grounds you’ll stumble upon beautiful gardens, water fountains, and majestic lakeside views. Stepping into the resort you immediately feel the European inspired design through the richness of the furnishing and one of kind artwork. No detail was too small for this resort, including title work in the archway leading to the resorts Skyliner station.
Entering the rooms you’re greeted with classic European styling from the color palette to the intricate details in the woodwork. You immediately feel like royalty.
Passholder Insights: The tile archway at Disney’s Riviera Resort is a must-see. When exiting the Skyliner follow the signs for the lobby, as the path brings you right through the archway.
With 489 guest rooms, Disney’s Riviera Resort is one largest DVC Resorts at Walt Disney World, only being surpassed by Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, and Boardwalk Villas. The resort is a single building where all of the rooms are situated on either side of the main lobby. Each of the room types has one of two view types, either standard or preferred, except for the Tower Studio and 3 Bedroom Villa, which only offer one. The preferred view overlooks the lake. Below is a breakdown of the room options:
- Tower Studio – Unique to the resort is a one of kind studio designed for two guests. The rooms consist of a living room with a couch that converts into a queen-sized bed. The full-size mattress pulls down from the wall, similar to a Murphy bed. Attached to the living room is the bathroom. Sleeps 2 people.
- Deluxe Studio – Similar to your normal hotel room with one queen-sized bed, one queen-size Murphy bed sofa, 1 single pulldown bed, and a bathroom with two showers. Sleeps 5 people.
- 1 Bedroom Villa – Similar to 1 bedroom apartment, as these rooms have a kitchen, laundry facilities, living room, and large master bedroom with a jacuzzi tub and sink area. One bathroom with a standup shower and sink area. The living room couch has a pull-down queen bed and a pull-down single bed. Sleeps 5 people.
- 2 Bedroom Villa – The 2 bedroom villa is made up of a deluxe studio and 1 bedroom villa. The only difference is a second full bathroom and the addition of a walk-in closet in the deluxe studio portion where the entrance would normally be located. Sleeps 9 people.
- 3 Bedroom Villa – A single-story “house” that has the same facilities as the 1 and 2 bedroom villas with the following additions, a larger dining room, 3 total bathrooms, and 3 total bedrooms (1 king bed, 4 queen beds in each bedroom). The couch in the living room converts to a queen bed. Sleeps, 12 people.
We’ve stayed in all the room types at various resorts. In our opinion, what makes Disney’s Riviera Resort different than any of the other resorts is the bathroom configuration of the standard studios. Having two shower options is a big plus, especially if you’re up early to rope drop.
Passholder Insights: One of our favorite aspects of the rooms is the storage under the beds for luggage. Similar to Disney Cruise line rooms, most of your luggage can fit under the bed (standard studios and larger rooms).
Arriving at Disney’s Riviera Resort either by the Disney Magical Express, car, taxi, or rideshare you’ll be dropped off at the main lobby area. Bell services will greet you for any of your luggage needs. Stepping through the front door on your immediate left the gift shop with a limited selection of groceries and “grab and go” items and Le Petit Cafe. On the right-hand side are the check-in area and guest services. Traveling further into the lobby you find a staircase that brings you down to the Skyliner pathway as well as the airline luggage check-in area.
Depending on the time of day (before check-in time) we would recommend having bell services hold your bags so you can enjoy the magic. Of course, you could always take advantage of the Magical Express Luggage service and save yourself the hassle of lugging luggage as we do.
Unique to the resort is the Voyageurs’ Lounge attached to Le Petit Cafe. A must-see spot for any fan of Disney history. This area is filled with Walt Disney memorabilia. It’s the perfect spot to wait for your room or enjoy your morning coffee.
The Pools and Recreation
Heading down the staircase from the lobby you’ll come to an exit that brings you outside to a bocce court on the lefthand side and the adult pool (Beau Solei) on the right-side. For a more quiet day at the pool, we recommend hanging out at Beau Solei. Continuing towards the lake you’ll find a grand seating area for relaxing or enjoying a bit, or if you’re like us an adult timeout. Glancing off to your left you’ll the S’il Vous Play pool area.
The family-friendly S’il Vous Play pool area carries forwards the Mediterranean feel, all the way down to the umbrella styling. The large zero-entry pool has a good size waterslide that wraps around a Greek-inspired column tower. For the littlest of ones, there is a splash pad area with an array of characters from Fantasia. That’s right we’re talking about the ballerina hippos and ostrich from the movie.
Food, Did Some Say Food?
Disney’s Riviera Resort has wonderful options for food, and maybe one of the best places for a breakfast pastry. The offerings range from quick-serve to signature dining. For a quick bite, you can check out either Primo Piatto or Le Petit Cafe, which is quickly becoming our favorite spot for a coffee and pasty.
The resort offers one sit-down restaurant. Below is a breakdown of the restaurant:
- Topolino’s Terrace – Located on top of the resort is Disney’s newest signature restaurant. With breath-taking views of both Hollywood Studios and Epcot, the restaurant offers breakfast and dinner. At breakfast, you can dine with Mickey and friends in one of the best character dining options on property. Come nighttime the restaurant’s transition into an Italian inspired restaurant where everything is made from scratch. Expect a full DVC Duo review coming soon.
Beyond the restaurant, Disney’s Riviera Resort has one of the more fun lounges at Walt Disney World. Serving as both the pool bar and lounge, Bar Riva is the Boushie pool bar you’ve been looking for. Serving up a variety of classic cocktail and snacks it’s the perfect place to relax and take a break from the parks.
Workout? Who works out on vacation? If you haven’t figured it out, we’re those people. We like to break a sweat before heading to the parks. The gym has all the basics you need for a vacation workout. The one-piece we really enjoy about Disney’s Riviera Resort is the running path that connects to the Caribbean Beach Resort. Just under a mile, the loop is perfect for a quick jog.
Bravo! After the first night at Disney’s Riviera Resort, we fell in love with it. From the two showers in the studio to the easy Skyliner ride to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, it a resort we’ll definitely be staying at again and again. If you’re looking for a resort with a centralized location for all the parks, this is your place. It definitely has more of an adult feel, but we saw tons of kids having a blast playing bocce ball and whipping down the slide. Disney Riviera Resort review complete, time to relax. We’ll see you at Bar Riva!
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