For some, a vacation is all about the destination. For others, it’s the journey. We’d argue that there’s one more crucial element that can make or break your whole trip: where you choose to rest your head. At Walt Disney World, a Disney resort can either envelope you in over-the-top theming (we’re looking at you, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort) or be a welcome reprieve from all the magic. We know it’s hard to imagine OD-ing on pixie dust, but it’s possible.
Disney’s Riviera Resort falls in the latter category. Smack dab in the heart of the Epcot and Hollywood Studios Resort Area, right next door to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, the Disney Riviera Resort also hosts one of the stops for the Disney Skyliner. As the newest of the Disney World resorts, we decided to stop by and see what it’s all about. Read on for everything you need to know about Disney’s Riviera Resort, and what we think you can expect from a stay there. (Updated July 31, 2023)
Staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort
Disney’s Riviera Resort, as we just mentioned, is located near both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and sits along the route for the Disney Skyliner. Along with neighboring the Caribbean Beach Resort, it’s also not too far from the Art of Animation Resort and Pop Century Resort. On top of that, the hotel is also conveniently situated near Disney Springs, making this a perfect option for folks who are looking to spend some time at the popular Walt Disney World entertainment district.
Not only is the Riviera Resort a Disney Vacation Club resort, but it is also a deluxe villa resort, meaning bigger rooms that are perfect for longer stays and larger families, with steep room rates to match (more on those in a bit). The vibe is also a bit different from what you might expect at other Disney hotels, namely because this is a DVC resort. In other words, it can feel a bit like you’re staying in a very nicely decorated Airbnb at times, which can be great if you like having the ability to cook your own meals.
While it’s true that a stay here can be costly, there are plenty of relaxing amenities to enjoy. Plus, when you add in perks like an ideal location within Walt Disney World, character dining, and a restaurant with a breathtaking view, we’d argue that it can be worth the price.
Every resort hotel at Walt Disney World has a theme, and the Riviera Resort is no exception. As the name suggests, Disney’s Riviera Resort is inspired by the Italian and French Riviera, a place Walt Disney and his wife Lillian fell in love with during their travels over the years. Unlike some of the other Walt Disney World resort hotels, the Riviera Resort offers subdued elegance with a sprinkle of pixie dust. Think, classic European-inspired architecture with a tasteful whisper of Disney: black and white photos of Walt and Lily on holiday in Italy, Disney and Pixar movie posters in French, a Disney art collection but in the style of Van Gogh and Degas, glittering mosaics of Tangled and Peter Pan, and jazzy renditions of Disney favorites.
If that’s enough to make you want to grab your beret, pack a suitcase full of effortlessly chic (re: French girl) DisneyBounding outfits, and book a villa at the Riviera, we couldn’t agree more. For us, the resort’s design is definitely one of the highlights. With its balance of understated European glamour and Disney magic, it’s the perfect palate cleanser after a long day at a Disney park. You know, if you’re into that sorta thing.
Riviera Resort Rooms
When it comes to choosing a Disney Resort hotel and a room, everyone wants something different. Some may want luxury, others may be looking for something more family-friendly, and still, others are happy as long as it has a bed and somewhere to take a hot shower. Disney’s Riviera Resort is a perfect blend of the first two: an upscale atmosphere filled with enough amenities to keep the kids happy.
With its big windows and art-gallery-white walls, one of the first things you’ll notice from the moment you step into the resort and up to the front desk is how airy it feels. And we’re happy to report that that blissful airiness carries over to the spacious villas as well. Dove gray walls and crisp, white linens keep the rooms feeling light while wood furnishings bring in more Mediterranean influences. Thankfully, the resort’s Disney-inspired art collection makes an appearance or two in the rooms too, with artsy takes on beloved Disney characters.
Those who mark the quality of a hotel by how beautiful the bathroom is will also not be disappointed. Shiny white marble and tile, coppery fixtures, wallpaper that looks like it came from a chic dress shop in Paris – these are just about the prettiest bathrooms you’ll find in all of Walt Disney World Resort.
The Riviera Resort is currently in the top 33% of all hotels in Orlando and has a 4.5 on TripAdvisor. In general, you’ll need to consider two things when deciding between a tower or deluxe studios and villas: how much space you’ll need and what you’d like to see when you look out the window.
Room options at Disney’s Riviera Resort can fit as few as two adults in a Tower Studio up to as many as 12 adults in the three-bedroom Grand Villas. You can also choose between either a standard view room (oh look, a parking lot) or a preferred view looking out at either the courtyard, pool, lake, landscaping, or Disney Skyliner. Here are the different stylish accommodations guests can choose from:
Looks out over parking lots or landscaping
Sleeps 2 – One queen-size pull-down bed
Comes with what Disney calls “flexible living space” and a private balcony (sounds like an authentic Parisian apartment – cozy)
Room is available with either a standard or preferred view
Sleeps 5 – One queen plus one queen-size pull-down and one single pull-down
Spacious with a kitchenette (including a small refrigerator and a microwave) and a balcony or porch
Available with either a standard or preferred view
Sleeps 5 – One king plus one queen-size pull-down and one single pull-down
Includes a full kitchen with a split bathroom and a pair of sink areas, a washer and dryer, and a porch or balcony
Available with either a standard or preferred view
Sleeps 9 – One king and two queen beds plus one queen-size pull-down and one single pull-down
Comes with a full kitchen, two bathrooms, a washer and dryer, and a balcony or porch
3-Bedroom Grand Villa
Looks out over the lake
Sleeps 12 – One king and four queens plus a queen-size pull-out sofa
Includes a full kitchen with an island, a dining area, three bathrooms, washer and dryer, and a porch or balcony
Aside from what’s listed above, each of the tower and deluxe studios and villas at the Riviera Resort also come with a TV, iron, ironing board, coffee maker, hairdryer, air-conditioning and free WiFi.
Disney Riviera Resort Prices
As we previously mentioned, the Riviera is a deluxe villa resort. Given that, these can be some of the more expensive rooms on Disney property. Disney Riviera Resort rates can vary quite a bit depending on a few factors such as your room’s size and view, as well as when you choose to stay. Busy travel periods like holidays and Walt Disney World Resort marathon weekends will send rates soaring. You’ll also want to keep in mind that, as this is a Disney Vacation Club resort, guests have the option to book their stay using DVC points instead. Not a Disney Vacation Club member? Not to worry! Even if you aren’t a DVC member, you can rent Disney Vacation Club points to use for room rentals. Learn more here!
Here’s what you can expect to pay for each room type, both tower and deluxe studios and more spacious villas, at the Riviera in 2023:
Tower Studio: $453 to $814
Standard View Deluxe Studio: $688 to $1,133
Preferred View Deluxe Studio: $749 to $1,250
Standard View 1-Bedroom Villa: $944 to $1,526
Preferred View 1-Bedroom Villa: $1,032 to $1,798
Standard View 2-Bedroom Villa: $1,548 to $2,446
Preferred View 2-Bedroom Villa: $1,692 to $2,807
3-Bedroom Grand Villa: $3,102 to $5,165
Riviera Resort Amenities
Compared to some of Disney’s other deluxe resorts, the Riviera is a bit slim on the amenities. However, what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for with quality, especially when it comes to dining options. So, without any further ado, here’s everything guests can expect when staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort.
Delectable Dining at Disney’s Riviera Resort
Just like any other deluxe resort, Disney’s Riviera Resort has a decent selection of restaurants including both quick-service and signature restaurants, a lounge, and a pool bar. French- and Italian-inspired ingredients and flavors can be found at each of the four dining outlets, but they are especially on display at Topolino’s – Flavors of the Riviera.
So, whether you’re eating a tuna niçoise salad while watching the kids play in the pool, sipping on an Aperol Spritz, or indulging in escargot and an expertly cooked filet mignon at Topolino’s, you’re sure to feel as if you’ve been transported to the coasts of France and Italy.
Bar Riva is the Riviera Resort’s pool bar and is located right next to the Riviera Pool. This isn’t what we’d consider your typical pool bar, however. That is unless it was a pool bar somewhere along the Amalfi Coast or in Nice. With its cobalt blue tiles, a colorful mural of a seaside town that spans an entire wall, crisp white walls and an open-air setting, Bar Riva is Instagrammable, to say the least.
As with any pool bar, the drinks should be the focus, and that is definitely the case at Bar Riva as guests have an extensive drink menu to choose from. The highlights, however, are a French- and Italian-heavy wine list, red and white sangrias, and a gondola-load (see what we did there?) of Riviera-inspired cocktails. While the drinks are the star here, the food is also nothing to sniff at, with European favorites like baked brie, tuna niçoise salad, and tiramisu on the menu.
Le Petit Café
Nothing says Paris like a little patisserie serving pastries and coffee. So, it’s only natural that Disney’s Riviera would have one too. Le Petit Café, and the attached Voyageur Lounge, is the perfect place to relax and charge your phone while you grab something light to eat.
As at Bar Riva, drinks are the focus here, so be sure to snag something from the lengthy drink menu. You can even try out beer from Italy or a French hard cider. So, stop in for a glass of wine over some olives and charcuterie or perhaps something sweet to go with your Espresso Viennese. Then, pop over to the Voyageur Lounge to enjoy your selection in moody, brooding darkness, just like an artist in old Paris.
While you’re visiting, be sure to check out the location’s design. As you might remember, the café in The Aristocats is also called Le Petit Cafe. But that isn’t the movie’s only appearance. You can also glimpse a nod to its namesake in a painting reminiscent of Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night, with the playful addition of the three geese from the film.
Located next door to Bar Riva, Primo Piatto is the Riviera Resort’s quick-service restaurant. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served here, making it a convenient choice for any time of day.
In general, menu options here are definitely what you’d consider American, but you can also get some French- and Italian-inspired dishes throughout the day like scrambled eggs over mascarpone polenta, Croque Madame, Croque Monsieur, a spicy Italian sandwich, gelato, and, once again, the tuna niçoise salad and tiramisu.
As with the resort’s other dining outlets, Primo Piatto offers a decently sized drink menu. However, don’t expect cocktails inspired by the European Riviera, Italian beer, or French wine here, as most options are no different from what you can expect at restaurants throughout the U.S. Of course, if you’d prefer something non-alcoholic, there is also an extensive list of to choose from, including a selection of specialty coffees.
Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera
If you ever need to remember where to find Topolino’s Terrace, just remember its name, then head to the very top floor of the Riviera. That’s right, folks. Topolino’s Terrace–Flavors of the Riviera is, quite literally, the crowning glory of Disney’s Riviera Resort, and it has a bird’s-eye view to match. Aside from California Grill, if you’re looking for a Disney restaurant to take in some sweeping views of Walt Disney World, this is the place to be. We stopped by to check it out and wow, let’s just say we were impressed. In fact, we might just go out on a limb and say that this is one of the best dining options in the entire Walt Disney World resort.
French and Italian flavors are the focus here, and from the moment you walk through the doors, you’re greeted right away by a display of some super-tasty-looking pasta. Which we always think is a good way to start. Bring on the carbs! Quality ingredients are a highlight throughout the menu, with tomahawk veal chop, braised lamb shank, sole meunière, or salmon mi-cuit all on offer.
A topolino is a baby mouse in Italian, so, it makes sense that Topolino’s also hosts a character breakfast starring four beloved Disney characters—Mickey Mouse himself along with Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck—all dressed up in artsy outfits. At Breakfast à la Art with Mickey Mouse & Friends, guests can choose from a selection of breakfast entrees, and will also receive a basket of pastries for the table.
Disney Riviera Resort Pools
No vacation to the European Riviera is complete without a trip to the beach, and while Disney’s Riviera Resort doesn’t have any of those, it does have a couple of pools for guests to cool off in.
At the family-friendly Riviera Pool, your kiddos can slide down a wraparound waterslide while you relax under one of the umbrellas dotted around the pool. Your little ones will enjoy the nearby S’il Vous Play water playground, with water features inspired by Europe’s grand fountains. And of course, if you’d rather swim somewhere a bit more serene, the Beau Soleil Pool is just the spot.
Disney’s Riviera Resort has one shop, La Boutique, where you can grab souvenirs or simply something that you forgot to bring from home. Located not far from the hotel’s front desk, La Boutique has a wide array of Disney merchandise (including some inspired by the Riviera) sundries and snacks.
Other Recreation at Disney’s Riviera Resort
Unlike some other Disney resorts like the Animal Kingdom Lodge or Fort Wilderness, Disney’s Riviera doesn’t have too many recreational offerings aside from the pool. What they do have, however, is sure to help the whole family unwind.
At the Riviera Resort, the focus truly is on whisking guests back to a simpler time along the Mediterranean coastline. So, a centerpiece of the resort’s courtyard is an activity lawn devoted to European-inspired lawn games. The chess lawn, bocce ball court, and activity lawn are all available for guests to use and are sure to bring some wholesome fun to your Disney vacations. Kids can also enjoy regular Movies Under the Stars, while the adults get in a workout at Athlétique Fitness Center or along the resort’s jogging path.
Riviera Resort FAQS
Any questions about Disney’s Riviera Resort that we still haven’t answered? Keep reading below for the answers to some commonly asked questions.
Can anyone stay at Disney’s Riviera Resort?
Yes! Anyone is able to stay at a DVC resort like the Riviera as long as rooms are available.
Can you walk from Disney’s Riviera Resort to Epcot?
No, unfortunately, there are no walking paths connecting Disney’s Riviera to Epcot. But no worries, there’s no need to walk when you can just hop on the Disney Skyliner, which has a station directly at the resort.
Can you walk from the Riviera Resort to Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
Nope, as with Epcot, no walking paths are available between the Riviera or Hollywood Studios. However, it is just a short car, bus, or Skyliner ride away.
Can you see fireworks from Disney’s Riviera Resort?
Yup! In fact, when it comes to resorts with views of Disney fireworks, the Riviera has hit the jackpot. You are actually able to see the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios all from Toponlino’s Terrace. We imagine the restaurant is a hot ticket when the fireworks are happening, so if you do plan to dine there, be sure to plan ahead.
Which popular attractions are close to the Riviera?
Disney’s Riviera Resort is part of the Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios resort areas, so these theme parks are only a short ride on Disney Skyliner. Other nearby attractions include Disney’s BoardWalk, Disney Springs, Typhoon Lagoon, and Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf. Sadly, theme parks like Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are further away, requiring Disney bus transportation or a drive.
For those who enjoy resort hopping, other hotels in the Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot Resort Area are also close by. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is within walking distance, while the Art of Animation Resort, Pop Century Resort, BoardWalk Inn and Yacht & Beach Club Resorts can be easily reached by the Disney Skyliner. Of course, if you decide to drive (both self-parking and valet parking are available), all of Walt Disney World Resort is just a short drive away.
Well, that wraps up our review of Disney’s Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World. There are many things that make this a worthwhile stay, from its relaxed-yet-refined atmosphere to a jaw-dropping view (and meal) at Topolino’s. Disney’s newest resort is sure to please those who are looking for just a little bit of elegance to go with their Disney vacation while also looking for the conveniences of home.
If you do decide to stay, make the most of your trip to Epcot and Hollywood Studios with our one-day plans. They’ll help make sure you cross everything off your Disney to-do list and still have time to explore the parks at your leisure. And if you’re looking to save a bit of cash along with all that time, you won’t want to miss our discounted Walt Disney World tickets. Also, be sure to take a look at the rest of our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews in case you’re interested in a different resort hotel!
Have you stayed at Disney’s Riviera or dined at the character breakfast at Topolino’s? If so, let us know! We’d love to hear about your favorite rooms and any tips or tricks we might have missed.