Walt Disney World has released new details about the dining and amenities at Riviera Resort, and the hotel side (non-DVC) is now accepting reservations for stays beginning December 16, 2019. In this post, we’ll share the press release details, a look at the guest rooms and restaurants, and offer some thoughts on Disney’s Riviera Resort.
We’ll start with the basic background info that has been released by Walt Disney World, and then follow that with a section offering our commentary about how everything looks, price points, etc. (As basic background before this, see our latest Skyliner Gondolas Construction Update and Disney’s Riviera Resort Construction Update.)
Disney’s Riviera Resort will be the 15th Disney Vacation Club and a Deluxe Resort, with approximately 300 family-friendly vacation homes, including deluxe studios, one- and two-bedroom villas, and grand villas that sleep up to 12 guests each.
Adding to the unique accommodations at Disney’s Riviera Resort will be an all-new room category: Tower Studios, which sleep two guests each. The Tower Studios aim at balancing efficiency and luxury, a unique new class of rooms debuting with Disney’s Riviera Resort.
Here’s a look at the Tower Studio:
Built into the wall, you’ll find a kitchenette, drawers, and hidden pull-down queen-size bed that easily tucks away to reveal a comfortable lounge-worthy sofa.
Each Tower Studio will include a private balcony with scenic views and seating for two, offering a more intimate, modern setting.
The deluxe studios will sleep five, and also feature kitchenettes. One-bedroom, two-bedroom and grand villas will offer large, fully equipped kitchens with dining space open to a living area.
Villas will also feature an en-suite luxury bathroom, including a freestanding soaking tub and walk-in shower, a private porch or balcony and a laundry area with a washer and dryer.
Throughout Disney’s Riviera Resort, and inside the guest rooms, a unique art collection will celebrate beloved Disney characters and icons with one-of-a-kind pieces influenced by the works of master artists who also found inspiration along the European Riviera.
The new signature table-service restaurant perched on the rooftop of Disney’s Riviera Resort will be called Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera, named after the Italian name for Mickey Mouse.
Topolino’s will feature authentic dishes infused with French and Italian flavors, and will offer picturesque vistas of the nighttime spectaculars of nearby Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Topolino’s Terrace will also offer an exclusive Disney character breakfast inspired by the Riviera.
Other dining options at Disney’s Riviera Resort will include Le Petit Café, an inviting lobby locale with fresh-brewed coffee aromas by day and a bustling wine bar by night.
The new quick-service location, Primo Piatto, reminiscent of chic dining venues found along Riviera promenades, will be conveniently located near the feature pool, and Bar Riva, an open-air pool bar with a seaside vibe featuring crisp white tiles and cool blue accents, will offer your Clients a place to relax as they enjoy a cold beverage and poolside views.
We were recently at the Four Seasons Orlando, and that luxury hotel was my first thought when seeing these rooms. (Take a look at the Four Seasons Orlando’s accommodations page.) It’s impossible to tell from the images whether the finishing and attention to detail will be on par with the Four Seasons, but that’s a favorable comparison regardless.
The low hanging fruit here would be to criticize the lack of theme. We’ve been down that road many, many times. With Disney’s Riviera Resort at this stage, it seems sort of pointless. We criticized the exterior concept art and have mentioned the nebulous ‘riviera’ style countless times now.
At this point, if you expected a bland exterior but interiors oozing with theme, your expectations were unrealistic. I’m still not wild about the exterior, or Walt Disney World’s trend with themed hotel design, but clearly there’s a market for this type of ‘classic luxury’ Disney resort.
If anything, these interiors are better than I expected. The newly-released images show rooms that are not simply a type of barebones accommodations you could find at a mid-grade chain, and the fact that they can even draw comparisons to the Four Seasons definitely says a lot. Now, we don’t expect the finished product to be on par with the Four Seasons, but no Walt Disney World resorts are at that level.
Beyond Walt Disney World and Disney Vacation Club potentially chasing the same audience as the Four Seasons, what’s most interesting here is the new “Tower Studio” category of room. We anticipate much will be written about this in the coming months and even years, and this signals a few interesting things.
First, that Walt Disney World is chasing the ‘efficient luxury’ trend. This is something the hotel industry at large has been doing for a few years, shrinking square footage of guest rooms in order to trim costs or offer more compelling common areas and shared amenities. This is supposedly popular with millennials, but I have no clue whether that’s true. (I think half the things the world attributes to millennials is just guesswork.)
Second, this is yet another sign that a key demographic for Walt Disney World is guests without children. More guests than ever before are visiting Walt Disney World without kids, and this is a pattern that Disney expects to continue. Designing spaces with these guests in mind certainly makes sense.
Finally, the anticipated fan angle on this will be the cynical “giving less while charging more.” I don’t buy this one. There was never any doubt that Disney’s Riviera Resort was going to be really expensive. Upward pricing trends are something we’ve witnessed for the last several years, and they are going to continue unabated until there’s an economic downturn, or Disney loses its brand cachet. If the Tower Studios were larger, they’d cost more in dollars or points.
Speaking of pricing, it’s staggering at first blush because the dates that are available are all peak holiday season pricing. The lowest price right now is a Tower Studio at $486/night the week before Christmas. Standard Deluxe Studios start at $662 for that same timeframe.
However, this is rack rate the week before Christmas, when the pricing all around Walt Disney World is fairly bonkers. To put these numbers into perspective, standard rooms at Wilderness Lodge for this same time frame start at $546/night. Over at Grand Floridian, you’re looking at starting prices of $790/night.
From my perspective, all of those rates are absurd and in monopoly money territory, but as far as comparisons go, Disney’s Riviera Resort slots in “nicely” among the existing Deluxe Resorts at Walt Disney World. While it’s not a monorail ride from Magic Kingdom, it is a Skyliner ride from Disney’s Hollywood Studios–and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge–which will arguably be more advantageous come December 2019.
Overall, the new details and room images from Disney’s Riviera Resort are a pleasant surprise from my perspective. Granted, this is a resort that is not to my thematic preferences and at which I have zero interest in owning as a Disney Vacation Club member, but for what it is and who it’s targeting, I think some good decisions have been made with the interiors. We’ll definitely try to stay here in December 2019…albeit with DVC points, as there’s no way on earth I’m willing to pay those prices.
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!
Do you agree or disagree with our perspective on the guest rooms and style at Disney’s Riviera Resort? Does this new Deluxe appeal to you? Think it’ll be a good option for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? 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!