Riviera Resort Update – April 2019

Riviera Resort is the next stop in our ongoing Walt Disney World construction updates, as we take a stroll around Caribbean Beach Resort to check out progress on the new Disney Vacation Club hotel being built on Barefoot Bay. Here we’ll share construction photos and thoughts on the latest news at this resort.

Since our last construction update, Disney Vacation Club has published the points chart, pricing, and other membership details for Riviera Resort, which is now on sale for both new and existing members. You can read all the details on our Disney’s Riviera Resort Pricing, Points Chart & Sales resource page.

As the project races towards completion, we were also able to see the finished rooms and share the experience in our new Photo Tour of Disney’s Riviera Resort Rooms from our walk-through of the studio and 1-bedroom units. Suffice to say, these rooms look better in person than Disney’s concept art and our overall opinion of Disney’s Riviera Resort is now a bit more favorable.

While I like the texture, detail, and the whimsical touches in the guest rooms at Disney’s Riviera Resort more than expected, I’m still disappointed by the exterior design. For that matter, I’m also not impressed by the concept art of common spaces that looks overly modern.

I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but this doesn’t evoke any of the French Riviera’s quintessential architectural styles. That region has varied designs, but the commonality is lavish and ornate workmanship. By contrast, Disney’s Riviera Resort is pretty much a boxy modern hotel with a bit of Mansard roofing as ornamentation.

Compare that to Walt Disney World’s best themed resorts, which are idealized exemplars of what inspired them. Those resorts are usually one-upping what inspired them, whereas the Riviera is a weak imitator. The design is no more Riviera-themed than an older McDonald’s.

We’ll start with a distant look at Disney’s Riviera Resort from the bridge between Trinidad and the rest of Caribbean Beach Resort.

This gives a rough idea as to the scale difference between the Riviera and Caribbean Beach.

Moving to the other side of the Caribbean Beach pool area, this provides a more accurate depiction of the spacing between the two resorts.

The placement and scale here are not nearly as jarring as Coronado Springs and the new Gran Destino tower, but it’s still far from ideal.

Now let’s zoom in on some details, as the finished exterior of Disney’s Riviera Resort is starting to emerge from behind the scaffolding.

You can also see that the waterfront promenade is progressing, and other landscape work is occurring.

Another close-up view offers a look at progress being made on other sections of the resort. The exterior is coming along at a swift pace, and we’d expect the scaffolding to be gone by summer–months ahead of the December 2019 opening of Disney’s Riviera Resort.

It’s tough to tell from the photos, but there are tasteful Mickey Mouse heads in some of the balcony railings. It’d be nice if there were even more ornamental railing designs, as that’d be one way to give the resort some character and depth.

The water slide tower for the S’il Vous Play kid’s pool is progressing.

You can’t tell from this photo, but when I zoom in closer, there’s a weathered look to this, similar to Fuentes del Morro Pool at Caribbean Beach, actually. It looks totally different from–and better than–the concept art.

Here’s a look at the Riviera Skyliner station from Building 56 of Aruba at Caribbean Beach Resort. The rooms in this building will be an approximately 5 minute walk to the Riviera Skyliner station, or about a 15 minute walk to the Caribbean Beach Skyliner station.

Suffice to say, I suspect the rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort in Aruba, Martinique, and part of Jamaica are going to primarily use this Skyliner station instead of the larger Caribbean Beach station.

In semi-related news, ground and pavement work continues along the path that connects between the Caribbean Beach and Riviera Resort Skyliner stations.

As we cover in our newest Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Update, this is for Skyliner evacuation, and could be what’s holding up the Skyliner project, which otherwise seems way ahead of its slated “Fall 2019” opening target. We’ll have more on that soon…

Otherwise, that wraps up this update on Disney’s Riviera Resort. Despite all of my criticism, I’m still very intrigued by the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort. I’m curious about the logistics and comfort level of the Tower Studio rooms. I’m interested in seeing what DVC member feedback will be towards the new policies that will be implemented with the Riviera, and also how people will respond to the style. Finally, I’m hopeful that the response to both helps shapes the design for Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge…for the better.

If you’re considering joining DVC, first be sure to read our Ultimate Guide to Disney Vacation ClubIf you still can’t decide whether membership is right for you, “try before you buy” and rent points from DVC Rental Store. If you are convinced a membership is for you, check out the discounted options at DVC Resale Market.

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 comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!


Do you plan on buying at Disney’s Riviera Resort? What do you think of the design, both inside and outside? Any particular details or thematic elements you love or hate? Will you be buying at Disney’s Riviera Resort, or sitting this one out? Any questions about Disney’s Riviera Resort? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts in the comments below!

6 Responses to “Riviera Resort Update – April 2019”
  1. Juan Fermin August 17, 2019
  2. Gerhard April 30, 2019
  3. Kevin April 29, 2019
  4. Bill April 29, 2019
  5. Steph April 29, 2019
  6. Cara Smalley April 28, 2019

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