Riviera Resort Update – Summer 2019

We’re back with another look at Riviera Resort, the new Disney Vacation Club property being built adjacent to Caribbean Beach. I thought we did an update from here last month, but in perusing our Walt Disney World construction updates, that does not appear to be the case.

No matter, we pick up here with some new photos and commentary as we check out progress on the new Disney Vacation Club hotel being built on Barefoot Bay. Construction has come a long way on this side of the resort, with the scaffolding now almost entirely down.

Since our last construction update, Walt Disney World released new information about Topolino’s Terrace, the new Signature Restaurant that will offer a fine dining experience at dinner and character meal for breakfast. We did a stand-alone on the latter: Character Dining Reservations Open for Topolino’s Terrace at Disney World. We’d encourage you to read that if you’re considering character dining for your next Walt Disney World trip. This is sure to be a popular breakfast!

If you’re wondering what the interiors of the guest rooms will look like, we can help with that, as Walt Disney World already has rooms available to tour! Take a look at our Photo Tour of Disney’s Riviera Resort Rooms from our walk-through of the studio and 1-bedroom units. We thought the Riviera’s rooms look better in person than concept art, and walking them improved our overall opinion of Disney’s Riviera Resort.

With the resort set to open in December 2019, DVC interests have actually been on sale here for over 65 days. Per DVCNews, Riviera sold 187,336 DVC points by the end of May, which means Riviera Resort sold more points in its first 65 days than the Polynesian Villas (126,382 points) or Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge (64,999 points) did in their first 65 days. However, it’s behind the Villas at Grand Floridian, which sold a whopping 280,991 points in its first 65 days.

It’s debatable whether there’s any significance to those numbers as they all more or less equalized over time. I do think it’s interesting from the perspective that at the very least, Riviera is selling. I wondered if the resale restrictions might be too onerous or the design too dull, but I guess that answers my question. (It’s probably also helped that the Riviera has had some really attractive incentives. You can read all the details on our Disney’s Riviera Resort Pricing, Points Chart & Sales resource page.)

Moving on to the substance of the update, 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.

Here we’re on the other side of the Caribbean Beach pool area, essentially standing right in front of Sebastian’s Bistro and Banana Cabana.

In this dusk photo, notice that a lot of the guest room lights are on inside the Riviera. We’ve observed the same with Gran Destino over at Coronado Springs when the rooms are in the process of being furnished.

Now let’s zoom in on some details. Here we have a few things visible: the waterfront promenade, floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor seating for Topolino’s Terrace, plus the water slide tower for the S’il Vous Play kid’s pool.

As we’ve previously noted, there’s a weathered look to the S’il Vous Play pool; it looks different from the concept art and similar to Fuentes del Morro Pool at Caribbean Beach.

Another close-up view offers a look at progress being made on other sections of the resort. A lot of scaffolding is still up on the side and front of the resort, but that should all be gone pretty soon.

There are some tasteful Mickey Mouse heads on some of the balcony railings, and pops of color from the different awnings. It’d be nice if there was even more ornamentation and design details on the exterior, as this still looks like a bland tower to me. It needs more character and depth. Hopefully Disney gets feedback to this effect and does something different with Reflections Lakeside Lodge.

Here’s a look at the Riviera Skyliner station from Building 55 of Aruba at Caribbean Beach Resort. The path in the immediate foreground will connect to Caribbean Beach’s current walkway around Barefoot Bay.

Presumably, that same path will form a complete loop around Barefoot Bay, ushering in a new era of the Barefoot Bay Resort Area. (Watch out, Crescent Lake!)

Here’s a similar view, but from Building 56. As you can see, this is really far along.

You may not be able to tell, but lampposts have been installed and some of them are illuminated in the above photo. Here’s how it looks at night:

Several of the buildings in Aruba and Jamaica will be closer to the Riviera’s Skyliner station than the Caribbean Beach Skyliner station.

Of course, which one guests will (or should) use largely will depend upon whether they’re going to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You can read/see more in our Summer 2019 Disney Skyliner Gondola Update.

In semi-related news, all of the work at Caribbean Beach to reinforce the ground for Skyliner evacuation has been completed. We cover this in our newest Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Update.

Otherwise, that wraps up this update on Disney’s Riviera Resort. We’ll probably skip next month’s update and maybe even August if it doesn’t look like too much is happening. It’s currently 98º at Walt Disney World, and walking around for these photos is not exactly a ton of fun in the summer!

As I said above, the Riviera is starting to grow on me…a little. I think the exterior design and size of this resort (and its location) were poorly thought out with too much of an emphasis on cost and efficiency, but that ship has sailed. At this point, I can only hope Disney hears feedback to that effect, and that shapes future resort designs. Nonetheless, I’m really curious about the logistics and comfort level of the Tower Studio rooms, the amenities, and interior design Disney’s Riviera Resort will bring to the table. If Riviera Resort is going to cause visual blight at one of my favorite resort, I’d at least like to take some solace in knowing it’ll also bring some upgraded amenities and dining to the Barefoot Bay Resort Area! 😉

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!

11 Responses to “Riviera Resort Update – Summer 2019”
  1. Anne Thomas August 20, 2019
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