My husband and I came back to Disney for a quick long weekend away without the kids, we brought the whole famille 6 months ago for a 10 day stay. Because we have a large family, we always stay at the Villa Resorts so this was our first time staying at a moderate priced resort, it will probably be our last. While some things were wonderful, the overall feel we were left with will have us booking future vacations at the deluxe and villa resorts only.
We did take advantage of the online check in, which helped to quicken our time at the reservation desk. However, once we recieved our welcome package and were sent on our way, it was a while before we were able to find our room. The layout to the resort is a little confusing and not very clearly marked. Upon finding our room, our initial impression was that the room was well appointed and clean, although small and dimly lit. The one window did little to allow natural light in. But the bed, we had a king bed room, was so soft and comfy it made you want to immediately fall asleep. And thank goodness for the extra covers on top, the room was chilly and we were unable to control the temp via the wall controls. So if we stayed in the room at all and didn't feel like wearing a sweatshirt, we needed to cover up with the blanket. Another issue with the room was that the wifi service was practically nonexistent and cell phone signal only worked if we were sitting at the window. Not at all acceptable when trying to keep in touch with family back home.
The privacy curtain at the sink/closet area is a good idea but I was completely shocked by the unbelievably small size of the bathroom. Is that how it is in all of the value/moderate resorts? It borders on completely unacceptable! I know I am used to the spacious layout of the villa bathrooms, but this was little more than a toilet and small shower/tub shoved in a closet! However it did have a fantastic shower head that made the shower enjoyable.
Did I mention that it took five hours for our luggage to arrive? We used Disney's Magical Express, and while they have changed the check in process a bit and made it a little more time consuming, it was still wonderful to not have to worry about ground transportation to and from the airport. But if we could reach our hotel in under an hour, what is the reasoning for our luggage taking 5 hours? There was only one other couple on our bus and only 5 or 6 familys in total waiting at the bus depot at the airport. So I can not begin to understand why our luggage was detained, causing us to have to wear our dirty airplane clothes when we left the resort to meet friends. Next time I will make sure to carry a clean set of clothes in my carry on.
The grounds at Riverside were beautifully maintained and lush, although the walking paths are very dimly lit at night. And the only pool we could find, the main one I believe, was too small for a resort this size and always crowded. The food court at Riverside was spacious although their food selection was limited and never changed. If you want something more than burgers, sandwiches or pizza you will need to look elsewhere. We never did get to try the resort restaurant, but the bar/lounge area off the lobby was fun, the staff was friendly and courteous, and there is even a working fireplace you can sit by while sipping your drinks.
My overall impression was that this hotel wasn't terrible, and maybe if we hadn't been previously spoiled by staying at the better resorts, we would even think it is great. But knowing that Disney has greater selections available, I will be choosing to spend a little bit more money and staying at the more deluxe resorts on our future trips.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.