Riviera Resort Construction Update: Fall 2018
We return to the Riviera Resort as we continue our 2018 Walt Disney World construction updates, this time for a look at progress on the new Disney Vacation Club property being built on the shore of Barefoot Bay across from Caribbean Beach.
It’s been a while since we dropped in on the progress at Disney’s Riviera Resort, so a quick recap. This will be the 15th Disney Vacation Club property, and will have approximately 300 units spread across a variety of accommodation types. The Skyliner gondola system will be Riviera Resort’s key amenity and selling point, connecting it to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, along with other hotels.
The layout here is a single tower of 300 rooms rather than a main lobby surrounded by clusters of smaller outlying buildings. Riviera’s style is similar to the tower at Coronado Springs, except shorter, wider, and more offset from the existing resort. That should make it blend a bit better with Caribbean Beach, but the height difference is still a bit jarring.
In response to our last Disney’s Riviera Resort construction update, a few readers speculated as to whether this would have more ‘moderate’ pricing than other recently-opened Disney Vacation Club resorts, given that it’s adjacent to Caribbean Beach and not a Deluxe Resort.
Don’t count on it. This is not the Caribbean Beach Resort DVC wing that was rumored a few years ago. We assume that the main reason it is being built adjacent to (and on part of the former grounds of) Caribbean Beach is due to the layout of the Skyliner, and so that the Riviera’s station can serve some guests at Caribbean Beach who would otherwise have a long walk to the main station.
Despite its proximity to Caribbean Beach, the Riviera is very much a standalone resort. That’s evident from the name, and the (undisclosed) ‘riviera’ theme. Think of these two resorts as more akin to the Grand Floridian and Polynesian–not in status, but in being adjacent resorts with different themes that have views of one another.
As for pricing, expect Disney to charge as much as the market will bear. Disney Skyliner gondola access to two parks, including “the Star Wars park” will be a huge selling point that no other DVC resort offers. For many potential buyers, that will compensate for a lot, including a potentially bland theme.
Direct sales of DVC have cooled over the past few months, but that’s not necessarily indicative of a larger trend. At some point, we expect a sustained slowdown, but that could be a few years away.
When Riviera Resort goes on sale (likely sometime next summer), we would expect the per point cost to be in the $190 range–perhaps even eclipsing $200. If sales aren’t strong at that price, we anticipate Disney using incentives and discounts, rather than dropping the price. (Base prices at Walt Disney World generally only go in one direction, with discounting the preferred method of effectively decreasing prices.)
Suffice to say, we anticipate the draws of the Skyliner and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge access to be big. While immersive, highly-themed environments are more to our taste (and this resort looks like it could be understated thematically with a generic riviera style) not every potential buyer is like us.
Of course, we could be totally misjudging Rivera Resort. Disney could be aiming to build a more affordable Disney Vacation Club resort with lower prices or point charts. We doubt it, though. When is the last time you said to yourself, “that’s far cheaper than I expected” when Disney announced the price-points for something?
Okay, now for some more construction photos:
Here’s the view from the shore in Martinique. This area of Caribbean Beach and Aruba are the most impacted by construction in terms of seeing and hearing the work, but it’s visible and audible from just about everywhere–save for Trinidad (formerly Trinidad South).
If you want a look at the current progress on other projects around Caribbean Beach, look no further than our Caribbean Beach Resort October 2018 Construction Update.
Here’s a wider view, with the Skyliner gondola station pictured to the left.
Progress is similarly far along on the reverse side, including the huge porte-cochere. We saw this several times will traveling too and from the Custom House (the future of which is unclear–we doubt the Riviera will use it for any guest amenities, but it could become an office or back-of-house facility.)
Here’s a look at the construction from more of a distance. In the foreground to the right is Barbados (formerly Trinidad North).
In the middle of the frame are Fuentes del Morro Pool and Caribbean Cay, pretty much directly in line with Riviera Resort.
Now that the building is topped out, flourishes are being added to give the exterior some personality.
There are a couple of rotundas like this, and it’ll be interesting to see what purpose they serve.
There’s no indication what kind of texture, color, or styles any of this ornamentation will take on once finished, and riviera is pretty open-ended in terms of architectural influences.
Hopefully this is narrowed down to a more precise theme, and it doesn’t look too generic. The concept art doesn’t exactly instill confidence. I guess we’ll find out in a few months once more of the architectural finishing starts to take shape!
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!
Have any thoughts about Disney’s Riviera Resort? Any guesses as to per point pricing when this DVC resort goes on sale? Is this tower-style location with Skyliner access to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot an attractive to you? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
DVC members don’t get mouse-keeping unless staying 3 or more nights so opting out wouldn’t be an option for us. At least that is what is advertised. Was there for 2 nights 3 days 3rd week of September, nothing offered to us. We were at the BeachClub. Riviera looks too fancy and high end. Even fancier than Grand Floridian which I don’t feel comfortable staying at. Probably won’t jump at a chance to stay at the Riveria, but will check it out. Wonder what the view is on the other side when in a room not facing the Caribbean? Thanks for the tips on ordering thru Amazon for delivery. That’s great to know.
My first thought: Las Vegas style hotels are overblown adult Disney; now Disney copying LV style! Tom, thanks for Riviera update. I’m a 23 yr DVC member (Hilton Head-great theming!) but would not buy into this Riviera style resort, as it takes on look of every other Florida golf resort. I hope we are both surprised in a good way with final results, but I’m not holding my breath. Staying at Port Orleans French quarter for a quick trip in December- we’ll take a look from the Caribbean resort. Hope your holidays are happy!
I see you didn’t post my comment
I haven’t heard, but do you think the Rivera Resort will have its own dining facilities? Concerned with over crowding of the Caribbean Beach facilities.
Hopefully the Riviera will have completely separate facilities from the Caribbean Resort and feel like the full DVC Resort that they want to price this as.
It is huge! That must be a several million dollar investment. Disney keeps growing more and more every day.
I was surprised to read that the tower “will have approximately 300 units spread across a variety of accommodation types.” It looks like there would be more units than that??
They discount instead of dropping the price because they can deduct the advertising and promotional offers as losses on taxes.
oh, interesting! i’ll pay attention during our trip (halloween week) to see if that’s still a thing!
I was also at WDW in early October and your comment about discounting reminded me of something. We stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter and upon check in, the cast member informed us we could forego daily housekeeping and receive a $10 gift card/voucher for each day. Sorry if this has been discussed before, but has anyone else experienced this and did you accept the offer? I thought it was interesting from a staffing standpoint – did they not have enough staffing for the busy weekend? Is this another way to reduce labor costs long term? I turned down the offer because I enjoy coming back to a freshened room each day, but I am sure there were takers, even though I did not get details on when and how the vouchers would be awarded.
Marnie, we opt out of housekeeping whenever we can. Since we’re older and travel without children, our room stays neat, so it’s not an inconvenience.
We like the $10/day credit, and also what we save on tips (usually $5/day). Considering recent price increases on food and beverage (and admissions, etc), that savings can be put toward meals, or our Amazon Prime order. We pay on average 25 cents/bottle for water at Amazon, which compared to $3.50/bottle at Disney is quite the bargain. My take is opting out of maid service is a financially savvy move, and one with no bad result.
When did they give you the voucher and was it a Disney gift card or something like a Visa card that could be used anywhere?
You can order Prime to deliver to your hotel? How does that work?
Kristin, for Amazon Prime, use the Disney resort address as the shipping address. The resort name goes on the first line, followed on the second by the guest’s names and arrival date. Then enter the remainder of the address (street, city, state, etc). Disney will hold orders for 11 or 14 days (I’m not sure which). At check in, you can have your order sent to your room or pick it up. Easy peasy.
In April, Disney charged $5 for holding our packages. We order water, soda, fruit, snacks, paper products, even sunscreen.
We’re leaving for Disney Friday. Amazon has already notified me that my order arrived. I also had a Halloween snack gift delivered to our hotel from the Popcorn Factory as a surprise for my fellow travelers. All much cheaper than Disney prices. As a long time Disney fan (been going for 45 years), I’m not at all happy with the ever increasing prices. It’s greedy and shameful on their part and insulting to me, a faithful guest.
This is fantastic, thank you so much for sharing! We have a 6 year old and some things she’s particular about and some things I am particular about (which sunscreen for example). It helps a ton knowing I am not as limited as I thought. Have a super trip! We’re headed home at Thanksgiving.
oh, interesting! i’ll pay attention during our trip (halloween week) to see if that’s still a thing!
We opted out at Pop Century in February of this year. The $10 a day extra was nice, but it’s more a privacy thing for me. I would rather pick up after myself and not have strangers in my room. We called when we needed new towels and they brought them no problem. So it was a win-win for us!
Hi, stayed sept 20-29 opted out of the room service and received a Disney gift card in the amount of $10/day but they still enter your room once a day irregardless if you opt out! It’s a security thing! A cast member enters the room to ensure all is secure and I am sure they are checking on guests just in case someone has a unknown health issue! We were surprised when they entered into our room one day having passed on housekeeping we were under the false pretense no one would be entering our room. But this is what was explained to us.
Oh! We stayed in the cabins and never had mousekeeping! We should have requested this. Thanks for the info!
Marnie, the credit was sent to my phone via email. I had the front desk apply it to the room bill. This was the best and easiest way for us, as we charge meals and purchases to the room using our Magicbands. We’re heading to Disney next week and plan on opting out of housekeeping. If we experience any problems, I’ll let you know.
Too bad they couldn’t have come up with some way to have the gondola station either on top of or inside the new resort…, ala the monorail station inside the Contemporary! That might would have been worth an extra $5 per point!