We have been to Disney many times — but never during a pandemic. We were lucky enough to recently spend a few days there with some friends and experience some new hotels and dining options. There are a lot tips out there on how to navigate Disney in the Covid-world, but we will focus during our next few posts on what you can do to make your stay enjoyable including some things that worked, and unfortunately, some things that didn’t.
As Disney Vacation Club members, we had the privilege of being able to book some of the best villas on property for this trip. Our first stop was Disney’s new Riviera Resort. This was our first time staying at this hotel and we had a great room that overlooked the new Skyliner and the lake. The Skyliner may be our new favorite mode of park transportation, especially when going to Epcot as it’s a straight 10 minute ride. But since you need to transfer cars to get to Hollywood Studios, and that’s where Star Wars land and (at least for right now) half the crowd is, you must plan to leave your room early. We made this mistake the first day and waited at the transfer point in line for 30 minutes and therefore our arrival to the park 20 minutes after opening.
Riviera is clean and beautiful with amazing accommodations. We stayed in a 3-bedroom villa which our kids noted was larger than most apartments.
We ate one night at the Riviera’s rooftop restaurant, Topolino, which has wonderful food and service and a large outside deck area with a beautiful view of the grounds. Though the food was not quite as good as Capa at the Four Seasons (more on that later) it was exceptionally good, and we will definitely eat there every time we stay at the resort. We might even travel from another resort to eat there if staying somewhere else. We had the filet and the duck appetizer, and both were perfectly cooked. Our teen son had the tomahawk pork chop and in addition to enjoying the sheer size and fun Flintstone-like look of the cut of meat, devoured the entire chop. The service and wine selection was also amazing and the social distancing of the tables made us feel comfortable. We took advantage of the huge table in our room to eat in one night and the food we picked up from Trattoria al Forno on the Boardwalk was superb.
While at the Riviera Resort we took advantage of proximity to visit Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The bell service cast members were spectacular transferring not only our luggage but keeping our groceries cold and then refrigerated on the transfer. We always tip the bell people well as they do a spectacular job and go above and beyond what you would expect.