If you visit Disney World regularly, chances are you’ve heard of Disney Vacation Club. Maybe you’ve thought about becoming a member, or maybe you already are. Either way, Disney Vacation Club includes some of our favorite Disney hotels, and the newest addition is Disney’s Riviera Resort. Projected to open December 16, 2019 at Walt Disney World, Disney’s Riviera Resort is slated to be the 15th Disney Vacation Club property and will immerse guests in the grandeur and enchantment of the European Riviera. We recently had the chance to explore the model rooms for a one-bedroom villa and a deluxe studio. We were also able to chat with some of the Disney Imagineers who worked on the project, Disney chefs, and Disney Vacation Club Cast Members who shared their passion for this new resort. The great thing is that you don’t need to be a DVC member to stay here (just like all of the DVC properties). Keep reading to find out the 8 reasons we can’t wait for Disney’s Riviera Resort!
1 – A Tribute to Walt and Lillian Disney
When choosing where to stay on property, many guests think about the theming of the different resort options. Disney’s Riviera Resort pays tribute to Walt and Lilian Disney’s European travels to the Riviera region. The resort blends the elegance of modern European retreats along with a touch of old-world glamor and Disney charm. It’s the connection to Walt Disney that makes this resort special.
“Not only will Disney’s Riviera Resort delight families with its gorgeous architectural details and wide range of accommodations, but members and guests will simply fall in love with the sights, sounds, and flavors of Europe around every corner,” said Terri Schultz, senior vice president, and general manager, Disney Vacation Club. “This new resort will pay tribute to Walt and Lillian Disney’s amazing European travels, connecting Disney artistry and storytelling to this region’s renowned art heritage and inspiration. Our team can’t wait to welcome families to this relaxing destination inspired by the world-famous sun-drenched Mediterranean Coastline.”
2 – European Décor & Influence
With an elegant, early-20th-century design, Disney’s Riviera Resort will welcome guests with a palm tree-lined boulevard and a striking façade featuring grand archways, porticos, cascading water features, towers, and terraces. In the grand oval lobby that will provide stunning views of the resort lawn and lakefront, guests will encounter a mix of modern and classic furnishings. Throughout the resort and inside the accommodations, a unique art collection will celebrate beloved Disney characters and icons with one-of-a-kind pieces influenced by the works of master artists who also found inspiration along the European Riviera. This eclectic mix of art will blend Disney artistry and European storytelling with a nod to the Riviera region’s renowned art heritage. Also, be on the lookout not only for hidden Mickey’s, but also some amazing hidden Minnie’s that feature her lovely bow!
Below is a gallery of photos of the Riviera Model. Click on any photo to enlarge it.
3 – Family Friendly Vacation Homes & Rooms
One of the many reasons guests choose to either purchase a membership or stay at a Disney Vacation Club resort is the family-friendly vacation homes and rooms. It’s the main reason we became DVC members. With our young children, having separate sleeping spaces and space to spread out was one of the things we enjoyed most about staying at a DVC property. Disney’s Riviera Resort continues that tradition with approximately 300 family-friendly spacious vacation homes, including deluxe studios, one- and two-bedroom villas, and grand villas that sleep up to 12 guests each. The resort will also be the first to offer unique accommodations in an all-new room category — tower studios, which sleep two guests each. These exclusive spaces (there are only 24) provides space for two guests and are located in their own tower of the resort. Tower Studios will provide an upscale studio experience that maximizes efficiency, inclusive of a queen-sized bed housed in a built-in wall unit that is pulled down for sleeping and tucked away to reveal a comfortable lounge-worthy space. This elegant area will include a sofa, quaint writing nook, a beverage center and microwave, plentiful storage, and a bright and modern bathroom, all at a reduced point level. It’s the perfect option for DVC members that don’t need the extra space of a villa and want to make their points go further.
Over at the Disney Vacation Club Preview Center at Saratoga Springs Resort, there are two model rooms available to preview. Guests can view-a one-bedroom and a deluxe suite (which combined make a two-bedroom). The deluxe studio was spacious and sleeps five featuring two very cleverly hidden beds along with a kitchenette.
Below is a gallery of photos from the deluxe studio. Click on any photo to enlarge it.
The one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and grand villas feature large, fully equipped kitchens with dining space open to a living area. In the one-bedroom, we explored there are also two additional hideaway beds in the living room. This separation of sleeping spaces is precisely what we so desired when our kids were young. Villas also feature an en-suite luxury bathroom, including a freestanding soaking tub and walk-in shower, as well as a private porch or balcony and a laundry area with a washer and dryer.
Below is a gallery of photos from the one-bedroom villa. Click on any photo to enlarge it.
4 – Amazing Pools
For many guests, a stay at a Disney resort is more than just a place to sleep. For many parents, and especially children, the pool is just as important as the room! The pools of Disney’s Riviera Resort will continue the theming with a focus on showcasing a Southern European coast inspiration. The feature pool, Riviera Pool, will offer lounge chairs and colorful sun umbrellas, with a winding stone turret slide, giving the feel of swimming and playing along the Mediterranean coast. For those traveling with young guests, an interactive water play area, S’il Vous Play, is the perfect place to splash and have fun in a whimsical fountain featuring several beloved characters from Disney “Fantasia,” drawing inspiration from the grand public fountains seen throughout Europe with a patina and limestone-inspired design. For guests looking for a more leisurely poolside experience, the Beau Soleil leisure pool will feature a natural, lush-green wall surrounding the tranquil area, creating a semi-private pool experience, perfect for enjoying the sun or resting beneath the shaded seating area in a grove of tropical palm trees.
5 – Excellent Dining Options
Disney’s Riviera Resort will also feature many ways for guests to enjoy dining, from signature dining experiences to quick service options within the resort and poolside. We heard from two Disney chefs, James Kleinschmidt, Chefs de Cuisine, and Michael Gonsalves, Chef de Cuisine, who shared with us everything that went into creating the menus and how the food is woven into the over storytelling of the resort. They were really influenced by Walt’s travels through Italy and France and took that inspiration to create the food choices in the restaurants. They use many indigenous ingredients such as imported olive oil so that guests experience authentic flavors and dishes from the region as well.
Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera, perched on the rooftop, will feature authentic dishes infused with French and Italian flavors, with an onstage kitchen featuring a wood-burning grill showcasing finely prepared meats and seafood. (Topolino is the Italian name for Mickey Mouse!) The culinary team will be handcrafting artisanal pastas tossed with fresh-pressed olive oil. A gourmet selection of cheeses from France and Italy will also be featured. This restaurant will also have an impressive collection of wines sourced throughout the South of France and Coastal Italy.
Stepping into Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera, guests will be surrounded by visual aesthetics of modern interpretations of Italian and French textures, colors, and carvings mingled with stonework that harkens to what can be found in ancient European villages along the coastline. And while dining, guests may then step out onto the terrace for a grand view of the resort’s stunning vistas, and possibly even enjoy the nighttime spectaculars of nearby Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Plus, guests looking to start their morning off with a breakfast experience can visit Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera for special Disney character dining, with exclusive character experiences, inspired by the Riviera. For the full menu and to check availability for reservations, click here.
For those wishing to dine closer to the pools, at Bar Riva, an open-air pool bar with a seaside décor, guests will encounter a relaxed European coast vibe with hospitality that will extend poolside. Those looking for that European café touch can visit Le Petit Café. Missy Renard, Art Director, Walt Disney Imagineering, shared that the café is named after the café found in the classic Disney film, “The Aristocats.” The cafe will have the feel of a modern French patisserie that will be a charming coffee bar by day and transform into a stylish wine bar by night. With its modern design stylized with a traditional feel, and views of the lawns and the Riviera pool through the large windows framed by beautiful arches, for guests looking to share a casual meal or quick snack, Primo Piatto will feel like dining on along a Riviera promenade.
Below is a gallery of photos of some of the foods that will be available at Disney’s Riviera Resort. Click on any photo to enlarge it.
6 – Central Location
Another factor in choosing where to stay on property is the location of the resort. A huge positive for Disney’s Rivera Resort is its central location, especially its proximity to both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Spending less time traveling to these parks is a huge plus, and you’ll be able to travel to these parks on the new Disney Skyliner (#7) which will make your travel experience even more magical. Also, as we mentioned before, guests dining at Topolino’s Terrace might be able to catch the nighttime spectaculars at both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s also not that far from Disney’s Animal Kingdom or Magic Kingdom.
7 – A Disney Skyliner Resort
Guests at the resort will have a new way to travel to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios via Disney Skyliner. Disney Skyliner will not only efficiently move guests to their location, but it will also offer a whole new way to experience Walt Disney World Resort with amazing views only available from the sky — with great photo opportunities. Passing through a tunnel archway with sparkling water features, Disney’s Riviera Resort guests will be connected to a dedicated station where they can hop aboard a Disney Skyliner gondola. Some cabins will feature beautiful graphics based on Disney films, attractions, and characters. Once aboard, guests can take a European-inspired ride through the sky to Epcot International Gateway or Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
8 – A Disney Vacation Club Property
Disney’s Riviera Resort will be the first all-new, stand-alone Disney Vacation Club property at Walt Disney World since 2004. Staying at a Disney resort hotel like Disney’s Riviera Resort, or any other Walt Disney World vacation ownership accommodation puts guests inside the magic for the entirety of their vacation. Guests staying at any of the Disney resort hotels experience special features including legendary guest service and unique theming, along with other benefits such as access to FastPass+ selections up to 60 days prior to arrival and the Extra Magic Hours at the theme parks (both FastPass+ and Extra Magic Hours require valid theme park admission). In addition, Disney resort hotel guests receive complimentary transportation around Walt Disney World, complimentary theme park parking, complimentary airport transportation via Disney’s Magical Express service, the convenience of MagicBands, and the ability to purchase Disney Dining Plan packages.
As we mentioned earlier, you don’t need to be a Disney Vacation Club member to stay at Disney’s Riviera Resort! However, if you’ve been thinking about becoming a Disney Vacation Club member, Disney’s Riviera Resort would be an excellent “home” option! We highly recommend you take a tour of the Riviera rooms at the Disney Vacation Club preview center. While visiting Walt Disney World simply visit any DVC Info Booth and let them know you would like a tour. They will arrange a convenient time to visit and will provide transportation to and from the center. If you won’t be visiting Walt Disney World soon, you can find more information by visiting the DVC website here.
For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.