This month is Disney World’s big 50th Anniversary Celebration so I figured it was the perfect time to do a Disney deep dive from our week-long trip this summer! First up: a review of our seven-night stay at the Riviera Resort. I have stayed at many Disney Hotels and I’m just going to give a spoiler alert right now, this is my new favorite–hands down.
Before we begin, be sure to read my Disney Packing Essentials post to see everything from the suitcases that made our trip effortless, the Mickey fans that kept us cool and the gear we couldn’t have done the trip without. I had the privilege of going to Disney World year after year growing up but this was our first time taking our own babies and it was everything we dreamed. When going to Disney World, you have to know what your priority is. Many people know they’re only going to be sleeping in the hotel so they’d rather stay at an inexpensive hotel rather than splurge. If you know you’re going to be spending the mornings at the park and heading back for nap-time and pool time in the afternoon, the hotel might be a bit more important. For us, we have many food restrictions so having a full kitchen is a non-negotiable and we also have a one year old who would need at least one or two days of an in-room nap midday. We also knew we wanted easy transportation to the resorts so our hotel would have to tick a lot of boxes.
Disney Resorts are broken into Value, Value Plus, Moderate and Deluxe. The Riviera resort is a Deluxe hotel so the price is among the highest of any Disney World Resort, but the amenities coupled with the full kitchen sold us immediately and it was worth every penny for us. Get ready for a lengthy, in-depth review!
We decided a one bedroom villa would fit our needs best and it was honestly a dream. Part of me was a bit nervous it wouldn’t be spacious enough to only have one bedroom for five people but we truly could have fit three more people in that suite! The highlight of the room was two pull-out beds that come out of the wall-one from the gallery wall behind the couch and the other from the ‘dresser’ under the TV. It’s such an incredible use of space and the kids could not get enough of it-I’m so inspired by it for our future home!
The full kitchen was beyond perfect. I ordered groceries from Garden Grocer and Whole Foods weeks before our visit and scheduled the groceries to arrive right when we landed. The hotel holds on to grocery delivery in dedicated refrigerators so I highly recommend scheduling what you need ahead of time. I stocked our kitchen with staples like Essentia Water bottles (at least two packs of six to bring two frozen bottles to the part every day), Allergy friendly macaroni, bread for sandwiches to pack in the park bag, easy snacks, cereal, milk, immunity shots and so on. The ability to store groceries in a full refrigerator/freezer and pantry meant the world for us. Again-if this isn’t an essential for you and you plan on eating hotel, park food or takeout for every meal, you may not find this to be a necessity.
Having a full washer and dryer was also a dream. Part of going to Disney World is getting wet. We were caught in multiple rain storms and when we weren’t, we were drenched in funky sweat from long days of walking in the heat so throwing in a load every couple days was wonderful.
Another highlight of the room was the bedroom suite. We closed the door to have the baby nap in the room during the day and she slept in the family room next to the big kids at night. It was perfect. The bathroom was beyond luxurious and the European elegance coupled with more modern touches made me feel like I was living in a Pinterest board. The giant bathtub with self-cleaning jets made for epic bubble baths and I indulged in one every single night. O would tell you the rain shower was his favorite part after a long, sweaty day.
Location of the Room: Our room was on the seventh floor directly above the entrance of the hotel. The absolute best part of our room, was the fact that our room had a perfect view of the fireworks. By the end of the day, our kids were shattered and making it back to Magic Kingdom or Epcot for fireworks just wasn’t in the cards but every evening at 9pm, we’d watch with wonder from the balcony and I teared up every time. I was so bummed when the “preferred view” room jumped up an extra $1,000+ before booking causing us to decide to switch to a different room. Y’all. That was the best thing to ever happen to us! It saved us money and also, we didn’t have to listen to the loud sounds of the pool late at night because it was on the other side of the hotel. If you want to see the fireworks and want to have a quieter room, this is a hidden gem.
Hotel Dining: The hotel has a beautiful coffee shop with pastries and every coffee or tea you could imagine, a gift shop, a quick-service restaurant with delicious but easy foods with allergy friendly items like gluten and dairy free chicken nuggets and burgers, vegan sausage and waffles and everything in between. There is also a sit-down restaurant that requires a reservation which I ate at one time and had the best experience. It takes a LONG time for them to make allergy-safe foods so be prepared to wait, but the view from this restaurant is stunning and my salad and chicken was something I’m still dreaming about. We mostly brought back food from the parks, ate in our own kitchen or even ordered food from Disney Springs but it was really nice to have the option of delicious food in the hotel.
Transportation: The Riviera Resort is a Skyliner hotel which made things super easy. I loved the ease of just going downstairs and hopping on the Skyliner to get to other parks and resorts. The bus system is also fantastic and I love that the hotel was a stop away from Disney Springs which has absolutely everything you could need from food to entertainment.
Favorite Details: I absolutely love everything they offer for kids. There were tie-dye days, interactive games in the lobby, regular visits from Pluto and-my personal favorite- a Disney movie out on the lawn at 8pm every evening. It was so sweet to give everyone a bubble bath, put the baby down for bed and head down to the lawn with the big kids in pajamas to watch a movie on out by the water. It was so lovely. The pool is absolutely fantastic and the kids must have gone down the slide 100 times.
Europe is our favorite place on Earth and this hotel truly transported us. From the music to the food to the artwork and every detail in-between, it delivered in every way.
I have nothing negative to say about this hotel-not a single thing. I think every Disney fan has to stay here at least once and we already can’t wait to go back.