Is it ever too early for pancakes and live music?
We had arrived bright and early at the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Preview Center at the Saratoga Springs Resort at Walt Disney World, eager to get a sneak peek of the new Riviera Resort.
Our photographer, Courtney Reynolds, and I were all set for a morning of firsts: A first look at the rooms, a first taste of the food, and even a first interview with the people that made it all come together for Disney’s latest resort.
The Disney Vacation Club Preview Center is open to anyone who is interested in DVC ownership. Here, you can preview several different types of villas, including the Riviera Resort rooms. After chilling in the waiting room and mingling with our fellow media friends, our group was ready to tour the rooms with our charming host and DVC Advance Sales Manager, Anthony Lach.
On the way, we stopped for a look at this model of the resort. I love me a good model (always reminds me of Walt pointing at a model of EPCOT), and this one was very helpful in helping me to envision where the Skyliner hub would be located, how the building was situated, and of course, where the pools are.
Touring the Villas
Anthony brought us into the model villas where we were able to check out a 1-bedroom and studio. When the lock-off door is open between these rooms, they create a lock-off 2-bedroom villa. To take the tour with us, check out our Facebook video.
The 1-bedroom starts with a hallway bordered in antique-style mirrors and opens up to the kitchen and living room area ahead. The modern kitchen is appointed with a full refrigerator, stovetop, oven, sink, and dishwasher. In the corner, a painting of Remy is situated above the family-sized dining table and benches.
This room is all about the details. On those benches, elaborate stitching depicts Riviera scenery. Above the couch in the living room, several works of art, including a cubist-style Beauty and the Beast print, add artistic flair to the room.
And it’s not all just for show. The turn-of-the-century flair of the couch is backed up by a new innovation: a murphy bed that folds out completely from the wall to transform this space into a bed. No need to pull out a heavy bed and unfold it. Just move the two decorative couch pillows aside and the bed folds right down.
Right across from the couch, a nondescript dresser is located just under the large flatscreen TV. When it’s time for bed, this too folds down to create yet another sleeping space that’s easy to tuck away during the day. In the 1-bedroom, this had an old-timey Mickey design across the back.
You’ll need to take in the view to reveal my favorite detail of this room. Out on the balcony, there’s not only a hidden Mickey in the ironwork, but for the first time ever, a hidden Minnie, complete with a bow. This pattern can also be found in the hallway carpets at Riviera Resort.
Luxe Bedroom and Bath
The master bedroom had a comfy king-sized bed (with a hidden Mickey on there!) and beautiful turn-of-the-century decor details. But I really can’t wait to tell you about the upscale bathroom.
The bath is split, offering plenty of room for sharing. In one room, a huge clawfoot tub surrounded by marble and tile presents a grand silhouette across from a large vanity mirror and sink. This walk-through area leads to the other part of the bathroom, where another sink sits aside a marble shower with a bench, surrounded by pristine glass doors.
Riviera Resort Studio Room
The studio villa was smaller, but not more modestly appointed. It featured a split bath with two showers… yes, dueling showers that you can even see across the bathroom if you’ve got the door open. Hey, it’s your vacation.
The studio has a kitchenette with mini-fridge and microwave. There is a queen bed and the couch and dresser also fold out into beds just like in the 1-bedroom. This is great news for families of five that want more studio room options.
We didn’t get to preview the infamous Tower Studio Villas, the 24 rooms reserved for the tower that will bear the large “RR” at the front of the resort. These villas will be created with couples in mind, so don’t expect a lot of space dedicated to surprise bedding.
Sampling the Sounds and Flavors of Riviera Resort
After the room tour concluded, we headed back to the front of the Disney Vacation Club Preview Center to take a seat in the presentation room.
Here, Nik and Reema soothed us with Italian, French, and Disney classic songs as small versions of Riviera Resort dishes were passed out among the hungry media group.
We had the chance to try the Blueberry-Lemon Pancakes from Bar Riva and the Quiche Gruyére with field greens and lemon vinaigrette from Topolino’s Terrace.
As a reminder, we were invited by Disney to come try the fare, but all opinions are my own. And my opinion is that I’ll be headed to Bar Riva and Topolino’s Terrace to eat these very same dishes again.
Sure, I was famished by this hour, but as a connoisseur of both quiche and pancakes, I can tell you that these were topping my lifelong list of favorites. The quiche was cheesy without being either too bland or too salty (a challenge for most quiche) and the pancakes reached a level of fluffy that most breakfast foods only dream of.
As we sampled, Nik and Riva played favorites like “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “Bella Note” from Lady and the Tramp. Everyone was so busy snapping pics and posting live stories and videos, that Chris Spokemayne actually noted at one point that Nik and Reeva were playing to an audience of people looking at their phones. It was true, but hey, that’s how a media event looks! We were all enjoying the atmosphere, but hard at work.
Storytelling and Inspiration for Riviera Resort
After having a chance to settle in and try the foods of Riviera Resort, an expert panel was brought out to talk a bit about their inspiration and work. Here are just a few quotes to give you an idea about the passion that went into this new resort:
Missy Renard, Art Director for Riviera Resort: “Just like the rest of the resort, we’re peppering in the idea of different kinds of musical styles from the region, but from a historic and current standpoint, and we’ll have some nods to some of our Disney favorites.”
Anthony Lach, DVC Advance Sales Manager: “Our vacation club members love Walt so much, and I think they’ve done such a beautiful job of telling his story and how he loved to travel with Lillian.”
Chef James, Chef Concept Development Team: “We took that inspiration that he [Walt Disney] brought back, he brought back over 80 books with him and those books have inspired stories we’ve known for years now. Taking that and thinking about how it ties into that area, that food, that region, that was a lot of fun.”
Chef Michael, Chef Concept Development Team: “Here the fireworks view, the separation, you’re just in your own little quaint space, and the food will really speak to something we haven’t really touched on in any of our other concepts at Disney.”
Riviera Resort officially opens on December 16th, 2019, and reservations are currently open! DVC sales are also currently open, so if you’re interested in making Riviera your home resort, or just checking out the rooms, contact your DVC rep (or find them in the parks and Disney Springs) to make your appointment.
Thanks to Disney for inviting us out to take a look at the new Riviera Resort!
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