Caribbean Beach v. Riviera Resort
Caribbean Beach and Riviera Resort are “sister hotels” at Walt Disney World, both located around Barefoot Bay and sharing Skyliner gondola stations. While they’re very different—one a Moderate Resort, the other a DVC property—they share a lot. In this post, we’ll contrast and compare the two, in theme/decor, rooms, dining, transportation, pools, and value for money.
This continues our Walt Disney World Hotel Comparison Series, and actually is not the first time Caribbean Beach faced an ostensibly absurd underdog matchup. In Caribbean Beach v. Polynesian Village Resort, we first made the case for the hotel as the “Poly-lite.” Either we have nostalgia blinders on for CBR, or the resort punches above its weight class.
Not to spoil this head-to-head smackdown for you, but that last category of ‘value for money’ is largely the key. These two hotels are not competitive with one another across the board, but they have enough similarities that we’ll seek to determine whether the Moderate-tier Caribbean Beach Resort is good enough, or if they should splurge on the Deluxe Disney’s Riviera Resort Resort. The verdict might shock you…or not!
Since Disney’s Riviera Resort opened, we’ve been offering passing comparisons between it and Caribbean Beach and treating the two as “sister hotels.” That’s unlikely to be a comparison that Walt Disney World appreciates, as it views the Riviera as a flagship DVC property on par with the Grand Floridian. However, it’s on the former grounds of Caribbean Beach, and actually replaced some of the Moderate Resort’s buildings.
Thematically, these two properties clash with one another and in style the tower of Disney’s Riviera Resort is a sharp contrast to the building clusters of Caribbean Beach Resort. It’s also jarring to be sitting in the tropics of Caribbean Beach and see these grey towers looming on the shore. On the other hand, Caribbean Beach guests benefit from upgraded and new amenities at the new, nearby resort.
While we’ve stayed at both resorts multiple times (many, many times in the case of Caribbean Beach) we had not done near-consecutive stays at the two until fairly recently. (Read about each experience, which focus on modified operations during Walt Disney World’s phased reopening in our Caribbean Beach Resort Stay Report and our Riviera Resort Stay Report.) Now that we have, this comparison becomes a bit easier–and hopefully more fair!
Cost: Caribbean Beach Resort — On average, a standard Deluxe Studio at Disney’s Riviera Resort costs nearly triple the nightly rate of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Of course, you could always downgrade to a Tower Studio at Disney’s Riviera Resort and pay “only” double the price of CBR, but those tiny yet-overpriced Tower Studio rooms are not going to pass muster for most guests. We’ll thus confine our comparison to the normal rooms at each resort.
Now, the argument could be made that Riviera Resort is more attractive with discounts, as it has already seen 40% off rates and will get the “full” Free Dining discount, whenever that’s offered again. It could also be argued that Riviera Resort is significantly cheaper by Renting Disney Vacation Club Points. However, it’s difficult to book via DVC point rental right now, and that’s not an apples to apples comparison, anyway.
This cost disparity is the backdrop against which the rest of this comparison is set. We’re not suggesting the Riviera needs to be twice as good than Caribbean Beach to be the ultimate victor nor will we grade on a curve from here on out. While cost is objective, its relative weight is subjective. For some people, it matters a lot. For others, money is no object, and absolute best is still absolute best. As with so many things, it’s your mileage may vary.
Theme: Caribbean Beach — This is sure to be the first controversial pick, but hear me out. Caribbean Beach Resort feels like a tropical island escape. It’s a beach resort by name, but could almost pass for a port city in the Caribbean. As a Moderate Resort, not all of the details and architecture are fully-fleshed out, but it coalesces very well in offering a transportive environment that’s fun, light, and airy.
Caribbean Beach does an exceptional job of capturing the essence of vacationing in the tropics. Even post-overhaul, the grounds are still lush, there are some beautiful beaches, and it all culminates in a relaxing environment that is a ton of fun to explore. In particular, Caribbean Cay is a gem hiding in plain sight. I love wandering Caribbean Beach Resort resort late at night or in the early morning–there’s simply a ton to explore and the environment is pleasant and inviting.
By contrast, Disney’s Riviera Resort is not really themed in the traditional sense of the term. The design is not all-encompassing, and does not aspire to transport you to another time or place. Instead, it’s a rather generic luxury tower hotel that offers impressionistic touches, with flourishes, decorations, and art that evokes the spirit of the French (or is it the Italian?) Riviera.
Our Disney’s Riviera Resort Review sharply criticizes the lack of thematic ambition of the new DVC property, using words like “lazy, uninspired, and boring” when describing the architecture and design. The resort is a lot like cookie-cutter suburbia, more reminiscent of Val d’Europe, the Disney-developed town adjacent to Disneyland Paris, as opposed to the more lavish and ornate French Riviera.
What’s most disappointing here is the squandered potential–the ‘source material’ is a treasure trove of rich and beautiful designs. Imagineering could have chosen an iconic exemplar in Cannes, Nice, or Monaco and further romanticized and reinterpreted it. Instead, the style was phoned in with historic photos of Walt Disney, paintings of animated films, and European movie posters being substitutes for actual themed design. Don’t get us wrong–that’s all fun, but it ultimately feels hollow and superficial.
Rooms: Riviera Resort — If you’re starting to question our bias or objectivity here, this category should put at least some of those concerns to bed. This one is not even close. We’ve heaped praise on Caribbean Beach Resort’s redone rooms, and are why we dubbed the resort “Poly-lite” in the first place. These rooms no longer feel like budget motel accommodations, and feature nice details befitting of a higher caliber resort.
Or so that’s how we felt ~5 years ago when those “new” rooms debuted. They were a sharp departure from the brightly-colored, arguably garish, but inarguably basic rooms that came before. We loved them at the time, and still like them. However, a lot has happened in the time since, and Walt Disney World has really refined its approach to room overhauls. Many readers have criticized Caribbean Beach’s rooms as dark, dingy, and starting to feel dated.
After our recent consecutive stays at Caribbean Beach and Riviera Resorts, the contrast between the two was laid bare. While Caribbean Beach is one of the early attempts at this ‘generation’ of room modernizations at Walt Disney World, the Deluxe Studios at Disney’s Riviera Resort are the culmination of a lot of room design lessons learned by Disney over the last decade. They iterate on past successes, disregard past failures, and come together perfectly.
Disney’s Riviera Resort features the near-pinnacle of room design at Walt Disney World. The design is elegant and thoughtful, with space-saving features and lovely design flourishes. The room feels upscale and incredibly usable, with sophisticated touches, art, and more.
While Disney’s Riviera Resort as a whole feels weak on themed design, the guest rooms actually shine on this front–here’s where the artwork, use of texture, and materials really come together. There are also balconies, which are absent from all Moderate Resorts.
If the hotel room is your paramount consideration, Disney’s Riviera Resort is the easy winner. Not just of this comparison, but arguably in all of Walt Disney World. (I’d still pick the Villas at Grand Floridian or Polynesian Villas, but that’s mostly a matter of personal preference.)
Dining: Riviera Resort — Another comparison that Disney’s Riviera Resort wins handily. This has the best lineup of any Disney Vacation Club resort, and one of the best dining slates of any resort with Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera, Primo Piatto, Bar Riva, and Le Petit Cafe.
Topolino’s Terrace is the main standout, with the best character breakfast at Walt Disney World and a superlative Signature dinner menu. Primo Piatto flies under the radar, but it has emerged as a sleeper hit of counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World.
Normally, Caribbean Beach Resort has its own duo of underrated dining options in Sebastian’s Bistro and Spyglass Grill. It also has Banana Cabana and Centertown Market, two other solid options. Still, these 4 restaurants don’t measure up to the volume and variety at Disney’s Riviera Resort. (Additionally, Sebastian’s Bistro and Spyglass Grill are closed during the phased reopening, and it might be years before they both return.)
One thing to note here is that it’s an easy ~5-10 minute walk from many of the guest rooms at Caribbean Beach to the dining options at Disney’s Riviera Resort. In fact, some rooms at Caribbean Beach are closer to Primo Piatto than they are Centertown Market!
Pools: Caribbean Beach — On our list of the Top 10 Pools at Walt Disney World, Fuentes del Morro Pool (aka the “Pirate Fortress Pool”) at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort ranked #3 and trio of Mediterranean pools at Disney’s Riviera Resort were unranked (they probably would’ve been #11 or #12).
The Pirate Fortress Pool scores serious points for its Spanish colonial fortress style, fortresses, cannons, and general pirate appeal. It’s an awesome place to pretend you’re a pirate, and who among us doesn’t want to do that?! You might scoff at this as an adult, but after polishing off a couple of Caribbean Smugglers from the Banana Cabana pool bar, you’ll be staggering around questioning, “why is the rum always gone?!” Seriously, this pool is awesome for guests of all ages.
For adults, Disney’s Riviera Resort offers a fairly strong poolside lounging game. Beau Soleil and Riviera Pool offer a ton of variety in terms of seating options, plus a laid back and tranquil vibe that’s absent from Fuentes del Morro Pool. While the S’il Vous Play interactive water play area is nice for kids, it has nothing on the Pirate Fortress Pool.
With all of that said, Disney Vacation Club members do have the ability to pool hop, meaning that they can use both sets of pools. That’s not true going the opposite direction, which along with the dining category, further muddies this resort comparison.
Transportation: Tie — The marquee transportation at both resorts is the Disney Skyliner gondola, which is slightly better at Caribbean Beach. Disney’s Riviera Resort has one station, which offers direct service to EPCOT and connecting service to Disney’s Hollywood Studios via the Caribbean Beach hub station.
By contrast, Caribbean Beach has easy access to both stations meaning direct access to both parks, which can be critical when trying to get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in time for the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding pass dash. (Sadly, that’s unlikely going away in the next year-plus.)
However, the reason this is a tie is the bus service to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Caribbean Beach has an internal bus loop, and while that’s not as bad as it used to be, it’s still not ideal. Disney’s Riviera Resort has a single bus depot, which is simpler, less time-consuming, and causes fewer frustrations during peak travel times when buses are in high demand.
The scales will probably tip one way or the other for you depending upon whether you use the Skyliner or bus transportation more. Again, your mileage may vary.
Verdict: It Depends — There’s not a huge point in fixating on a verdict here, as the weight you personally give to each category is going to be outcome-determinative here. For some, the colossal cost disparity between the two will make Disney’s Riviera Resort a total non-starter. If that’s the case for you, hopefully this comparison highlights how you can enjoy some slices of Riviera’s luxury while still staying at the more budget-friendly resort.
For others, the significant advantage offered by the rooms at Disney’s Riviera Resort is going to be the difference-maker. (If you’re simply looking for luxury, you might also want to read our Gran Destino v. Riviera Resort comparison.) Even then, hopefully this comparison illustrates how Caribbean Beach offers some advantages–and how you can utilize those during your stay at the Riviera. Just because it’s the more “posh” resort doesn’t mean it’s better at everything, so don’t turn your nose up at Caribbean Beach’s pool, bar, and lush grounds. As with every resort at Walt Disney World, there’s good and bad, pros & cons to both of these, and each have their unique qualities that make them worth checking out–or checking into, as the case may be!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Is money the deciding factor for you, or are the guest rooms? Do the superior rooms, dining, and condensed layout provide enough value for you to help bridge the price gap? Is there another variable you can think of to make Caribbean Beach Resort the better pick? Are we missing a key variable that tilts the scales more in the Riviera’s favor? Do you agree or disagree with our picks? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
I LOVE reading all your great articles and have found them super helpful as we’re planning our second trip to Disney World in June ’22! Our trip we stayed offsite so the Disney Transportation is very new to us. We have a reservation for the CBR and am feeling really good about it with the only thing we’re worried about is the bus service to MK and AK. One thought I had was to request a room in Aruba and then use the Riviera bus service for those days to MK and AK, but would love your thoughts on (1) if this is allowed since we’re not staying at the Riviera and (2) if this is worth the walk or should we just chance the CBR bus service? I’m afraid of waiting a long time if the busses are full by the time they get to Aruba or Jamaica’s bus stop as that is our second choice. If we can’t use the Riviera busses or if it is not worth the walk in your opinion, would you suggest walking over to the bus stop to Old Port Royale in the mornings? Wondering if that’s helpful in catching a more empty bus to MK. Just trying to think things through so we’re not starting the day off on a bad note. Thanks in advance for your advice! Love all the great insight!
We just returned from a stay at Caribbean Beach. We were in the Aruba section, which was great because of easy access to its own pool, the bus stop and the Riviera Skyliner. We only made it to the big pool once because the place is so spread out, which we didn’t like. After a long day at the park, I want to get back to my room and off my feet as quickly as possible. The Skyliner to Epcot was amazing, and we used it many times. We tried taking it to Hollywood Studios just once, and we had to transfer at Jamaica. There was such a long line that we decided to not wait and just called for an Uber. Next time we go, I definitely plan to stay at the Riviera.
Along these same lines, I’d love to see your thoughts on Swan/Dolphin vs CBR. With comparable transportation and roughly comparable dining, I’d imagine the trickiest comparisons would be on comfort vs. theme and especially value for money. How do they typically compare on cost?
Is pool hopping by DVC members allowed during this phased reopening? We are going in December and have read that you must have dining reservations in order to visit other resorts, DVC or not. Is this still true – and does it apply to interior and pools?
Nope, pool hopping is suspended for now.
We try to stay in a different Disney hotel every time we visit. We’re staying at CBR for the first time Thanksgiving week – can’t wait, esp after reading this comparison & the comments! We’re excited to try the Skyliner, visit the pools, but nervous about increasing crowds! Any specific advice you’d give to Thanksgiving week CBR first timers? Besides packing the anti-anxiety meds?
If you are a guest at CBR you are not permitted to swim at the Riviera pools and vice versa, unless you are a DVC member and pool hopping is permitted. They might be close like Riverside and Port Orleans, but not sisters like Riverside and Port Orleans in that they are often treated like one resort.
Does the bus from Riviera to MK, go directly to MK? Or, does it stop at any other resorts to pick up guests? Thanks
Its a only resort like pop century one stop one resort
It’s an interesting comparison, and truly does merit your “It depends” verdict. The reason is that one can share much of the best of both resorts and far more easily than most of the resorts in the “versus” series.
RR guests can walk to the CBR pool and all of its dining options, CBR guests can walk to all of RR’s dining options. RR has the exercise facility as an advantage (though I remain astonished that they didn’t put in a spa at RR. I mean spas and Riviera are like bread and butter).
Last time we were there, we got to compare rooms at the BC vs. CBR due to a split stay. BC won, of course, but the gap wasn’t nearly as big as I thought it would’ve been. The gap looks bigger between the RR and CBR on the rooms issue.
It boils down to room vs. cost.
But I think there is a winner, and it’s the CBR. The reason is the easy availability of the RR’s dining. But it’s more than that. Both resorts also have easy access to all of the dining at Crescent Lake via the Skyliner. While this works both ways, BW Y&BC can easily skyline to RR and CBR(much more likely RR), The CBR now has quick access to Deluxe Resort dining, and the Crescent Lake Boardwalk public amenities. It’s easy to forget that there’s much more to the Skyliner than just going to Hollywood Studios or EPCOT.
Certainly RR shares in everything that CBR does, but CBR is a moderate, RR is a deluxe. The result is that no moderate resort comes even close to the additional benefits that the CBR has gained, the within walking distance dining at RR, and everything accessible via Skyliner, which is more than “merely” 2 theme parks.
Where would you suggest staying at CBR? Building #? We are doing two days at MK, and HS, one day at Epcot and one at AK, one at Universal. Was thinking Barbados #31 or 32 water view, 2nd floor?? Thanks!
We stayed at CBR in early March of this year and loved it. We typically stay at Pop but wanted to try something different and at the time it wasn’t much more $ than Pop. Pool was great. Easy to walk to the main building or skyliner. We did take the Rivera bus back from the parks a couple times and then walked over. One thing about the Rivera skyliner station was that during certain times of the day all of the cars coming from the CBR station or Epcot were already full of passengers so we had to wait a lot longer than I expected. Kind of a pain.
So would you suggest if we’re staying at Riviera, we should walk over to Caribbean Beach to get on the skyliner quicker?
Does the bus going from Riviera resort to Magic Kingdom, stop @ any other resorts along the way? I see that it only has one bus depot. That would be amazing if it goes directly to Magic Kingdom 🙂
We’ve stayed at both and really don’t care for either. I have so many negatives on CBR that for simplicity, it’s easier to list the positives……. the skyliner; that’s about it. The Riviera is beautiful and has some very nice amenities and of course, it’s brand new so it’s nice and shiny but the location is a negative. I know you touched on this but the overall theming around this one very large lake is 75% Caribbean and then 25% french riviera, Disney dropped the ball on the design and it’s really not very aesthetically pleasing. In all the stays that I’ve had at CBR when compared to other moderates like Port Orleans or Coronado Springs, I think WDW needs to move CBR to the value category.
I and my family have stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort since 1989 when it was just built.
Over the years we have stayed there countless times, but since the Rivera was built it has lost its magicaL charm. One no longer feels transported to the Caribbean with the island themed two story clusters. When you look at the gigantic Rivera on the greatly expanded body of water, the magic is lost! You can no longer rent a boat and enjoy being on the water. I also was dismayed that the new food service was cafeteria style, bland and costly. I used to have my coffee and a fine flaky cheese danish in the early morning but now that plastic wrapped danish was surgery and gooey….cheap tasting. I won’t be returning so soon…that’s for sure.
We are booked for 5 nights at RR Oct2-7 in a 2 bedroom villa preferred view!!!
Yes, we splurged but The Polynesian is closed basically and Grand Floridian didn’t have the villa we wanted so we’re trying RR out.
Excited to try a new resort because we generally stay at GF or Poly
It’s gonna be a great fall break trip!!!
I’m anxious to use the skyliner for transportation.
We’ve only ridden on it for fun last October
Please provide a report how the resort after you get back from your trip. Curious to hear more opinions.
Good article….. informative discussion, but it really is an apples to oranges discussion.
Of course Caribbean Beach wins cost — it’s moderate vs deluxe.
Of course Riviera wins dining and rooms — those are major elements that separate deluxe from moderate.
I would say this article shows 1 area where Caribbean Beach punches above its weight: A pool that is on par with, and better than some, deluxe hotel pools.
And you effectively point out an area where Riviera punches below its weight for a deluxe hotel: Other than AKL, it’s the only deluxe hotel that doesn’t have walking/monorail access to any park. (and AKL has Savannah, a unique benefit) Yes, it has skyliner access — but so do several value resorts.
To some degree, it makes sense to view Riviera/Caribbean as a single resort. You wouldn’t really say “Bay Lake Tower vs. Contemporary.” They are elements of the same resort, with some parts exclusive to DVC guests.
What makes this new combo resort unique, is that it’s a mod combined with a deluxe. To some degree, that makes the Riviera a bit less than a true deluxe, and makes Caribbean Beach a bit of a Mod++.
(and I just bought DVC at Riviera despite Tom’s warnings… so I may be biased)
After reading the comment that preceded that disclaimer, I definitely would not think you’re biased on Riviera. At least, not biased towards Riviera. 😉
I am biased… I think your DVC rankings are too low… Surely having among the nicest and biggest rooms, some of the best dining, and fairly easy access to 2 parks, is enough to put it above some other resorts. IMO, Boardwalk doesn’t have much apart from great location. Beach Club Villas, just a great pool and great location. But if you are going to give Beach Club Villas points for access to the Beach Club Stormalong Bay.. then Riviera DVC gets points for access to the Caribbean Beach pool. (BLT doesn’t even really have any dining unless you count the “sister” resort dining at the Contemporary… so shouldn’t Riviera grading include the sister resort amenities too??)
See… I’m biased…
I am staying at CBR in December. Haven’t stayed there in a decade. So looking forward to it in spite of COVID. CBR seems to have so much character as opposed to RR. I will take the theme and pool and just walk over to RR for the dining!
A ton has changed since your last visit–hopefully it’s mostly for the better for you. Have a great trip!
The CBR “had” character but that was ruined when Disney jammed the RR into part of the CBR and destroyed the intimate charm that the CBR previously had.
Just reporting back!
I stayed in December and my family and I really enjoyed CBR. We also went to the Character breakfast at the RR and that view is incredible. My kids and I decided that we would like to come back to the CBR (although in post-COVID high season, I bet that place would be beyond packed to the point of misery-it really is huge! We would return off season as we loved the pool and we stayed within feet of the RR skyliner. Such a convenience! ) but we would not stay or return to RR. As others have mentioned here, it is new and shiny but there is no theme. Not to wade too much into the DVC debate but it is just like a timeshare on Disney property. No thanks! Give me a Disney resort with character any day of the week.
I’m CRB for the cost difference. Rivera looks really nice and I like the décor there better but the location of CBR and it’s cost savings are keys for me. Pool is a bonus as well.
Also we just stayed at Old Key West and I would choose CBR over that. Just too spread out and far from the other parks. Doesn’t help that its boat to Disney Springs is still shut down so it’s one major benefit of being close to Disney Springs is mitigated now.
Old Key West is a great resort if you have your own vehicle (which I suspect is the case for many DVC members) or are doing a leisurely vacation.
We’ve found that we enjoy the *idea* of OKW more than anything. It’s great to visit and I think the atmosphere is fantastic, but there are few use-cases where it would be my first, second, or seventh choice of places to stay while on vacation at Walt Disney World.
We haven’t stayed at CBR in maybe four years, before they started the Riviera construction. I wasn’t all that impressed with CBR since we had stayed at both PO resorts and CSR (before GD). We tried to go to the main pool one day and it was packed so we only visited the leisure pools for our stay. I thought all the other three moderates felt better and cleaner than CBR and the dining offerings were better, too. When DVC said they were building Riviera adjacent to CBR, I thought that was a mistake and would give it a down graded feeling. There were other places they could have built it but they chose that spot. It seems out of place a Deluxe right next to a Moderate. Nothing like all the other DVC resorts. We’ll probably never use our points at Riviera because of the point inflation with all the newer resorts.
You’re not wrong about any of that.
I do think it’s potentially worth giving CBR a second chance at some point, because a ton has changed since then. Some for the worse, most for the better (IMO).
I’m with CBR.
Setting and theming are my deciding factors.
During normal times when WDW has everything going cost becomes an additional deciding factor because I’m only in my room to sleep.
We were just at CBR in August and had a great time. I agree the pool is definitely better. I also love the beaches and the little island you travel across to get to the pool. You can take a nap in a hammock and catch the sunrise with your feet in the sand.
I would add that I love the skyliner so that becomes a factor whether I go value, moderate or deluxe.
Unless you’re a claustrophobic who plans on sitting in your room a lot, use the money you’re saving at CBR to eat at Riviera once it’s a short walk but only once because you should eat at a different resort or Park every day. For crying out loud you’re at DISNEY WORLD take advantage of all those great dining opportunities.
“Unless you….plan on sitting in your room a lot, use the money you’re saving at CBR…”
I could not agree more. We have not been back to CBR since the pandemic, but after staying there last year cancelled a room we had booked at one of the deluxes and switched back to CBR.
I don’t have all Disney experience of the blog’s author but my wife and I thought CBR struck a great balance of amenities vs. cost. We had previously stayed at both a deluxe (Animal Kingdom) and a value (Pop Century).
The Skyliner is a game changer, and since we are in our rooms so little during a Disney trip I couldn’t ever see Riviera being worth it for us.
Agree with all of this.
Even as DVC members (so we’re not paying anywhere close to full price when accounting for the cost of our points) and now as locals (so we’re spending a lot more time at the resorts than we used to), I’d still pick CBR of the two.
If you’re in one of the CBR rooms relatively close to Riviera, I assume you could use their hotel bus system instead of the CBR loop, right?
Definitely! For those staying in CBR’s Aruba or Martinique sections, using Riviera’s buses is a perfectly reasonable way to avoid the CBR bus loop. Similarly, those staying in Aruba are much closer to Riviera’s skyliner station than CBR’s. Skyliner proximity is more of a toss-up if staying in the Martinique section; I’d probably use CBR’s station to go to/from DHS, and Riviera’s to go to/from Epcot.
A similar dynamic comes up at the All-Star Resorts, where those in the All-Star Movies Mighty Ducks section have a shorter walk to All-Star Music’s bus depot than to Movies’.
Stayed at CBR many years ago. What I hate about the moderates (and the only other one we ever stayed at was Dixie Landings–so that tells you how long ago it’s been since we didn’t stay at a deluxe resort) is the exterior entrances. We always had to have the drapes closed because of all of the traffic outside our windows. Don’t know why moderates had to be built like Motel6. They could have had interior corridors and then balconies.
Same reason Motel 6 does it that way–it’s cheaper. For Disney, part of the strategy is also withholding certain features and amenities from lower tiers to differentiate the resort classes, which encourage guests to upgrade to the more costly resorts.
I love having a balcony…but it is not worth ~$300/night to me.
At Disney, I find I somewhat prefer the exterior entrances (maybe because Florida weather is generally nice). And there was a study somewhere a few years ago that since they are exterior, weather-sealed doors you actually get more soundproofing than with an interior door.