Riviera Opening Soon – Is it on your DVC radar?

By Jason Swain / December 13, 2019

Excitement is in the air as Disney World prepares for the opening of its newest deluxe property, Disney’s Riviera Resort!

December 16, 2019, will mark the day that this Vacation Club property opens its doors to occupants, sharing Disney’s vision of European inspired ambiance, tastes and sights.  I don’t know about you, but I am very excited for this resort.  Is Riviera on your radar? 

While there are many pros that this resort can boast, I don’t want to talk about pools and activities because these items are expected and are certainly not exclusive to Riviera.  It is also important to note that all pros and cons are currently based upon speculation.

The Pros

  1. Newness of the property.  New is always exciting and filled with possibility!
  2. Grounds will be beautifully manicured, enveloping, and will hopefully play an active role in creating the European experience.  
  3. The potential of the food offerings both at Topolino’s Terrace and Primo Piatto are worthy of anticipation.  
  4. Location and Disney Skyliner transportation access.  The resort is nicely located with beautiful water views, nighttime firework perspectives, and a geographical closeness to the expanding Hollywood Studios area, as well as to Disney Springs.
  5. Murphy beds.  If you are like me, traveling with my wife and son means that when we stay in a Deluxe Studio, Dad gets the pullout sofa-bed, and this is rarely comfortable.  Having the space-saving, easy to access, full-sized mattress of a Murphy bed is a welcome addition to the allure of this resort.  
  6. Novel accommodation offerings.  While the Tower Studios are not of interest to me, they certainly add some variety to travel options for those who travel alone or with only one other party member.  Further, as our family’s travel needs change with time, it certainly may become a point of interest to us.

 The Cons

  1. Newness of the property.  New may be exciting, but it also breeds uncertainty.  Once there, will one wish to have chosen a different property?  This will only be known after guests begin to stay and discuss their experiences.
  2. A look at Topolino’s proposed menu has me wondering if the majority of options may be beyond the typical palette; you will not find any chicken parmigiana or spaghetti bolognaise on this menu.  Further, with the absence of some stalwart, commonly enjoyed dishes, the re-visit value may simply mean one less dining option per stay in a location that already has little in the way of conveniently located sit-down options.
  3. Location will strongly rely upon the success, reliability and speed of the Skyliner mode of transportation.  Despite being part of the group of resorts known as the Epcot Area Resorts, Riviera lacks the immediate proximity that is enjoyed by other resorts such as Beach Club and Boardwalk.  
  4. Depth of dining options may be less than desirable.  At many resorts, there are at least a handful of directly accessible, sit-down dining options.  Riviera may only conveniently offer Topolino’s and nearby Sebastian’s Bistro.   
  5. No sign of a Community Hall as of yet.  I know that this is an important point for our family.  There is not a single trip that doesn’t have us spending time in the community hall, whether it be to colour, play games, or just relax.  

When pondering whether to purchase a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) stake in Riviera, another con may be costs.  At $188 per point and with an annual dues rate of $8.31 per point, Riviera is among the more expensive DVC options.  Of course, another consideration to some is the fact that Disney has essentially reduced the resale value of the resort by blocking resale owners of Riviera from using their points at any other resort on property except Riviera.  Does this mean that Riviera contracts may arrive to the resale market at a significant value?  

As with all things Disney, change is something that occurs based on plans, expansions, customer feedback, and efforts to always optimize returns on investments.  Consequently, the Riviera we become acquainted with in the months to come may not be the Riviera we come to love or hate in years to come.  One thing this DVC property offers is a very long duration and lots can be improved upon or changed in the next 50-years of its contracted lifespan.

I look forward to preparing a follow-up article to this piece just as soon as I return from my opening week stay at Disney’s Riviera Resort.  

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Posted By:

Jason Swain