It was the most magical family vacation we’ve had in a long time, literally. From the beautiful Disney Riviera Resort to dining at the Beast’s Castle, our trip to Disney World was loaded with fun and adventure. Now we’re back home in New England far, far away from that magical place that stays warm all year round. My fairy mood is drifting away as I slowly transition to a dreary winter scene…
Did you catch any of my recent stories on Instagram? If not, you can still view some of them on my Disney highlights tab. As I was posting I started to receive messages from some of you asking about our hotel and about the parks during the pandemic. Naturally I couldn’t take the time to answer your questions while I was on the run so I decided to make this post with some of the info you requested. I have a lot of content to cover but will not address everything, just the basics. Today I’ll share a ‘brief’ recap of our stay at the resort and, (spoiler alert) it was absolutely magnificent!
About the resort…
Disney’s Riviera Resort is the newest Disney resort at Walt Disney World in Florida. The resort officially opened in December 2019 and was built between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is the first newly-constructed resort to be served by the Disney Skyliner gondola system. The resort is themed after Walt Disney’s trips and experiences in Europe, and a love of the French and Italian Riviera. A collection of his personal travel photos are incorporated into the resort’s decor. Popular Disney characters are also painted into the overall theme of the resort. The Riviera Resort allows guests quick access to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot via the skyliner. Bus transportation is offered to Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and other resorts.
But first a recap of our visits to Disney World…
This was our 4th trip to Disney World with our last visit back in 2010 when Glor was a wee baby girl, two and a half to be exact! During that visit we stayed at the fabulous Yacht Club and before then, for our previous visits we lodged at the beautiful Grand Floridian. It’s where we wanted to stay again but not surprising, pandemic or not, it was booked to the gills! Having already stayed in two amazing Disney resorts, adding The Riviera to our list was the next best thing.
Around Riviera Resort…
I took these shots from Topolino’s Terrace, the rooftop restaurant with amazing French/Italian fare. I loved the Parisian music throughout the resort which immediately transports you to Paris and reminds you of Ratatouille. Our room was on the 5th floor of the building with orange window awnings, and as you can see, the views are just beautiful.
Disney’s Riviera Resort is designed to capture the magic of Europe that Walt Disney fell in love with once upon a time. Upon arrival, you’ll be welcomed by a palm tree-lined boulevard and a striking façade of the Resort hotel. From the grand archways and porticos to the tower and terraces, Disney’s Riviera Resort is a modern masterpiece of imagination, with each detail drawing upon the influences of Europe and the Mediterranean.
The resort boasts two large pools, one with a side hot tub and the other with a fantastic tower and slide for the kiddos. Every night when we came back from the parks we had cocktails from Bar Riva and relaxed poolside. There is also a full gym available for guests which I didn’t even bother to look at, lol. You can also see part of the skyliner gondolas in the distance. These are adjacent to the resort for easy access to and from the parks.
The weather in Orlando during our October/November stay was 80℉+ during the day and slightly lower at night. Even with restrictions due to the pandemic, we received excellent service and our needs were always met with pleasure.
The Villa Difference
We truly felt at home in our 2-Bedroom Villa. The comforts and conveniences were absolute luxury! As a family group of 8, we had more than enough room and privacy for everyone. The top features of our villa included two fabulous bedrooms with lots of storage space. The master bedroom included a king sized bed while the other bedroom had two queen beds. Both rooms had easy access to the bathrooms. A sleek, fully equipped kitchen with stainless-steel appliances was adjacent to the breakfast nook. A large capacity washer and dryer for easy cleanup, especially after swims and two full bathrooms with a total of three showers, multiple access for privacy, and two additional beds, one queen and one twin hidden out of sight in the living room.
I wasn’t quick enough to take pictures of the 2nd bedroom before the kids unloaded all of their travel gear thus creating a mess but I did record this short video of the entire suite upon our arrival…
As you enter the suite you are immediately facing the kitchen and living areas. The master bath and bedroom are to the right and the 2nd bedroom and additional bathrooms are to the left.
The kitchen is fully equipped for use with lovely stainless steel appliances and abuts the kitchen nook for dining. The living room area is directly beyond and has two hidden pull down beds that sleep three. The gallery wall pulls down to reveal a queen size bed while the ‘drawers’ to the right under the TV opens up to reveal a hidden twin size bed. Convenient and creative! The coffee table and ottoman have removable tops for additional storage.
The master bedroom has two entrances; as you enter the suite to the right or directly across from the living room. The second door in the living area leads to the balcony while the master bedroom has its own slider to also access the balcony.
The master bath was sectioned into two rooms, one with a large vanity and jetted tub, the other has its own vanity and shower. I can not tell you have fabulous they were! We will be renovating our own master bath at home and I can not wait to incorporate this design into my own space!
Everything in the bathrooms were within hand’s reach. With plenty of fluffy towels about and a soothing rain shower we did not skimp on anything. The lighting and fixtures added the perfect touch of glam! The second bathroom mimics the same design with two additional showers, bath tub and vanity. To say we had plenty of space and privacy is an understatement!
The resort offered an array of delicious dining options. Bar Riva is an open-air pool bar where you can enjoy delectable and refreshing beverages. Topolino’s Terrace on the rooftop offers exquisite breakfast and dinner inspired by Europe’s cliffside restaurants. Le Petit Café radiated with charm and mouthwatering delicacies of an authentic Parisian café. And Primo Piatto offers quick bites and tasty meals and grab-and-go options.
Aside from the restaurants, bars, cafés and of course the beautiful pools, you can find many touches of European decor intertwined with Disney flare throughout the resort. The main lobby is appointed with a mix of modern and classic 20th-Century furnishings and you’ll also discover a unique art collection celebrating beloved Disney Characters and icons.
If you want to hang out and just enjoy the views you can definitely find plenty of lounge areas for families everywhere. Le Petit Café was my favorite spot for my morning lattes and pastries. There’s even a fantastic library chock full of Disney history for you to brush on.
To say we loved Disney’s Riviera Resort is an understatement. I am having serious withdrawals right about now. Our whole family felt pampered to the Ts and there wasn’t anything we needed that we didn’t have. We couldn’t have asked for more!
My one and only caveat is that we were mandated to wear masks in the parks and the resort as well. Although the state of Florida has been fully opened for weeks without any stipulations, Disney has chosen to maintain restrictions throughout. I personally don’t agree with the idea of having to wear masks all the time. To me it’s fear mongering and a form of control. There wasn’t a spot anywhere that didn’t have personnel on site ready to jump at you if you didn’t wear your mask properly. It was annoying, restrictive and intrusive!
On another brighter note, traveling to Florida in the fall season is by far, in my opinion, the best time of the year to do so. Our last visit took place in late March and it was similar temperature wise, but the fall season still has lots of beautiful greenery and foliage throughout. The heat index was much more tolerable (?) and we totally missed any potential for storms since those usually take place in early fall. My recommendation; Disney World in late fall is absolutely the best with much, much less crowds and Disney’s Riviera Resort is outstanding! 🏰