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A Review of Walt Disney World’s Riviera Resort

Disney’s Riviera Resort is Disney Vacation Club’s 15th resort, and it has taken its place among the most luxurious resorts on property. My family was excited to check out the resort and see whether it could measure up to some of our other favorite resorts – and, spoiler alert – it totally does! Let’s explore what the resort has to offer. 

1. Theme, Views, & Decor

Disney’s Riviera Resort is beautiful!  From the grounds themselves, to the views, to the subtle Disney touches, it definitely has an upscale (yet still magical) feel.  Inside the resort, you’ll delight in Disney-inspired artwork and fascinating memorabilia on display, all of which are inspired by Walt and Lillian Disney’s travels through Europe.  Guest rooms are also adorned with art featuring Disney characters and scenes.  

Resort

2. Guest Rooms

There are a variety of room sizes and types and views available at the Riviera.  As a family of 3 who own Disney Vacation Club (DVC), we usually stay in the studio room type.  We were immediately impressed with the Riviera studio layout and how spacious it is.  It is now one of our favorites, because in addition to the small pull fold down bed under the TV, the Riviera studio also has a Murphy-style queen bed.  We prefer having the second queen bed to pull down, rather than blocking the walking space near the TV and bathroom.  The entryway was big enough to fit our stroller and stowe suitcases without having them in the way.  

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3. Recreation, Pool, & Splash Area

There are many opportunities to play and relax in the back of the resort.  Outside, you can relax on a swing, enjoy backyard games like bocce ball and chess, and even roast marshmallows at a fire pit.  Our son wanted to try bocce ball, and we checked back several times during our stay but there was always a family using the equipment.  There’s no real “queue” for it, so waiting for your turn can be a long and confusing endeavor.  2 side-by-side bocce courts might have been a nice addition.  

We did have a chance to enjoy the pool and splash area, which we thought were very well-designed.  One of the two  pools is technically the “quiet” pool, and the other is considered a feature pool. The feature pool has a twisting water slide, and it was constructed with seamless fiberglass which means there’s no uncomfortable “bump” when you go from one segment of the slide to the next. 

Our favorite feature of the pool area was the separate children’s splash area, called “S’il Vous Play.”  The features delighted our almost 5-year old for over an hour.  There were multiple slides to enjoy, as well as spray features and water cannons.  We felt the layout made it easy to supervise, which was a relief.  We love the kid’s area at the Polynesian, for instance, but dislike the blindspots at the top and near the slide.  Having so much seating for adults in the area immediately surrounding the splash pad really allowed us to adequately watch our son and enjoy a snack and drink from nearby Bar Riva. 

pool

4. Transportation

We love resorts that have easy park access, and the Riviera definitely delivers in that area!  While we are fans of Disney bus transportation, we prioritize resorts that have a second option for getting to some of the parks.  Resorts with alternate transportation options, like monorail and boat access, have always been desirable to guests.  At Disney’s Riviera Resort, you have the added benefit of the Skyliner, which gives guests super-easy access to both Hollywood Studios and Epcot.  The Skyliner is an attraction on it’s own, so we loved being able to ride it so much during our stay.  We also like that the Skyliner connected us to both the Art of Animation and Pop Century resorts, which have fun amenities like a large arcade, food courts, and highly-themed grounds to enjoy.  

Skyliner Station

5. Dining

Disney’s Riviera Resort has a nice variety of dining choices, and we enjoyed them all.  Our experiences may vary slightly from what the current norm is, as menus across Walt Disney World restaurants are extremely limited currently.  

The main quick-service location, Primo Piatto, is located on the ground level of the resort and is easily accessible from the outdoor recreation area.  They have easy grab and go options, and mobile ordering makes taking a meal back to your room easy as pie.  Primo Piatto has a variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options which include Mickey waffles, hot and cold sandwiches and salads, and pizza and cheeseburgers. 

Sharing a kitchen with Primo Piatto is Bar Riva, an open-air bar and eatery located next to the pool.  We dined there on a windy day in February, and the open air feel was enjoyable even with the chill thanks to the large heaters they have.  We were thrilled to enjoy a Monte Cristo and parmesan fries, a specialty of this location that is otherwise hard to come by in Walt Disney World!  Sadly, the current menu is very limited and this gem is unavailable.  We hope to see it back soon when things slowly return to normal in the parks and resorts.  

Credit: Disney (Topolino’s Terrace)

Guests at the Riviera can also enjoy character dining at Topolino’s Terrace during breakfast.  The current experience is slightly modified, with characters posing behind guests for pictures, but not signing autographs.  The current experience is still getting rave reviews from guests; our experience occurred just before the changes to character dining due to the pandemic. 

There’s lots to love about breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace.  The views from the restaurant and outside deck are beyond compare.  We loved being able to see classic Disney favorites (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy) in whimsical new artistic outfits.  We were also impressed by the food, which was served at our table.  We prefer this to character buffets, where we sometimes feel rushed to get back to our table so as to not miss a character. I You’ll enjoy pastries for the table, juice and other beverages, and an entrée that you select. 

If you dine at Topolino’s Terrace for dinner, you’ll enjoy a Signature Dining experience, complete with excellent food, an extensive wine menu, and delectable desserts.  The menu is Mediterranean-inspired, and we felt that it was a mix of both fancy and familiar options.  Overall, we enjoyed our food immensely and considered the experience upscale, yet accessible.  

Have you visited Disney’s Riviera Resort yet?  We’d love to hear what you thought of it, too!

About Meredith Smisek

Meredith Smisek is a kid at heart and works as an elementary school guidance counselor. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, dog, and parrot. Meredith's hobbies include cooking, playing ukulele, and "talking Disney" with anyone she knows who is planning a trip to Disney or has just returned.