Our family stayed three nights at the new Disney Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Here’s my guide to the Riviera Resort hotel plus my review for what it’s like staying at this WDW deluxe resort.
The Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World is supposed to feel reminiscent of Europe, a place that Walt Disney loved. You’ll notice pretty walkways, fountains, and lovely palm trees, all creating a lounging oasis resort.
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Where is the Disney Riviera Resort?
This new deluxe resort is located in the Epcot Resort Area of Walt Disney World. Now you might be wondering if you can walk from Riviera Resort to Epcot and unfortunately you cannot. Unlike the Boardwalk area resorts, there are no paths that allow you access to Epcot or Hollywood Studios.
The Disney Riviera Resort is actually located right next to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
Transportation to Theme Parks from Riviera Resort Hotel
My favorite part about staying at the Riviera Resort was using the Disney Skyliner. This is a gondola that runs from the Riviera Resort to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
During our stay, the gondolas ran smoothly with only one slight delay (< 5 min) and one longer delay when we were advised to use the bus transportation instead. We felt very comfortable using the Skyliner often and my teens used it on their own to go back into the parks late at night.
It is a non-stop ride from Riviera to Epcot, but for Hollywood Studios, you’ll have to transfer at the Caribbean Beach Resort (Moderate Resort) for the Hollywood Studios gondola line. The line also connects with the Art of Animation Resort and Pop Century Resort (both Value Resorts).
If you’re not using the Skyliner or headed to Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom then you’ll need to use the traditional bus transportation. Buses typically run every 10-20 minutes between the parks and resorts.
Getting to and from the airport is super easy. Since the Riviera Resort is a Disney property, you are able to use the free Magical Express Transportation. You make a reservation in advance with your hotel booking and then scan your magicband or hotel confirmation when you arrive at Orlando International Airport and you’ll have a magical (and comfy) ride.
Can Anyone Stay at Disney Riviera Resort?
The Riviera Resort is a Disney Vacation Club resort (DVC), however, anyone can stay at the resort. You can book a room using DVC points, or reserve a room as you would at any other Disney World Deluxe Resort hotel.
You do need to be a guest at the resort in order to use the pools, however, anyone can use the Skyliner and dine at the resort.
How Much Does It Cost to Stay at Disney Riviera Resort?
When you’re looking to budget for a stay at this resort you need to be aware of peak and off-peak pricing times at WDW. Prices are going to be the highest during holiday seasons and on the weekends. You can save hundreds if you stay during an off-peak time and mid-week.
The Disney Riviera Resort price will also depend on whether you’re renting DVC points or booking the resort like a normal hotel room. The price will also depend on the type of room (size of room and standard vs preferred view) you want to book. This is a Deluxe Resort property so it’s one of the most expensive Disney resort options.
Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort does give you some perks like an earlier FastPass booking window and extra magic hours (early and after hours). (note: these perks are not applicable during the pandemic reopening)
Cost to Book a Room at the Riviera
If you’re booking a room at the resort direct with Disney or with a travel agent, like my partners Get Away Today (my readers can get a complimentary quote), you should expect the price of the Riviera Resort to be around $700-$900 per night for a Studio and $900-$1400 for a 1 Bedroom Villa.
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Cost to Rent Points for a Room at the Riviera
Renting DVC Points is a secret hack that many use to stay at these Deluxe Disney World Resorts for less money. You can rent points directly through a DVC member, but unless you know someone that’s not the best option. The easiest way to rent points is through David’s Vacation Club Rentals. They’ve been around for a long time and are a trusted business.
The cost for staying at the Riviera Resort if you rent DVC points is approximately $300-$400/night for a studio and $625-$800/night for a 1 Bedroom. You can rent points for $20 per point at the Riviera and the points required will depend on the number of nights, date of your stay, and type of room. Use the dvcrequest cost calculator to find the exact cost for your dates.
Deluxe Studio Room at the Riviera Resort
There are a few options for Disney Riviera Resort rooms. You’ll find the traditional DVC room types that are at other resorts: Studio (423 sq ft – 5 guests), 1 Bedroom Villa (813 sq ft – 5 guests), 2 Bedroom Villa (1,246 sq ft – 9 guests), and 3 Bedroom Grand Villas (2,530 sq ft – 12 guests). The Riviera Resort also has a new room type, the Tower Studio (255 sq ft), which only allows for 2 guests.
Guest rooms also vary based on the view. There are standard view rooms and preferred view rooms. Standard views are of the parking lot areas with some surrounding areas. Preferred view rooms overlook the main courtyard and the Disney Skyliner.
We stayed in a Deluxe Studio Room with a Standard View. The room had a balcony but the view was of the front entry and bus loop, so not that exciting. Spaceship Earth at Epcot was visible in the distance. The room felt cramped for a family of four with suitcases and the murphy beds pulled out. The two bathrooms and showers are a huge plus for a family.
Coming Soon: My Disney Riviera Resort Rooms article.
Coming Soon: Room Tour Video
Disney Riviera Resort Restaurants
There are two main restaurants, one cafe, and a bar at the Riviera Resort.
Primo Piatto is the quick-service restaurant option on site. This is where we ate for two of our meals at the resort. The food is pretty good, however, the wait can be long during prime dining hours and prices are high for the food amount you’re given in my opinion. Expect to pay $7-$10 per person for breakfast, and $10-$14 for lunch and dinner.
Mobile ordering is available for Primo Piatto.
Topolino’s Terrace is the table-service restaurant at Disney’s Riviera Resort that offers rooftop dining. It is only open for breakfast and dinner.
The Breakfast is a character meal, Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends. Guests will be able to meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck as they parade through the restaurant in their stylish outfits unique to Topolino’s Terrace!
You’ll start with fresh pastries and bread, then you’ll have a choice of entrées: Quiche Gruyère with house-made pancetta, Sour Cream Waffle, Smoked Salmon, Two Eggs Any Style, and more. Cost is $27 for kids and $42 for adults.
Inspired by the cliffside restaurants of France and Italy, Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera takes its name from the Italian name for Mickey Mouse.
For dinner, get ready to indulge in fresh, delicious seafood and meat dishes, handmade pasta, and decadent desserts infused with French and Italian flavors. And you can pair your meal with a glass of wine from the impressive collection sourced from the Mediterranean coast. Cost is approximately $35-$50 for entrees, the kid menu is less.
The real delight is the rooftop view that looks out over the surrounding resort area. In the evenings you can even catch a distant view of the fireworks shows at Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
Le Petit Café
If you have a sweet tooth, Le Petit Cafe is going to tempt you. You’ll find amazing sweet treats to enjoy all day long as well as coffee, cocktails, beer, and wine to enjoy. I enjoyed grabbing a glass of red wine from here while the girls enjoyed the pool after a busy day in the parks.
By the way…you may remember the Le Petit Café from The Aristocats.
The final dining option at the Riviera Resort is Bar Riva, which is a pool bar. You can grab drinks there but they also serve salads, sandwiches, and burgers. Many of the options are similar to what they serve at Primo Piatto.
Disney Riviera Resort Pools
There are two main pools at the Riviera Resort plus a splash play area for younger kids. The primary pool is the Riviera Pool. This is the largest in size and features a waterslide that winds around a tall tower. This pool also has a zero-entry point and is located near the Primo Piatto and Bar Riva restaurants.
Another pool, Beau Soleil Pool, is on the other side of the main courtyard and is marked as a quiet-pool primarily meant for adults.
Lastly, young kids will have fun at the S’il Vous Play water play area which features a fun European-inspired gazebo and Fantasia characters.
Beyond the pools, there is also a fitness center and a small shopping boutique on site. The courtyard also has a large chess set and a bocce ball court.
What We Loved About the Riviera Resort
One of my favorite things about the Riviera Resort at Disney World was the great artwork. Each piece of artwork is a unique representation of Disney characters and locals. The art was inspired by works done by famous artists around the European Riviera.
An impressive artwork installation is near the Disney Skyliner. Two arching mosaics line the underside of one of the hotel towers. They feature beautiful murals depicting London and Neverland from Peter Pan and the lantern scene from Tangled. It’s especially enchanting at night.
Small Resort Size
Personally I loved the small size of the Riviera Resort. Since I’ve stayed at a few different value, moderate, and deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World, the small size of this resort really stood out to me. It’s fairly compact and you don’t need to worry must about room location like you might at other Disney resorts.
While this small size is convenient for getting to and from restaurants and transportation, there are still a lot of rooms. I worry that perhaps Disney should have added one additional quick-service restaurant on property. Another bank of elevators wouldn’t have hurt either.
As you can see from my Disney Riviera resort pictures, the hotel has an open feel. It doesn’t feel crowded and full of buildings like many other Disney resort hotels.
Great for Teens
The final thing we loved most about the Disney Riviera Resort was how well it’s location worked for teens. Being near the Skyliner was very convenient for my teens to head back into the parks on their own in the evenings for closing the parks. While this only gave them access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, it was still a useful way for them to quickly get to and from those parks.
While the bus system works well at Disney, I felt the quick-service of the Skyliner made me feel a bit more comfortable with them leaving on their own. I also liked that the Skyliner is monitored by staff members so I didn’t worry about my teens waiting in a bus queue by themselves late at night.
Having the two bathrooms with two showers was also a huge plus for vacationing with teens. We all were able to get ready quickly – not an easy feat with three teen girls in the room!
I hope you enjoyed this Disney Riviera Resort review & guide! Do you have any questions? Feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them!
Thursday 1st of October 2020
I wish we owned Disney Vacation Club here- this looks amazing and we really want to stay. Your photographs are beautiful. What do you use to shoot?
Thursday 1st of October 2020
It's a beautiful resort! Thank you for your kind words :). I use a mix of my iPhone 11 Pro Max and my Sony a7riii with a wide-angle lens. I edit in Lightroom which makes a huge difference for photos. But I've actually been unhappy with the manual shooting and sharpness of my Sony so I'm considering going back to Canon. I just hate that the Canon is bigger. I like shooting on full-frame cameras and again editing in Lightroom makes a big difference.