Disney’s Riviera Resort: The Complete 2021 Guide

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This is the ultimate comprehensive guide to Disney’s Riviera Resort!

Be prepared to be swept away in a wave of luxury, sophistication, and European bliss.

Disney’s Riviera Resort combines everything we love about the magic of the Southern European coastline, including inspiration from France, Italy, and even Greece.

Fashioned after the grand resorts all along the Mediterranean, Disney’s Riviera Resort soars against the skyline and brings the mystique of the sea to us.

The fifteenth Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property, the newest of Disney’s resorts kicks it up a notch in terms of luxury and beauty.

Disney's Riviera Resort hotel
Image: Grace Hoyos

While there’s plenty for kids, Riviera Resort really caters to the adult crowds of Walt Disney World.

Yes – Disney World is for adults too! Between the room designs, incredible pool area, and exquisite dining, you will be dying to book a couple’s trip or a treat yourself weekend.

Get ready to feel pampered and refreshed with Disney’s Riviera Resort!  


Table of Contents


A Look Inside Disney’s Riviera Resort

From the moment you arrive, the gorgeous nature of the resort has an immediate effect.

Combinations of French and Italian architecture make Riviera Resort sing, while the luxurious atmosphere is almost palpable.

Covered walkways lead up from the bus stops or the Skyliner station, while the beautiful porte-cochère in front of the lobby is light, breezy, and beautiful.

Disney Skyliner carrying guests high above Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The state-of-the-art transportation system will feature custom cabins that glide through the air, conveniently transporting guests between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four resort hotels – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and the new Disney’s Riviera Resort.
Image: Disney

Once you’re in the lobby, the elegance continues.

Gorgeous black and white tiled floors, decorative molded ceilings, and modern décor enforces the French feeling.

To left is Le Petit Café, an adorable café and coffee shop that is great for a quick breakfast.

To the right you’ll find the concierge and La Boutique, the main shopping spot at Riviera.

Finally, the rest of the lobby opens to large floor to ceiling windows and a staircase leading outside to the resort grounds.

Watch this walkthrough video of the lobby at Riviera Resort:

Throughout the resort, you’ll find references to some of the princesses and castles that inspire classic Disney stories, included artwork, mosaics, and other decorative elements. You especially don’t want to miss the Rapunzel mosaic, illustrating the beautiful lantern scene.

With 300 guest rooms, Disney’s Riviera Resort is smaller than other DVC locations.

However, this helps to preserve the quiet and intimate nature of the resort, as well as put less stress on the amenities. You will also love the homey nature of the rooms, fitting with the DVC level quality.


History of Disney’s Riviera Resort

As a young resort, we’re using the word history lightly here.

Originally announced at D23 in 2017, from the beginning Disney’s Riviera Resort paid homage to the Mediterranean regions of Europe.

The idea of bringing a luxurious feel to this DVC resort served as the inspiration for several of the decisions made throughout the design process.

Even the colors of the awnings and the double-dome roofs work to distinguish the wings of the resort, and provide an aesthetically pleasing design.

The resort concept and design came from the incredible minds of the Disney Imagineering team rather than an outside architect, which is somewhat unique in terms of resort history.

However, going with an in house approach to design gives Disney’s Riviera Resort that distinctly Disney feel. Riviera Resort also proves, once and for all, that Disney can do luxury just as well as anyone.


Disney’s Riviera Resort Amenities

Rooms

There are several room choices and configurations at Disney’s Riviera Resort – Tower Studios, Deluxe Studios, One, Two, and Three-Bedroom Villas, and additional lock-off options.

Additionally, you can get many of these rooms in preferred view versus standard view.

As is the case with many of the other resorts at Disney World, preferred refers to the view from your room as well as the location in the resort.

At Riviera Resort, the preferred rooms face the pool, courtyard, or other resort areas. The majority of standard rooms face the parking lot or other transportation.

As always, remember that preferred does not mean better or bigger. The layouts of these rooms are the same as their standard counterparts – it’s about location.

Studios

There are two types of studios at Disney’s Riviera Resort. The first is the deluxe studio, one of the normal offerings at DVC locations. The second, however, is new and specific only the Riviera Resort – the Tower Studio.

Tower Studios

Tower studios are all one room, typical of a studio, however they have a pull-down queen-size bed and only accommodate two people. That means the living and sleeping areas are all one space, with an attached all-in-one bathroom and closet.

Tower studios also have a small balcony, which is nice for breakfast or overlooking the resort in the evening. In terms of amenities, tower studios have less than a typical studio, standard hotel amenities with the addition of a microwave and small fridge.

What is the appeal of a tower studio?

Firstly, it’s great for couples or singles spending much of their time out of the room.

Yes, it’s a small space, but if you’re really just sleeping and bathing in the room that isn’t an issue.

In addition, tower studios are the most economical room at Riviera Resort, coming in between 12-20 points a night (depending on the season).

That’s about as cheap as you can get when it comes to DVC! Be aware – there are only a few of these tower studios, so they book fast.

Deluxe Studios

For those familiar with DVC resorts, this is the standard studio, with the addition of a fifth-sleeper pull-down bed.

These rooms are all in one space (living and sleeping), with a queen bed, queen sleeper sofa, and a pull-down twin under the TV. Also in the living space is a small table, with a kitchenette attached.

A split bathroom completes the studio, with the toilet and shower in one room and the sink and tub in the other.

By the entrance, you’ll find a closet for nicer clothes, sweatshirts, or ponchos.

Studios are great for families, young adults, or those who just need a place to crash.

Even the addition of minor kitchen amenities helps to cut back food costs, while the ability to sleep five people can decrease what you’re spending on the room as a whole.

Even as a couple, I appreciate the extra bit of room a studio gives. When you’re going hard at the parks, a studio is all you really need.

Villas

All that being said, there’s no denying the comfort and luxury of a DVC villa. Just having one dedicated bedroom separate from the living area makes all the difference. Add in the full kitchen and the laundry facilities, and you’re going to feel downright spoiled!

One-Bedroom

In a one-bedroom villa, you’ll find a king bed in the bedroom and a queen sleeper sofa as well as the single pull-down bed out in the living room. Doors connect both the living room and bedroom to the bathroom, which has two sinks and separates the tub from the shower and toilet.

Both the living room and bedroom have their own TVs, which is nice for when you want to put the kids to bed or if everyone wants to watch something different.

As someone who now travels with children, just that bit of separation is a great way to make sure everyone gets the rest they need.

Two-Bedroom

In the two-bedroom villa, you’ll get one king bed in the main bedroom, two queens in the second bedroom, and a queen sleeper and pulldown bed in the living room.

Two bedroom villas are ideal for large families or big parties travelling altogether, providing plenty of sleeping space.

Even if one couple sleeps in the same room as their kids, or uses just one of the queen beds while all the kids sleep in the living room, this is a good way to provide privacy for everyone.

Two-bedroom villas also come as a lock-out option, which attaches a deluxe studio to a one-bedroom villa via a connecting door.

The benefit to this layout is the addition of one more single pulldown bed, giving you the ability to sleep one more person.

This is also good for two families traveling together, as the connecting door gives you easy access to one another yet the ability to have your own room.

Three-Bedroom Grand Villa

Like many of the DVC resorts, Disney’s Riviera Resort has a three-bedroom grand villa…that is more like a penthouse apartment than a resort room.

Sleeping twelve people between the three bedrooms and the sofa bed in the living room, the three-bedroom grand villa takes luxury to a new level.

Not only do you have amazing sleeping space, but also the kitchen area includes a full dining room, pantry, and eat-at bar. Each bedroom has access to their own private balcony, as well as their own full bathroom.

That’s right – three full bathrooms!

Check out a walkthrough of the three-bedroom grand villa!

Now, if you’re thinking that you’ll save money for your big group by getting the three-bedroom versus three studios or a lockout, that’s not the case.

This villa runs about 108 points a night – which is about $2,150.

The three-bedroom grand villa is for those that have a bit of cash to burn or if someone else is footing the bill.

But hey, it’s still fun to dream!  

Pools

There are two main pool areas at Disney’s Riviera Resort, both sticking with the Mediterranean theme.

The first is the aptly named Riviera Pool, which features a zero-point entry and beautiful umbrellas to give it that seaside feel.

Next to this pool is the child’s play area, S’il Vous Play, modeled after European fountains. In addition to the fountain fun, be on the lookout for some of the ballet characters from Disney’s Fantasia!

If you want a quieter swim, the Beau Soleil Pool is a short walk from the main pool area.

Larger than your typical quiet pool, Beau Soleil Pool gives you a chance to relax and soak in the sun in a more peaceful environment. This is one of the benefits to a smaller resort area, all the amenities are conveniently located near one another.

Watch this overview of Disney’s Riviera Resort Pools:

Parking

As always, DVC members do not have to pay the overnight parking fee at the resort, or elsewhere on property.

However, if you are renting points, you will still have to pay $24 a night to park at the resort. This amount shows up on your bill at the end of your vacation, so there’s no need to worry about paying daily.

If you want to take advantage of valet parking, member or no, it is $33 a day. The exception to this is those with valid disability parking, who can take advantage of valet parking at no cost. As always, if you’re just visiting the resort or have a dining reservation, there isn’t a cost to park. Just remember, during peak times, you may not be able to come just to explore the resort unless you have a reason to be there (like a meal).


Sports and Recreation

Athlétique Fitness Center

Decently sized, clean, and comfortable, the Athlétique Fitness Center at Riviera Resort is a great way to stay on top of your fitness routine while you’re on vacation.

The modern look provides a chic atmosphere without distracting from the reason you are there. Plenty of mirrors give the illusion that the room is bigger, with the added bonus of being able to check your form while you lift. Plenty of machines of all kinds line the room, including in front of the floor to ceiling windows that let in natural light. An armoire-esque structure holds small for you to borrow, and then dispense when you are finished.

Take a look inside the fitness center!

Activity Areas

In between the two pools, you’ll find European-style lawn games, perfect for an after-dinner activity with your kids.

Enjoy playing chess on the specialized lawn board, take a whack at bocce ball, or lounge around a fire pit.

You can even just let your kids get their energy out by running around the soft green lawn while you relax!

Walking & Jogging

Want to get in a solid run before starting your day?

A running trail encircles Barefoot Bay, the lake shared by Disney’s Riviera Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

Just over a mile, it’s easy to keep track of your distance during the loop. You could even just do one loop and know that you’ve hit that mile mark before heading to Le Café for your morning latte!

In the evening, this is an awesome path for walking, especially after a large meal. Caribbean Beach is such a beautiful resort, so taking this path gives you the chance to explore a bit before turning in for the night.


Transportation

As always, if you brought your own car, you may not need these options.

We do recommend the Skyliner for getting to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios even if you do have your own vehicle to save the hassle of parking, but if you’re going anywhere else on property driving yourself will most likely be faster than the bus.

Disney Skyliner

Disney Skyliner gondolas
Photo: Grace Hoyos

One of the major advantages to Disney’s Riviera Resort is that it is on the Disney Skyliner. Right past the hub at Caribbean Beach, you can hop on a gondola and be off to Epcot in no time!

This is also an excellent way to get over to the Disney BoardWalk area, including the BoardWalk Inn itself as well as both the Yacht & Beach Clubs.

If you have dining reservations over that way, you might as well take a gondola. However, if you’re going to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you might consider walking down to the Caribbean Beach station to get a straight shot to the Studios.

Occasionally, the Skyliner station at Riviera Resort closes or has a long wait. In that instance, going down to the other station or using another mode of transportation might be in your best interest.

Bus Transportation

The only other Disney-provided transportation option is the bus.

Bus stop for Disney's Riviera resort
Photo: Grace Hoyos

The bus stops are out the front door and to the right, under the covered awnings. Simply find the section for the location to which you are headed, and the bus will arrive!

Bus schedules pop up on the posted screens down by the stop, giving you an idea of how long you will have to wait.

This is the only bus stop at Riviera Resort, so make sure you know how long it will take you to walk there from your room.


Disney’s Riviera Resort Location

Map of Disney's Riviera Resort location and proximity to Walt Disney World parks

No matter which direction you’re travelling on the Florida 400 (I-4), you’re going to want to get off at the exit for Epcot Center Drive.

While those driving from the South could get off earlier, this is one of those cases where staying on the highway a bit longer will make your life easier.

Once you’ve exited onto Epcot Center Drive, you’ll turn left onto East Buena Vista Drive, and then left again into the resort area. That’s it!

Resort Address

1080 Esplanade Avenue
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830


Contact Information for Disney’s Riviera Resort

If for some reason you need to contact the resort directly, call (407) 828-7030.

However, which questions regarding your booking or other aspects of your vacation, you should call (407) 939-5277.

For dining reservations, you should book online.

Enjoy your European escape at Disney’s Riviera Resort!  


Grace Hoyos, Staff Writer

Grace is a life-long lover of all things Disney, particularly the parks at Walt Disney World. She is also an avid Disney Cruise Line enthusiast who regularly dreams of the white sands of Castaway Cay. Grace loves the fact that her Disney trips give her time to spend with her family, enjoy incredible food, and try new experiences.

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