Disney’s Riviera Resort – Our Review & Why We Love Staying at this DVC Resort
Disney’s Riviera Resort is the latest resort to open at Walt Disney World. While we explored the resort at the grand opening, we were so excited when we received an invitation by Walt Disney World to stay and experience everything the resort has to offer. We were blown away by this Disney Vacation Club and Deluxe Villa resort. There were a lot of pleasant surprises, and we can’t wait until we can stay here again. Keep reading to learn why we love staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort.
1 – Gorgeous Resort & Theming
Walt Disney World is known for amazing theming at their many different resorts. Disney’s Riviera Resort is beautifully themed as a modern European retreat blended with a touch of old-world glamour and Disney charm. The resort pays tribute to Walt and Lillian Disney’s European travels. The architecture, design, and influences of Europe are seen throughout the resort. The resort is beautiful and elegant.
2 – Family-Friendly Vacation Homes
As a Disney Vacation Club property, the resort offers approximately 300 family-friendly vacation villas with accommodation options to fit an assortment of travel party needs. Disney’s Riviera Resort includes deluxe studios, one- and two-bedroom villas, grand villas, that sleep up to 12 guests each, and a new, unique accommodation, Tower Studios.
During our stay, we enjoyed the one-bedroom villa. The room has all of the amenities that Disney Vacation Club members enjoy like a fully stocked kitchen, full-sized refrigerator, washer and dryer, an oversized soaking tub, and a private balcony. The rooms are large, and we had so much space. The décor and artwork help make the room feel like home.
Check out the photo gallery below for photos of our room. Click on any image to enlarge.
3 – Functional Spaces for Families
One of the best things about the room is that it is so well thought out with families in mind. There is so much storage! We found storage under the benches at the dining table and storage in the living room. USB charging ports are everywhere. There are two sink areas with a separate bath and shower area, so it’s easier for guests to get ready in the morning. The room includes a pack-n-play for toddlers and a highchair.
Our favorite thing about our one-bedroom is it can actually be two bedrooms. In the living room, two beds easily pull down for a third, fourth, and fifth guest. Parents can be in the bedroom while there is space for three children in the living room. There is also more storage found behind the bed on the wall. This is a fantastic feature because it means that a family of five can book a one-bedroom and save money or points, instead of having to book a two-bedroom. The balcony is accessible from both the living room and the master bedroom, so even after the children have gone to sleep at night, the adults can step outside and enjoy their balcony without disturbing the young ones. This room would have been perfect for us when our kids were younger. Be sure to check out the photo gallery below for photos of the beds. (Click on any image to enlarge).
4 – Unique Art Collection
One of my favorite things about Riviera, and why I think it’s so beautiful, is the plethora of artwork. On display throughout the resort are more than 40 signature art pieces created exclusively for Disney’s Riviera Resort. Drawing inspiration from the region’s art history, the art collection celebrates a unique blend of Disney characters and icons, European storytelling, and the fine art stylings of master artists who found inspiration along the Riviera during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Also on display is a variety of Disney concept art with European settings, posters of Disney films as released in Europe, and prints of archival photography of Walt Disney’s travels throughout the region and books representing titles Walt Disney gathered on his journeys.
You’ll want to take time to walk through the resort to see the different art pieces. You may just find yourself wishing you could take some home with you. If that’s the case, then you’re in luck. At the retail shop, La Boutique, you’ll find a “The Art of Disney Theme Parks” kiosk where you can view the “Riviera Resort Collection.” You can scroll through and choose which art piece you would like along with the size and whether you would like paper, canvas, or a frame. The artwork will ship to your home in two to three weeks.
5 – Perfect Location on the Disney Skyliner
One of the reasons we were looking forward to staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort was the fact that it has its own Disney Skyliner station. We had an easy way to access Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios via the Disney Skyliner, a state-of-the-art gondola system that opened last fall. One night after dinner, we put the Skyliner to the test. We decided at the last minute to go to Epcot to see Epcot Forever, the nighttime spectacular. We boarded our Skyliner at 8:28 pm and had plenty of time (it only took 8 minutes to arrive) to get to the Epcot International Gateway. We then had a very short walk to World Showcase and were ready to watch the show. It was fantastic! We would never have made it to Epcot in time if we had to drive or take a bus. We had the same easy access to Hollywood Studios as well. And if you’re looking to explore Disney’s BoardWalk dining and entertainment offerings, that is easily accessible from the Skyliner to the Epcot International Gateway. The fact that Disney’s Riviera Resort is a Disney Skyliner resort is a huge plus!
6 – Signature Dining at Topolino’s Terrace
Disney’s Riviera Resort has some fantastic dining choices, including signature dining at Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera. The restaurant’s name is taken from the Italian word for Mickey Mouse, “Topolino.” We ate both dinner and breakfast (see #7) at Topolino’s and enjoyed both immensely. The dinner menu serves a selection of fresh meats and seafood, handmade pasta, and decadent desserts infused with French and Italian flavors. The wine list is sourced from the Mediterranean coast. The rigatoni was such a surprise and so rich in flavor. The highlight of our meal was the warm Valrhona chocolate cake with a caramel center, Chantilly, and raspberries. It was so delicious we were talking about it for days! After your dinner, be sure to step out onto the terrace. The views from the restaurant provide stunning vistas and glimpses of nearby nighttime spectaculars at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We’ll have our full review of Topolino’s Terrace out soon.
7 – Best Character Breakfast on Property
During our stay, we also enjoyed the new Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends. This was the second time I had the chance to dine here at breakfast. I was so happy my second experience was just as good or better than the first. My first time was only the second day of operation, and they were still great. This time the staff, and especially the characters, had settled into their roles nicely. The interactions with the characters were fantastic. Both Mickey and Donald spent extra time with us. Mickey showed us that he was painting a picture of Minnie. Donald showed us how he was sculpting a sculpture of Daisy. They were both so cute. The outfits are also great and unique. Finally, the food is delicious. The pricing of the breakfast is right in line with other character breakfasts on property, making it a great choice. For our full updated review of Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends, click here.
8 – Other Dining Options
Another location we enjoyed was the Voyageurs’ Lounge. This lounge is a cool gathering place for guests to relax and features many samples of the books and fables that inspired Walt Disney during his travels. We ordered coffee and hot chocolate (it was a cold night) from Le Petit Café, which is located next door. We enjoyed our drinks and the atmosphere of the room. Le Petit Café serves pastries and desserts, specialty coffee drinks, cocktails, beer, and wine. In the evening, you’ll also find a selection of savory bites. It’s an excellent addition to the dining line up, and we can’t wait to go back for some of the delicious looking desserts! On the first floor, you’ll also find Primo Piatto, a quick-service restaurant, which features a lot of photos of Walt and his travels, as well as Bar Riva, an open-air bar.
9 – Amazing Views
We’ve already talked about the fantastic views you’ll get when you step out on the terrace at Topolinio’s, but there are plenty of other spaces where you’ll be treated to spectacular views. If you have a preferred view room, you’ll be able to look out at Disney’s Caribbean Beach, the Riviera pools (#10), the Disney Skyliner, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. The resort (and Disney’s Caribbean Beach) is also nestled on Barefoot Bay, a 45-acre lake offering spectacular views. Our room was located on the west side, so we had views of the Skyliner, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Spaceship Earth. We were treated to some pretty great views throughout the stay! Off the lobby, two outdoor patios give great views of the pools, Barefoot Bay, and the Skyliner.
10 – Beautiful Pools and Fun Splash Areas
Unfortunately, during our stay is was too cold to enjoy the pools, but they look amazing. We can’t wait to enjoy them on our next trip to Disney’s Riviera Resort. The main pool is Riviera Pool, containing nearly 105,000 gallons of water. This pool has plenty of lounge chairs and sun umbrellas. A 30-foot-tall tower turret houses a nearly two-story-tall corkscrew slide winding down into Riviera Pool. There’s no question the slide will be a lot of fun for kids of all ages.
There is a fantastic water play area for children. S’il Vous Play is an amazing fountain featuring beloved characters from the Disney film Fantasia. Drawing inspiration from the grand public fountains seen throughout Europe, it is the perfect place for little ones to splash and play.
For a quieter poolside experience, the Beau Soleil leisure pool features a natural, lush-green wall surrounding the tranquil area, creating a semi-private pool experience. The area is perfect for enjoying the sun or resting beneath a shaded seating area among the palm trees.
11 – Choosing Disney’s Riviera Resort
Disney’s Riviera Resort is a Disney Vacation Club Property. DVC members can use vacation points to stay at the Resort.
However, you don’t need to be a DVC member to stay on property. One great way to experience a DVC resort if you aren’t already a member is to rent points from someone who is. It’s surprisingly simple and can get you into a DVC villa at about the same price as a normal room. To learn more about renting DVC points for your next vacation, click here. This is a travel partner of ours and have helped many of our readers rent DVC villas, including our family. Learn More.
Disney also sets aside rooms for non-DVC members. These rooms are in the Deluxe Villa category. You can book these rooms directly with Disney or with an authorized travel agent. 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.
Editor’s Note: Disney Parks, Experiences and Products provided us a complimentary three-night stay at Disney’s Riviera Resort that included special media-specific tours and dining experiences. However, as always, the thoughts and opinions contained in this article are entirely our own.
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.