Last month, I had the chance to stay in a one-bedroom villa (NOT sponsored) at Disney’s Riviera Resort for three nights with the first night being on opening day – December 16, 2019. I’ve had a decent bit of time to reflect on my stay and I have to tell you guys, this brand new Resort hotel might be my new favorite because of where it’s located and the ease of transportation with buses so close and the Disney Skyliner (even though heights freak me out, but we’ll discuss that later).
When I first arrived at Riviera, I was rather impressed by the look and detail under the porte cochere. There was a gorgeous light fixture above that was in the shape of a slightly skewed Hidden Mickey reminding me that I was home. As I walked toward the lobby, I couldn’t help but notice all the swirly wrought iron detail on the balconies along with the Resort’s logo on the beautifully designed roof of the Resort. I was pretty enamored by the whole thing and then I walked into the lobby.
The lobby of this Resort is probably the smallest one I’ve ever seen at Walt Disney World, but it felt so cozy to me and the furnishings were beautiful. I stopped and looked around and noticed right away that cast members were sitting with folks working on iPads to check them in. For this stay, I used the online check-in service and had already received my room number via text message so I didn’t need to do anything else. I spotted Deni sitting with a cast member checking in so I joined them so I could have some of the experience, which as I said above, was so cozy and much more personal than waiting in line to check-in with someone behind the counter.
As tiny as the lobby was, there was a cute little spot for your kiddos to hang out tucked in across from the front desk.
As I walked down the hallways to find my room, the artwork that adorned the walls blew my mind. Not only were there Disney Princesses such as Cinderella, Belle, and Snow White, but there were Disney castles as well! I thought it was fun to see the castles and guess who they belonged to. In fact, if you have a little Disney Princess fan in your family, that’d be a super fun rainy day activity! I also enjoyed that there were windows along the hallway to see views outside from different vantage points of the Resort. Some of the views were a little odd like the one below, but it breaks up the walk for sure.
When I walked into my villa, I was completely blown away by how gorgeous it was. There were several of us walking into the room at the same time and the entryway was quite large so it wasn’t awkward to get in and out of the way. The room was beautifully appointed and one of my favorite things was this little shelf right inside the door. I love having a spot to drop my purse the minute I walk into my house and this was just one of the many touches that made it feel like home.
There were pieces around the room with French and Italian flair including the Mademoiselle Mouse artwork in the entryway. There were also mirrors that looked as though they were antiqued and in need of re-silvering. If you look at the mirror in the image above, you’ll see a Hidden Mickey in the Mademoiselle Mouse art that you don’t see if you look directly at the picture! It’s magic! I actually have an almost 50-year-old mirror that was purchased in Spain and really does need re-silvering so these pieces caught my eye the minute I stepped in the door. The artwork around the room was tasteful and sophisticated with a little bit of Disney magic from The Princess and the Frog, The Artistocats, and Ratatouille thrown in.
The room was very spacious and there was so much storage everywhere I turned. From the drawers underneath the seating in the kitchen to the shelves on either side of the Murphy bed in the living room and the large dresser in the bedroom, you definitely won’t run out of spaces to unpack your things.
The bedroom was spacious and had its own large closet along with a work area on one side of the bed. There was a gorgeous and large chair near the window with a pretty little side table. I am quite partial to little side tables that have so much character and there were a couple of different pieces in this villa that I’d love in my own home! There was even a Hidden Mickey at the corner of the headboard!
The Resort also had a variety of activities available to guests wishing to just hang out there as opposed to visiting one of the theme parks. There’s not only a gorgeous pool with a waterslide, a Fantasia-themed kids’ water play area, Bocce Ball, a life-sized game of chess, and a bean bag toss, just to name a few. Even if you don’t know how to play, it can be a fun family activity to learn! Guys, there’s even a Vivoli il Gelato cart in the pool area!
Now we’re going to address something that has been bugging me ever since the first renderings of Riviera started appearing. I saw so many folks commenting all over the internet that this Resort looked like a Hilton or some other hotel chain. Even now that the Resort has been open for a bit, people still have this comment and I just don’t get it – at all. This Resort has so many special touches all over the rooms, the restaurants, everywhere you look – even the hallways have special patterns with a Hidden Mickey and a Hidden Minnie on the carpeting!
I’ve never seen little Disney touches everywhere I look at any hotel chain. The attention to detail blows my mind and is one of my favorite things about this new Disney Vacation Club Resort. Here’s a look at some more carpet with character I found just outside the elevator on our floor. Can you tell who they all are? So creative!
The patio was so gorgeous too. There is a regular glass door from the living room and a sliding glass door from the bedroom that both lead you to your patio. There are Hidden Mickeys in the wrought iron railing around the patio that you know I loved! I truly enjoyed this view; seeing Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort didn’t bother me at all and I could see both legs of the Disney Skyliner too.
The tissues in the room and even the toilet paper were embossed with the Resort’s logo!
Even the elevator is fun on the inside with these little black bowties on the floor!
Now, I’m going to leave you with my most favorite thing about this Resort. Have you ever heard a real estate agent say about a high-priced home, “location, location, location”? Well, I’m not a real estate agent (although I did work in a real estate office for a few years) but I have to tell you, Riviera’s location is nothing shy of amazing.
The Disney Skyliner makes it so incredibly easy to zip around and it’s right there. Even though I am afraid of heights, I forced myself to suck it up and ride because one night, we wanted to go have dinner at Chefs de France in Epcot‘s France pavilion. Getting from Riviera to the World Showcase and back is such a breeze and was faster than any other complementary transportation at Walt Disney World.
On another night of our stay, we headed over to Sebastian’s Bistro over at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. You can actually walk over there in about 10-minutes or so, but we drove because we didn’t realize that the walk was so short. I think a slow walk back to Riviera after a nice dinner would make a great way to finish your evening.
If you are one to visit the Epcot Festivals, I highly recommend that you put this Resort high on your list as the convenience factor is a really big deal. The best news is that you do not have to be a Disney Vacation Club Member enjoy a stay here. Whatever you do, please don’t blow off Riviera; it’s a true gem.
If you’d like to get a no-obligation quote on your next family vacation, head over to Dreams Unlimited Travel – the official sponsor of the DIS – where one of our travel agents will be happy to help you!
Senior Editor for the DIS and DCL Fan | Disney Vacation Club Member | Thrilled to have been a '13/'14 Disney Parks Moms Panelist (now planDisney) | Lover of all things Disney; the Magic of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disney Cruise Line | ºoº