By Georgina Cruz
For AL DIA TODAY
Can’t travel to the French Riviera in the next few months? No problem –the Riviera has come to Florida!
It’s the newest lodging choice at Walt Disney World in Orlando: Disney’s Riviera Resort. A time-share property that can be rented for vacations by non-members, it is the 15th resort of the Disney Vacation Club.
This new resort transports guests to the Riviera with architectural details and a variety of lodging options as well as “views, sounds and tastes of Europe in every corner,” said Terri Schultz, Disney Vacation Club executive. “This resort pays homage to Walt and Lillian Disney and their European travels, adding the art and storytelling of Disney to the artistic heritage and inspiration of that region.”
Disney’s Riviera offers approximately 300 acommodations of various types: deluxe studios, one- and two-bedroom villas, grand villas for up to 12 guests each, and a new style of lodging for two people called Tower Studios. The latter, located in their own tower in the resort, offer a chic and efficient space that includes a queen-size bed that can be put away in the wall when not in use, an elegant living area with sofa, writing corner, beverage center and microwave, good storage space and modern bathroom.
In the rooms and throughout the resort, guests can see Disney’s conceptual art with European contours, movie posters of Disney films as they were launched in Europe, archive photos of Disney’s trips throughout the region and books that Disney bought during his travels. Additionally, the resort boasts more than 40 artworks inspired in the Riviera.
The elegance of Europe and the beauty of the Mediterranean coast are reflected in the exterior of the resort in such details as a palm-lined boulevard and impressive façade adorned with arches, porticos, cascades, towers and terraces. The swimming pools of the resort are also inspired in the Riviera.
The main swimming pool, Riviera Pool, has lounge chairs and colorful umbrellas and has a water slide housed in a turret. For families with youngsters there is an interactive water play area, S’il Vous Play, with a cute fountain with characters from Disney’s “Fantasia.” For adults, the Beau Soleil pool is a quiet area with a wall with natural greenery and palm trees.
Hotel guests have a novel way to get to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios: the Disney Skyliner, a new funicular that not only takes to those parks but also offers great views of Disney World. Disney’s Riviera has its own boarding station.
When it’s time to eat, the resort has Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera, on a high terrace and serving authentic specialties of the French and Italian Rivieras, cheeses from the region as well as olive oils and wines from the south of France and Italy. From the restaurant, diners can enjoy the fireworks spectacles at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the restaurant also offers breakfasts with the Disney characters.
Other restaurants and lounges in the resort include the Bar Riva poolside and Le Petit Café, a pastry and coffee bar during the day and a wine bar in the evenings. Bar Riva is inspired in the animated movie “The Aristocats.” Primo Piatto is yet another option, a café for casual meals.
Staying at Disney’s Riviera brings with it all the benefits of a stay at a Disney property resort such as free transportation to Disney parks, water parks and Disney Springs (with its shops, restaurants and entertainment); Extra Magic Hours (entry to a select park before it is open to the general public on select days); and opportunity to obtain FastPasses to attractions that offer them 60 days before arrival). Other benefits include free parking at the parks, and convenient MagicBands (that open your room’s door and have your park tickets on them) as well as the possibility to buy Disney Meal Plans.
Info: Reservations are open at Disney’s Riviera Resort for vacations beginning on Dec. 16. Visit www.disneyworld.com.