Current incentives for direct contracts have been enticing for those looking to join DVC as well as existing DVC members battling add-on-itis. There’s the summer 2023 savings and free points for contracts at the Grand Floridian, Aulani, and Riviera. Plus, there’s the extra $1,500 Welcome Home savings for add-on contracts and the Magical Beginnings offer that essentially provides a cash rebate of up to $22 per point if contract buyers sell back their first year’s worth of points.
With these great deals, which Walt Disney World resort would you choose as your home resort: the Grand Floridian or Riviera? Let’s compare the two DVC resorts.
First off, a major difference between the two resorts are the resale restrictions on Riviera. Direct Riviera points can be used at any resort. However, should the DVC member ever decide to sell that Riviera contract, those resale points could only be used for stays at Riviera, which can impact the resale value of the contract. In fact, resale Riviera contracts consistently sell at a lower price per point than Grand Floridian contracts.
By contrast, when Grand Floridian contracts are sold on the resale market, those points can be used at any of the original 14 DVC resorts (those that opened prior to Riviera).
They have relatively similar contract expiration dates with the Grand Floridian expiring in 2064 and the Riviera expiring in 2070. If you are simply aiming for a longer contract, Riviera is the way to go for those few extra years.
Located along the Seven Seas Lagoon, the Grand Floridian gives guests easy access to the Magic Kingdom or EPCOT thanks to the monorail. The monorail is also convenient for resort hopping to the Polynesian and Contemporary. Riviera is best for access to EPCOT or Hollywood Studios with the skyliner. Depending on which theme parks you prefer to visit most, location can make a big difference. Despite the Grand Floridian having monorail transportation to EPCOT, keep in mind that the ride requires a transfer at the Transportation and Ticket Center, which can take a little while.
In many ways, the Grand Floridian and Riviera rooms have a lot of similarities. Both have a more luxe feel with the Grand Floridian’s elegant theming and Riviera’s more contemporary style. Minus the Tower Studio at Riviera and Resort Studio at the Grand Floridian, the villas have similar layouts, including the split bathrooms in the Deluxe Studios. In addition, both resorts are in good shape with Riviera having opened in 2019 and the Grand Floridian having a soft goods refurbishment in 2022.
As the flagship resort of Walt Disney World, the Grand Floridian arguably has more amenities than Riviera. It has the most signature dining options with Citricos, Narcoosee’s, and Victoria & Albert’s, more shops, poolside cabanas, a marina, and its own spa.
Although Riviera may not have as many amenities, it has solid dining options with Topolino’s Terrace and Primo Piatto. Also, the resort’s compact nature can be an advantage compared to the Grand Floridian’s larger grounds and separate buildings, especially when there is inclement weather.
Points Charts and Dues
Both the Grand Floridian and Riviera have high points charts though the Grand Floridian’s villas have slightly higher point values. For example, a One Bedroom Villa tops off at 81 points per night at the Riviera and a maximum of 89 points per night at the Grand Floridian. Also, the Tower Studios at Riviera have a lower point value than any accommodation at the Grand Floridian. These differences in point values mean that your annual allotment of points may not stretch as far when you stay at the Grand Floridian.
On the other hand, annual dues are lower at the Grand Floridian. For 2022, dues were $7.3332 per point at the Grand Floridian but $8.5049 per point at Riviera.
Ultimately, the best resort will greatly depend on you and your preferences and priorities. Comment below: If you are in the market for a direct contract, which home resort would you choose?