Disney’s Riviera Resort will host its first guests on December 16th, 2019, but I attended an open house that granted me exclusive access to Disney’s newest Disney Vacation Club Resort. I got to check out the room models at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, and I was treated to some delicious food and beverages.

In addition, I attended a panel discussion including the art director, the sales director, and two chefs. The discussion was moderated by a Walt Disney World Ambassador followed up by a question and answer session.

Disney’s Riviera Resort is the first stand-alone Disney Resort Hotel since Disney’s Art of Animation Resort opened in 2012 and the first stand-alone Disney Vacation Club Resort since Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, which opened in 2004.

Let’s take a look at what I learned!

Location

Disney’s Riviera Resort is ideally situated between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This means that you will be able to see nighttime fireworks from both parks! Not only this, but you’ll also be able to see the beautifully colorful rooftops of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort of which the land of Riviera used to be a part.

See fireworks from both Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios from Disney's Riviera Resort! Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

See fireworks from both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios from Disney’s Riviera Resort! Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Tower Studios – and the resort’s signature “RR” logo – appropriately face the Italy Pavilion in World Showcase as an homage to the resort’s inspiration.

This scale model that shows the back of Disney's Riviera Resort where you'll find the pools and other recreation. Disney's Hollywood Studios is located to the south of this photo and Epcot is positioned to the northwest towards the top left corner of the photo.

This scale model that shows the back of Disney’s Riviera Resort where you’ll find the pools and other recreation. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is located to the south of this photo and Epcot is positioned to the northwest towards the top left corner of the photo.

Accommodations

This artist's rendering of the Riviera Resort's lobby shows bright, modern takes on the classic styling of the Mediterranean. Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This artist’s rendering of the Riviera Resort’s lobby shows bright, modern takes on the classic styling of the Mediterranean. Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Disney’s Riviera Resort brings us several different options of accommodations including a Tower Studio, which can sleep two adults plus an infant, Deluxe Studios, which can sleep four adults and a child comfortably, and One-Bedroom Villas, which also sleep five. Two-bedroom villas are available and are made by linking a one-bedroom villa with a deluxe studio.

There is so much living space in the one-bedroom villa! Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

There is so much living space in the one-bedroom villa! Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Here's a view of the kitchen from the dining area. Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Here’s a view of the kitchen from the dining area. Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This pull-down Murphy bed is located in the living spaces of both the one-bedroom villas and the deluxe studios. Look at the beautiful artwork behind the bed!

This pull-down Murphy bed is located in the living spaces of both the one-bedroom villas and the deluxe studios. Look at the beautiful artwork behind the bed!

Check out this amazing purple tufted headboard in the master suite of the one-bedroom villa!

Check out this amazing purple tufted headboard in the master suite of the one-bedroom villa!

Right next to the bed is a nice desk and chair.

Right next to the bed is a nice desk and chair.

There's no dining room in the deluxe studios, so this table and chairs is a great place to grab a snack or enjoy your morning coffee. Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

There’s no dining room in the deluxe studios, so this table and chairs is a great place to grab a snack or enjoy your morning coffee. Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Here's the kitchenette in the Deluxe Studio complete with a microwave, coffee pot, mini fridge, and sink.

Here’s the kitchenette in the Deluxe Studio complete with a microwave, coffee pot, mini fridge, and sink.

In the cabinets, you'll find a toaster, plates, cups, and other essential kitchen items.

In the cabinets, you’ll find a toaster, plates, cups, and other essential kitchen items.

The rooms are carefully designed to maximize your enjoyment and efficiency. For example, in the one-bedroom villas, the terrace can be accessed by way of the main living room and also via the master bedroom, so if the kids are sleeping, you can enjoy some R&R (get it?) on the patio!

The laundry is located in the front of the room adjacent to the door. This also minimizes the noise of doing laundry so you won’t be kept awake.

The laundry room is located just inside the door and away from the main living area.

The laundry room is located just inside the door and away from the main living area.

A large closet is conveniently located near the laundry.

A large closet is conveniently located near the laundry.

The bathrooms are exquisitely appointed with marble-tiled walls, granite countertops, and luxurious showerheads. One-bedroom villas also have a soaking tub in the master suite. Each area of the bathroom is separate, so if you’re traveling with friends who aren’t quite family, someone can be showering, for example, while another uses the sink and mirror.

The bathroom areas are separated by walls in the deluxe studio for added privacy.

The bathroom areas are separated by walls in the deluxe studio for added privacy.

The showers are large and luxurious.

The showers are large and luxurious.

Look at this double-shower located in the master suite of the one-bedroom villa!

Look at this double-shower located in the master suite of the one-bedroom villa!

This is the sink in the Deluxe Studio.

This is the sink in the Deluxe Studio.

The Deluxe Studio has an integrated shower and bathtub.

The Deluxe Studio has an integrated shower and bathtub.

This small sink is located next to the toilet in the one-bedroom villa.

This small sink is located next to the toilet in the one-bedroom villa.

This larger vanity sink is located just across from the tub in the one-bedroom villa master suite.

This larger vanity sink is located just across from the tub in the one-bedroom villa master suite.

Just look at this beautiful bathtub in the master suite of the one-bedroom villa!

Just look at this beautiful bathtub in the master suite of the one-bedroom villa!

One of my favorite bathroom details is that it is accessible via barn doors that are synchronized, so just effortlessly pull one side, and they both close.

Three-bedroom Grand Villas, which sleep up to 12 guests, are also available, though these were not part of the open house tour.

The Grand Villas are large and luxurious! Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Grand Villas are large and luxurious! Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Tower Studios are a new form of accommodation inspired by typical accommodations in the Mediterranean. There are two-dozen, one-room, pie-shaped studios that feature a queen-sized murphy bed that can be pulled down at night and stowed away during the day. The sofa doesn’t have to be taken apart to pull down the bed- just pull down and push back up! The couch goes with it! Tower Studios also feature a quaint writing nook, a kitchenette with a coffee pot and microwave, lots of storage, and a modern but classically-inspired bathroom.

The new Tower Studios are reminiscent of accommodations available in Europe. Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The new Tower Studios are reminiscent of accommodations available in Europe. Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Tower Studios save space by integrating the couch and the bed. Here's what it looks like at night! Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Tower Studios save space by integrating the couch and the bed. Here’s what it looks like at night! Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Riviera will offer approximately 300 family-friendly vacation homes.

Recreation

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite parts of any resort is the pool! Riviera Resort has two pools. The Riviera Pool is the feature pool, and guests can lounge by the pool in comfy chairs under colorful sun umbrellas. There is a fun, 30-feet (nearly two stories) tall, winding stone turret slide inspired by the stone tower relics that can still be seen on the Mediterranean coast. The pool is 105,000 gallons of pure bliss.

Check out this pool and the beautiful tower water slide! Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Check out this pool and the beautiful tower water slide! Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Also in the Riviera Pool area, there is an interactive water play area called S’ii Vous Play. This is a fun play on words; “S’ii Vous Plait” means “if you please” in French. The art director explained the area as being inspired by a public fountain that you can now jump right into and play! It has a Fantasia theme complete with an ostrich, a hippo, and an elephant all frolicking in the water.
Beau Soleil, translated as “lovely sun”, is the resort’s second pool. This leisure pool is surrounded by a natural, lush green wall to make the area semi-private. Pool hopping privileges for DVC guests staying at a different resort are yet to be determined.

Guests will also enjoy a bocce ball area, Athletique fitness center, and a flexible Community Hall off the main lobby where you’ll find both traditional and new experiences.

Atmosphere

Riviera Resort (stylized as RR), is inspired by Walt and Lillian’s travels around Europe and specifically the Italian and French riviera from the French Côte d’Azur to the Ligurian shores and by the 80+ stories that Walt brought home with him!

Some of these stories became movies, and you can hear the sounds of these beloved movies, including Ratatouille, Lady and the Tramp, Beauty and the Beast, and more throughout the resort. There will also be other music, but all of the music will be reflective of the region.

Disney’s Riviera Resort is “Inspired by Europe and Imagined by Disney”.

It’s all in the details

The “RR” atop the Tower Studios represents the bright, giant marquees that can still be seen at the hotels along the Mediterranean so guests can identify them from afar.

The accommodations are beautiful (there’s no denying that) but they’re also practical. There is storage everywhere, and the space is used very well. For example, when the murphy beds are pulled down, there are small shelves on either side. On the lowest-level shelves, you’ll find outlets with standard plug-ins and USB plug-ins. Every outlet in the room offers this modern amenity.

All of the outlets feature regular plug-ins but also USB connections!

All of the outlets feature regular plug-ins but also USB connections!

The spaces are also used very well! In the living room of the one-bedroom villa and the deluxe studio, the TV cabinet pulls down into a twin bed.

This bed pulls down from the tv cabinet in the living room of the one-bedroom villa. Don't you just love this black and white image of Mickey relaxing on the Riviera?

This bed pulls down from the tv cabinet in the living room of the one-bedroom villa. Don’t you just love this black and white image of Mickey relaxing on the Riviera?

Pasquale can be seen sleeping in the image behind the pull-down bed in the Deluxe Studio living room tv cabinet.

Pasquale can be seen sleeping in the image behind the pull-down bed in the Deluxe Studio living room tv cabinet.

In the Deluxe Studios, there is storage under the beds very similar to what is available in the Disney Cruise Line cabins. There is also storage in the dining room in the form of drawers under the bench seating.

The couch in the living space of both rooms also pulls down into a murphy bed. The best part is that you don’t have to move any of the couch cushions- just pull down, and the pillows fold down automatically. When you’re ready to get up, just pull up, and it’s a couch again!

Let’s take a look at some of the other details.

This shelf is positioned just inside the door of the one-bedroom villas and deluxe studios. The Sales Manager noted that it's a great place to put your MagicBands, wallets, or anything you need to take with you to the park the next day. There's even an outlet nearby to charge any devices you'll need.

This shelf is positioned just inside the door of the one-bedroom villas and deluxe studios. The Sales Manager noted that it’s a great place to put your MagicBands, wallets, or anything you need to take with you to the park the next day. There’s even an outlet nearby to charge any devices you’ll need.

This coat rack is located just behind the door in the one-bedroom villas and deluxe studios. Hang your coats, sweatshirts, purses, or umbrellas here!

This coat rack is located just behind the door in the one-bedroom villas and deluxe studios. Hang your coats, sweatshirts, purses, or umbrellas here!

The Artwork

Disney’s Riviera Resort is inspired by the French and Italian Riviera, and the artwork reflects this theme.

But it’s also wholly Disney.

Take, for example, the painting behind the couch in the Deluxe Studios. It looks like just another Italian village, but if you look closely, you’ll see Lightning McQueen cruising down the aqueduct and a grill of a car in the hillside. Yes, this painting is inspired by Cars 2 in which McQuen and Mater visit cities around the world including Italy.

This painting looks like just another Italian countryside, but can you spot Lightning McQueen?

This painting looks like just another Italian countryside, but can you spot Lightning McQueen?

There he is!

There he is!

Here's the grill in the rocky coast!

Here’s the grill in the rocky coast!

Speaking of hidden details, there are hidden Mickeys everywhere you look!

Here's a hidden Mickey in the hallway carpet!

Here’s a hidden Mickey in the hallway carpet!

Another hidden Mickey in the balcony railing.

Another hidden Mickey in the balcony railing.

Can you find the hidden Mickey in the headboard of the master bedroom in the one-bedroom villa?

Can you find the hidden Mickey in the headboard of the master bedroom in the one-bedroom villa?

Look closely at the design on the drapes. Can you see the RR design?

Look closely at the design on the drapes. Can you see the RR design?

Mickey is the main man – or should I say mouse – but we can’t forget his main squeeze – Minnie Mouse! She’s given more attention than ever in Disney’s Riviera Resort. You can find a hidden Minnies in the hallway carpet and photos of her on the walls of the one-bedroom villa above the murphy bed. You can tell the difference because of her signature bow!

Here's a hidden Minnie in the hallway carpet!

Here’s a hidden Minnie in the hallway carpet!

The artwork above the couch (which turns into a Murphy bed) in the living room of the one-bedroom villa includes a painting of some of your favorite Beauty and the Beast Characters as well as a couple sketches. Can you spot Minnie Mouse? Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The artwork above the couch (which turns into a Murphy bed) in the living room of the one-bedroom villa includes a painting of some of your favorite Beauty and the Beast Characters as well as a couple sketches. Can you spot Minnie Mouse? Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Disney says, “Throughout the resort and inside the accommodations, guests will experience a variety of art including Disney concept art with European settings, posters of Disney films as released in Europe, archival photography of Walt Disney’s travels throughout the region, and book titles Walt Disney gathered on his journeys.” They also note that there will be more than 40 signature art pieces that were created exclusively for this resort.

This painting is a nod to the Aristocats!

This painting is a nod to the Aristocats!

Here's Ratatoullie making an apple pie! This painting is in the dining area of the one-bedroom villa.

Here’s Ratatoullie making an apple pie! This painting is in the dining area of the one-bedroom villa.

Speaking of the dining table, the benches have Riviera designs in the upholstery!

Speaking of the dining table, the benches have Riviera designs in the upholstery!

Dining

Disney’s Riviera Resort has some incredible dining offerings! The discussion panel included two Chefs de Cuisine, both fresh off of the Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort renovation, which added Toledo – Tapas, Steak, & Seafood to the resort’s dining options.

I got to try some of the food that will be served at the resort, and let me tell you – it was absolutely delicious! Keep reading for photos of the food!

Topolino's Terrace is a roof-top signature dining experience at Riviera Resort! Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Topolino’s Terrace is a roof-top signature dining experience at Riviera Resort! Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera, the main table-service dining offering at the resort, gets its name from – you guessed it – Mickey Mouse! “Topolino” is the Italian name for Mickey, so it’s fitting that this would be Riviera’s premier signature dining experience. Topolino’s is located on the rooftop of Riviera and will offer incredible French and Italian cuisine, an onstage kitchen with a wood-burning grill, and incredible views of two parks. If you time it right, you just might be able to see the fireworks shows at both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The menu includes a variety of meats and seafood, artisanal pastas, fresh-pressed olive oil, and gourmet cheeses, plus a collection of wine from the South of France and Coastal Italy.

As far as the look of the restaurant the art director says that, while the resort will have classic inspirations, they have interpreted the classic into the modern for textures, colors, carvings, and stonework. Topolino’s is inspired by the cliffside restaurants of Europe. When prompted, the primary chef for this restaurant recommended the antipasto and handcrafted pastas and specifically the Pâté de Campagne, which was noted as the most complex dish on the menu.

In the morning, Topolino’s will offer a Storybook Dining Character Breakfast with a prix-fixe menu and visits from Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy in outfits inspired by the French and Italian Riviera. Advanced Dining Reservations are available starting January 19th, 2020 and are recommended.

The Quiche Gruyere with field greens and lemon vinaigrette was included in our tasting. It is delicious, and the creamy vinaigrette is a great addition!

The Quiche Gruyere with field greens and lemon vinaigrette was included in our tasting. It is delicious, and the creamy vinaigrette is a great addition!

Buratta with black winter truffle, olio d'oliva, and seed lavosh is offered at Topolino's Terrace.

Buratta with black winter truffle, olio d’oliva, and seed lavosh is offered at Topolino’s Terrace.

This Fruit Plate at Topolino's Terrace serves up seasonal fruits with honey yogurt and seed granola.

This Fruit Plate at Topolino’s Terrace serves up seasonal fruits with honey yogurt and seed granola.

This Pomegranate Dip Cooler, made from Odwalla Lemonade, pomegranate, and a mint sprig, is available at Topolino's Terrace. It is very tasty and tastes like a mint julep!

This Pomegranate Dip Cooler, made from Odwalla Lemonade, pomegranate, and a mint sprig, is available at Topolino’s Terrace. It is very tasty and tastes like a mint julep!

There are also several quick-service dining options.

The poolside bar at the Riviera Pool is called Bar Riva. Bar Riva is an open-air pool bar with a relaxed European Coast vibe. Guests will enjoy poolside service with food and drinks made-to-order. You can even find the very popular Monte Cristo Sandwich first made popular in Disneyland’s Blue Bayou. The difference is that the East Coast version uses strawberry jam instead of raspberry jam.

These Blueberry-lemon pancakes with marscapone cream are the best pancakes I've ever eaten in my life! Imagine eating these poolside from Bar Riva or on the Promenade at Primo Piatto. I can't wait!

These Blueberry-lemon pancakes with marscapone cream are the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten in my life! Imagine eating these poolside from Bar Riva or on the Promenade at Primo Piatto. I can’t wait!

Le Petit Café, a French patisserie, is named after a café in The Aristocats. You’ll find coffee and lattes during the day, and it transitions to a wine bar with sparkling beverages and desserts at night. Diners at Le Petit Café will enjoy views of the pool from the resort’s lobby. One of the chefs noted that, while Le Petit Cafe is a quick-service dining location, your meals will be served on real plates unlike other quick-service locations in Disney World!

Find these Lemon Madeleines at Le Petit Cafe.

Find these Lemon Madeleines at Le Petit Cafe.

Primo Piatto offers dining along the Riviera Promenade in a quick, casual setting. Primo Piatto will also have several grab and go items!

This Tuna Nicoise Salad with crisp greens and dijon vinaigrette is available at Primo Piatto and Bar Riva.

This Tuna Nicoise Salad with crisp greens and dijon vinaigrette is available at Primo Piatto and Bar Riva.

I also tried the Acai Yogurt & Berry Parfait with chocolate granola. The granola tastes almost candied and is a perfect topping! There are also strawberries and blueberries mixed in. This is available at both Primo Piatto and Bar Riva.

I also tried the Acai Yogurt & Berry Parfait with chocolate granola. The granola tastes almost candied and is a perfect topping! There are also strawberries and blueberries mixed in. This is available at both Primo Piatto and Bar Riva.

The Chefs de Cuisine say that they paid close attention to every detail including unique vessels inspired by the region including one paying homage to the pebble beaches. Disney is being very protective of some of these finer details. We were even told that some of our questions during the panel discussion couldn’t be answered because they wanted to keep some surprises for opening day!

Even if you aren’t staying at the resort, you should definitely book your Advanced Dining Reservations! You won’t regret it!

Getting There

Disney’s Riviera Resort will have full-service bus transportation including Disney’s Magical Express from and returning to the Orlando International Airport as well as the theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs.

The Riviera is also on the brand new Skyliner route. The Riviera stop is shared with Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort; there are also stops between Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot’s International Gateway. The Riviera station features a tunnel archway with sparkling water features. The Skyliner offers incredible, never-before-seen views from the sky with some really cool photo ops. The Skyliner cabins are wrapped with graphics of Disney films, attractions, and characters. While the Skyliner services many locations, it is inspired by similar European-style transportation.

Excited to try Disney’s Riviera Resort?