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In Episode 072 Chad and 3 DRR owners are coming together to provide a resort review of Disney's Riviera Resort. If you're considering buying into Riviera, this is the episode series you're looking for. In the first half, our experienced members and owners discuss room locations and requests, pools, restaurants, and recreation. This is the fifth episode in a 7 episode series on the Riviera Resort.
Meet Our Riveria Review Panel
- Amy Urquhart – Owner at DRR
- Joe Wolfers – Owner at DRR
- Caleb Allison – Owner at CCV and DRR
- Chad Pennycuff – Host
Tell Us About Your Stay at Disney's Riviera Resort!
Amy stayed at Riviera from January 5th to 12th in a Standard View Deluxe Studio. She traveled with her husband, Graham, and their 10-year-old son, Nate. Her family found the room to be very spacious, and they had a great view of the Epcot and Magic Kingdom fireworks from their balcony!
Joe stayed at Riviera from December 16th to 18th (opening night) in a Prefered View Deluxe Studio (Room 8555). Joe traveled with his wife, Courtney, and their three children. The family requested and were assigned a high floor room, facing the Disney Skyliner. They had a great view of the Skyliner, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios from their balcony!
Caleb stayed at Riviera from in a Standard View Deluxe Studio (Room 8327). His travel party pushed the maximum occupancy, as he traveled with his wife, Breauna, their six-year-old daughter, Hope, their 15-month-old son, Monroe, and his mother-in-law, Pam. They had a great view of the New Year's Eve fireworks at Epcot and Magic Kingdom, from the comfort of their Murphy bed!
Chad stayed at Riviera from in a Prefered View One-Bedroom Villa, just next to the laundry facilities on the fourth floor. He traveled with his wife, Laura, fourteen-yer old daughter, Reagan, eight-year-old daughter Brynn, and six-year-old son Lincoln. Chad rented out some of his Polynesian points to book a cash room at Riviera, using the 35% discount offered to DVC members. He had initially requested a room on a higher floor but took a room that was available upon his arrival at 1:00 pm so he could do a live room tour in the My DVC Points Community Facebook group during the day. The view from his balcony was of the S'il Vous Play pool area and Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort.
Based on Amy and Caleb's experiences in the Standard View Deluxe Studios, and guest feedback, it is possible that Disney will reclassify the rooms in the future. It seems that the Standard View rooms actually have better views of the surrounding parks and fireworks than the Prefered View rooms!
Disney's Riviera Resort Room Inventory
|Dedicated Units||Dedicated Units||Lock-Off Units||Lock-Off Units|
Impressions of the Lobby of Disney's Riviera Resort
- Amy describes the resort's lobby as a lovely space and says, “When the resort calms down from the tours and the press, it will be a really nice spot to sit and rest and relax.”
- Joe and his family checked into Riviera just after the opening day media event had occurred, so the lobby was very crowded! He made it a point to explore the space that night when the crowds had died down, and he found it to be quaint, simple, and very close to what the concept art had promised. He also preferred the new check-in procedure, with Cast Members sitting down with guests and checking in on iPads, as opposed to walking up to a big counter.
- Caleb was reminded of his travels through Europe when he entered the lobby for the first time. He says, “It reminded me of the lobbies I would see in Europe, with their low ceilings and marble. They're grandiose in a quaint way.” He did find the lobby a bit difficult to navigate with large strollers, as the pillars and furniture by Bell Services can become quite the obstacles when the lobby is busy.
- Chad found himself missing the feeling of a larger lobby, pointing out that Bay Lake Tower has a two-story lobby and a lobby of that scale is planned for Reflections. He was also surprised to see Airline Check-In on the first floor, and the gift shop did not offer the usual variety of food for a DVC resort. Chad was smitten by the scent of the lobby, about which he says, “That scent just hits you when you enter that little vestibule area. It's awesome and noteworthy.” According to a Cast Member in the gift shop, this scent is called Coastal Marine, and Amy says the Resort Signature scent from Bowes in the Marketplace Co-Op mimics it.
Dining at Disney's Riviera Resort
- Amy's family ordered a flatbread pizza, burger, and vegetarian kebob, and found them to be good. She says they used Mobile Order frequently at this location, as it was always quite busy. She thinks they may tweak the menu to appeal to a more “traditional American palate.”
- Joe and his wife had lunch at this location, ordering an Italian sandwich and a burger. He says the food is “solid, but nothing fantastic.”
- Caleb's family enjoyed their breakfast here, ordering sausage and eggs for his daughter and the Croque Madame breakfast sandwich. He refers to the dining location as “top-notch” and one of the best Quick Service locations on WDW property.
- Chad refers to the dining location's signature Parmesan fries as “life-changing” and says he ate them European-style, no ketchup! He says the flatbread was “your standard flatbread.”
Chad enjoyed a few hours at this lounge with his friend and travel companion, Pat. They ordered several different food and beverage items, including the Portobello Mushroom Burger, Parmesan fries, Grilled Chicken Wings, and Monte Cristo. Chad says the Monte Cristo is nearly identical to Disneyland's famous sandwich! At the beginning of their meal, they mentioned to the bartender that Pat had a dairy allergy, so he brought out a side of fries with no Parmesan without them even asking. According to Chad, this lounge's food is “spot-on!”
Ice Cream Cart
Caleb and his wife ordered gelato from this poolside dining location. He says the strawberry and lemon gelato were both delicious, but even better together. The Pennycuff family shared numerous servings. We thought the gelato was good but nothing extraordinary.
- Amy's family enjoyed the character breakfast at Topolino's and found the food to be excellent and the service even better! She says it serves the best coffee she's ever had at Walt Disney World, all of their entrees were very tasty, and the view is amazing.
- Joe and his wife enjoyed dinner at Topolino's on its opening night, and he says it was outstanding! He found the menu to be authentic Italian and French cuisine, not the Americanized versions to which we are accustomed. He recommends a reservation around 8:45 pm, as this will put you at the perfect time to see all the surrounding fireworks shows.
- Caleb's family enjoyed the character breakfast at Topolino's, and he says his steak was one of the best he's had at Walt Disney World. His daughter loved that the waffles were Minnie Waffles and were served with an artist's palette of syrups and dips.
- Chad's family enjoyed the character breakfast at Topolino's, and it is now their new favorite character breakfast! He found the ham croissant to be on caliber with the best Jewish delis in Detroit and says his family loved their meals as well. He predicts it will be the new hard-to-get Advanced Dining Reservation, rivaling Be Our Guest and ‘Ohana.
- Joe noted that activity in the kitchen and among the wait staff seemed to halt during the fireworks. His observation was confirmed by a waiter who told him that since guests are enjoying those shows, they can take a bit of a pause. Access to the balcony may also be open to those without reservations, as long as those with reservations are not “crowded out” from the balcony. Amy shares that she witnessed guests trying to access the floor between breakfast and dinner and found the button to be deactivated, leading her to believe that the balcony is not open when the restaurant is not operating.
Pools at Disney's Riviera Resort
- This is the resort's feature pool, complete with waterslide and home to fun poolside activities like “Name That Tune” and trivia.
- Amy's son enjoyed swimming in the pool, but she found the day to be a bit too cold! She likes that the pool area features ample comfortable seating.
- Caleb was initially surprised at how shallow the pool was (3.5 feet deep in most parts). He enjoyed the water slide but felt that it slowed down so much at one point he thought he would get stuck!
- Chad ranks the pool's water slide among the best at DVC resorts! He likes that it's fast and not your standard fiberglass slide with all the bumps.
S'il Vous Play
- This is a children's splash zone, adjacent to the Riviera Pool.
- Joe's daughter and her friend really enjoyed this area, and he reflects that it's nice to have a spot for kids to play, and parents don't have to worry about them because the water is so shallow.
- Chad's son, Lincoln, loved this splash zone! He ranks it as the best splash zone at DVC resorts!
- Caleb's family enjoyed the area on a warmer day (about 70 degrees) but appreciated that the water is heated so that families can enjoy it year-round. He thinks the area is beautiful at night when it's all lit up, and he believes it will become a popular picture spot.
Beau Soliel Pool
- This is the resort's leisure (quiet) pool.
- Caleb was surprised at how close the quiet pool was to the feature pool and children's splash zone. He remarks that this proximity may make the quiet pool “not too quiet.”
- Chad visited the pool at night, around 8:00 pm, and found it to be very peaceful and quiet. He believes once the hedges planted around the pool mature and grow, the noise from the Riviera Pool and S'il Vous Play will be less noticeable.
- Amy was surprised that this pool was not adults-only, as was rumored, but feels it appeals to older guests looking for relaxation.
- Chad loved the loveseat-sized lounges along the beach! He felt they were in keeping with the theme of the French Riviera, and he feels that Disney has addressed the issue of providing ample seating around the pool and water areas.
- Amy found the lounges to be quite comfortable and reflects they were easier to get in than out! She thinks this would be a great spot for parents to relax with a glass of wine while kids play in the sand.
Recreation at Disney's Riviera Resort
- The Recreation Cast Members at Riviera have added a new twist to activities at the resort: engaging the entire family! Instead of a Community Hall that parents can leave the kids at, the activities at Riviera were created to appeal to all age groups, so the whole family gets in on the fun.
- Recreation Activities include:
- Foot Snooker – Life-sized billiards game, played by kicking a ball.
- Opening Regatta – Racing RC boats in the Riviera Pool.
- Yoga – Monday, and Friday at 8:30 am
- Skyliner Rally Scavenger Hunt
- Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – 11:30 am
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday – 3:30 pm
- Topolino Trot Fun Run – Sunday at 7:30 am
- Painting on the Riviera at 3:00 pm
- Movies Under the Stars at 7:00 pm
- Lawn Games – Bocce, Jenga, Lawn Bowling, Connect Four, Giant Chess, Cornhole
- Click here for the full Disney's Riviera Resort Recreation Guide!
Amy's son and husband had fun with a few of the recreation activities. They played Foot Snooker and games on the lawn, such as Jenga, Bocce, Chess, and Connect Four. Her son also enjoyed the Opening Regatta, which allows kids to race RC boats in the pool!
Chad watched Foot Snooker while eating breakfast, but didn't make it down to the lawn in time to join in. He notes that the Bocce court has already taken a bit of a beating, due to the impact of the balls, and thinks a rubber bumper would keep the concrete intact.
Unfortunately for Joe, his family was not able to enjoy a lot of the recreational activities, as their stay was during the opening day media event. A stage for the event occupied much of the lawn, and not all of the games were available.
Chad encourages everyone to head out to the resort's nightly campfire. According to Becca (Cast Member), the resort is serving up a unique, European twist on s'mores – Nutella and scones!
Stay tuned for the second half of our review show to drop in Episode 073!
Today's episode was produced and edited by Chad Pennycuff. Show notes by Samantha Kurtz-Seif. Facebook admins and moderators of the My DVC Points Community Group: Andrew Darden, Valerie Fairnington, and Donna Bickert.
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