When was the trend in the industry highly immersive, heavily themed spaces like Grand Floridian, the AKL and Port Orleans? It never was, certainly not to the extent featured at WDW. Disney was creating something relatively unique, spaces that extended and complimented the enveloping fantasy of the parks. The fact that hotel trends now dictate design philosophies is a key reason WDW is becoming less and less special.The bottom line is that this is the trend in hotels in 2017. Disney has spent too long lagging behind the market - heck they still had pattered bed spreads until a couple years ago when every hotel ditched them ten years ago. They've done countless focus groups that showed the room portfolio was way below market, quality-wise and was driving people to stay off-property because of it.
The problems with WDW hotels "quality wise" was the maintenance, housekeeping, food quality, and price, not the intricate theming. In fact, for years that was the only thing RIGHT about the hotels.
As other astute posters have pointed out, this is an amazingly poorly designed space - there is very little theming and the bit that exists is, staggeringly, Spanish rather then Mexican. Which is just... mind boggling.
I think we have a pretty good idea of what the Riviera is going to look like.
Disney continues to be run as though the executives wish it wasn't Disney.