The Riviera Resort layout follows Disney’s recent trend of doing a single tower rather than a main lobby surrounded by clusters of outlying room building, and we’d assume the latter approach is dead, at least for now. It appears that the Riviera tower has now been topped out, with some interior work now underway.
The resort will feature a large rooftop restaurant, which will occupy just a portion of the upper level space. (We’re not sure what else will be up there.) Riviera Resort 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 another key amenity, connecting Riviera Resort to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, along with other hotels.
During its D23 announcement, Disney indicated that Riviera Resort would open in Fall 2019. If the current pace of construction is any indication, it’s certainly poised to meet that date. (Other projects might get delayed, but not DVC; it’s a goose that lays golden eggs.) The question is when in Fall 2019?
As a general rule, Disney Vacation Club does not discuss or sell a new property at Walt Disney World until the last is nearly or completely sold out. Wilderness Lodge still has units for sale, which is why we’ve heard zilch about this new resort beyond the announcement last year. As of June, Disney has declared 94 of Copper Creek’s 184 vacation homes. In terms of points, the declared inventory now accounts for 58% of the total points available at Copper Creek.
If our math is accurate and Disney Vacation Club sales of Copper Creek maintain their current pace, around 12 months of inventory (1 month of declared inventory and 11 undeclared months) remains before the Wilderness Lodge addition is sold out. Assuming that’s accurate, Riviera Resort is likely to go on sale around July 2019. At its present pace, Riviera Resort could conceivably be ready to debut by late Summer 2019.
This is also fairly consistent with the tower construction over at Coronado Springs, which Disney has stated will open in Summer 2019. We visited the two sites on consecutive days, and the Coronado tower is probably about a month ahead of Riviera Resort at this point, but that tower is also taller and appears to be a slightly more elaborate project. Both resorts could be ready to debut within a month of one another. (Of course, the pace of work on either or both could always change–that’s still a year from now.)
Still, we think a July opening is unlikely. Disney Vacation Club having a slight buffer between Wilderness Lodge and Riviera Resort makes sense. Likewise, having a splashy grand opening of the resort simultaneous with the Skyliner gondola system (once that has completed its testing) makes a lot of sense.
Walt Disney World will undoubtedly want the resort available for October bookings. That’s now one of the busiest months of the year for the hotels and the vast majority of Riviera Resort will be undeclared at that point, and thus available for cash bookings.
It’s also likely that Disney will want to open Riviera Resort as quickly as possible so sales can begin and end as quickly as possible. The long-rumored Disney Vacation Club property adjacent to Fort Wilderness (on the old River Country site) is all but a sure thing at this point, but it seems very unlikely that Disney will acknowledge that resort–even once construction is vertical–until Riviera Resort meets certain sales targets.
That construction will be a bit out of the way, so it’s not as awkward as when Bay Lake Tower’s existence was denied, but it’s still safe to assume Disney wants to sell Riviera Resort as quickly as possible. As such, our money is on Disney’s Riviera Resort opening in September or early October 2019. Of course, all of this is guesswork on our part, but that’s what we think the most likely debut date is, in case you were curious.
Here’s a quick video of progress on Disney’s Riviera Resort as of July 2018:
Now let’s take a quick walk around the Riviera Resort construction site and look at the progress from various angles within Caribbean Beach Resort…
Sorry, we realize this isn’t exactly an exciting photo update. It’s basically just slightly different off-center views of the same tower.
The work on Riviera Resort is visible throughout Caribbean Beach and is especially bad from Martinique, the Old Port Royale area, and Aruba. You can hear this construction from literally anywhere in the resort.
The main tower of Riviera Resort is essentially flanked by two smaller buildings that are also currently under construction. To the left is the Skyliner gondola station that will serve the Riviera (as well as guests on this side of Caribbean Beach) and to the right is…I have no idea. Maybe something for the pool?
With each visit to Caribbean Beach, we see more and more progress on Disney’s Riviera Resort. It’s definitely being worked on with more speed than the Centertown project at Caribbean Beach, and that’s evident both in the respective progress of each and the size of the construction crews actively working on each. It’ll be interesting to see how the tower blends in with the landscape of Caribbean Beach (or doesn’t, which is the more likely scenario) once this is all finished.
Have any thoughts about Disney’s Riviera Resort? Is this tower-style location with Skyliner access to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot an attractive Disney Vacation Club property to you? Thoughts on when the Riviera will likely open? 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!