Inspired by Europe and Imagineered by Disney, Disney’s Riviera Resort is now open! The 15th Disney Vacation Club property immerses guests in the grandeur and enchantment of the European Riviera. The deluxe resort is also the first dedicated Disney Vacation Club resort at Walt Disney World since the opening of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort in 2004. We attended the grand opening ceremony, then had a chance to explore the resort, and chat with some Disney cast members about all that the resort has to offer. Keep reading for everything you need to know about this new resort.
1 – Grand Opening Celebration
On December 16, 2019, Disney Vacation Club celebrated the grand opening of the all-new Disney’s Riviera Resort during a dedication ceremony on the resort’s promenade with media guests and Cast Members. Welcome and dedication remarks were given by Terri Schultz, senior vice president and general manager, Disney Vacation Club, and Thomas Mazloum, senior vice president of resorts, premium services, Disney Springs, and sports at Walt Disney World.
“Blending the flavors and flair of the Italian and French Riviera with the creativity and imagination that only Disney can deliver, this new resort pays tribute to Walt and Lillian Disney’s amazing European travels while connecting Disney artistry and storytelling to this region’s renowned art heritage and inspiration,” said Schultz. “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. Our team is excited to welcome families to this relaxing destination inspired by the world-famous sun-drenched Mediterranean Coastline.”
Special guests Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck joined the celebration onstage in their brand-new outfits from Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera, the resort’s rooftop restaurant. Mickey the painter, Minnie the poet, Donald the sculptor, and Daisy the dancer, shared their enthusiasm for the study of the European Riviera’s different art forms. In addition, Minnie wrote and treated event guests to a special poem in honor of the resort’s dedication.
“Disney’s Riviera Resort adds a beautiful and inspiring addition to Walt Disney World,” said Mazloum. “We are always trying to evolve the guest and Cast Member experience at our parks and resorts. Riviera Resort does that by placing guests in the middle of the magic during their entire stay, inspiring them with old-world glamour and delighting them with timeless Disney charm.”
2 – A Tribute to Walt and Lilian 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.
3 – Family-Friendly Vacation Homes
One of 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 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 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. The deluxe studio is spacious and sleeps five featuring two very cleverly hidden beds along with a kitchenette.
4 – Tower Studios
The resort is 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) provide space for two guests and are located in their own tower of the resort. Tower Studios 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 includes 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.
We had a chance to speak with Joe, who walked us through this new accommodation. Catch more at the video below.
5 – The Art of Disney’s Riviera Resort
Throughout the resort and inside the accommodations, you’ll experience a variety of art, including Disney concept art with European settings, posters of Disney films as released in Europe, archival photography of Walt Disney’s travels throughout the region and book titles representing books Walt Disney gathered on his journeys. Additionally, there are more than 40 signature art pieces created for Disney’s Riviera Resort featuring unique Disney character art inspired by the renowned artistic heritage found along the shores of the European Riviera.
Learn more about the artwork in the video below.
6 – Outdoor Design and Pools
This all-new resort designed in early 20th-century elegance reflected throughout Europe and the Mediterranean coastline, boasts a palm tree-lined boulevard with a striking façade featuring grand archways, porticos, cascading water features, and towers and terraces. The pools of Disney’s Riviera Resort continue this theming with a focus on showcasing a Southern European coast inspiration.
The feature pool, Riviera Pool, offers lounge chairs and colorful sun umbrellas, with a winding stone turret slide. The 30-foot-tall tower turret houses a nearly two-story-tall corkscrew slide winding down into Riviera Pool. Containing nearly 105,000 gallons of water, Riviera Pool is a fun and a refreshing reprieve.
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’s Fantasia, drawing inspiration from the grand public fountains seen throughout Europe with a patina and limestone-inspired design. It is the perfect place for little ones to splash and play.
For guests looking for a more leisurely poolside experience, the Beau Soleil leisure pool features 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.
There are also plenty of recreation options for Resort guests. We spoke with Disney cast member Nicole Hudson, who shared with us some of the great options you’ll get to experience at the resort.
7 – Amazing Mosaic Murals
A walkway tunnel leading to a Disney Skyliner station at Disney’s Riviera Resort features two spectacular mosaic murals. One mural shows London at night, with Peter Pan, Wendy, Michael and John flying off to Neverland. The second mural depicts Rapunzel’s floating lantern scene from “Tangled.” More than one million hand-cut tiles were laid by hand to create this stunning work of art that rises 20 feet in the air and is joined at the ceiling by a shared mosaic sky. Both murals celebrate flight. Guests become part of the story via a Disney Skyliner station at Disney’s Riviera Resort, where they can step aboard and can “fly” by aerial gondola to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
8 – New Dining Including a Character Breakfast
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, character greetings are temporarily suspended. Topolino’s Terrace’s Breakfast a la Art and The Garden Grill at Epcot offer a modified experience.
Disney’s Riviera Resort also features many ways for guests to enjoy dining, from signature dining experiences to quick service options within the resort and poolside.
Le Petit Cafe: A charming coffee bar inside the lobby offers pastries. During the evening, it transforms into a chic wine bar. The name is inspired by the classic Disney film, The Aristocats.
Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera: Provides guests with indoor dining or terrace dining, alfresco style. The menu serves a selection of fresh meats and seafood, handmade pastas and decadent desserts infused with French and Italian flavors. The wine list is sourced from the Mediterranean coast. The restaurant’s name is taken from the Italian word for Mickey Mouse, “Topolino”.
Guests can dine indoors and then step out onto the terrace for a grand view of the resort’s stunning vistas where they might catch glimpses of the nighttime spectaculars from nearby Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Families looking to start their morning off with a fun breakfast experience can visit Topolino’s Terrace for Breakfast a la Art with Mickey & Friends – a prix-fixe Disney character dining experience that celebrates the creativity in all of us. Click here for our full review of this new character dining experience.
Primo Piatto: A quick-service restaurant reminiscent of chic dining venues found along Riviera promenades.
Bar Riva – pool bar: Adjacent to Primo Piatto – an open-air bar with a seaside vibe.
Check out the video below for a preview of some of the food items available within the resort.
9 – Disney’s Riviera Resort Merchandise
La Boutique is a retail shop that offers Riviera Resort inspired gifts. The resort is offering some very unique merchandise. We spoke with Disney cast member, Stephanie, and she walked us through some of the offerings. Check them out in the video below.
10 – 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 utilize the new Disney Skyliner (see # 11) 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, Magic Kingdom, and Disney Springs.
11 – Disney Skyliner
Guests at the resort have a new and easily accessible way to travel to two theme parks – Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios – via Disney Skyliner. Disney Skyliner not only efficiently moves guests to the parks, it also offers 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 arrive at a dedicated station where they can hop aboard a Disney Skyliner gondola. Some cabins 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.
12 – Disney Resort Guest Benefits
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, FastPass+, Extra Magic Hours, and the Disney Dining Plan are temporarily suspended.
Offering the flexibility, value and world-class service families expect, Disney’s Riviera Resort, or any other Walt Disney World vacation ownership property, puts you inside the magic for the entirety of your 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.
13 – A Disney Vacation Club Resort
Disney Vacation Club, a leader in vacation ownership, debuted in 1991 with a flexible, vacation points-based system rather than the traditional fixed-week timeshare model. Today, Disney Vacation Club has more than 220,000 member families, from all 50 states and approximately 100 countries, who have discovered the joys of membership. Disney Vacation Club Members are able to choose from among a variety of exciting vacation destinations, including a stay at any Disney Vacation Club Resort or one of thousands of other vacation options in destinations around the world.
There are some fantastic benefits available to DVC members. We spoke with Richard Gregory and he shared with us the benefits that come with membership. Learn more in the video below.
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 Worl,d 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.
Interested in booking at Disney’s Riviera Resort? We highly recommend booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner to ensure you are well taken care of and get all the discounts available to you. For more details and help booking your vacation, call our travel partners Magical Vacation Planners at (407) 442-0227. You can also get a no obligation, FREE vacation quote by clicking here. Their services are free to you and they can answer any questions you may have.
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.