Last weekend, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings held its 2015 bridal showcase at the Grand Floridian Convention Center. Because there was cake, I was there…
This year’s showcase occurred only 6 months after last year’s, apparently due to presenter David Tutera’s schedule. The cast members I talked to said the next showcase wouldn’t be for another year. You can read about 2014’s bridal showcase here, 2013’s here and 2011’s here.
To me, it seems like they get better each time. (You can hear what other brides think on these episodes of the Disney Wedding Podcast.) This time around, the showcase cost $35/person instead of $15 and included an hour-long appearance by David Tutera. There was no menu-tasting add-on session, but it felt like there were more small bites to try on the show floor. The event ran from 3pm to 7pm, with an hour each for the two breakout sessions. This time you didn’t need a ticket for those—they were run twice and you could pick when to see each.
DJ Charles Miles was back to get the party started and keep us entertained with group dances while we waited for Tutera to appear.
This year, they sprang the Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings’ cast members from their exile in a distant ballroom and had them meeting couples and answering questions at cocktail tables right there on the main show floor. This made them more approachable and was a great opportunity for couples who are more than 16 months out from their date to ask questions of a person who actually has answers.
Walt Disney World’s Senses Spas had a table with info and a line for free makeovers.
There were tables for Disney Videography and Fine Art Photography, plus a roving “photo booth” — basically a guy with an iPad on a stick who took your picture.
And here’s what the photo turned out like!
Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings’ Vero Beach division booth won the Most Chairs award.
The person manning the forlorn “Dude Booth” (cuz, you know, golf) must get SOOOOO much texting done during these showcases…
Kingdom Magic Travel was on hand again. I always recommend engaging the (free!) services of a travel agent in behalf of your guests. It will make the destination aspect of the wedding less daunting for them and free YOU from having to make all their plans for them!
Something many people probably didn’t notice—but was super helpful to have on display—was the pipe and drape and other large-scale decor elements Disney can provide.
I have no idea what this is called, but it is awesome and probably costs a million billion dollars!
Floral & Decor
Disney Floral and Gifts had created a new set of tablescapes for the occasion, this time without the helpful price lists.
Disney Fairy Tale Bridal by Alfred Angelo
Disney helpfully provided models to show you what the Alfred Angelo Disney gowns will look like if you are a beautiful wisp of a 17-year-old.
This year Disney’s entertainment team swapped the in-your-face Mother-In-Law character for the in-your-face Fairy Godmother character.
I thought it was genius to bring perennially popular Grand Floridian greeter Richard over to the showcase to do what he does best!
My favorite part of these showcases is seeing the elaborate creations of Disney’s pastry teams. It was a little disappointing to see a lot of the same cakes this year, and the new cakes were all fairly understated and traditional. If there’s any place where a wild, over-the-top wedding cake can fly, it’s at Disney.
But I love that the real pastry chefs are always on hand to answer questions, do live demos, and make sugar flowers to hand out. (Bad news, Walt Disney World cake lovers: Those plans to create a single unified website for ordering cakes and viewing available designs seem to have evaporated!)
They seemed to have more cake-and-mousse samples than ever, in a wide range of dependably simple flavors (none of that rosewater-and-kale-gelée nonsense this year!). The flavor combos were
- Milk Chocolate Caramel Mousse with Marble Cake
- Cookies & Cream (a.k.a. “The Grey Stuff”) with Chocolate Cake
- Tanzanian Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate Cake
- Mandarin White Chocolate Mousse with Orange Cake
- Almond Crunch Mousse with Almond Cake
- Mint White Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate Cake
Projection-Mapping Wedding Cake
Disney had added a few new designs to the projection loop on this cake, so I shot a video of the full cycle. Just to refresh your memory, the cake costs $2,900 and is entirely inedible. You need to purchase edible cake separately (which can be done fairly inexpensively with sheet cakes), as well as the white chocolate castle cake topper, if you want it. The price of custom projections depends on how complicated your request is and how long it takes them to accomplish it.
White Chocolate Characters and Castles
Disney’s white chocolate characters are beloved by the folks on the DIS Cake Chatter Thread, so I always take a bunch of photos. This year it was fun to see Chip and Dale (two unique molds) and some of the best painted versions of the characters I’ve ever seen.
Food & Beverage
Over on the savory side of the ballroom, the line for small bites of reception food was a mile long. There were stations with mini versions of entrees and appetizers, plus a late-night “milk bar” serving cookies and flavored milks, and a dessert station with mini Olaf and Darth Vader cupcakes (two great tastes that go incredibly weird together!).
But the highlight was the station enveloped in a cloud of liquid nitrogen and serving made-to-order Nitrogen-Fried Chocolate Spheres filled with, like, EVERY dessert—chocolate, brownies and marshmallows—and topped with warm salted caramel!
Be Our Guest Menu-Planning Session
I decided to skip this one because I’d attended the same session last time, and because I wanted more time to get you the panoply of blurry, overexposed photos you see here. Apparently this “Be Our Guest” was identical to the last session, which means it was excellent. My original review:
The session was led by the personable and well-spoken Chef Ken from the Grand Floridian, who was ably assisted by Chef Jacob from BoardWalk Inn and occasionally heckled by a phalanx of other chefs who stood at the back and offered their opinions as needed. The content was excellent—exactly the kind of guidance couples are looking for at an event like this. Chef Ken covered menu planning and tasting, the pros and cons of buffet and plated menus, food presentation and action stations, duo plates (two proteins on one plate) vs. crown service (guests don’t place their orders until they reach the reception), food trends and theming. He also explained the terminology of catering and encouraged couples to customize their menus with favorite dishes from the parks and family recipes.
You can hear a recording of the entire presentation (about 80 minutes worth!) by clicking the blue audio player below.
Preparing For Your Planning Session
This one was great. A group of wedding planners took turns addressing all of the common questions I see from couples who are coming up to their planning sessions and worried they won’t be prepared enough. They walked through each aspect of preparation in 10 easy steps and then took questions from the audience. Here’s a shot of every slide because Maxine spent so much time making them all look pretty!
And you can hear a recording of the entire presentation by clicking the blue audio player below.
I loved that these sessions were packed with real information and tips rather than fluff, and that they were presented in a way that allowed everyone to attend both.
At one point, toward the end of the bridal showcase, The World’s Bravest Dude dropped to one knee next to Cinderella’s Glass Coach and proposed to his girlfriend. Every single person in the place whipped out their phones to snap a pic/video except me, cuz I was cluelessly wandering through their shots looking for the water station. SORRY! Here’s the coach, though…
There were no chairs set up for David Tutera’s presentation, so people started planting themselves around the stage about 30 minutes ahead of time. I can see how chairs would have created a big roadblock in the middle of the room, but I can also tell you my dogs were barkin’ after 90 solid minutes of waiting for and watching Tutera’s presentation.
Without too much ado or any kind of audience embarrass—er, participation element like there’d been last time, the Fairy Godmother introduced David Tutera, and the crowd went wild.
It felt like he recognized how uncomfortable we all must be, because he cut down the extraneous self-promotion that filled at least a third of his presentation back in 2013 and jumped right into the Q&A. You could see how excited these folks were to get to ask their questions of the real-live David Tutera, and it felt like he was more gracious and considerate in his responses this time. He paced back and forth in his signature animated style, sometimes crouching down to hear a question, frequently flinging his arms into the air, and once even leaping into the crowd to solve a particularly thorny problem.
He advised the couple who were sad about not being able to hold their wedding inside Be Our Guest Restaurant to focus on the marriage.
He declared the Plus One rule of thumb to be “Have they been dating more than six months, and have you met him/her?” When the next question was, “What if you don’t like the Plus One?” he replied, “Suck it up and invite her!”
He adored the girl who’d had her dress for 12 months but been engaged for only one.
When someone asked about Tutera’s current level of involvement with Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings, he confirmed that the Couture Collection is not coming back but said he’d love to work with Disney on any project they wanted him for.
He was flabbergasted by the couple who’d been married for 2 YEARS, hadn’t told a single person in either family, and wanted to break the news via a slideshow. “You need to come on my show!” he exclaimed before declaring himself stumped and finally advising them to arrange for face-to-face revelations.
He also stressed that couples should be willing to sacrifice in other areas of the budget to make sure that they can afford to invite everyone who would want to come to the wedding. Conversely, he said, couples having destination weddings should be comfortable with the fact that not everyone they want to be there will be able to, and they should research costs for guests to help prepare them.
Tutera ended with a rousing message for his audience. “I’m telling everyone in this room: Your wedding is not going to be perfect. Get out of Perfect Mode so you can enjoy it!”
Overall, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings’ 2015 Bridal Showcase was a great event, with plenty of valuable information and experiences for those planning a wedding or vow renewal at Walt Disney World. To hear more about the showcase, check out this week’s episode of the Disney Wedding Podcast.