by Dave Parfitt
Disney’s Riviera Resort opened December 2019 as the 15th Disney Vacation Club property. This deluxe resort hotel is situated on the water across from Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort with easy access to both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme parks via the Disney Skyliner gondola system. The luxury hotel has a European vibe inspired by Mediterranean beach retreats of the French Riviera. Walt Disney Imagineer Steven Vagnini said, “the story starts on the drive up as you cross the water and enter the casual elegance and leisure lifestyle of the French Riviera on the Mediterranean.”
The sophisticated air of the resort is perfect for multi-generational groups or families with older children. Walking into the hotel, families pass cascading water features, enter a marble floored lobby, and are immediately surrounded by the art and architecture of Europe. Cast members welcome you to the resort dressed in dapper Mediterranean blue costumes reflecting the French Riviera’s design and style.
The art and décor throughout the resort reflect classic European masters, but with Disney touches. More than 40 original pieces of art were created, all drawing inspiration from the Mediterranean region’s rich art history. For example, a painting in the bedroom incorporates cats from “The Aristocats” as well as the “hidden Mickey” detailing found in the scrollwork on the balconies.
Located in the lobby is La Boutique, a gift shop inpired by parfumeries of France where guests can order canvas print reproductions of the European-inspired Disney artwork. Families can also find exclusive collectibles only available at Disney’s Riviera Resort (such as resort specific mouse ears).
Disney’s Riviera Resort is smaller than some other sprawling Walt Disney World Resort properties offering a more intimate feel. It is elegant, sophisticated, and luxurious, and is a calming escape from the theme parks that are just a Skyliner ride away.
Our Editor Loves
Our Editor Loves
- Luxurious rooms with full kitchens and laundry
- Rooftop restaurant with nighttime views of the fireworks
- Skyliner gondola transportation to theme parks
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
As a Disney Vacation Club property, Disney’s Riviera Resort has everything a family needs to make their villa a “home-away-from-home.” Room options range from Tower Studios for two people to more typical deluxe studios, one- and two-bedroom villas, and three-bedroom grand villas, that sleep up to 12 guests.
One Bedroom Villa
The one-bedroom villa is equipped with a full-sized kitchen (with oven and refrigerator), a washer and dryer (cuts down on packing), and plenty of space for the family to spread out. The villa opens to a small entry, and then on to the kitchen and dining nook. The dining area has two chairs and two benches that could easily fit 4-5 people for breakfasts or other meals. The living room has two fold down Murphy beds – one behind the sofa and the second underneath the flat-screen television.
The master bedroom contains a large, soft, immensely comfortable king-size bed. There is plenty of storage space for clothes and suitcases with a nine-drawer dresser and walk-in closet with shelves. Pocket doors close off the en-suite bathroom for privacy.
The bathroom is split in two with doors closing off each area – the separate bathroom spaces each contained a sink and vanity allowing multiple people to get ready for the day at once. One half of the bathroom contains a full shower (with bench) and toilet, and the second half offers a deep soaking bathtub.
Connecting rooms are available that attach smaller studios to the larger one- and two- bedroom villas making a wide variety of room configurations.
The three-bedroom Grand Villas has room for 12 guests – perfect for multigenerational groups, or large families and parties. Each of the Grand Villas offers sweeping views of the water, theme parks, and Walt Disney World Resort. The modern room opens to a large kitchen with full-sized stove and refrigerator. The kitchen opens to the living room so those preparing breakfast, snacks, or other meals will never be separated from the rest of the party. The dining room has a large table that accommodates 10 for meals all together.
The master bedroom has a king-sized bed, en suite bathroom, and large balcony overlooking the water. Each of the two other bedrooms have two queen-sized beds, both with balconies, and two additional bathrooms in the villa as well.
Tower Studios for Two
The Tower Studios evoke the feel of a small European-style room. Described as a “chic space for two,” the Tower Studio maximizes efficiency with 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. With the bed in the upright position, the living space includes a sofa, quaint writing nook, beverage center and microwave, along with a modern bathroom.
Disney’s Riviera Resort’s main feature pool includes a 30-foot-tall tower with a corkscrew slide winding down into the Riviera Pool. The 105,000 gallon Riviera Pool celebrates the sun and sun-kissed lifestyle of the Mediterranean. Entertainment staff direct pool games and activities throughout the day at the main pool.
For younger guests, the S’il Vous Play splash ground draws inspiration from the grand public fountains throughout Europe, and features several beloved characters from the classic 1940’s Disney film Fantasia.
The Beau Soleil leisure pool offers a quiet pool experience with a natural lush-green wall surrounding the tranquil area, perfect for enjoying the sun or resting beneath the shaded seating area in a grove of tropical palm trees.
An archway tunnel through one wing of the resort leads to the Disney Skyliner station. This tunnel is sure to be a highlight of the resort, with a water feature in the middle and grand mosaic decorative murals lining the walls and ceiling.
The Disney Skyliner is a gondola system that whisks families through the sky to destinations across Walt Disney World Resort including Epcot’s International Gateway and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Disney Skyliner is a fantastic transportation system and an extremely enjoyable and efficient way to get to the parks. This is a great perk of staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort.
Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera
The signature dining experience at Disney’s Riviera Resort is Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera, perched on the rooftop of the hotel. Designers wanted to surround guests with 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.
Families 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. Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are artists looking to Minnie and Daisy for their inspiration. Coloring books and character plushes in the breakfast costumes are available for sale in the gift shop as well as in the restaurant.
For dinner Topolino’s Terrace features authentic dishes infused with French and Italian flavors, with an onstage kitchen featuring a wood burning grill showcasing finely prepared meats and seafood. The culinary team handcrafts artisanal pastas tossed with fresh pressed olive oil. A gourmet selection of cheeses from France and Italy are also featured. This restaurant also has an impressive collection of wines sourced throughout the South of France and Coastal Italy. While dining, guests can step out onto the terrace for a grand view of the resort’s stunning vistas, and possibly even enjoy the nighttime spectaculars from nearby Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The quick-service dining option at Disney’s Riviera Resort is Primo Piatto, and it offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Specializing in hearth-baked flatbreads such as breakfast pizzas as well as regular pizzas. We dined at Primo Piatto multiple times during our stay, and particularly enjoyed the convenience of Mobile Order food service. We could place an order via our smartphone, pick it up at the designated Mobile Order spot in Primo Piatto, and bring it back to our villa to enjoy together at our breakfast nook. Everything we ate was delicious, especially the flatbread breakfast pizzas, but we can also recommend the blueberry-lemon pancakes.
Bar Riva is an open-air pool bar with a seaside décor – including a mural of the Mediterranean coast complete with Disney Cruise Line ship coming to call. This is a great place to grab a drink while the hours slip away by the pool. Bar Riva offers burgers, salads, and sandwiches in addition to frozen cocktails, Provence rosé or a refreshing spritzer at the open-air pool bar.
Le Petit Café
Located in the lobby, Le Petit Café offers pastries and breakfast items in the morning as well as coffee drinks throughout the day. In the evening Le Petit Café transforms into a stylish wine bar.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
- Disney On-Site Hotel Benefits
Families staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort receive all Disney hotel benefits including access to FastPass+ selections up to 60 days prior to arrival and Extra Magic Hours at the theme parks. In addition, Disney resort hotel guests receive complimentary transportation around Walt Disney World property, 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.
- Fitness Center
Disney’s Riviera Resort has an onsite Athletique Fitness Center with treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes, as well as free weights.
- Fitness Trail
There is a 1.2 mile walking/running trail around the lake between Disney’s Riviera and Disney’s Caribbean Beach resorts. A fun run is offered (for a fee) throughout the week.
- Outdoor Activities
A bocce ball court, large board games (chess and checkers), and a fire pit are all located outside Disney’s Riviera Resort. Special S’mores kits are available for cooking by the fire.
- Free Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout Disney’s Riviera Resort and Walt Disney World property.
The Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Disney’s Riviera Resort corresponds with the Best Times to Go to Walt Disney World itself. Most families want to visit the theme parks without the high crowds and long lines that come with the peak travel season – when the kids are out of school. Great times to visit include the beginning of Fall, September through mid-October, when the kids have gone back to school. Occasionally, Disney offers a “free dining” promotion to entice families to take the kids out of school and visit during this time. Other good times to visit with low crowds include the period after Thanksgiving until the week before Christmas, and the beginning of January after kids return to school following the holiday break. If you cannot take the kids out of school for a visit, try for late summer season in August. Florida weather will be hot and steamy, and the crowds will be high (but not quite as high as the beginning of summer in June and July). However, if you live in a location where the schools do not open until September, you can miss some of the families who need to take their children back to school in August.
The nearest major airport is Orlando International Airport (MCO) located approximately 20 miles, or a 30 minute drive, from the resort. Because Disney’s Riviera Resort is an official Disney property, your family can take advantage of the complimentary airport transportation via Disney’s Magical Express. Otherwise you can take a taxi, rideshare service (Lyft and Uber), private limo or Town Car, or Mears Shuttle Service.
Renting a car at the airport is also an option. The route between MCO and Disney’s Riviera Resort has toll roads, and there is a per night fee for self-parking at the resort.
Once at Disney’s Riviera Resort, families do not need a car to get around Walt Disney World. As mentioned previously, the resort has its own station on the Disney Skyliner gondola system that will take guests to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme parks. Walt Disney World’s bus transportation system can also be used to get to the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks, as well as Disney Springs and the water parks.
For Mom and Dad
If parents are able to sneak away from the kids for a bit, our choice would be to head to Topolino’s Terrace. While not an adult-only restaurant, Topolino’s Terrace is an excellent choice for a date night dinner. Entrees at this high-end signature restaurant range between $30-$50 and offer options for sophisticated palates. Parents could also enjoy a cocktail or wine from the bar and sit on Topolino’s Terrace to enjoy the fireworks from Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. One final option is Voyageurs’ Lounge adjacent to Le Petit Café in the hotel lobby.