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: 407-824-1951

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 $125/person plus 18% service charge and 6.5% sales tax. There’s also a $100 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 $50 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. In 2017 they dropped the 10-person minimum but introduced an overall minimum expenditure of $1,000 before tax and service charge. All the venue fees and site-specific food and beverage minimums remain the same, but you must spend at least $1,000 with Disney now to do a catered event—even if there are only two of you.

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

NOTES: These food and beverage minimums are for dessert parties only. Certain locations have higher minimums for a full meal. You must spend at least $1,000 (pre-tax and service charge) to hold a Disney Catered Event.
  • Venue Rental Fee: $150-$500, depending on location
  • Food & Beverage Minimums: $250-$2,500, depending on location
  • Viewing Fee: $10/guest (except bridal couple) for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings events or $10/guest without admission for Disney Catered Events
  • Ride Mix-in Fee: $15/guest without admission.
  • 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: $645 up to 50 guests
Wishes at the Contemporary
  • Venue Rental Fee: none
  • West Rotunda Courtyard/Patio (20 to 80 guests) Food & Beverage Minimums: $1,500
  • Porte-Cochere (50-500 guests) Food & beverage Minimums: $1,250
  • Viewing Fee: none
  • Wishes Soundtrack Fee: $645 up to 50 guests
  • Venue Rental Fee: $250
  • Small Patio (up to 40 guests) Food & Beverage Minimums: $400
  • Large Patio (40-100 guests) Food & Beverage Minimums: $750
  • Viewing Fee: $10/guest (except bridal couple) for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings events or $10/guest without admission for Disney Catered Events
  • Ride Mix-in 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.

Ride Mix-ins

If your event is held inside a theme park, you can arrange what’s called a “ride mix-in” where your party is escorted to the front of the line at a ride. This must occur at the end of the park’s operating hours and in the same park where your event is held. For example, you could do a ride mix-in on Frozen Ever After immediately following an IllumiNations dessert party at Epcot. The $15/person fee is waived for those who have park admission.

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 $42 one-way vans backstage.

How to Plan a Tower of Terror Dinner Party

How to Plan an IllumiNations Dessert Party

245 Responses
  • Pinkgirl
    February 17, 2011

    Hi, what a gorgeous idea. Is this venue still available for a dessert party as I cannot find anything about it in the Wedding Passporter.

    • lurkyloo
      February 17, 2011

      Yes! I didn’t put UK Pubside in PassPorter’s Weddings & Honeymoons because the capacity is only 10 people, and I figured it wouldn’t be feasible for most wedding groups. But it is definitely still available for private parties—just contact Disney Catering & Convention Services at the number given above.

  • Susan
    March 20, 2011

    Hi
    Do you have a list of the different places for private parties. Can you do any thing
    at the HM at Magic Kingdom?

    • lurkyloo
      March 21, 2011

      Yes, if you go to the Disney Weddings tab at the top of the page and pull down Wedding Venue Photos, those links act as a list of nearly every venue at Walt Disney World. Unfortunately, at this time there are no venues inside Magic Kingdom besides the Swan Boat Landing wedding location. However, you can do an event inside Haunted Mansion at Disneyland… If you have $40,000…

  • Kyle
    April 23, 2011

    Would you call Disney Catered Events?

    • lurkyloo
      April 24, 2011

      Whom you need to talk to depends on which Disney resort you’re staying at, so you need to call the main number and let them route you to the right person.

  • Kyle
    April 24, 2011

    As far as the Swan Boat Landing can it be rented for after park closure and if so do you know the price. I just found your site! I am so excited. I really think this is the most informative Disney blog I have found in a LONG time. Thank you for offering so much information and sharing so many amazing experiences. My Budget is limited to $1000 I only want a dining experience private and magical after park hours is preferable.

    • lurkyloo
      April 24, 2011

      Availability in the Magic Kingdom is extremely limited and usually only for huge corporate parties—your best bet is one of the other three parks. I have not heard of them renting out the Swan Boat Landing for anything other than weddings, which have a $10,000 minimum and include some stuff you won’t need. Best to talk to your planner at Disney Catered Events to see what your options are.

  • Samantha
    April 26, 2011

    I know you seem to only have disney world experience, but was wondering if you knew if they do any thing like this at disneyland? As far as very small private parties in either of the parks. Thank you so much and i just love your site here (i am a little obsessed)!

    • lurkyloo
      April 26, 2011

      The reason I only do events at WDW is that Disneyland really doesn’t have any venues suitable for small groups. You can plan an event there, but you have to pay the same prices as a large group, and the in-park options are $$$. However, I still check in with them occasionally to see if anything has changed because I would love to be able to do an event there, so you’ll see it here if I have any luck! Thanks for reading!

  • kayte
    May 31, 2011

    Hi,

    I heard about the re-hitching ceremony at the Garden Grill. Do you know if they still do that? We really want to do a VR next year but not sure that it will fit our budget. Any suggestions?

    • lurkyloo
      May 31, 2011

      From what I can find, officially they don’t offer the re-hitchin’ ceremony anymore, but if you get a server who knows it, they will do it for you. Have you looked into the Memories Collection of Disney weddings/vow renewals? They’re still almost $2,000, but that’s less than half what an Escape event costs. You could also do a small dessert party or private dinner somewhere at your resort, or hire the Grand 1 yacht ($520/hour) for Wishes or a pontoon boat (about $350) for a Wishes/IllumiNations cruise. if you really want a ceremony, you might look into other local venues, like the Maitland Art Center, Leu Gardens, and the Kraft Azalea Garden. If you can get a military or government sponsor, you could do a VR at Shades of Green—I believe they have a package that’s less than $1,000. Or, heck, how about a nice dinner at California Grill during the fireworks? Or maybe a carriage ride at Fort Wilderness/Port Orleans?

  • kayte
    June 1, 2011

    I was all set to do the Memories …. had everything done in my head…… looked at the dates… they stop them in April 2012. We are going Oct 2012 :(.

    I am now leaning towards one “big” thing at each of the parks. My only problem now is what can you do at Hollywood Studios? I know about Illuminations Cruises etc but have no idea what we can dao at the Studios.

    • lurkyloo
      June 1, 2011

      Oh no! I am keeping my fingers crossed that they decide to extend the Memories Collection. It seems like it’s been fairly popular, and it’s easy enough for Disney to pull off, so here’s hoping… At Hollywood Studios there’s always Fantasmic! Doing a dessert party at one of the patios is kinda pricey (figure on at least $1,000) but you can also just do the Fantasmic! dinner package with reserved seating.

    • Jennifer
      August 19, 2011

      I don’t know if you are still in the market or not for this. I have heard that they have extended this package.

      • Nicole
        February 7, 2012

        I just talked to Disney Weddings today. They are keeping the Memories Wedding Collection. The price is going up to 2400 in May 2012 and you will be receiving more pictures as well.

        • lurkyloo
          February 7, 2012

          I see I should have updated this post when I added information on the extension of the Memories Collection to my book! 🙂 Complete details on everything included in the new package, including the change of venues offered, can be found in PassPorter’s Disney Weddings & Honeymoons!

  • Clare
    June 3, 2011

    I love the UK pubside epcot/illuminations private event – Can you recommend any other venues for small private illuminations??

    • lurkyloo
      June 3, 2011

      Let’s see… well Italy Isola has the best view of any of the other smaller locations. The trouble is getting them to let you use it with fewer than 20 people. Apparently they’ve been cracking down lately and trying to get smaller groups into the *really* small, standing-room-only venues in Norway, France, Africa (this one does have seats), and Morocco. If you had to, I’d say go with France or Morocco, cuz the fireworks views from Africa and Norway are obstructed.

      • Clare
        June 4, 2011

        Excellent – thanks for the information.
        There will be only 6 of us and one has a trouble standing for long periods so think UK pubside will be the venue I request! seems ironic as I am from the UK 🙂
        Thanks for your help and all this amazing info on this site!!!

        • lurkyloo
          June 5, 2011

          No problem – I’m glad I could help! UK Pubside really does have the best view, I think. 🙂

  • loribell
    July 18, 2011

    Love all your information. Do you know which venues would do 12 people? Also is there anything like the TOT or RNRC venues at AK (specifically at EE)?

    • lurkyloo
      July 19, 2011

      They like to put groups of 10-20 in the newer spots, some of which are standing-room only: Canada Overlook, Outpost Overlook in Africa, Vikings Landing in Norway, and Parisian Point in France (on the other side of the Pavilion). If you go to my Walt Disney World Wedding Venues page, I have links to pictures of most of these places (more on the way—let me know if there’s a specific place you’d like to see that I haven’t posted yet). If you’re lucky, they’ll let you use a 20-minimum spot like UK Lochside or UK Terrace, Morocco Oasis, or Italy West Plaza.

      Disney does do parties at Expedition Everest. There is a $3,000 venue rental fee, a $10,000 food and beverage minimum, and you are required to rent the Expedition Everest attraction, which costs $8,500. If you want a DJ, it’s another $6,500.

      • loribell
        July 19, 2011

        Thanks so much for the information. I am considering it for our Christmas trip and having a meal from Le Cellier. We wanted to do a Le Cellier package for the Candlelight Processional but they are only offering it for lunch. Maybe we can do this for Illuminations and on a different night just do a walk up for the last showing of the CP.

        Wow! They are really proud of AK and EE! Wonder why it is so much more than DHS & TOT or RNRC?!

        • lurkyloo
          July 19, 2011

          Yeah, I think EE just costs more to do because the park has less built-in event support than Epcot and DHS. Though I dunno why you’re required to keep the ride open…

          Regarding Candlelight, I think that’s a great idea. I don’t know if you’ve seen my Christmas trip report, but we were thoroughly underwhelmed by the CP dinner package. You still have to wait in line, and there’s not enough time to get to the special fireworks viewing spot, plus they are SO expensive compared to what we’d normally spend on a meal. I think they’re a total waste of money.

          • loribell
            July 19, 2011

            Thanks again. I will share your info with my cousin and see if she likes the idea. We have done the CP dinner package once before when they weren’t doing the Illuminations viewing. It really does sound like we would be really pushed to get there to watch. I am really liking the idea of doing it on different nights and having our own personal spot.

  • Rita
    January 17, 2012

    This is the best site for Disney info that I’ve ever seen! Thanks to you, my husband will be enjoying some kind of special event for his 50th birthday party in March (maybe even two small events). Since you are clearly the QUEEN of WDW planning, do you have any recommendations for what we should choose? We’ll be a party of 8 (roughly) and our kids are 10 and under, but have been to WDW +20-25 times. We know that we’re not interested in Fantasmic, but other than that, we haven’t ruled out anything. Thanks for such an amazing, great site! The visuals and the information are just perfect!

    • lurkyloo
      January 17, 2012

      Wow – thanks for the kind words! Let’s see… for me, a Disney party isn’t a party unless it has fireworks, so I’m partial to both types of events described on my site. If you did like Fantasmic! I might have suggested that combined with a meal in a fun place at DHS but I’m not much of a fan of the show either, so I totally understand. If you’ve never done an IllumiNations or Wishes cruise, that would be fun with a group your size. I prefer IllumiNations because you’re so much closer to the action, but lots of people looooove Wishes cruises. If you have the scratch, the Grand 1 Yacht sounds like a blast. Otherwise, a straight-up IllumiNations dessert party is always fun, and easy to plan!

  • Angelica
    January 23, 2012

    Just wanted to say thank you for the information you posted about a dessert party, I spoke with someone today at the number you posted and we have started planning one too!:)

    • lurkyloo
      January 23, 2012

      Fabulous! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • hardtoport
    January 23, 2012

    Hi lurkyloo! Thanks for putting together such a great blog! My partner and I are in the middle of planning a Kilimanjaro Sunset Safai with dinner at Tamu Tamu Gardens and an Illuminations Dessert Party at UK Terrace in July (on separate days). Something we’re debating is whether to get a professional photographer. If you don’t mind me asking, how much have you paid for the various times you hired The Roots? Disney offers a photographer for $375 for two hours, but I worry if they’re any good…

    • lurkyloo
      January 25, 2012

      Hi there! OK, I started a reply but it got super-long, so I’m going to email it to you! 🙂

  • Carolina
    January 25, 2012

    Thanks for the info on the HS Sorcerers Hat, so nixing that idea do you happen to have any info on a private event at Tamu Tamu? I can’t seem to find anything anywhere.

    • lurkyloo
      January 25, 2012

      Yes! (Cribbing from my book…) “It seats up to 50 guests, with a venue rental fee of $250 and a food and beverage minimum of $2,500. Existing tables for four may be removed for a charge of $250. Restrooms are located outside the venue, a few feet away.”

  • Carolina
    January 25, 2012

    WHOA! your book!!! had no idea. thanks so much for the info. The info in your book is all the same for any event regardless if it’s not a wedding?

    • lurkyloo
      January 25, 2012

      Pretty much. The differences are just in policy, not pricing.

  • Carolina
    January 25, 2012

    Excellent! Thanks, off to get a copy of the book

  • Rita
    February 25, 2012

    A big follow-up of thanks! Next week we’ll be having three private events to celebrate my husband’s upcoming 50th…We’re doing a Sunday breakfast at Flame Tree Gardens in AK with an early-on Expedition Everest for 17; then a Monday dinner party for 8 at the UK area in Epcot for IllumiNations; followed by a Tuesday night cruise with a cold dinner & desserts for 4 on the Grand I Yacht. Thanks for the ideas. When my husband thanks me for the great surprises, I’ll let him know that you get the credit:) Can’t wait!

    • Carrie
      February 25, 2012

      Fantastic! Your trip sounds like SO much fun! I’m so glad I could help out. 🙂

  • Kathy Kelly
    March 2, 2012

    Hi Carrie!

    I’m new to your blog, but have lurked on your TRs on the DISboards!

    I’m dreaming of having a private party at WDW to celebrate our 20th anniversary, which falls on New Year’s Eve. We honeymooned in New Orleans so I’m thinking it would be great fun to have our party somewhere at the POR/POFQ resort.

    Do you know of any potential party “spots” there?

    Thanks, and good luck with the new podcast — I’ll be listening!

    Kathy

    • Carrie
      March 2, 2012

      Hi Kathy! In general, the private party spots are at Deluxe resorts and in the parks because that’s where the support facilities are. For example, there is no private dining department at POR/POFQ to make and deliver the food for an event. You might think about doing your own DIY picnic or in-room celebration there, though. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

  • Donna
    April 16, 2012

    Gaia (Catering & Convention Services Manager) is helping me plan an event for our family. I requested something close up on water in Epcot. Fireworks and a pretty location are monument for us. She wanted to do this in ShowPlace Pavilion. She had no photos to show me and it is not on the water. Our number of guests are 60 or more. It is a family reunion of sorts with a surprise inclusion of a party for our first grandchild coming in August (recently found out “It’s a princess”). I truly want this to be exceptional in location so that the fireworks are right there. “Magical” is what we need at this time. Many challenges have hit our family these past few years and we are hoping for this to be one of the most special evenings of our guests experience. She mentioned that it is a peek time and that they cannot use anything on the water. That sent me into complete disappointment. I am overwhelmed now. I don’t know if there is a location that is private and up close to view “Wishes”. The other parks (Animal Kingdom etc.) I know very little about. However, firework viewing is paramount for us for this party. It doesn’t matter to us if it is a dessert party or a meal. We ideally wanted 3 characters. However, she said that it has to be in a closed off area for that since characters cannot turn away any guests. I think that makes perfect sense and have no issue with any of that. We can forego them if we must. I mentioned us watching fireworks and having the eats after park closes. I was under the assumption that they will not close off Canada or other places during open park hours. Is that not the case? Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Thanks so much for any help!!!

    • Carrie
      April 17, 2012

      Hi Donna! When is your party planned for? I know that October is pretty much fully booked for dessert parties at Epcot, for example. If you have your heart set on Epcot and are flexible, you could ask which waterside locations are available on other days during your trip (and, yes, Canada is available as a location, but it does not have a fireworks view—and its viewing area across the street is too small for your party). Unfortunately, there are no private parties offered inside the Magic Kingdom during Wishes, but you can rent the Grand Floridian Marina or Sago Cay Pointe (an area nearby the Marina) for a party within view of Wishes. Piping in the music starts at $500, but some people skip it. Also, Hollywood Studios has a large patio for viewing Fantasmic! where you can hold private events. It’s definitely less popular than IllumiNations dessert parties are, so you might try that. Characters are prohibited at all outdoor events. But you could have them at an indoor dinner (like Hollywood Studios’ Backstage Prop Shop or Hollywood Hideaway OR Epcot’s American Adventure Parlor or Living Seas Salon OR a ballroom at the Grand Floridian) and then move the party outside for the fireworks show. Hope this helps!

      • Donna
        April 17, 2012

        Carrie,
        Please feel free not to post or delete my long replies if you want. They will take up alot of space on your blog and I TOTALLY get that. I got long winded. You are wonderful!!
        Sending a hug of gratitude.

        • Carrie
          April 17, 2012

          No worries! I sent you an email reply so I could go on at length. Check your spam folder if you don’t see it!

          • Donna
            April 17, 2012

            You are a super hero!!!!!!!!!!

  • Christina
    April 17, 2012

    Hi,

    I’m getting married at the polynesian resort this August, we’re doing the memories package. I’m wondering where you would suggest having our dinner, I would love something romantic and reasonable priced. We’re going to have approximately 16 guests and there will be children, we’re thinking about having it at the Aloha restaurant where our ceremony will be occuring as it will entertain the children.

    Also, we’re having pictures in the park but since magic kingdom is twice the price of the other parks which would you suggest out of the remaining parks for great wedding photos.

    • Carrie
      April 17, 2012

      Hi! Let’s see… well, I would not call the Spirit of Aloha romantic, but it is a fun option for a group with children. My choice for romance would be California Grill, which might actually end up costing less per person than the Spirit of Aloha, has much better food, and has a view of Wishes. The Wave at the Contemporary would be a less expensive choice, and they have a semi-private area they could put you in (you can also hire it as a private room, which requires a food and beverage minimum of $1,500). Narcoossee’s is also considered to be romantic, and you can go out on the balcony there to view Wishes. Wherever you book, be sure to call Disney’s Group Dining line (407-938-0300), rather than the main Disney Dining Line. They will tell you that unless you choose the first or last seating of the night, they can’t guarantee your party will sit together, but once you get to the restaurant, the staff usually makes it happen.

      As to the photo shoot, I think Epcot has the best variety of beautiful locations. Animal Kingdom is cool, but you end up with a lot of shots of walls and foliage rather than Disney landmarks. Hollywood Studios has all that great neon plus landmarks, so that might be another good choice—especially if it’s a sentimental favorite for you.

  • Andrea
    April 25, 2012

    Hi Lurkyloo! I am spending my 40th down at WDW. Our APs will have expired, so we aren’t planning the parks except for MNSSHP. I was thinking that perhaps we could do a private party instead. The party dates don’t look like they’ll be convenient for us. There are 5 of us (me, dh, dd 8, and ds, dd 3). Do you think we could do a private party? Where, how and who do I call. Thanks in advance.

    • Carrie
      April 25, 2012

      Hi Andrea! The number at the top of this page is the one to call to start your planning. Check out the links above to see the planning process for two different kinds of parties, including pricing and requirements. There’s also a link in the first paragraph to info about planning a private meal at the Grand Floridian. But, basically, you just call Disney’s Catered Events, tell them which Disney resort you’re staying at, and then get assigned to a planner from that resort. Hope this helps!

  • Andrea
    April 25, 2012

    Hi Again, Spoke with Disney catering and they are quoting me minimums like $2500!! They mention Hollywood Hideaway and Norway Loft as well as the Grand Floridian Convention facility. I read about the private meal at the Grand Floridian and called conventions/catering, but wasn’t offered anything like that. I’m thinking that perhaps a private dinner or brunch would be good for our family, but I like the prices I’ve seen here in the $400 range. Who do I speak to to get rolling along these lines? TIA

    • Carrie
      April 25, 2012

      Unfortunately, Disney is not crazy about doing low-dollar events, so they like to throw around the big numbers to deter small parties/people who aren’t serious. An IllumiNations dessert party for 10 people in Japan or UK Pubside can be had for around $400 (plus $12.95/guest as a viewing fee cuz you won’t have park admission). You’d just need to call back and say that’s what you’re interested in and ask to be contacted by a planner. As to the Grand Floridian, it sounds like you’re better off working with Private Dining (407-824-2474) on a meal there. They’re used to arranging small private events in the Marina there or on the 5th floor balcony. Sorry you had such a bum experience! 🙁

  • Andrea
    April 25, 2012

    Thanks Carrie. I’ll try again with them. The only problem with the Dessert Party is that it runs too late for my little ones. I’ll try for the Grand Floridian private dining route, I think.

    • Carrie
      April 25, 2012

      Good luck! I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  • Andrea
    April 30, 2012

    Hi Carrie, Finally found the person I should speak with at the Grand Floridian. Put a call into her and am waiting to hear back. My other options are breakfast at Norway Loft or Dino Lounge (both would run about $911, all in). Those would be just a meal, no entertainment, which may be dull. Would the small balcony during Fantasmic be comparable in price? Like the idea of the entertainment. Do they bring you in/out through a backstage door? Hope to hear back from The Grand Floridian soon so I can get an idea of price on that. What do you think will be my best bet (Party of 5, two adults, three children)?

    • Carrie
      April 30, 2012

      Yes, Fantasmic! would cost about the same or just slightly more: $750 food and beverage minimum + $250 venue fee, $75 setup fee and $12.95/person viewing fee. But that includes entertainment, so it might be the best combo. They do bring you in and out via backstage.

  • Shana
    May 21, 2012

    First off, I love your website; such great information!
    I am planning my 25th birthday to include a dessert party at Epcot. I will be having somewhere between 10 and 20 people there; are you able to also have dinner out there without park admission or would it just be the dessert party? Thanks in advance!

    • Carrie
      May 22, 2012

      If you’re having dinner at a private catered event and paying the viewing fee, yes. If you’re planning to go to a restaurant before your dessert party, you’ll need park admission. Note that certain locations have higher food and beverage minimums when you do a full meal instead of just desserts. Hope this helps!

      • Shana
        May 22, 2012

        Thank you, Carrie! I did just get a call back from a planner and told me that all of the dates I was looking at were already booked (my birthday happens to be during the first week of the Food and Wine festival), but she did tell me about a private boat that I could rent to watch the Wishes fireworks instead and that they can provide some decorations, as well as snacks, sweets, and drinks.

        • Carrie
          May 22, 2012

          Oh good! We’ve done a couple of IllumiNations cruises, and they’re fun—especially if the harbor master (or whomever) lets the captain dock the boat inside Epcot!

  • cathy
    June 24, 2012

    I was wondering if Disney offered anything for a Marriage Proposal ?? If any Character assist / or anything ??

    • Carrie
      June 24, 2012

      Hi Cathy! The only package, so to speak, is a glass slipper ring proposal offered by Cinderella’s Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom: (407) 824-4477. Otherwise, there is no standard package to buy or phone number to call for help with a proposal, unfortunately. The best thing to do is to ask the Concierge at your Disney hotel for help, or to simply speak to a cast member in the park and explain what you’re trying to do. If you talk to a character handler or a Photopass photographer, they may be especially well-equipped to help you out. Hope this helps!

    • Bre
      February 10, 2013

      Hey there,

      I realize it has been quite a while since you asked this question but I figured I’d still answer in case it helps you or anyone else 🙂 I have worked in Entertainment @ WDW for seven years now and we are frequently reminded that characters cannot participate in proposals /ceremonies of any kind. Characters can come to your private property events though, and are happy to celebrate with you! For a price of course… 🙂

  • Dawn
    June 28, 2012

    First off, let me say love , love , love all of the info here and what the possibilities are ! I have been back and forth with Gaia from Catered Events on different ideas to celebrate my son’s 16th . I was hoping do do a dessert /dinner similar to your Epcot UKPubside event. She has offered me many ideas but isn’t mentioning UK Pubside at all. For desserts in Epcot she is reccomending Bonsai Terrace in Japan. Not sure that will feel as “special” as being on the water. Do you have thoughts on this? Also she said UK Lochside was a possibility for us ( even thow we will be a party of 5) , as long as we meet the food minimum. Do you know if they no longer offer UKPubside?
    Thank you so much for any advice you can offer.

    • Carrie
      June 28, 2012

      Hi Dawn! I’m so glad you like the site! For some reason, they are really cagey about UK Pubside. I know of at least 3 groups who have had events there this year, but all of them found it took a lot of pestering to get the planner to admit it was a possibility. Frankly, UK Lochside is so cool that I wouldn’t be bummed out if that were my only option. But if you have your heart set on Pubside, try the old “But THEY got to use it!!!” routine. I do feel that Bonsai Terrace is too far from the action for my taste, but it is private and unique.

  • Krystalynn
    July 12, 2012

    Hi Carrie! I’m from the DISboards and was lurking around your website. I saw in a previous comment someone mention some kind of Fantasmic! package for a group? I haven’t picked up your book yet so I wasn’t sure if this info is in there ^.^ We are planning an Escape VR and I was trying to decide what to do as our “reception”. I was thinking of Mickey’s BBQ or HDDR since we’ll have kids. Or maybe a, Illuminations dessert party. Not sure just yet 🙂

    • Carrie
      July 12, 2012

      Hi! So the only package, per se, is the Fantasmic! dinner thing where you eat at a restaurant and get so-so reserved seats. But you can totally do a private dessert party there like the ones you do at IllumiNations. The prices are listed in my reply to that question you mentioned. The only trick is that there are fewer occurrences of Fantasmic! during the week and more chance the show will get cancelled due to inclement weather (supposedly), so sometimes that scares people into doing IllumiNations instead.

  • Adam Brown
    July 18, 2012

    Hi I wonder if someone could help me?

    I am looking at getting married in disney world in april 2015. It will be ourselves and our daughter who will be 3 years old at the time. We want to stay for a week at disney world on holiday so it would be like a honeymoon all in one. Is this available and if so who do I need to speak to?

    If anyone knows who I need to contact or where I need to start looking I would really appreciate it.

    Many thanks for all your help!

    • Carrie
      July 18, 2012

      Hi Adam! There are no all-in-one wedding and honeymoon packages available through Disney, but UK travel agencies may offer these. However, I would advise booking the wedding directly through Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings rather than Virgin Holidays, Thomas Cook, et al. because it will give you greater control over the wedding package options—no middleman involved. You might want to check out my inexpensive e-book, PassPorter’s Disney Weddings & Honeymoons, which gives a complete breakdown of all the wedding packages with more detailed pricing than Disney has on its site, including a budget that will help you calculate exactly how much a wedding will cost. Once you buy, you get free updates for life, which means you’ll always have the latest information even if prices and options change between now and 2015.

      • Tina Stevenson
        April 30, 2013

        Hey Carrie, I know this is VERY late to the party, but I’m confused by whether or not you can wear wedding attire in park when doing a reception or dessert party?

        I bought the passporter book, which SEEMS to say that if your reception is happening after hours (or even during park hours) that wedding attire is acceptable if you charter the bus to go through the back? I’m interested in doing an in-bridal dessert party at Rue de Paris ($460 food minimum/335 venue fee) but I’m curious as to whether I’ve misread something? I didn’t know if calling them would make sense, as we are actually looking to do a wedding on the Disney cruise line, and then spend 2 days at WDW before returning home, and wanted to do the Dessert party “as a last hurrah in our ‘outfits'” before returning home?

        I’m just trying to figure out if that’s allowed.

        • Carrie
          May 1, 2013

          Hi Tina! If you are having a Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding event, you can wear your bridal attire at an event inside the park (open or closed) as long as you have an escort into the park or arrive from backstage. (Let me know where in the PassPorter this is confusing and I’ll fix it!) Bridal attire is not officially permitted at Disney’s Catered Events (i.e., non-DFTW events), although I have heard of people getting away with it. I think in your situation, though, they shouldn’t hassle you because you will be having a DFTW event, just not on land.

  • Paula Engeldrum
    December 10, 2012

    Hi,

    I would like to plan an fun dinner(buffet), for my daughter’s college lacrosse team. There would be approx. 50-60 people. We will be there for spring break playing in a tournament. The date I am interested in is tuesday, March 2, 2013. Looking for some suggestions. Economically friendly! Thank you!

    • Carrie
      December 10, 2012

      For that many people, the cheapest Disney catered event would probably be a dessert party in Epcot, Hollywood Studios or at one of the resorts with a view of the Magic Kingdom. For dinner, even if it’s a BBQ-style buffet or sandwiches, you’re looking at at least $45 or $50 per person, plus tax and service charge.

      You might want to investigate the non-Disney restaurants at Downtown Disney (everything but Captain Jack’s basically) and see if they can give you a private area, if not a private room, for a lower per-person minimum expenditure. The restaurants at the Swan & Dolphin have private rooms that start at around $2,000 minimum expenditures and go up. The Wave at The Contemporary has a room with a $2,000 minimum at dinner. Or just make a large-party reservation somewhere during regular operating hours: Ohana is used to dealing with large parties.

      Alternatively, if you can get a suite or a DVC villa that’s 1 or 2 bedrooms, sometimes people just have parties there, with trays brought in from Publix, Goodings, Panera, etc.

      Good luck!

  • Jennifer Smith
    January 20, 2013

    Hi there! We have heard from a friend who is a Disney travel agent that they no longer do the dessert parties at Epcot. We are trying to plan a small party at WDW for April and we thought the dessert party would be a good option. What is the best way to get this information? Thanks!

    • Carrie
      January 20, 2013

      Hi! I think maybe your friend heard about the discontinuation of the Grand Gatherings dessert party. Private dessert parties are held in Epcot every day! To get started, call Disney Catered Events at 321-939-7278. They will assign you a planner based on the resort where you’re staying. They have cooled to the idea of small-group parties recently, so let them know you expect at least 10 people, even if that number ends up shrinking later. Happy planning!

  • Jim
    January 25, 2013

    Hi Carrie( my daughters name too, btw 🙂 )
    I’ve gotten in touch with catered events and they have us booked at UK Upper Terrace. We’re a small group so the tables should be fine. I need your impression of the space. I keep seeing lots of information about Lochside but nothing about Upper Terrace. Lochside is already booked. How will the view be? Will it be really private? Any information you could give would be great! Thanks so much.

    • Carrie
      January 26, 2013

      Hi Jim! The view from UK Upper is nice, just not as close-feeling as UK Lower. It should feel pretty private because you have a wall between you and the path, although the gate is right next to the chip shop and the path to UK Lower. But it’s not like some of the spaces where it’s just a rope separating you from the crowd. You can see photos of the spot HERE. I think people tend to shy away from the location due to the umbrellas on the tables, but everyone will be standing against the front wall, in front of the tables, when the show’s on. And people who’ve actually used the space seem to have nothing but great things to say about it!

  • Brian
    February 18, 2013

    I am a big fan of your site!
    I happened across your tower of terror dinner on DISboard and have since been reading through your other posts.

    I have to do that at some point! The TOT is our favorite ride anywhere…so much so that we had to run the TOT 10 miler last year.

    Thanks for the great info!

    • Carrie
      February 18, 2013

      So glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Amanda
    February 20, 2013

    Hey there…brand new to disneytravelbabble.com and was wondering if its possible to email you with wedding questions about Disney? I have a major dilemma and need guidance! 🙂

  • Heidi
    March 20, 2013

    Any idea of the price to rent the Bamboo Room at Brown Derby? I just spoke to catering and was told that there were no small rooms at Brown Derby to use?
    This seems like a great option for us if we can get it!
    Thanks
    Heidi

    • Carrie
      March 20, 2013

      Hi Heidi! The person you spoke to was mistaken—you can see photos of the Bamboo Room here! It is the spot where the Dine with the Imagineer lunch is held. I’m working on getting you updated info about pricing and availability of the Bamboo Room for private events. Hang in there!

  • Heidi
    March 20, 2013

    Carrie,
    Thank You so much! You are amazing! I saw a cake that I want to use as inspiration for out anniversary cake too. I am getting excited.

    • Carrie
      March 22, 2013

      Great! So the info on the Bamboo Room is there’s no venue fee, but you do have to hire an event guide for $90 for four hours. The food and beverage minimum is $1,500. If you dine during the restaurant’s operating hours, the restaurant provides the food. After hours, DHS’ catering team provides the food.

  • Heidi
    March 22, 2013

    Thank You for the info Carrie! That may be more than we were thinking.
    I am waiting to get back the info about the dessert parties at Epcot and the possibility of the appetizers and cake.
    Heidi

  • Laura
    March 26, 2013

    Hi Carrie, I have seen photos of Commanders Terrace that is used for Escape weddings. Do you know if it would be possible to use it for a rehersal dinner for approx. 14 people?

    • Carrie
      March 26, 2013

      I remember a Wishes bride tried to use it for her cocktail hour and was told it’s not bookable by DFTW. But perhaps if you went through Private Dining at the GF you could use it?

      • Laura
        March 26, 2013

        Ah, thank you! I love that little location!

  • Heidi
    March 29, 2013

    OK our group grew! LOL We are switching to the Marina Patio at the Grand Floridian and doing a dinner menu! We are having 15 to 20 people.

    • Carrie
      March 29, 2013

      Sounds like fun!

  • Tara
    April 16, 2013

    Hi Carrie – I am so enjoying your adventures! Your Trip Reports have inspired me to perhaps do a vow renewal. I had NO idea there were so many options. I remember clicking a link in one of your trip reports and reading via DIS board a pricing type guide for Epcot dessert parties…can you point me in that direction (I am sure pricing has changed but I was just getting a feel). Thanks!

    • Carrie
      April 16, 2013

      Hi Tara! Dang… I can’t seem to dig up that post… I found one where I listed all the Fantasmic! prices, and then I have the post on this blog about Hollywood Studios venue pricing, but not one on Epcot. I do have complete details on all the Epcot venues in my book, but I know it might not be something you need at this stage. Basically, the venue fees run from about $150 to $330, with food and beverage minimums of $225 to $2,300, depending on group size/venue. There’s a $12.95 viewing fee for anyone who doesn’t have park admission, and if you want to wear a wedding-type gown you’d need to be escorted into the park by a guide or hire transportation to take you backstage. Let me know if I can answer any questions about specific venues!

      • Tara
        April 17, 2013

        Thanks so much! I think I will order the book…I love the other Passporter books and who does not love weddings!

  • Emily
    April 25, 2013

    First off let me say… WOW. This is amazing and so are you 🙂 I hate searching the interenet all day long for prices and everyone says go here go there yadda yadda yadda. You give alot of examples which i love!

    I am looking to have a dinner …. 40 people *maybe 50* …. at Tower of Terror. December 2013. Do you have prices roughly? Will they only rent to you if your staying on property? Do you have to rent tables and chairs and linens? Do they let you have a dj? Do they do it after hours or during normal hours? Min. food and bev? Am I allowed to wear my wedding gown in the park ? *to my event… or to just walk to park (i want the characters to sign my dress)

    please let me know as much as you can!

    I cant believe this conversation has been going on over 2 years! Incredible

    • Carrie
      April 25, 2013

      Pricing (including the venue fee and food and beverage minimums) for TOT Courtyard is in this post. You do have to be staying on property to hold a catered event at Disney. Tables, chairs and basic linens are included in the venue rental fee. If the park is closed, you can have a DJ, and usually events like these take place after the park closes. If you are not having a Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding, you can’t wear a wedding dress inside the park. And if they think this is a wedding event that you are trying to do without going through DFTW, they won’t work with you—they’ll just tell you to contact DFTW. Hope this helps!

  • glo
    May 3, 2013

    Very new to your site. Found it via google trying to set up a dessert party at Epcot. It will be for early August 2014, but I need a rough idea on the cost now, even if it is this years cost. We will be a party of 10 seventeen year olds and two adult chaperones. Was looking at the Pub area of the Rose and Crown. What I can’t figure out is will they take the 12 of us now? What the cost would be and when would I be able to book it? I really want to do something special for these girls, they will be graduating and are great kids!

    • Carrie
      May 3, 2013

      Hi there! Current prices for UK Pubside and a breakdown of the costs of our event there can be found in this post. As far as I have heard, the maximum capacity at this site is still 10 people, but it never hurts to ask. There are other locations around World Showcase that will accommodate more people, though, like Canada Overlook, Kazbah Point and Parisian Point. Hope this helps!

  • Jeanne
    May 10, 2013

    Carrie,
    Do you know if private parties at EPCOT are limited around holidays? We plan on being there the week of Thanksgiving which is a high volume period. I didn’t know if I would be wasting my time if I called about a dessert party. Also, can you have a “meal” at EPCOT’s desert spaces you noted and if so how long are you aloud to occupy the space? Also, can you have a cake at a dessert party? You stated that there may be restrictions with cake. We will be having the dessert party for our 25th anniversary so it would not be a wedding cake but a tired cake.

    • Carrie
      May 10, 2013

      Hi! In the last few years they’ve only blocked out Saturday nights during the Food & Wine Festival, so I’d definitely still call and ask. If you do an official reception with a buffet or plated meal you can have up to 4 hours there (and more if you pay a set of prorated minimums again), but the food and beverage minimums go way up. If you just want to add “real” food to your dessert party, you could probably extend it to about 90 minutes, maaaaaybe 2 hours, and either pay that prorated amount to extend food service or just have food service for the standard hour. But the types of hot food available vary by location and sometimes necessitate the setup of a pricey portable kitchen. Your planner would have to get you the details on the spot you wanted. You can have cake at a dessert party; the restrictions have to do with weather, like if they think the kind of cake you want will not withstand the heat. That’s another one to talk with a planner about. We didn’t have any trouble with the cake at our dessert party, but it was also 29 degrees out that night!

  • Lauren Jenkins
    June 20, 2013

    Hello! I am trying to plan a dinner for 42 people that is very much the essence of disney. If you could give me some ideas? We really wanted the castle but I am not getting a response from them. If you could help that would be very very helpful!! Thank you!

    • Carrie
      June 20, 2013

      Hi there! Disney doesn’t offer private events inside the Magic Kingdom at this time, except for large corporations that buy out the entire park. However, there are plenty of unique spaces inside the other three theme parks in Florida, like the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios, the Maharajah Jungle Trek at Animal Kingdom, or any of the fireworks-viewing patios at Epcot. Call Disney Catered Events at the number listed at the top of this page. They will need to know which Disney resort you’re staying at in order to assign you an event planner. Good luck!

      • Lauren Jenkins
        June 20, 2013

        I am not really looking for private, just a really nice dinner in a beautiful space. however, is there a place online i can look at the rates for hollywood private events?

        • Carrie
          June 20, 2013

          This post has prices and capacities for all the event spaces at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; I update it as anything changes. Disney does not publish this information on their site.

  • Shawn
    August 31, 2013

    I’ve been reading up about the Illuminations Private Parties. I would really love to do that someday. Thanks for the information.

  • erica
    September 11, 2013

    We are getting married in celebrations because we were concerned we would spend all of our money on the wedding in Disney and none on playing. We want to have some party time. It sounds like we have to stay onsite to have a party at Disney. We wanted to have brunch the morning of the wedding. What restaurants have a good lunch or brunch with space to seat 25-30 people? Would the castle have this?

    • Carrie
      September 13, 2013

      Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle is tricky for large groups, partly because you have to pay in advance and it’s inside the park (meaning all your guests would have to have tickets), but mainly because it’s hard to get a reservation there, period. You might check out the buffets in the Magic Kingdom-area hotels, like Chef Mickey’s or the Wave at the Contemporary, Ohana at the Polynesian, and 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian.

  • Megan
    September 20, 2013

    Hi Carrie!
    Your blog is just incredible – so informative and your pictures are amazing!! I was wondering if I could pick your brain with a couple of questions – I am trying to plan a small anniversary celebration for myself and my husband, with our four young kids. I am hoping to do something incorporating Illuminations. I was originally thinking about a UK pubside dessert party, but it seems like I’d be looking at over $500 once taxes and fees are figured in, which is a bit more than I had wanted to spend. Then I saw your pictures of the Italy overlook and thought that might work well for us. Well, I spoke to a representative from Disney catering today and he said that he has never put a party there b/c he does not feel that it’s a good experience. Do you think it is a bad choice for a family with four kids? Do you have any other ideas or strong opinions as to whether the UK pubside may be worthwhile for us? Also, who does your photography?

    • Carrie
      September 23, 2013

      Hi Megan! I go think that Italy Overlok would be awkward for a group that size. Maybe if it was 4 adults it would work, or 2 adults and 2 kids, but with your group the kids’ll have to sit on the stairs and it might be weird. I do feel strongly that UK Pubside is the best or maybe second-best viewing spot in all of Epcot, so if the cost isn’t going to put you in the poorhouse, I think you’ll find it’s worth it. But I also know that $500 is a LOT to spend for a one-hour experience, so I can understand why you’d hesitate. For me it’s worth it, but you and your family may feel differently. Our friends/wedding photographers Nathan & Jensey Root shoot our photos whenever we can get them!

  • Andi
    September 21, 2013

    Hey! I’m loving all this information! One quick thing, though. I am considering an escape wedding of about 16-18 people for early in the morning and then having a catered “reception dinner” during Epcot’s Illuminations that night. Do you think they would allow me to add this in my Escape total or do you think I would be better off planning it as a separate party and saying it’s for something else? I’m worried that if I try to do it as an official reception, they will try to push me into the Wishes package.

    Also, how much do you figure they would charge for having a space with decorations and our own (portable) music speakers? Is this option even available?

    And, finally, I’m wondering about bringing in a photographer. I really want professional pictures done, but I’m not sure who I should go through to get them.

    Thanks so much!

    Oh, and if you haven’t been on their website recently, they really updated it and it looks so nice. You can make selections to build a package. No word on a required stay on property, though. Does that still exist?

    • Carrie
      September 23, 2013

      Hi! I do think DFTW will strongly recommend that you upgrade to Wishes for such a thing, but they won’t force you. The real problem is that the food and beverage minimums in Epcot go WAY up for dinner vs. a dessert party, so at that point you really would be better off planning a Wishes event to get the most bang for your buck. I’m not sure about your “space with decorations” question—do you mean in Epcot or at a resort? You can’t play music at the outdoor Epcot locations, but it’s very easy to arrange what you describe at the resorts. For photographers, I’d check out the recommendations on the DIS Boards’ Wedding & Honeymoons board, WeddingWire, and other resources for Orlando-area photographers. There is no longer any prohibition on non-Disney photographers in the parks, so you can have whomever you want. If you scroll down to “BOOKING YOUR ESCAPE COLLECTION CELEBRATION” on this page you’ll see there is still a 4-night stay required for Escape.

  • Natasha
    October 8, 2013

    In the memories collection do lu know if its possible to add on a videographer and cake? I was hoping to have a memories wedding as it would be just us and our little ones and wanted to do a cruise to watch the fireworks in the evening.

    • Carrie
      October 8, 2013

      You can add videography ($750) but not a cake. However, you can order a cake yourself to be delivered to your Disney resort room, restaurant, or even that cruise—more details are HERE and HERE. (For the cruise, the cake-ordering location would be the resort from which the cruise departs.)

  • Brittany Stevenson
    October 19, 2013

    Hello! I love your blog! This may be the wrong place to ask this but i was wondering if disney lets past disney couples book a magic kingdom bridal portrait session? My husband and i got married in disney world in july and would love to be able to do this on our honeymoon but not sure if they let couples who have already had their wedding there?

    • Carrie
      October 21, 2013

      Hi! Yes! As long as you’ve had a Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding at some point, you can come back and book a Magic Kingdom bridal portrait session pretty much any time you want. Just contact Disney Fine Art Photography at 1-407-827-5099.

  • Brittany Stevenson
    October 21, 2013

    Hello! Thank you so much for your answer! Do you possibly know if you could get a bouquet made through Disney Floral for the portrait session?

    • Carrie
      October 21, 2013

      Yes! Also, Disney Fine Art Photography does have a couple of artifical bouquets on hand that you could use if you wanted to save money.

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