My wonderful reader Fran married her husband at Epcot in January. She kindly agreed to write about her wedding and offer tips and advice to other Disney Brides. I hope you enjoy the Practically Perfect Tips for an Affordable Disney Wedding series. This is part 3, you can catch up on part 1 and part 2.
There are a lot of little things we learned along the way to achieve our dream wedding.
Here are some tips you might find useful to pass along to your guests:
• Brides and Grooms often create a wedding website with all the Disney links and Disney planning phone numbers you need. Try to read through all of it. Take notes and bookmark links. It’s fun to discover (or re-discover) all Disney has to offer.
• If you or your guests are not tech savvy, call the Bride or Groom and have them arrange something for you~be it your room, dining reservations or activities that require a pre-registration, etc.. If they cannot, they will put you in touch with someone who can. You may not want to “bother anyone”, but, in the long run, the Bride and Groom want you to be happy and taken care of. I reserved several rooms on behalf of our guests and I had a great time doing it. It got us all excited for the trip itself, in addition to the wedding.
• Disney Fairy Tale Weddings will also allow you to pre-purchase Parks tickets when calling the number to request rooms in the wedding room block. If you are only planning to come for a weekend, and depending on the room type you stay in, this can end up saving you more money than if you got a Park-Hopper package with or without Disney Dining Plan.
• Themed Resort Rooms: We wanted to give our guests some Imagineering magic, especially if they weren’t planning on going to the Parks. We arranged for our room block to include the Pirate-themed Rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. They were a hit…especially with the adults. If there is a way to book Pirate Themes Rooms, Princess/Royal Guest Rooms, or anything at the upcoming Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, it’s worth it. Now only if there were Haunted Mansion Rooms or DCL’s Magic Portholes…or the Donald Duck Rooms brought over from Tokyo Disney Resort…
• Issues with rooms upon check-in or during length of stay: Disney has written the book on customer service. So, if dealing with a Disney room issue, I try to think of these two things…Can you imagine dealing with the sheer volume of people day-in and day-out?…And we all have bad days. Regardless of the matter, take a breath and work with them. Usually this is all you need to do. If you do need to speak to the manager on duty, being fair to the situation gets the best possible outcome.
• Explain the Key to the World Card and Disney Dining Plan (DDP) Credits to your guests. Disney charges all Authorized Room Charges and DDP Meals to the name of the reservation holder, regardless of how many are in the room. Upon check-in and check-out, definitely specify and verify where different adults authorize separate credit card numbers to their Keys to the World cards.
• Advanced Dining Reservations: utilize the 180-day ADR booking window for dining. Take a tally of who in your group likes what and make suggestions that way. Some people may not be interested in the typical Disney fare we all love, but treats and memorable eats are to be found everywhere. Switching it up can also remind you of your first visits.
• Avoid the Dining Rush: Dine before 11 a.m. or after 2 p.m. for lunch or around 5 p.m. for dinner.
• Park Ticket Validation after event: even if Parks tickets are pre-ordered, for some reason, this can take more time than envisioned. Guest Service Cast Members do everything they can, but sometimes there is a process.
• Try not to over plan and it is OK to separate. Disney can be overwhelming. We play hard at Disney, but even we know when to take a breather.
• In theory, Extra Magic Hours is an awesome benefit. In practice, the evening Extra Magic Hours can sometimes be even more crowded on the days offered than Disney advertises. For us, we stick with the morning Extra Magic Hours and the pay-off is far better.
• Other Guests: You are in the Happiest Place on Earth. As hard as this can be, try not to let the actions of other guests get to you. Many of them are from other countries who have different customs and they honestly don’t realize what they are doing..same goes for frantic parents with strollers wanting to give their kids the same Disney Magic as you..or people on scooters…or guests stopping in front of you snapping a picture of something random without realizing you are behind them.
• Inspired by the Mouse: One couple, who had never been to WDW before read Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World Without Kids: The Official Guide for Fun-Loving Adults cover to cover. On their first night, we showed them Mary Blair’s amazing hand painted tile mural in the Contemporary Resort. That’s all it took. They became inspired to immerse in all things Disney. Theirs was a first-timer “Disney Commando-style” success story.
• Guests who make it their own: Activities like Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour or anything at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway really adds a special touch to your guest’s trip. Some guests also opt for special dining experiences like Chef’s Tables or Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian. Facilitate these options and see if there is a way to utilize your wedding transportation to get them there if it is on the event day.
• Non-Disney Fun: Orlando, Central Florida and the Atlantic Coast has so much to offer anyone. It’s amazing to think of all the things there are to do there. Encourage guests to venture off to places like Universal for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Kennedy Space Center, Daytona International Speedway, The incredible beaches, St. Augustine. And don’t forget the excellent Outlet Shopping nearby.
If you follow a few ideas and tips, a magical Disney Wedding really and truly is affordable. After the wedding of our dreams, we could not imagine having it anywhere else.