Plan a Small Private Event at Walt Disney World

There are a couple of ways to set up a small private event at Walt Disney World. For an event at the Grand Floridian, call Private Dining at the Grand Floridian (407-824-2474). For an event anywhere else on property, call Disney Catered Events (meetings@disneyworld.com or 321-939-7278).

If you prefer listening to reading, here are three podcast episodes that walk you through booking each type of event:

Grand Floridian Private Dining: 407-824-2474

You can work with Private Dining (a.k.a., room service) at the Grand Floridian to arrange dinner somewhere in the hotel or at the Marina during Wishes. The cost is $95/person plus 18% service charge and 6.5% sales tax. There’s also a $75 charge  for the services of the butler who meets you in the lobby and serves you at your table. If you need more than 2 hours of butler service, additional hours are billed at $25 each. You will be sent a standard menu to make choices from, but you can also request food from any of the resort’s restaurants for a hefty surcharge.

Click here for a sample menu.

Here’s a link to a great detailed report of an anniversary party there, and here’s a sweet surprise birthday party.

Disney Catered Events: meetings@disneyworld.com or 321-939-4648

To plan a private catered event anywhere else on property, including the theme parks, you’ll need to work with Disney Catered Events. They tend to tell you that you must have at least 10 people to book an event, but once you get past the person who answers the phone and start working with an event planner, there should be no problem if you have fewer than 10. The only requirement is that you be staying at a Disney-owned resort.

This page links to photos of nearly every event venue at Walt Disney World. I also have a post with detailed pricing info and photos of event locations inside Disney’s Hollywood Studio. If you own a copy of PassPorter’s Disney Weddings & Honeymoons, detailed pricing for every venue is listed in Chapter 3: Wishes Collection and in Chapter 5: Additional Events.

Basic Dessert Party Pricing

NOTE: These food and beverage minimums are for dessert parties only. Certain locations have higher minimums for a full meal.
  • Venue Rental Fee: $150-$500, depending on location
  • Food & Beverage Minimums: $250-$2,500, depending on location
  • Viewing Fee: $10/guest for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings events or $15/guest without admission for Disney Catered Events
  • Backstage transportation may be required at an additional cost
Wishes at the Grand Floridian
  • Venue Rental Fee: none
  • Sago Cay Pointe (10-75 guests) Food & Beverage Minimums: $1,250
  • Marina Patio & Terrace (20-100 guests) Food & Beverage Minimums: $2,500
  • Viewing Fee: none
  • Wishes Soundtrack Fee: $500 up to 50 guests / $650 50-75 guests / $775 75-100 guests
Wishes at the Contemporary
  • Venue Rental Fee: none
  • West Rotunda Courtyard/Patio (20 to 80 guests) Food & Beverage Minimums: $500
  • Porte-Cochere (50-500 guests) Food & beverage Minimums: $1,250
  • Viewing Fee: none
  • Wishes Soundtrack Fee: $500 up to 50 guests / $650 50-75 guests / $775 75-100 guests
  • Venue Rental Fee: $250
  • Small Patio (up to 40 guests) Food & Beverage Minimums: $400
  • Large Patio (40-100 guests) Food & BeverageMinimums: $750
  • Viewing Fee: $15/guest without admission
  • Backstage transportation may be required at an additional cost

Sample Menus

You can see a wide variety of Disney Catered Event menus here. Remember that all menus are customizable, so feel free to dip into older menus for ideas to re-create at your event.

A Note About Transportation…

Whether or not you are required to hire transportation for your in-park event depends on its location. Usually Epcot venues close to the International Gateway do not require transportation because everyone can meet the included event guide at International Gateway and walk in. Some couples have also arranged to have the guide meet their guests at Epcot’s main gate. If your coordinator requires you to book transportation, this does not have to be a pricey chartered motor coach unless you have a large group. Groups of about 40 or fewer will find it cheaper to take multiple $40 one-way vans backstage.

How to Plan a Tower of Terror Dinner Party

How to Plan an IllumiNations Dessert Party

200 Responses
  • Brittany Stevenson
    October 21, 2013

    You are so helpful! Also, do you know when you would pay? For example, would you pay when you booked it or would it be due later on? So, I could get a bouquet similar to the one I had for my wedding through my Disney Florist?

    • Carrie
      October 21, 2013

      I believe they would take your credit card number and charge it on the day of.

  • Carolyn
    November 15, 2013

    We are planning a very small wedding at Shades of Green with just the two of us and my son. Could you offer some suggestions for dinner and/or dessert locations for the three of us that would offer some privacy and a special experience? Thank you!

    • Carolyn
      November 15, 2013

      Oh and by the way….we’re planning this for late April 2014!

      • Carrie
        November 18, 2013

        Hi Carolyn! OK, the easiest to plan would be a meal at the Grand Floridian via Private Dining, as mentioned at the top of this page. Otherwise, you could do an IllumiNations dessert party in one of the smaller locations at Epcot, like UK Pubside or Japan, but you’d need to pay the food and beverage minimums for 10 people ($230-$250 total). Italy Overlook might work for IllumiNations viewing, but no food is served there. Check out the WDW Reception Locations page for photos of every spot in Epcot.

        • Carolyn
          November 20, 2013

          Thank you!

    • Donna Sada
      October 27, 2014

      Carolyn, if you are a military bride, you can recieve a free designer wedding gown from Brides Across America. http://www.bridesacrossamerica.com it is a fantastic organization and you can visit salons across the country this month for your free gown.

  • diane
    November 20, 2013

    Hi Carrie. Me again, I haven’t been in touch in a while. I’m the one planning the big deal 30th anniversary party in February at Chef’s Domain and with the Grand Yacht. My husband and I had the good fortune of dining there a couple of weeks ago and we met with a chef and with Pat Anderson, the cake coordinator. It was lovely, place is gorgeous. My husband loved the scallops, but to me the short ribs were just as good at Sanaa, nothing special there.
    Anyhoo, I’m wondering if you know anything about private events (not weddings) at Wilderness Lodge/Artist Point? We also had dinner there with friends a couple of weeks ago and it was nothing short of amazing! Plus that resort is just too beautiful! Soooo, now I’m thinking of looking into switching over. While Chef’s Domain is lovely, we are up to 12 people and that’s a bit of a squeeze, so we are thinking that if we move out into the restaurant, we can go to any restaurant, and I like WL and AP better. It does leave the question of travelling over to GF Marina for the Grand Yacht thought. They won’t pick us up at WL Marina will they?
    Any info you have would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Diane

    • Carrie
      November 20, 2013

      Hi Diane! As long as you’re OK with there not being a private room at Artist Point, it sounds like the change would be ideal. And I am almost certain you can have the Grand 1 pick you up at the Wilderness Lodge dock, since the waterways do connect over there.

  • Lindsey
    February 6, 2014

    Apparently Disney World no longer allows this. The e-mail I got this morning.

    At this time, in order to maintain a consistency of offerings for all of our guests and provide the best overall event experience, we are unable to host IllumiNations dessert parties for less than 10 guests, even if the minimum expenditure is met. We invite you to explore some of the options available for groups smaller than 10 guests.

    If you would like further clarification or have any additional questions, please contact us at 407-939-7129.

    Thank you and have a magical day!
    Disney Meetings

    • Carrie
      February 7, 2014

      Yeah, that’s Disney Meetings. I’ve only ever had success with Disney Catered Events. (And I love how Disney Meetings “invite(s) you to explore some of the options available for groups smaller than 10 guests” but then don’t actually tell you what those are. Cuz there aren’t any.) I’d keep checking with the Disney Event Group, or just do something with Private Dining at the Grand Floridian, where they’re more than willing to help out couples and small groups.

  • Claire
    February 21, 2014

    Hi,
    My husband and I we’re married in the wedding pavilion in 2011 and now have a 3 month old son. We’d love to return to Disney and have a baby naming ceremony for him but I have no idea if Disney allows this sort of thing and if so, where we can have it. There will only be 6 adults, 1 child and 2 babies so just something low key and not too expensive is what we’re after. Can you help at all please?

    • Carrie
      February 21, 2014

      That’s an interesting question. They do quinceañeras and birthday parties and other special events, but I haven’t heard of any baby-naming ceremonies. I think if you just booked it as a private party and did your own thing at the party that might be the best way to go. Or even just held the ceremony in your room or a suite. Not that Disney discourages such a thing, just that they don’t really have any set options for it as far as I know.

      • Claire
        February 22, 2014

        That’s surprising as there must be a market for it-think they’re missing a trick! We won’t be staying on site so what will out options be? Where would we be allowed to hold a short private event? Thanks for your help.

        • Carrie
          February 23, 2014

          Oh, shoot! They only let you plan private events if you’re staying at a Disney resort. The one exception might be Private Dining at the Grand Floridian, who seem pretty open to planning dinners on their private balcony and marina to just about anyone. You might given them a call about planning a private meal (407-824-2474) and then just do the ceremony yourselves while you’re there.

  • Roberto
    June 29, 2014

    Hi!
    I love the events you’ve planned and the information on here is great! My future wife and I have been looking at venues in Walt Disney World and I was actually wondering if you knew if the area where the wishing well is would be available? We only have about a group of 10 people so we wouldn’t need much..

    • Carrie
      June 30, 2014

      Hi Roberto! Unfortunately, the only location they are currently offering inside the Magic Kingdom is Main Street Station. It is open to those planning Wishes weddings, which start at 20 people. However, they do have a prop wishing well you can rent as decor for your reception. It even has water in it!

  • Chrissy
    February 10, 2015

    Hey-
    We are planning a family vacation complete with 12 adults, 8 kids and 3 infants. We did the Grand Gatherings Illuminations before it was discontinued and it was such an awesome event. From your suggestions I am thinking an Illuminations private party would be a good fit for us and we would like to relax a little having the children “caged” to enjoy the show. Who do you contact to set this up and what would a ballpark figure be for a cost for the whole group. Do you know of anything in the Magic Kingdom with any characters that could be done for a party this size? I would appreciate any help. I would like to set this up as a surprise for everyone. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

    • Carrie
      February 11, 2015

      Hi Chrissy!

      There are no private event locations inside the Magic Kingdom, but you could easily do a private IllumiNations or Fantasmic! dessert party by contacting Disney Catered Events at the number/email at the top of this page. For Epcot, you’re looking at a venue fee of $250, an $85 setup fee everywhere but UK Upper, a food and beverage minimum of $230-$500 at the locations your group qualifies for, and a $12.95 viewing fee for each person who doesn’t have park admission.

      For Fantasmic!, the venue fee is $250, the setup fee is $85, the food and beverage minimum is $400, and the viewing fee is $12.95/person without park admission.

      • Chrissy
        February 11, 2015

        Thank you, exactly what I was looking for. I appreciate the information and hopefully I can pull this off!!

  • Kelly
    February 25, 2015

    Hi Carrie!
    I’m planning an Escape Wedding for this fall and I would love to do a private dinner/dessert party in Epcot following the ceremony. My sales consultant at DFTW told me that Escape brides can only have dessert parties and not full meals in Epcot. She said we would have to go through private catered events, and then I wouldn’t be able to wear my dress.

    Two questions:
    1 – is there anyway around this? I would much rather have a custom, private dinner than go to a restaurant. There will only be 13 guests, and I just think being in the park would be awesome for our “Reception”.
    2 – If I do go the private catered events route, what’s the cost involved, including the food & beverage minimum for a full meal? I’ve only been able to find minimums for dessert party venues. Are the venues the same?

    Thanks so much! Your site and book have been super helpful in planning my wedding!

    • Carrie
      February 25, 2015

      Hi Kelly! 1) It’s usually quite easy to add savory finger foods to a dessert party (enough to stand in for a full meal, even), and that way you won’t trigger the much higher food and beverage minimums that come with doing a sit-down meal. The trick is, your planner seems dead set against anything dinner-like, so you may get some pushback that you ordinarily wouldn’t. 2) DCE prices are the same as DFTW prices for all the venues, so all the prices in Chapters 3 and 5 of the PassPorter apply. I think Chapter 3 is the one with that includes the dinner food and beverage minimums for each location in Epcot. Let me know if you have any further questions!

  • Tiffany
    March 10, 2015

    Hi Carrie, my name is Tiffany and I wanted to ask if there is any way to plan a sweet 15. Mind you this will take place in the next 8 years but I would like to know a head of time just so I could start planning. ☺️ I was looking at some of the wedding packages and venues and 2 out of 3 sound like something I’d like to do. But I need to know if bar, drinks, food and appetizer’s would be included and photos and videos as well. And, which package would you say would be the best for about 50 people?

    Thank you in advance for your help I know it’s probably a lot !!!! ☺️☺️

    • Carrie
      March 10, 2015

      Hi Tiffany! For non-wedding events, you would go through Disney Catered Events rather than Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings, so there are no packages. Everything you mentioned is a la carte (at the same pricing as weddings, though, so if you have my book or somebody’s BEO, you can see what those elements would cost). DCE has a page devoted to quinceañeras, and here’s a PDF with some pricing.

      Planning this would be just like planning a dessert party, but on a larger scale. There will be a venue fee, a food and beverage minimum, and then costs of the things you’d like to add. Let me know which locations you’re interested in and I can get you the venue fees and F&B minimums. I’d recommend hiring outside photography and videography to save money.

  • Toolulu
    March 17, 2015

    Hi Carrie,
    I know that you’ve planned several Disney events, and posted so much helpful information regarding your experiences. Your posts (and book) really have been incredibly helpful in nagivating through information as first time destination planners. Our plans are coming together, but one thing has been stressing us out big time- our Disney Event person’s SLOW response time. She told us that we have a hold on our date for a dinner and dessert party, but we haven’t seen our final menus worked up nor our bill. We haven’t been asked and haven’t made a deposit. I called & emailed her 3 weeks ago to find out what was up, and got a “sorry, it’s busy, I’ll work up your event”. I’m just wondering that if it is so busy, if I should make alternate plans? Not sure if this slowness is normal? How was your experience with them when planning? Our event is early June.

    • Carrie
      March 17, 2015

      Hi there! In my experience, they don’t really get into the thick of planning your event until about 90 days out, so you may see an increase in activity soon. For my last event, I didn’t get my final BEO til a week or so beforehand. But I also didn’t ask. 🙂

      • Toolulu
        March 17, 2015

        That is what I was hoping to hear- thank you!!

  • Simon
    March 23, 2015

    Hi Carrie,

    You certainly seem to be a great contact to work with for organizing a private party at Disney!

    I am looking to host a dessert party (most likely to watch Wishes but not essential) after my wedding ceremony which is booked for the S&D hotel. Few q’s if you would be able to help at all:

    1. Can I hold a dessert party at any resort hotel? (Animal Kingdom hotel/Polynesian are favorites)
    2. Does my party have to be staying onsite for any set period of time (Have 30 guests and probably 10 will stay onsite for the wedding night at least)
    3. Do the mimimum spends stay the same at each location?
    4. Is the events email the best contact to arrange with?
    5. Is the GF the only location which will host private dining for offsite guests?

    Really appreciate any input you could give!

    Simon 🙂

    • Carrie
      March 24, 2015

      Hi Simon!
      1) Dessert parties are generally held to coincide with viewing of a fireworks show, so you’ll usually only find them at places where you can see fireworks: Grand Floridian Marina, Whitehall Room at the Grand Floridian Convention Center, Napa/Sonoma rooms at California Grill, Contemporary Porte Cochere, Yacht & Beach Club Marina, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and occasionally the Attic at BoardWalk Inn. But if you don’t care about fireworks, you can hold one in any catered event space. Unfortunately, neither the Polynesian nor Animal Kingdom Lodge has catered event space. But I’ve seen people book suites there and then have food delivered by Private Dining or a local place.

      2) The amount of time they stay on site isn’t as important as the fact that they are staying at a Disney-owned and -operated resort. You should be fine with those numbers.

      3) Every location has its own food and beverage minimum. If you have PassPorter’s Disney Weddings & Honeymoons, they’re all listed in Chapter 3: Wishes Collection and Chapter 5: Additional Events.

      4) Emailing or calling works.

      5) Yes, if you go through their Private Dining department, not Disney Catered Events. No other resort seems to have set up a similar arrangement.

      Hope this helps!

  • Simon
    March 25, 2015

    Hi Carrie,

    Thanks so much for the quick reply – its really helpful, I have looked at the locations you mentioned and really like the look of the Attic – how would I go about getting in touch with bookings or talking over the dessert options available at this location specifically?

    Thanks again Carrie 🙂

    • Carrie
      March 25, 2015

      Hi Simon! All the spaces are booked the same way, by contacting Disney Catered Events at the phone number or email listed at the top of this post. Similarly, all the catered event menus are globally available everywhere, so you don’t need separate menus for each venue. Your planner will send you one generic set of dessert party menus, and then you can work with him/her and the chef to customize it however you want. The only thing that differs is when a location like the Attic is too far from the central kitchen to do certain things (like have a plated meal or glass slipper desserts made of ice).

  • Rachael
    April 15, 2015

    If you live in Orlando, do you still have to have a resort reservation to use Catered Events (for an Illuminations Dessert Party, for example)?

    If so, does that mean your only option, as a local who doesn’t want to get a room, is to do the GF Private Dining? Do they do just dessert parties for Wishes? And if so, is it still the $95/person +$75 butler?

    You can book a (Wishes) Fireworks Cruise without a resort reservation, though, right?

    Thank you for all your info!

  • Rose Gifford
    December 18, 2015

    Hi,
    I am planning on renewing my vows for my 40th anniversary on the deck of the treehouse. (We rented two.). I would love to take the wishes cruise but we have ten adults and a two and four year old. Also, can we order dinner food to be catered onboard? Alternately, would Cinderellas Royal Table be a good place for dinner with the group? Is there a recommendation for fireworks viewing special seating for the group? Is it possible to see the fireworks from Ohana? any ideas you have would be great. By the way, it would be sometime between the 3rd and 10th of July.

    • Carrie
      December 28, 2015

      You can take a Wishes cruise with a group that size—the maximum capacity is 10 adults OR 12 people if the group includes children. You would order food by contacting Private Dining at the resort from which your cruise departs. Those phone numbers can be found HERE. People do seem to like Cinderella’s Royal Table, and most Disney restaurants accommodate groups of up to 13 or 14 by a regular dining reservation. Unfortunately, the best seats for viewing fireworks from within the restaurant are the 2-tops against the windows, but I’m sure you can still see the flashes of color and light from elsewhere in the restaurant.You can see the fireworks from Ohana if you happen to be seated near the windows, but you’d see better if everyone went down to the beach. Honestly, the cruise is your best bet!

  • Jessica
    January 17, 2016

    I wanted to know if I can have a baby shower at Disney and if so, everything it entails. Thanks

    • Carrie
      January 17, 2016

      Yes! It’s just like planning any kind of catered event. Just let them know how many people you expect and they’ll help you pick a venue (I think The Attic would be great!). The food and beverage minimums vary by location and time ($1,000 at The Attic for events ending before 5pm, for example). Then you can customize a menu based on the samples they send or just favorite dishes from around WDW.

  • Dave Jeffery
    January 27, 2016

    Hello, i have just come across this website and thought i’d ask if you can help, we are travelling from the UK on Feb 11th with our daughters and some family (total group size of 13) and we are getting married at Cypress Grove Estate on Feb 15th at lunchtime, we are then looking for somewhere to go for a wedding meal mid to late afternoon, somewhere intimate, fun and really nice as we will be all dressed up in our wedding gear – the thought of doing something at Disney would be amazing for our 3 daughters as a surprise,. Is it too late to arrange something? What would it entail? could you email me any info that you have and any recommendations? thank you very much

    • Carrie
      January 27, 2016

      Yes! It is never too late to plan an event. You basically just pay a food and beverage minimum and a venue fee, though the convention center venues don’t have venue fees. If it’s in-park and you don’t have admission, there’s a viewing fee. One thing to know is that if you do decide to do an event inside the park, no one will be able to wear a wedding gown. Shorter, more casual dresses are OK. If you do your event at a resort, wedding attire is A-OK! I am going to email you the number of a super-helpful planner I’ve worked with in the past. She is investigating who you would talk to at Disney Catered Events to get this started. I guess it depends on whether you’re staying in a Disney resort and, if so, which one. Happy planning!

  • ursula adame
    January 28, 2016

    Trying to have a Basic Desert party at DWHSudios; trying to surprise my wedding guest. If I can know who to call or talk to set this up thank so much

    • Carrie
      January 28, 2016

      Hi Ursula! If you’re having a Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding, your planner can arrange it. Otherwise, call the number I listed in this post for Disney Catered Events. Just to warn you, both Fantasmic! patios are under construction for most of this year, and a lot of the other venues in DHS are off limits. But you planner can help you find a suitable space.

  • Jodi kelly
    February 1, 2016

    Hi!! We will be in Disney in May to celebrate 2 Penn State graduations , a high school graduation , and 2 birthdays . I really want to do a private dessert party in Epcot for 10. I did just call and leave my info with a man in catering . Now he told me that there is a food and beverage minimum of like $1114 (it was some strange number ). Are you aware of any changes , or is that just a matter of the receptionist person not having good info?? Because originally my hubby and I were going to renew our vows , and a dessert party was no where near that price ! I’m
    Hoping he just gave me bad info!
    Thanks!!
    Jodi

    • Carrie
      February 1, 2016

      Hi Jodi! The phone-answerers always say stuff like that to scare off small parties. Just pretend like you’re totally OK with it and wait til they connect you with an actual planner. Those are the folks with the real numbers—and for spots like UK Pubside, they are much lower!

  • Jodi kelly
    February 1, 2016

    Thank you, Carrie! That’s EXACTLY what I did! That’s so annoying that they do that though! We spend a fortune in Disney every 18 months….they should be more than willing to oblige! Lol
    Geesh!

    • Carrie
      February 1, 2016

      I agree! It could be that the phone-answerers genuinely don’t know that there are cheaper options. But having dealt with a number of them myself, it sometimes feels like they take pleasure in shooting people down.

  • Jodi kelly
    February 1, 2016

    Haha well, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt ….for now. Lol

  • Jodi kelly
    February 3, 2016

    Hi!
    So I finally heard back from someone in catering (1st hurdle complete )
    Now she sent that sample menu that has 3 or 4 dessert options…do we have to pick from those or will they let us pick what WE want??
    Thanks for all of your help !

    • Carrie
      February 3, 2016

      Hi Jodi!

      Those are just suggestions. You can completely customize the menu with whatever you want – favorite Disney dishes, things you’ve heard other people had, ideas you get online… Your planner just has to submit your requests to the chefs, and they price it all out.

  • Claire
    February 4, 2016

    Hi,
    You posted some really helpful information recently about how we could celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary and I’m very interested in a DP at UK Lochside or perhaps private dining at the GF. We are not staying on-site so I wondered if you could give me the contact details of who to contact? An email address would be particularly helpful as I’m in the UK.
    Many thanks!

    • Carrie
      February 4, 2016

      Hi Claire! The email you’d use for a dessert party at UK Lochside is the one posted above, meetings@disneyworld.com. Tell them you have 10 people but you’re staying off-site—it sounds like they are now able to plan parties for guests even if they aren’t staying at a Disney-owned resort, they just need to route you to a certain department. There is no general email for private dining at the GF, but the phone number is posted above. Once you chat with them, they can give you the email of the cast member you need to contact.

  • Marlena
    February 8, 2016

    Hi Carrie!

    This is such a helpful site! I am trying to plan a small dinner party/surprise 40th anniversary party for my parents this upcoming May. We are staying at Boardwalk Villas and I was hoping to be able to plan something near that location. Would you recommend contacting the meetings@disneyworld.com address as well for something like this? Any help would be much appreciated!

    • Carrie
      February 8, 2016

      Hi Marlena! I find it’s easier to call. Just steel yourself for the usual “Private events cost $2,000” routine and tell them you’d like to be put in touch with an event planner.

  • Ruthie
    February 9, 2016

    Hi Carrie –

    Your website and podcasts are so helpful! We are planning a WDW vacation this December as an all encompassing celebration of everything over the past several years. I would like to surprise my family with a private event, but I’m not sure exactly what. I’m leaning towards a dessert party. My question is this – which locations are the most handicapped friendly? One member of our party uses a motorized scooter to get around.

    • Carrie
      February 9, 2016

      Hi Ruthie! At Epcot, your best bets would be UK Pubside, Lochside and Upper; Italy West Plaza; French Island Arm; Germany; Parisian Point; Vikings Landing; and Kazbah Point. Well, and Mexico if your group is ginormous. Fantasmic is super-duper accessible, but I don’t know if the private patios will have been returned to service by December. Both locations at the Contemporary Convention Center are accessible, as is Sago Cay Point at the Grand Floridian. Hope this helps!

  • Kimberly Budge
    February 23, 2016

    Hi Carrie, I have been so lucky to come across your website. You seem like such a great help with lots of fab ideas. I am getting married in Orlando next September (2017) and looking to get married at Leu Gardens then reception meal at Disney.. My fiancé and I have our heart set on private dining at the GF but were told the balcony only holds 2-4 people and were advised the chefs top table. We will be having 10 people (all adults) and are keen to eat somewhere private and outside / balcony with view of the fireworks..Is there anywhere you could advise (preferably the GF!) Thank you 🙂

    • Carrie
      February 23, 2016

      Hi Kimberley! I’d call the Grand Floridian back and tell them you want to have your Private Dining meal at Sago Cay, which is a secluded spot in the Marina with a view of fireworks. If they say they can’t book that location, call Disney Catered Events at the number up top and plan your event through them. At the Grand Floridian, they can access Sago Cay and the Grand Floridian Marina (though its food and beverage minimums are pretty high for a group of 10), both of which have views of Wishes. They can also book space in the GF Convention Center. The Whitehall Room and Patio is a nice indoor/outdoor space, but you can only see the high fireworks from there. Alternatively, they can book you a private room at California Grill and you can go out on the catwalk to see the fireworks, or the Porte Cocherr or West Rotunda at the Contemporary Convention Center. Let me know how it turns out!

  • Jozy
    March 11, 2016

    Hello Carrie
    Is there a way to hold a small wedding ceremony at a dessert party (let’s say Wishes), or a private event (like the one you had at Rose and Crown), or a firework cruise? I checked the official Disney packages for a small wedding reception and it is out of our budget (considering all the other expenses for the WDW trip from Canada). We would be 5-6 people in total. Thanks alot! By the way, i LOVE your site!!!!!!! 🙂

    • Carrie
      March 11, 2016

      Hi Jozy! Disney’s official policy is a ban on all but Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings. Whether or not the cast members around you will know this and try to stop the ceremony is something else. But I wouldn’t want to have that kind of anxiety hanging over a wedding ceremony. Usually what people do is hold a small ceremony in their hotel rooms with a local officiant who is willing to perform one (Disney has put the fear o’ God in its approved vendors about doing this, apparently). Some lower cost alternatives to DFTW might be the Swan & Dolphin, Rix Lounge at Coronado Springs, or B Resort and the other resorts on Hotel Plaza Drive. Let me know if I can answer any other questions!

  • Shannen
    April 13, 2016

    Hi Carrie, just stumbled upon this helpful website:)
    I’m from the UK and will be having a small wedding here first before heading over to Florida with family and friends. I was wondering if you knew the food & beverage minimum for California Grill Napa Room and if there is a venue fee? Also how far in advance our you able to book a private event in the Napa Room? Thanks a lot 🙂

    • Carrie
      April 13, 2016

      Hi Shannen! There is no venue fee for the Napa Room. The food and beverage minimums vary by time of day: $2,000 for events ending before 4:00 pm and $4,000 for events that start after 6:00 pm. Events
      that require the room between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm have a $6,000 minimum. All events must end before 11:00 pm. You should be able to book 12 months out.

  • Jose
    May 9, 2016

    Need help in coordinating a private party at a Walt Disney Venue.

    Do you do the planning?

    • Carrie
      May 9, 2016

      No, I just aggregate all the info cuz Disney makes it kinda difficult to find. You can contact Disney Catered Events via meetings@disneyworld.com or 321-939-7278.

  • Coralie
    May 28, 2016

    Hi Carrie. Thank you so much for all the info you post! Your website & guide have been a godsend to me & my fiancé during our wedding planning so far.
    I am hoping to book a dessert party for 11-15 people in Epcot UK for the night of our wedding at Swan & Dolphin (we are from the UK). As our wedding will not be organized by DFTW, do you know if I can still wear my wedding dress, as it is a private event, or will I have to change?

    Also, I read that you used Roots for your photography- are they affiliated with Disney or did you source them yourself? I was hoping to bring my own photographer/ videographer to the dessert party but I read here that it has to be a Disney photographer. Do you know if this is the case?:
    http://parksandresorts.wdpromedia.com/media/disneyweddings/images/weddings/Special+Venue+Guidelines.pdf

    Thank you!

    • Carrie
      May 28, 2016

      Hi Coralie! I’m so glad you’ve found the site and book helpful! The bad news is that you will not be able to wear your wedding gown inside the park because you aren’t having a DFTW event. The good news is the document you found is very old and the prohibition on non-Disney photographers (like the Roots) inside the parks is gone. Let me know if I can answer any other questions!

  • Nicole
    June 19, 2016

    Hi Carrie!

    What a great website this is! 🙂
    I’m interested in having a private dinner with 16 people at Disney World. Can you recommend restaurants with private rooms to accommodate us? Or any other ideas you have are welcome! Thanks so much?

    • Carrie
      June 21, 2016

      Hi Nicole! The Disney restaurants with private rooms that are big enough for 16 are California Grill, Jiko, The Wave and Trattoria al Forno. The latter two have the lowest prices. Citricos’ private room only accommodates 12. You could also buy out the Victoria Room at Victoria& Albert’s, but that would cost a lot more than any of these. Many of the restaurants at the Swan & Dolohin and Disney Springs have private rooms, or at least private areas. If you happen to have PassPorter’s Disney Weddings & Honeymoons, there’s a chart in Chapter 2 with details on all of them.

      • Nicole
        June 21, 2016

        Thanks so much! This is really helpful. 🙂

  • Heidi
    July 3, 2016

    Hi Carrie,
    I love your site! Thanks to all of the information you have provided, I have booked a private Illuminations dessert party at the end of August. One quick question, do you know if it is possible to get a Disney photographer to come to the party? If so, any idea of the cost? Thanks so much!!!

    • Carrie
      July 4, 2016

      Hi Heidi! You can indeed hire a Disney Fine Art Photographer to shoot the dessert party (you can also bring your own photographer). The DFAP package costs $395 and includes 60–90 minutes of photography by two photographers, 30–50 photos, and a proof disc. A disc of archival images costs $250.

  • Michelle
    July 14, 2016

    Carrie,

    I called DCE to inquire about the Attic or Ariels and all they would tell me is that it is $4200 for dinner for 25 people or $6200 for 50 for dinner and $4100 for brunch. I thought this was more cutomizable? We are Florida residents so we aren’t required to have resort reservations. But, I thought there was a venue fee and then a per person charge? I asked this exact question and she just gave me the numbers above. Am I missing something? lol

    • Carrie
      July 17, 2016

      The first person you talk to at DCE never has exact pricing info. You need to wait till they put you in touch with an actual planner, which can take a few days. The food and beverage minimums at both those places are FAR lower than what they quoted you. They just like to scare people off by throwing big numbers around when you first call. Not all venues have venue fees, but all have flat food and beverage minimums. The Attic’s is $2,500 at dinner with no venue fee. Ariel’s is $1,800 at dinner with no venue fee.

      • Michelle
        July 24, 2016

        Thank you! Any idea if we did Ariels if we would have access to Stormalong Bay? Or am I being too hopeful. We also wanted Mickey and Minnie. Think this location is enclosed enough? If we did brunch would that be a lower minimum than dinner?

        • Carrie
          July 24, 2016

          Access to Stormalong Bay is only available to overnight guests of the resort, unfortunately. But you can definitely have characters at Ariel’s, and yes, brunch has a lower minimum than dinner. I don’t have access to the PassPorter at the moment, but I believe the brunch minimum is about $1,000.

  • Lennon
    July 16, 2016

    Your site is fantastic! I was pretty heartbroken after my experience to I found this site!

    Here’s been my experience, so far:

    I called up Disney asking about (a first) a private meeting with a character, and asked about the price! After being transferred around for about an hour I at last they found someone to talk answer my question (sort of). They told me it was possible but I’ve have to plan an even with a minimum of 10 people and some crazy minimum food and drink amount of like $2,500 on top of what the character would cost and rent space etc. I was upset after I got off the phone as they made it sound practically impossible and made it sound as if this was going to cost me 10 grand just to do something so small!

    Thankfully I found your site! Called them back up and told them what you said. They broke pretty quick saying alright, if you want to pay for 10 people go for it! Now I’m waiting on a planner to get back to me to see what it’s really going to cost. I can budget 5 thousand but of course I’d like to get the best price!

    I’ve decided on just making into my birthday to give them something to say I’m celebrating, most likely it will be an maximum of 5 (including myself) perhaps only two. I’ve read that characters can only attend places that are enclosed so can you recommend a small indoor area? It can be a storage room far as I care! 😛 I just need something modest and has a low rental and or food coast that’ll work for a character event. Can you offer any recommendations? 🙂

    • Carrie
      July 17, 2016

      Hi Lennon! I’m so glad you found this info helpful! Which park or resort are you looking at? All of the convention centers have one or two modestly-priced rooms where you could do your event. At Epcot you could do the old Wonders Lounge – I’m pretty sure that’d be cheaper than places like Living Seas Salon and American Adventure Parlor. But you can check out all the various venues here: http://disneytravelbabble.com/disney-weddings/wdw-venue-photos/

      • Lennon
        July 18, 2016

        Thank you so very much for getting back to me! I took a look at what you sent and the Wonders Lounge at Epcot looked pretty good! Basically I’d be happy for the event to be pretty much any where! My goal is to save as much as I possibly can on the event space (that will work for what I need, we’ll be a party or no more than 5). And it be okay for a character to be present in this space. Something modest with a low count/food min would work best for me! The plan is s dessert party!

        Any suggestions for this? 🙂

        Thank you so very much for your help!

        • Lennon
          July 18, 2016

          Oh also they got back with me with “menu” prices ranging from 80-140 per person. That felt a bit high though! Can you suggest what I should tell my planner? I had asked for a desert party with finger foods but would also like a custom cake (I believe this also comes out of the food total if Disney does it?)

          • Carrie
            July 18, 2016

            Yes, cake will apply to the food and beverage minimums if it is made by the catering team where your event is being held. I would just find out what the food and beverage minimum is for the location you choose and tell your planner you want to stick as closely to that as possible. If your minimum is $800 and you get a cake that costs $250, just divide the remaining $550 by your 5 guests and that’s $110/person you need to spend (including alcohol or other beverages). You could do a little buffet of appetizers or a build-your-own macaroni and cheese (or mashed potato!) bar, add in some drinks and be all set!

            • Lennon
              July 18, 2016

              Thank you so very much! 🙂

        • Carrie
          July 18, 2016

          OK, so in that case a resort location, at one of the convention centers, is going to be your best bet. Ariel’s and the Attic are resort locations. They also have a small room at the Grand Floridian called Key West that has low food and beverage minimums. But there are smaller rooms at all the convention centers, so maybe pick the one closest to where you’ll be staying? Or closest to fireworks—for example, if you were at the Contemporary, you could walk out to the parking lot to see Wishes if your event coincides.

          • Lennon
            July 18, 2016

            Sounds great! Thanks again!

  • Marie
    July 29, 2016

    Looking to rent a place for illuminations for five people. Would love to make it just an dessert party, maybe few appetizers or i seen something about nacho bar? What is the best place for this and what would be the approx. cost?
    THANKS!

    • Carrie
      August 1, 2016

      The smallest locations available for an IllumiNations dessert party are UK Pubside and Bonsai Terrace (on the pagoda in Japan). UK Pubside requires special permission from the park, which some Disney Catered Events staffers misinterpret as it not being available at all. Just let them know they have to ask for permission. Both venues have a $100 venue rental fee and a $250 food and beverage minimum, plus a 23% service charge on food and beverage and 6.5% tax on everything, including the service charge.

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