PHOTOS, VIDEO, REVIEW: Tour a Preferred View Deluxe Studio Villa at Disney’s Riviera Resort in Walt Disney World
Welcome to the new Disney’s Riviera Resort! After all of our grand opening coverage, we are taking time to reflect on our experiences at this new location on property. You’ve probably read one of our numerous food reviews from the resort, which boasts an incredible lineup of Fast Casual,Signature, and Character Dining, but if you’re looking to actually stay and fully experience the new resort, you’ll probably want to take an in-depth look at accommodations. This review will cover one of the resort’s biggest draws for families who aren’t looking to pack into a Tower Studio: the Deluxe Studio. With a queen bed and additional queen-sized and twin-sized Murphy beds, these surprisingly spacious studios can sleep up to five, and boast a handy kitchen as well. We’ll start off the tour with a full video walk-through:
As you’ll probably come to see from the dates listed on the new personalized TV interface, our stay took place at the grand opening of the resort. I’d never attended a resort opening before, but despite all the bad press surrounding supposedly faulty Murphy beds, the rooms at the resort, especially these Studio Villas, were impeccable and in my opinion, very well appointed. I typically travel alone or with my elderly parents, so I often judge rooms by how comfortable three adults can feel in any given space, as well as odds and ends like electrical ports for medical equipment and even general accessibility details, like walk-in showers. It’s also worth noting that while I hit the parks for work and leisure, my parents typically don’t, so having a room you won’t feel claustrophobic in after a long day of relaxing in, plus a resort that offers plenty of amenities, is also key to a satisfactory stay.
As you can see both with all the beds down and reverted back into their wall-mounted state, the space in these studios allows for plenty of clearance regardless of whether someone’s napping on both of the Murphy beds. There’s a spacious foyer for luggage, a three-part bathroom, a well-stocked kitchen, and both indoor and outdoor living spaces.
In terms of layout and even as far as design, these studios reminded me a lot of The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort (which used to be somewhat affordable by renting points ahead of time, but I digress.) Between the beige, grey, and light green hues, plus all of the French moulding everywhere, and the opulent marble in the bathroom, it has all the makings of a luxury villa… except without room service.
Let’s take a tour around the room and I’ll walk you through all of its spaces and features.
Thanks to the large balcony sliding doors, there’s a tremendous amount of light coming into these rooms. They never feel stuffy because of it, and on a nice day, it did feel slightly Riviera-like to have all of that sunshine coming in, with the clear blue skies and water, it had a very relaxing effect.
Whereas the Tower Studio rooms were very poorly lit, these rooms had an incredible array of built-in lighting everywhere, without having to fumble with awkward floor lamps. From the bed sconces, to the frosted globe of light over the dining table, all of the fixtures gave off that perfect warm glow. If you’re like me and all of the fluorescent white lighting of Pop Century feels eerily hospital-esque after the second or third night, this is the answer to how in-room lighting should be: inviting, and not abrasive (but still bright enough to not make you go blind like in the Tower Studios.)
Here’s what it looks like with all of the beds down, again. There’s plenty of clearance for everyone to stumble out of bed in the morning safely.
Here’s a look down one of the many winding halls of the resort. We were in the East Wing, which was a great location since we were just an elevator trip down to the pool, lobby, and Primo Piatto, or a ride up to Topolino’s Terrace. If yours is a park-centric trip, I’d recommend the West Wing (it’s not forbidden here) due to its easy access to the Disney Skyliner. Otherwise, if you’re here to relax, eat, and enjoy the pool, by all means, request the East Wing.
There are hidden Mickeys and characters all along the carpets and common areas, plus some pretty stunning art.
Our specific room was 8666, which was a Preferred View Deluxe Studio Villa. (Preferred was all that was left for the Disney Visa discount by the time I’d called. While the views, which we’ll explore below, were nice, there’s still plenty of merit in the room itself, and I wouldn’t spring for that much more money on the view if there was a better deal for a Standard View room.)
Upon entering, there’s a foyer of sorts for you to drop your luggage, coats, keys, umbrellas, and if you’re like me, your shoes.
Room 8666 is an adjoining room, so there you have the lock-off room access, and the closet on the left.
I appreciated small touches like stone accents on the table and a coat rack by the door.
There’s even a fancy glass chandelier at the entrance.
Inside the closet, you’ll find a luggage rack, a pack and play with a Mickey liner, a collapsible laundry basket, a steam iron and ironing board, and the first vacuum ever invented. There are also plenty of clothes hangers, a drawstring bag and laundry request form, and extra pillows and blankets.
This is also where the in-room safe is located.
If you’re divided on the laminate versus carpet argument, this room solves the issue by providing appropriate use of both styles of flooring. You have hardwood-style laminate in the entryway and kitchen, making it easy to clean the parts of the room that arguably get the dirtiest, plus plush, comfy carpet once you enter the bedroom and living space. Me, I preferred the marble floors of the bathroom.
In fact, there was marble everywhere.
Plus, tons of very soft towels.
Oh, and they emboss the toilet paper here with the resort logo. If that doesn’t have you clicking the resort reservation site, which you probably already have bookmarked, then I don’t know what will.
I often request accessible rooms when I travel with my parents due to mobility issues they have, and I was somewhat worried about the accessibility in these bathrooms, but even standard rooms are incredibly accomodating. The walk-in shower features an overhead rainshower, plus a handheld shower wand.
Best of all, the shower has a giant bench at the end of it, so if you need to really rest after a long park day, this is just the thing you need. The wand does reach over to the bench, so even that was carefully thought about.
There’s a recessed ledge for toiletries, and your usual mounted rack of H2O+ products.
Water pressure was adequate, and with both the rainshower and the wand, you can really have a great spa-like experience not unlike the different showers aboard the Senses Spa on Disney Cruise Line. (Seriously, I am considering booking again just for the spa-like shower.)
This shower and toilet area can be locked off completely or just from the hallway. That works if someone needs to use the sink while someone’s using the toilet, or if two people want to shower or bathe and get ready at the same time.
The tub, while more familiar, was not without its adorable details.
Of course, there were hidden Mickeys in the shower curtain.
More mounted toiletries, as well as another towel rack, and a toiletry ledge.
I’m really glad how all these spaces were thought out. The last resort we’d reviewed, Gran Destino Tower, had clear-door showers (making it awkward to share the bathroom space) and virtually no ledges or storage space for toiletries, not to mention the towel rack was halfway across the bathroom. Here, all of the touches seem very thoughtful.
A large gilded mirror frames the sink and vanity area, which features an upper ledge for all of your toiletries, plus more hand towels, face tissues, a bar of hand soap, and the coveted Disney Resort lotion.
There’s open space below for more storage, with an included hair dryer as well.
The hair dryer was fairly industrial compared to the plastic ones I’m used to seeing elsewhere on property, which is good if you’re hair twins with Merida (like I am.)
These magnified makeup mirrors are a pivotal part of any Disney Resort stay. However, I do feel that they always install these too high up as I have to be on my tip-toes to ever reach them.
A second full-length mirror is installed along the hallway, perfect for last-minute outfit checks.
Next, we move on to the kitchen, which includes a marble countertop, small sink, large coffee pot, microwave, and a deluxe mini-fridge, plus all of the utensils, plates, and cutlery you might need.
A look inside the cupboard, which includes drinking glasses, mugs, and to-go cups.
A secondary cabinet includes bowls and plates. I liked that these were slightly styled instead of your basic bowls and plates, helping to keep the deluxe feel even when you’re heating up leftovers from Primo Piatto. Tucked away in the corner is a two-slice toaster. All of the appliances were stainless steel and Cuisinart.
A hand-thrown ceramic cup for utensils!
You get your usual first set of coffee amenities. Additional sugar and creamer are available downstairs at Primo Piatto in case you want to stock up. While I know the studios feature coffee pots, I really wish they’d just replace them with Keurigs. In a studio that sleeps maximum five people, you don’t really need a giant pot of coffee as you would in a larger villa.
I thought the tiled backsplash was nice, but unlike at most DVC resorts, like Kidani Village, there were no characters hidden within them.
The faucet extends out with a built-in hose.
Beneath, you have extra paper goods, a fire extinguisher, a sponge, and some eco-friendly ECOS lavender dish soap.
The fridge is slightly larger than the ones you’ll find in most standard rooms, and includes a small freezer shelf.
And now, on to where you’ll actually sleep! We only stayed here one night, but the three of us thought there was ample room to lounge and co-exist. The view of the pool from the balcony brought in a lot of light to the room, unlike the slightly claustrophobic Tower Studios.
Beneath the TV and throughout the room, you’ll find these USB and electrical ports.
Beneath the main queen bed are two drawers, for storage. The bed itself is slightly raised so you can shove luggage underneath, but we had plenty of space in the foyer at the entrance.
Words cannot describe how much I love this can-can Mademoiselle Mouse artwork.
The thing about the overall design of these rooms is that they’re designed like a swanky room out of a Target catalog. That being said, while the bronze light fixtures and crown moulding everywhere are very on-trend now, I’m not sure how much longevity this design has. Despite everyone saying that they’re tacky or overused, what won’t go out of style here are the hidden Mickeys, or the character art.
There are tiny nightstands on each side of the bed, also with USB charging ports embedded into the light switches.
Here’s a look at the smaller of the two Murphy beds. For reference, I slept in one of these over at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and had some of the best post-park-hopping sleep I’ve ever experienced… however I am 5’1″ and under 150 pounds. I can’t imagine that taller or larger people would be comfortable in this, but if you are on the smaller side, don’t knock the Murphy bed––these are actually really comfortable.
And of course, who wouldn’t want to sleep next to Pascal and an array of adorable woodland creatures?
Gelatoni certainly took advantage.
The couch folds down, as you saw earlier, into a queen-sized Murphy bed.
The view out of this Preferred View room was of the Fantasia-themed water play area and some part of the pool, plus the surrounding grounds of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and the Disney Skyliner off in the distance.
As you can see, weather was clearly better on the first day, but even overcast, I’d still pay a bit extra to get this view over a view of the parking lot.
If you looked over to the right, another wing of rooms lined this side of the building.
Resort-specific outdoor furniture! You get two chairs and a small table.
If you’re reading this around the time of the unprecedented Disney Parks COVID-19 closures, then it’s probably safe to assume that I miss this resort and would give anything to stay here again. However, at the time we stayed here, it was just over $500 a night, plus taxes and fees. And that was with the Disney Visa promotion that was going on at the time. At that price, would I consider returning? Yes, probably for a splurge on my birthday for a one-night stay just to use the incredible, spa-like bathroom, have breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace and then shrimp pasta for dinner at Primo Piatto (yes, I’m in love with that quick-service.) But there’s no competing with the warmth and ambiance of, say Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, where $500/night could get you a Club Level room, or even Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, where you could probably stay for two nights for just $100 more. At $350-$400, I feel the price would be somewhat justified here, given that this is a brand-new resort. At that price, you’d probably be better off here in a Deluxe Studio than in a cramped Tower Studio, which made me question my sanity as I sat there in that tiny closet of a room writing yes, even more resort reviews from that day. The Tower Studios seem to be priced for their novelty, but only really make sense for solo travelers. And even then, if you’re a solo traveler and there isn’t much of a jump in price between the Tower and Deluxe Studio, my suggestion is go big or go home.