I called Disney’s Catered Events (firstname.lastname@example.org or 321-939-7278 or 321-939-4648) and worked with a planner at the BoardWalk Inn on a surprise dinner and dessert (including a replica of the top layer of our wedding cake) during IllumiNations at Epcot. I contacted her about 6 months ahead of time and put down a deposit, but I had to wait til 90 days to sign the contract. Final payment was due 30 days before the event.
Because it was just the two of us, we reserved UK Pubside, a venue adjacent to the patio at Rose & Crown that is designed for a maximum of 10 people. The venue-rental fee is $150 plus 6.5% tax, and the food and beverage minimum is $250 plus tax and 24% service charge. There is also a $10/person viewing fee if you don’t have park admission. (Note: These are the 2017 prices, but a $1,000 overall minimum expenditure is now required to plan a Disney Catered Event.)
Also, the fine print of our contract stated that if we had fewer than 20 people, Disney would charge a $50 small-party fee, but this never showed up in our BEO or on our final bill.
We had the option to try for one of the dessert party locations used for weddings, like UK Lochside, but since you have to pay the $23/person food and beverage minimum for the minimum number of people required by these sites, and that’s at least 20, it was out of our budget. As it turned out, I thought UK Pubside had the best view of IllumiNations anywhere, so we were happy to be there!
Our planner presented us with three options for dinner:
1. Dinner reservation in Epcot + Desserts During Illuminations @ UK Pubside
2. Dinner with Rose & Crown food service + Desserts During Illuminations @ UK Pubside
3. Dinner at BoardWalk Inn + Desserts During Illuminations @ UK Pubside
I picked Option 2 so that we could spend as long as possible at UK Pubside. Because I’m not crazy about the Rose & Crown’s food, we were fortunate that the chef agreed to work with us to customize a dinner with dishes from other Epcot menus, including Le Cellier, Coral Reef and the Epcot catering menu. I sent in a suggested menu, and then we worked on it to get the price down to $50/person plus tax and service charge. The price of dinner did not count toward our food and beverage minimum because it was provided by Rose & Crown. If we had used Epcot’s catering team for dinner, the cost would have applied to that minimum. However, they wanted us to pay $800 for a food-prep tent, so we were priced out of Epcot catering.
I sent my planner a picture of our wedding cake and asked for a 6-inch anniversary cake that replicated the top layer, but in hot pink. Originally the price was $55, but when I asked to add the fondant “handles” from our wedding cake and to create an appropriately themed topper from fondant, the price went up to $110. However, this amount did apply to our dessert food and beverage minimum. There was also a $75 delivery fee to get the cake from the Grand Floridian Bakery to Epcot.
Because the cake applied to our food and beverage minimum, we only needed to order a few more desserts to make up the difference. We picked some from existing Epcot menus and asked them to add peanut butter chocolate marshmallow squares, which we’d had at our wedding dessert party but were no longer on their menus. We also asked to do milk, cider, and hot chocolate BOC (“bill on consumption”), meaning we would only be charged for what we drank. And we added two scoops of vanilla ice cream for our cake.
Without the cake and dinner, you can do one of these parties for $320 (before tax and service charge). Here are our totals, including tax and service charge:
Anniversary Cake: $117.15
Dessert Party + Cake Delivery + Handling: $210.26
Venue Rental Fee: $106.50