For my thoughts on the re-opening of Walt Disney World, see this.


By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.

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Review: Disney’s Riviera Resort

By Dave Shute

OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

Disney’s Riviera Resort (a Disney Vacation Club resort) is a wonderful place for returning visitors to Walt Disney World to stay.

For typical first-time visitors, I don’t recommend the Disney Vacation Club resorts.

That said, these “DVC” resorts can be a great choice for first time visitors with large families, needing extra sleeping spaces, or looking for a more comfortable place to stay.

Among the Disney Vacation Club resorts, Disney’s Riviera Resort ranks about in the middle. Really nice and very well-designed rooms don’t quite make up for some lost theming opportunities.

THE DISNEY VACATION CLUB RESORTS

You can have a spectacular visit at any Walt Disney World resort. However, this site recommends that typical first time visitors to Walt Disney World avoid the Disney Vacation Club resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. (You can find extensive detail on the DVC resorts here.)

This recommendation comes from the simple fact that the distinguishing feature of most rooms in these resorts–extra space and full kitchens–will not be of much value to first-time visitors following one of the itineraries on this site, as they won’t be used much.

That said, the Disney Vacation Club resorts represent more than 10% of Walt Disney World’s total rooms, and are very appropriate for first time visitors with large families, needing extra sleeping spaces, or looking for a more comfortable place to stay.

Because of this, I’m providing a series of up-to-date reviews. I’ve stayed in Disney’s Riviera Resort twice since it opened, once in a dedicated Two Bedroom Villa, and once in a Standard Studio. This review is based on those stays. It includes nine pages:

ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

Disney’s Riviera Resort has four room types common among the DVC hotels and one more unusual type.

The common types:

  • Standard Studios, which sleep five in a space similar to a regular hotel room, on a queen, a fold-down queen, and a fold-down single (Tower Studios are different, see below)
  • One Bedroom Villas, which sleep five in a two bay space, one bay a master suite with a king bed and the second bay offering another bath and living, dining and kitchen spaces, with fold-down beds accommodating three more a fold-down queen, and a fold-down single
  • Two Bedroom Villas, most of which sleep ten and essentially combine a One Bedroom Villa and a standard Studio–these combined units are called “lock-offs.” “Dedicated” Two Bedroom Villas have a different second bedroom with two queens and sleep nine
  • Grand Villas, which sleep twelve in a space twice the size of a Two Bedroom Villa

In every case, in my judgment these rooms are among the best designed and most livable of Disney Vacation Club spaces at Walt Disney World.

Another room type is unique to Disney’s Riviera Resort–Tower Studios.  These spaces sleep tow on a fold-down bed.  I have not yet stayed in one of these, but they do not look all that promising…

There’s much more later in this review of Disney’s Riviera Resort on accommodations at Disney’s Riviera Resort, beginning here. A photo tour of a standard Studio is here.  A photo tour of the living/dining/kitchen space of Riviera One and Two Bedroom Villas is here, and a photo tour of the master bedroom area of Riviera One and Two Bedroom Villas is here.

DINING AT DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

Disney’s Riviera Resort has two principal dining venues. Topolino’s Terrace is the table service option, with a delightful character breakfast–probably the best at Disney World– with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy in the mornings, and a more formal set of offerings at dinner.

Primo Piatto is the quick service venue, better than most, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

There are also several other minor venues, including a lobby bar that works as a coffee shop in the morning, and a pool bar with poolside service.

You’ll find more on dining at Disney’s Riviera Resort here.

THE POOLS AT DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

Disney’s Riviera Resort has two side by side pools.  One is aimed at families and has all amenities from a hot tub to a dedicated kids splash area to a water slide.

The other has few amenities other than a hot tub, tends thus to appeal less to kids, and because of that tends to appeal to adults!

In terms of amenities, you’ll find everything you are looking for at these pools.  However, they are short on whimsy, charm, and theming–as is all of Riviera.

You’ll find more on the pools at Disney’s Riviera Resort here.

KID APPEAL AND CONVENIENCE AT DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

Kid Appeal. Kid appeal on this site is largely defined as the visual appeal of a resort’s theming to kids.  By that standard, Disney’s Riviera Resort has little kid appeal.  Its spaces, while of some delight to adults, works for kids only by its public and in-room art.

Other Disney Vacation Club resorts have much more kid appeal.

Convenience. Convenience on this site is largely defined by transportation convenience to the theme parks, especially to Magic Kingdom.

Riviera is quite convenient to Epcot, and almost as convenient to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, thanks to its stop on the Disney Skyliner system.

It is not as convenient to Magic Kingdom as other DVC options.

BEST AND WORST PLACES TO STAY AT DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

Some West Wing rooms–those overlooking the Skyliner–have distant partial views of the evening fireworks at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

A different set of rooms in both the East and West wing has views of Barefoot Bay and the charms of next-door Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

Request an upper-floor room with either set of views.  To get a Barefoot Bay view, you will need to pay the upcharge for a “preferred view.”

Kelly, the long-time travel agent partner of this site, can book you in Disney’s Riviera Resort–or anywhere else!  Contact her using the form below.

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THEMING AND ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

This review continues here.

PAGES IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S RIVIERA RESORT

 

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