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Thread: Sue Rayford, Riviera Resort, June 17-20, 2021

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    Sue Rayford, Riviera Resort, June 17-20, 2021


    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    Dates: June 17 21, 2021
    Resort: Disneys Riviera Resort
    Experience: Very Experienced 3rd stay at Riviera

    This was booked as a solo trip when I stumbled across 3 consecutive nights in a Riviera tower studio available several months ago. I had a tower studio booked last time, but when I arrived found Id been upgraded to a regular studio so I never got to try one. Ive toured a tower studio, and theyre small! The bathroom is huge, which in comparison makes the room seem even smaller. The maximum occupancy is 2 people, and the only bedding is the murphy bed that pulls down from the wall over the sofa. The refrigerator is a small cube vs the counter-height models found in regular studios. For myself, for a few nights, I should be able to make it work, but Ill admit to being less than thrilled at the prospect. However, Riviera is back to being impossible to get if you dont own points there, so Im thankful to have this stay since it could sadly be my last one.

    My park pass is blocked out right now, which is fine with me since its too hot to consider spending time in the parks. Also, the lack of fastpass and the increased crowds are a deal breaker. Ill spend my mornings by the adult/quiet pool, and then later either enjoy the resort or venture out for a meal or happy hour. I saw a review for the margherita pizza at the counter service place at the resort (Primo Piazzo) and it was very positive, so I may get one of those one day. Overall the food at this resort is a definite step above the other resorts, both counter service and the full service restaurant (Topolinos). During my Saratoga Springs trip a couple months ago I had some good experiences dining at Disney Springs. If my room isnt ready by the time I arrive I will probably head to the Disney Springs parking garage & try for Gideons virtual queue. I can easily sit at the bar in Planet Hollywood for the chicken crunch tenders again. I also booked lunches at Terralina and Splitsville for Friday and Sunday. Fridays reservation will give me a shot at Gideons virtual queue in case I didnt make it over there on arrival day.

    About a week before the trip Disney announced that starting a couple days before my trip masks were no longer required indoors for people who are fully vaccinated. Thats great news, and how it should be. The only clowns getting problematic covid these days are the unvaccinated people, so the rest of us should be free to live life normally. Granted, the unvaccinated will also not wear masks, since theres no way to prove your status, but its no concern to me since Im protected. If they spread it to other unvaccinated people, thats fine by me. Disney does require masks on transportation, which I dont agree with but will follow their rules. Things are changing so quickly now, I think the return to normal is in sight even if we dont have a specific timeframe. We need fastpass though! Im not standing in line for an hour to do an attraction.

    The plans so far are:
    Thursday 6/17: Drive to WDW, Disney Springs?
    Friday 6/18: Pool, Terralina lunch
    Saturday 6/19: Pool, Resort
    Sunday 6/230: Pool, Splitsville lunch
    Monday 6/21: Drive to Gainesville

    DAY 1 Thursday 6/17/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member

    Plan: Drive to WDW, Disney Springs?

    Actual: Today I only worked until 11 so I could get here earlier. For a change, it was a nice calm morning. After loading up the car I was on the road by 11:15 and pulled onto Disney property by 1. As I was driving towards Riviera (the traffic light before it) I got the notification that my room is ready! However, I didnt want to waste time there before going to Disney Springs because the virtual queue for Gideons only gets longer over time. So, I continued on to Disney Springs and parked in the Orange garage.

    After entering I ended taking a wrong turn and took a very roundabout way to get to Gideons. When I passed Planet Hollywood a huge tour group (50+ people) was waiting to go inside, but I was just planning to sit at the bar so it wasnt a big deal. At Gideons I joined the virtual queue, which was 100 minutes at that time. I figured they overestimate it a bit, based on last time. It was 1:20 so 100 minutes later would be 3pm.

    I walked back over to Planet Hollywood and had a short wait to tell the person I wanted to sit at the bar. She took my name and sent me inside, where I waited again for someone to get me out of line and take me to a seat. The tables in the bar area were all occupied, but not a single person was sitting at the bar while I was there. I had brought my kindle, which was more interesting than the soccer game on the big tv in front of me. I ordered a glass of the house pinot grigio and the chicken crunch appetizer.

    It took a little while for the food to come out, which I assume is because of that massive party swamping the kitchen. It wasnt real slow, just not quick. It was very good, so worth the wait. The bartender was very nice too, so no complaints. After settling the check I was on my way down the stairs to exit when I got the text from Gideons that my time had arrived at 2:28, so 68 minutes rather than 100.

    This time I took the short walk to Gideons and joined the virtual queue line. I got one cookie the pistachio toffee chocolate chip, then walked back to the Orange garage and was driving down the exit ramp by 3pm.

    At Riviera I parked in the west parking lot since thats where the Tower Studios are located and brought my stuff up to the room. Tower Studios are something new and only at this resort. If youre familiar with Riviera, the rounded portion is where the tower studios are there are 3 on each floor in the little round part. Theyre quite a bit smaller than a regular studio, and the maximum occupancy is 2 people. Personally I think it would be pretty miserable with 2 people, but thats just me. Even as a solo, this isnt likely to be what Id pick very often. Its really small. The only bed is a murphy bed, and the only seating is the sofa the murphy bed folds down over and a desk chair. The bathroom is almost as big as the room, lol thats very nice. There is plenty of storage space, especially since only 2 people can be in here.

    The refrigerator here is smaller than in the other studios, which is a pain. I was able to make it work, since its just 1 person. The coffee maker is a Keurig, which I dont prefer. I dont drink coffee but like the traditional ones to heat my water for my cappuccino. With this I may need to run it twice to fill up my mug. The microwave, toaster, etc look normal. Theres no sink for a kitchenette.

    My balcony faces the skyliner station, which I consider a nice view. Ive also got lakes on both sides. Sitting on the couch, from the window I can see the other side of the skyliner, with the Epcot line arriving and departing. If theyd started the Epcot fireworks Id probably see those too, as I can see Spaceship Earth when out on the end of the balcony.

    I unpacked all my stuff and got settled, then updated the trip report before going out to walk around the resort a bit. Its very overcast, and quite humid (bad hair day from now until November). I started with an inside walk, finding the ice machine near the elevators. Ill need that later to keep my wine cold. From there I went down to the first floor and went outside by the pools.

    I was very pleased to see the sign on the quiet/grown up pool says its open 7am til 11pm. The 10am opening at the feature/family pools is just too late for my taste. By then its starting to get too hot! The quiet pool is an infinity pool, where the water comes up to the very top on all sides, then drains away invisibly. I checked out the feature pool next too noisy and full of kids for me. They had a cast member doing some type of game (with a microphone) with the kids. Everyone was well behaved, but I prefer the nice quiet pool. They have a cute little kids splash area as well sort of like at Grand Floridian Villas.

    I was curious how long the walk to Caribbean Beach was from this side of the resort, so I walked past the white sand beach (left over from whatever island this was before Disney knocked it all down to build Riviera (I think they knocked down 2 of the islands in Caribbean Beach). It was a short walk to Martinique, and since the main area (Old Port Royal) was the next section I continued over to there. I am still completely unimpressed with this resort it just screams cheap/tacky to me, but Disneys prices are anything but cheap, lol! It looks like a motel, which is huge turnoff. Oddly, Im not as turned off by either Port Orleans resort, even though its the same type of buildings.

    After walking through the lobby and gift shop I headed back to Riviera. Bar Riva had a number of people enjoying food and/or drink. I didnt see a menu posted you have to do the mobile ordering thing. I went inside and up to the lobby, where I browsed through this shop (some nice stuff) and then checked out Au Petit Caf next door. I was curious if they had any of the banana bread there, since it would save me from having to mobile order at Primo Piatto. They did not, so I sat in the library type sitting area next door and tried to do a mobile order. The banana bread wasnt listed in the bakery section or anywhere else. I figured it was worth a trip downstairs to confirm they dont sell it any more.

    The cast member at the entrance told me they do still sell it, so I asked if I could go get one and buy it. He said yes so I got one out the case, paid for it, then headed back upstairs.

    I sat out on the balcony for a little while, but it quickly got uncomfortable with the humidity so I came back inside. There was a pair of pillows in a case above the kitchenette stuff (behind closed doors not visible), and another case with a 3rd pillow and extra blanket on the top shelf of the closet. Thank goodness I have an old pair of little scissors in my toiletry bag, since they use those plastic zip tie things.

    I was able to watch General Hospital (without commercials) thanks to a link someone shared on facebook, and updated the trip report at the same time. When General Hospital ended I went to get ice, then opened the bottle of wine Id brought in the cooler (Governors Bay sauvignon blanc). It just fits standing up under the shelf in the small fridge! I also cut up the rest of the balsamic bellavitano cheese to go with a few crackers. I brought 4 cheeses that were almost gone, figuring I have a nice variety and not take up much space.

    It wasnt time to pull the bed down just yet, but didnt have a table for my plastic wine glass so I took the lid off one of the ottomans and flipped it upside down to find a flat hard surface. It was like a square tray, with about 1 sides. I set it next to me on the couch and didnt have to worry about the wine falling over. It was a great setup to do stuff online while watching tv and checking out the skyliner very relaxing!

    At this point Im in for the night, so I might as well get it posted. Maybe later Ill break off a small piece of the cookie for something sweet! Today was a really nice day everything just fell into place nicely. I did not expect my room to be ready early, but am glad it was. I like my tower studio location. Im glad the Gideons queue was faster than expected I didnt have to putter around Disney Springs waiting!

    Tomorrow I plan to do some walking, then head to the pool early. Ive got lunch at Terralina, but other than that dont have any other plans beyond relaxing.

    DAY 2 Friday 6/18/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member

    Plan: Pool, Terralina lunch

    Actual: Last night I set the laptop over on the desk, pulled the murphy bed down (note to others move the ottomans out of the way) and watched a little more tv before turning out the light before 10. Im impressed with the bed its very comfortable! The room was nice and quiet, initially. Those of you on facebook already know what happened. Around midnight I was woken up with banging/booming noises happening every so often. Eventually I realized what it was fireworks!

    I stepped out onto the balcony and had a clear view of the fireworks around World Showcase in Epcot. Theyll be starting the Epcot Forever show July 1st, so this was a rehearsal. I hope its not every night, as I like booming fireworks much better at 9pm vs midnight! I didnt mind last night, as it was so nice to see Disney fireworks again. I have zero interest watching from an overcrowded park, and then exiting with hordes of people all at the same time, but when the new show starts in October Ill watch it from the park at some point when Im staying at Beach Club or Boardwalk and can walk home. Dealing with buses or skyliner at park closing is NOT something Id want to do.

    The skyliner was still running while I was watching the fireworks, which was a little surprising. I went back to bed after the fireworks, posted the pictures to facebook, and when I got up around 5am the skyliner was not moving. It started up by 6:45, although guests wouldnt be boarding until a bit later.

    Since the humidity is so high I decided to go for a walk indoors (with air conditioning). I started on my floor and walked to the west end of the building, then to the east end, and back to the stairs by my room to go up to the next floor and repeat the process. I noticed each floor has 2 grand villas one at the east end and one at the west end. Those are gorgeous, but way too many points for my budget! I ended up doing just under 3 miles, stopped for a peak inside Topolinos (very pretty, but several culinary cast members were sitting in there having coffee so I didnt linger), then went back to my room.

    Im not a Keurig person so I had to figure that out made more difficult by the dim lighting making the instructions hard to see. Or maybe Im just too old, lol. I use an old Disney refillable mug, so I had to heat a Keurig sized cup of water, then repeat the process to finish getting enough hot water. I took it back to bed, using the little cutting board Id brought as a flat surface since theres no nightstands.

    With the bed down, theres still plenty of room to walk around so I might just leave it down well see. At 8 I got up to make breakfast, and with difficulty was able to put the bed back up. I may just skip it tomorrow, but I like having a sofa to sit on so well see. Breakfast was an egg and slice of bacon, followed by a small portion of the banana bread. Cleaning up was a bit of a challenge, as theres no sponge or dish soap to clean out my silicon egg cooker.

    After changing into a swimsuit & coverup I went down to the quiet pool before 8:30. Its overcast and supposed to be cloudy all day today and tomorrow (then rain Sunday), so I didnt get the sunny weekend I planned but Im still glad to be here. Maybe it wont feel as hot out there!

    When I got to the pool my magic band wouldnt open the locked gate. It worked fine last night! I walked around to the other side and experienced the same thing there, so I went up to the lobby and told a nice young man what was happening. He reset my band, and told me if it still didnt work hed let me in.

    Back down at the pool my band still would not unlock the gate. Another guest came up behind me and said hed use his card, but that didnt work either. So, it was back to the front desk, where the previous guy was nowhere to be seen. I told another guy what had happened, what the previous guy had done, etc. He took my band and went to the back room (Ill admit that left me a bit leery wondering if Id get back into my room after all this was done). After a while first guy came back up the stairs and said its a problem with the system, as he had to let 5 different guests into the pool. He went out back to get my band back, then walked me down to the pool and got me in with his key card. Later I saw the maintenance company working on it (3 guys from Brighthouse).

    I never saw sun, but the plus side is I didnt sweat at all, lol! People came & went, and it was a nice group never too crowded, kids acted fine, etc. The only annoying thing was the sightseeing helicopters that buzz around quite frequently. I could have lived without those! I ended up staying at the pool until 11:30 then gathered up my stuff and went to the studio to shower & dress for the day. Thankfully my magic band worked just fine <g>.

    I left the room at 12:30, getting my car and driving over to Disney Springs. I wasnt sure which garage was closest, so I just parked in Orange again since its the first one I come to. Plus, its not sunny out so walking isnt miserable. Although my lunch reservation wasnt until 1:15 I went straight over to Terralinas (about 20-25 minutes early). The bar looked pretty and wasnt crowded, so I told the hostess I could sit at the bar & she waved me over there.

    The bartender was an older woman and she was great. Shed call me darling or sweetcakes and I didnt even mind, lol. I asked about their caprese salad, not sure if they made it with all the different color tomatoes and she assured me they used different types of tomatoes but theyre all red. That was good news, so I ordered the caprese salad and a glass of the pinot grigio.

    The caprese was outstanding looked great, tasted fresh, and it was delicious! Id happily get this again! I got 10% off on the food due to DVC or being a passholder. When I got back outside it was only 1:36 and I thought about wandering through the Marketplace area but Disney Springs was so crowded I figured Id just be wandering through stores and not buying anything so Id rather get home to watch General Hospital. I turned around and got my car from the Orange garage and was back in my studio at Riviera before 1pm. This resort is very well located for going to Disney Springs!

    Since Id be inside for a while I took the opportunity to charge my kindle, and updated the report & did some online stuff while watching GH. At 3 I decided to go take a ride on the skyliner, even though it meant Id need to put on a mask for the first time this trip. Approaching the Riviera station the ride to Caribbean Beach is right there but you have to walk around to the other side of the station to board a gondola going to Epcot. I was too lazy to walk the extra distance so I hopped on a gondola headed to Caribbean Beach. This time of day it shouldnt be busy.

    I had no wait at Riviera, and no wait at Caribbean Beach either. Soon I was back onboard for the nice long ride to International Gateway. I do wish theyd extended the line to run over the park and exit at the front entrance rather than ruining it for guests around Crescent Lake. Masks are required when boarding your gondola, but of course once the doors close and youre the only party in there, off they come!

    I walked over to Boardwalk, which had several people sitting at tables outside, eating either ice cream or pizza. Its a shame Ample Hills Creamery closed, but Im not paying Disney prices for Edys ice cream I could get at Publix for much less. Between the Gideons cookie and the banana bread I dont need ice cream anyway! The main pool was very busy (cant call it the creepy clown pool since thats been changed).

    I strolled through the Screen Door and a Boardwalk shirt caught my eye. They havent reopened the fitting room in there yet, so the cast member said I could just go to the corner & try it on over my clothes. Theres a full-length mirror there (in the toy section so probably placed as a make-shift area to try on clothes) so it worked ok. I decided to buy it, and got my dvc discount.

    From there I continued around the lake, going into Yacht Club and walking in air conditioning for as long as possible the humidity was getting to be a bit much. Leaving Beach Club I gook the back path to International Gateway and had a short wait for a gondola. The couple in front of me were not wearing masks, and when it was their turn the cast member gestured for them to put the masks on. We all had our own gondolas, so I dont see what the point is.

    Back at Riviera I was headed to the elevators and ran into a woman with an ice bucket in her hand who looked lost. I showed her where the ice machine should have been, but on the 1st floor that location is a door to the outside. I suggested she just go up a floor and shed find the ice & vending machines in that spot, so she joined me in the elevator.

    My chilly little studio felt great after being out in the humidity, and I sat on the couch doing some online stuff before updating the report. Im probably in for the night at this point, unless theres some lucky break in the humidity and I decide to wander around. I may sit on the balcony & watch the skyliner but know I wont last long out there.

    Just before 6:30 I fixed a few crackers with cheese and poured some wine. I saw online a judge had ruled in favor of Florida in the lawsuit against the CDC (saying theyd overstepped their authority with holding cruises hostage all this time). Itll be interested to see how things change after July 18th.

    My daughter-in-law Amanda wondered if the resort sold any Luca merchandise, since its set in the Riviera somewhere. Ill have to check tomorrow. I didnt notice Disney movie stuff in the shop yesterday, but I could have easily walked right past it without seeing it since I tend to look for resort-specific stuff.

    I went outside and sat on the balcony for a while. Its amazing how frequently the skyliner slows to a crawl temporarily. I think when I was on it earlier this happened at least 3-4 times. I dont understand it, either. They have a wheelchair/mobility challenged section, where people can board gondolas that arent even moving. If someone is slow or unsteady, why not go there rather than slow the whole line down for everyone??

    I read online that as of yesterday the single rider lines were back Test Track, Everest, Smugglers Run and one other. Come on fastpass we need you too!

    Today was a mostly great day the only negative was the lack of sunshine (which also had the benefit of less sweating) and the disgusting humidity, which always exists this time of year. The problem getting into the pool was annoying too. But, the time at the pool was very enjoyable!

    My lunch at Terralina was fantastic, and its so easy to get there from here. I also enjoyed wandering around the Crescent Lake area, even though it was humid. Right now when Im not doing the parks its ok to be staying elsewhere, but Im looking forward to Food & Wine Festival, where my trips will be at Beach Club and Boardwalk!

    Tomorrow its supposed to be mostly cloudy again, but Im headed to the pool anyway. I didnt book a meal reservation because I wanted to eat from Primo Piatto at some point, so this will be the day. Maybe Ill walk around Caribbean Beach later if its not too oppressive outside the walking path is nice & long, even though I dont care for the resort itself.

    DAY 3 Saturday 6/19/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member

    Plan: Pool, Resort

    Actual: Last night I sat out on the balcony until almost 10pm. Its still amazing how often the skyliner slows to a crawl, lol. It was very peaceful out there, and for whatever reason the humidity didnt feel too bad. At one point a smoker above or below me was smoking on their balcony totally disgusting. I couldnt see any other balconies, so I couldnt tell where the person was to report it. Thankfully it was brief, and then it was nice again.

    Once again I slept well, and there were no fireworks to wake me up in the middle of my sleep. I woke up around 3:30 but dozed back off and eventually got up at 5. The local news was saying its really hot & muggy right now (and all day), so I did my walking in the hallways again. When I got back to the room just after 6 I made my cappuccino and settled in for some online stuff while listening to the local news.

    Just before 8 I managed to get the bed back up into the wall, made my egg and bacon for breakfast, then got dressed for the pool. Someone recommended heating the banana bread in the microwave to get the chocolate pieces on top a little melted, so I cut another small piece and gave it a try. Ten seconds was more than enough to make it hot, and it was delicious!

    On my way to the quiet pool I stopped by the shop in the lobby to see if they had any Luca merchandise. Unfortunately they dont open until 8:30, so I was too early. I went down to the quiet pool and a couple ladies were walking away because their card did not work. I tried my band and it didnt work either. Just then we saw a recreation cast member coming by so she let us in. There were already people at the pool, so Im not sure if they had to be let in also, but this is definitely annoying.

    I went to my same spot and once again it was totally overcast. At times the breeze kept it feeling nice, but it was definitely humid. I did some reading, talked to SB, talked to my dad, did some puzzles, and just enjoyed relaxing out there. A little before noon I gather up my stuff and went to check out the shop again. As suspected, they dont have any Luca merchandise. They dont really have any movie merchandise, being such a small shop & not really geared to kids like some of them.

    I went back to the studio and changed into yesterdays clothes since I dont want to put on clean clothes until after I shower. I figured this was as good a time as any to walk around Caribbean Beach the feels like was 94 by now, and was expected to be triple digits this afternoon.

    It wasnt a terribly long walk, but in the heat it was more than long enough! The sun even came out at some point, which I didnt need. The quiet pools are really ugly here surrounded by concrete walls, and no frills inside the area. Lots of people were at the main pool, with more arriving. I dont believe they do the limited capacity any more, as the chairs were all lined up right next to each other, several rows deep. I did a little research last night and learned to build Riviera they knocked down one of the villages, and half of Martinique (from 6 to 3 buildings most of the villages were 6 buildings). Previously Id heard it was 2 that got knocked down, but that doesnt appear to be true.

    On my way back to Riviera I used mobile ordering to order the margherita pizza from Primo Piatto, and told it I was there so theyd start making it. I still had about a 10-minute wait, which I spend sitting on a bench by the elevators so I could enjoy air conditioning. The pizza was all packaged up in a carryout bag so I took it up to my studio rather than eat down there.

    Id heard the pizza was excellent and when I opened it up to take a look it definitely looked good nice tomato slices, melted real mozzarella, nice looking crust, etc. It was too hot to eat outside so I brought it into the living room and ate half. It was delicious! Id definitely get this again! Now the problem was fitting its box into the tiny fridge. I had to fold up one end, but got it to work.

    As usual, the afternoon seemed to fly by. Around 2:30 I decided to ride skyliner over to Pop or Art of Animation to see if they had Luca merchandise. The clouds had covered up the sun again, which I was happy about. It was still feels like 100 but it would be much worse if the sun was shining down. Without the sun its like being in a shady oven, lol. I had a short wait for an empty gondola coming from Epcot, plus I had one party ahead of me. It didnt take long, and soon I was on my way to Caribbean Beach to make the transfer.

    From there I had no wait to get to Pop/Art. I wasnt sure which would be better, so I turned right and walked into Art of Animation. The Little Mermaid section is a pretty color purple. Its no secret Im not a fan of the value resorts, and Art of Animation is pretty awful to me. The buildings look like tenements, with pretty color paint and some Disney movie decorations. Nice try, but godawful. Taste is a subjective thing, and I think Pop Century looks a lot better definitely the top pick out of those 2.

    One thing that really turned me off is the Big Blue Pool, which is huge and supposed to be a big feature. The chairs are those cheap plastic slatted ones not even mesh, and definitely not cushioned like at Riviera, Jambo House, etc. The pool was definitely busy, but no signs of limited capacity or people having to wait to get in.

    In the main building I went to the shop and they have nothing from Luca. The only movies represented are Raya and that mandalorian green baby. I did stop to look at the Disney masks, which are buy one get one free now. While there I kept cringing this very LOUD woman sounded like she was bellowing but the person she was talking to was maybe 2 feet away from her (they were on the other side of the mask stand). She was awful thank goodness she wasnt trying to talk to someone on the other side of the room, lol! I ended up leaving and walking to another area until she moved along I cant stand blaringly loud people. Once she left I went back hoping to find 2 masks for SB, which is hard because the XL sells out first. However, today I found 2 different masks in that size, so I grabbed them. Ones the Marvel characters and one has small Mickeys. Even though hes vaccinated hes still cautious, partly because he comes into contact with so many different people at work.

    Not only was the second mask free, I got my 20% dvc discount as well. I walked back through the resort and decided to check out Pop Centurys shop as well. Walking past the pool area I noticed nice mesh lounge chairs in the kiddie pool area. The main pool still had those slatted ones, but maybe theyre in the process of transitioning/upgrading. Their flower pool isnt nearly as big as the main pool at Art of Animation, but I think at Popl they just have a pool for each section rather than a big one.

    The merchandise situation was the same at Pop just Raya and green baby. I did check the masks there to see if I wanted to swap either of the ones I had, but didnt see anything better. Again, there were very few XL possibly only 1 pattern. When I came out the sun was shining, so it was a hot walk back to the skyliner. I ducked onto the walkway directly outside the rooms where I could, as that was shaded.

    I got right on a gondola but at Caribbean Beach had a brief wait. Soon I was on my way, and got back to the studio around 3:30. I took a much-needed shower and dressed in fresh clothes. It feels weird to be doing that so late in the day although its my norm when cruising! Its just been so long since I cruised sigh.

    I updated the report and then around 4:30 walked over to the lobby to see if I wanted to have a glass of wine out vs in the studio. I wasnt interested in Bar Riva, as thats too outside for me in this weather, and I wasnt sure what the place off the lobby had. It was a quick trip I should have realized theyre going to carry French wines, which are my least favorite, lol. Plus, the sitting room next door had people in there, but eating food & drinking coffee or soft drinks vs an adult beverage so I went back to my studio to use up more of what Id brought with me.

    I poured a glass of wine and gathered the rest of the photos Id been posting on facebook into an album to share with people who arent on facebook. The sun was shining on my balcony, so going out there isnt an option for now. While waiting for the news to come on I watched a few of the Disney or DVC info channels on the tv. They were all new to me, as I hadnt watched any of those in many years. Just before 6 I got up to fix some cheese & crackers.

    By 7 it was cloudy again and the feels like had dropped to 98 degrees. The balcony is in my future, even if its for a shorter period of time than last night. If I can stand the oppressive heat, its nice sitting out there watching the skyliner.

    Today was a very nice lazy day. I didnt do much, but the time flew by. Im so thankful for the sense and opportunity to just enjoy the resort without suffering through the parks in this weather. My pizza from Primo Piatto was every bit as good as the review, and I look forward to enjoying the other half at some point. The pool was enjoyable even with the clouds. Im actually enjoying my tiny little studio very much go figure!

    Tomorrow is my last full day ☹ It will be another pool morning and there might actually be some sun for a change. I then have a late lunch (3:30) at Splitsville. That menu was the most appealing. I tried moving it earlier the past couple of days, to possibly try for the Gideons virtual queue again, but nothing is available. Depending on how the day goes, if I head over there earlier Ill see if sitting at the bar is an option to get in earlier than 3:30.

    DAY 4 Sunday 6/20/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member

    Plan: Pool, Splitsville lunch

    Actual: Last night after posting the report I moved out to the balcony to read, and it was lovely out there. Then around 8:30 I started feeling raindrops blowing over. Earlier Id heard thunder, so it made sense. I moved inside a little before 9 and finished the rest of the Gideons cookie (yum). That was so good and after all, Im on vacation <g>. But, now I really need the virtual queue if I want to have some cookie to eat tomorrow night (and beyond).

    I watched HGTV for a while before turning in, loving how nice & quiet this studio is. It was another quiet, comfortable nights sleep (no fireworks again) and I got up at 5 to do my walking. The temp was already 80 but the feels like was almost 90. It also looks like cloud clover all day again. I did my laps of the hallways, taking pictures of the various paintings along the way. Theyre all either castles or Disney movie characters, and its well done. Each floor has the same art pieces in the same places, and a few pieces repeat on the same floor.

    When I got back to the studio I made my cappuccino, then took it back to bed to do online stuff while watching the morning news and watching the skyliner getting started. Once again I managed to get the bed put back up into the wall, and breakfast was the last egg, bacon & the rest of the banana bread. After cleaning up everything I headed down to the quiet pool, arriving about 8am.

    Today my magic band worked, which was a pleasant surprise at this point <g>. The pool was fabulous not many people, nice breeze, and it was actually comfortable almost the entire time. There was one problematic party a woman came down with her 2 young daughters. The girls went in the pool while mom sat at a table. Id guess the older girl might have been around 10 and the other a few years younger. The younger one was a total monster obnoxious, demanding, manipulative, etc. The older girl kept wanting to please the young one, pleading with her to tell her what she did wrong & promising not to do it again (she used the wrong step in the pool). When it was time to go, older girl got right out and dried off and telled to her sister it was time to go. Little brat defiantly says no each time. I dont know what moms problem was, as I never would have allowed such horrendous rude behavior from my kid. Eventually the girl decided to get out, after a good 5-10 minutes, and they left. I imagine the odds are good shell have a rap sheet by the time shes an adult yikes!

    Other than that drama, the morning was pleasant and mostly peaceful. Id figured out the helicopter rides start at 10am, and sure enough at 10:04 it was flying over us for the first of many times. I stayed out there until about 11:30 and then headed up to the studio. Splitsville sent me a text reminding me of my 3:30 reservation. I tried again to move the time up, but nothing was available Ill just ask in person.

    One thing Ive liked is housekeeping gets my room early in the day. Each day my trash had been emptied while I was at the pool, and today the trash & towel has already been done. I packed up a few things I wouldnt be needing so I could leave it in the car at some point today, then took my shower.

    I drove over to Disney Springs and parked in the Orange garage again. Since Im coming here multiple days it could be hard to remember where I parked each day, so I always took a picture of the nearest pole that showed me the level and row where Id find my car. When Id leave I delete the photo. Today it seemed like parking was less plentiful, but I got a spot on deck 3.

    My first stop was Gideons, where I d hoped the virtual queue would be an hour or slightly more. It was just under 4 hours 3 hours & 55 minutes!!! I almost didnt join, but then figured I had nothing to lose. If I leave before then I can cancel my spot in the queue.

    I walked over to the West Side and went to Splitsville. I went inside and told them I had a reservation for 3:30 but would be fine sitting at the bar now. They canceled my reservation and told me the bar was self-seating. I checked out both ends, with the far end being quite a bit warmer, and then went back and took a seat at the closer end. They have seats outside, and the garage door-type window was up, so the warm air was blowing into the far end of the bar. Quite a few people were there, but it was not full. At my end there were 2 seats next to the service bar area, so thats what I chose. Around the corner was a solo woman and we struck up a conversation.

    Shes a local, and said today was twice as busy at Disney Springs as yesterday. Id avoided Saturday thinking that would be awful, but I guess I didnt take into consideration the impact of Fathers Day. She ordered a massive burger with a mound of onion rings it looked great but it was an obscene amount of food. She explained this would be 3 meals for her, but it was delicious and reheated very well. Ok, that makes sense she wasnt much bigger than me! After she left a couple took the seat next to me and the one shed been in, so the 2 of them at the corner. They were also very nice.

    I ordered the house sauvignon blanc (what a treat to find a house sauvignon blanc, and priced at $9 thats a good deal being at Disney) and the cheeseburger sliders appetizer. The sliders were excellent, but 3 is too many for just me. I ate 2 and took the third to go. This would be a great spot for Holli & I to visit when were at Saratoga Springs over Labor Day weekend. We also hope to hit Jock Lindsays Hangar Bar to give that a try.

    While I was sitting there, reading my kindle, chatting with neighbors, it dawned on me that Riviera is so close I dont have to suffer through staying at Disney Springs or cancel my virtual queue. I can go home and return later! Thats exactly what I did, initially exiting the garage headed in the wrong direction but able to find a legal u-turn to get headed back to Riviera. I was able to relax in the air conditioning, update the report, and just chill out until closer to my queue time. If the queue was accurate, it would be 4:45 before it was my time,

    At 4 I got the text that it was my time for Gideons, so I jumped in the car and drove back over to Disney Springs. As I was walking over to Gideons I got another text asking me to text 2 if I was on my way or 3 if I was not coming. I texted a 2. The virtual queue was not very long. I got the triple chocolate cookie, returned to the garage and was back at the resort by just after 4:45. I wasnt hungry at all, so I put the cookie aside and worked on moving todays photos into the album on Snapfish.

    Theres nowhere I need or want to go tonight so this final evening will be spent in my studio. Once the balcony gets shady Ill head out there for little while. I have a show I watch at 8, so by then Ill be in bed until lights out at 10. Tomorrow morning Ill head out early to have time to relax at home before heading into work a little later.

    Today was another lovely day Ive thoroughly enjoyed this trip and hate to see it come to an end. Its especially bittersweet knowing its nearly impossible to get a studio here at 7 months, never mind a tower studio! I love the resort but Im not looking to add any more dvc points my dues are outrageous as it is. I would happily book a tower studio again for a solo trip. I was able to work around the few negatives, and the great location more than made up for those. One key is to keep the studio neat everything in its place, with no crap strewn around to make it look like a disaster. Thats kind of true for all rooms, but with this one being so much smaller, anything out of place would be really obvious. I do wish the bed was lighter, or had some type of hydraulic to help lift it back into the wall!

    I did not miss the parks at all not one little bit. I had my fill of Flower & Garden Festival earlier this year, and wouldnt have enjoyed it in the June heat & humidity. The other parks had even less appeal for this trip. Its somewhat surprising to me that I spent time in Disney Springs 3 out of 4 days. When Pleasure Island closed I wrote the place off, and it was a very long time before I started going back (over a decade). Riviera is so convenient to Disney Springs, and I love how they did the garages there. Its easy to pop over for a quick lunch, and sitting at the bar generally means I wouldnt even have needed a reservation.

    The only transportation I used was the skyliner, and that was pretty hot since I had to wear a mask until we got going. Once moving it was fine. Thank goodness we had so much cloudy weather, or it would have been awful to be outside of my studio! I actually spent more time at the pool and walking around other areas than I would have if it had been sunny.

    The photos (same ones I posted on facebook) are at Snapfish at

    My next trip is in early September, over Labor Day weekend. Originally I had Jambo House club level booked, but once again that is not happening. By Memorial Day I realized/accepted there was zero chance for club level, and rather than being stuck in separate studios without a gathering area for us I switched to the only 2-bedroom villa available at Saratoga Springs. Fortunately that resort is beautiful now, and the proximity to Disney Springs (hello Gideons) works.

    Sue (Holland) Rayford

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  3. #2
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Sacramento, CA

    Love the artwork ~ beautiful!

    I don't know how you can limit yourself to only one cookie at a time at Gideon's ~ they are so good and definitely take more than one seating to eat! Did you know that they freeze well? I brought the 6 I bought (which is the daily limit) home with me on a plane and then froze them until I needed them a few weeks later, when I planned to share them with my brother. They thawed easily and you can always pop them in a microwave for a few seconds to help melt the chocolate chips on top a smidge!

    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021

  4. #3
    MousePlanet Columnist
    Join Date
    Apr 2001

    Good to know Pam - will keep that in mind for next trip!

    Sue (Holland) Rayford



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