Food My Disney World wedding cost $25,000. Here are 9 things that surprised me the most while planning it.
This Is What a Disney World Wedding Is REALLY Like (and How Much It REALLY Costs)
You might be surprised at just how much magic you can afford.For Disney fans, Walt Disney World is the place to celebrate milestones. As soon as you check into a Disney hotel, you’re asked if you’re celebrating something because there’s a free button for everything, from birthdays to your first park visit. But one of the most coveted is the purple “Happily Ever After” button.
- I planned a small wedding at Disney World for under $25,000 and ended up saving money.
- You can have any park food served at your wedding and have guests go on rides in an empty park.
- There are over 100 possible venue locations at Disney, and some have different start times.
Earlier this year, the pandemic left me ditching the massive, traditional ceremony of my dreams to plan a DisneyI never thought I could afford.
Originally, my fiancé and I had planned a 400-person wedding in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with all of our friends and family. But amid the pandemic and changing state guidelines,to 27 people, and I started looking into something that I'd never thought was a possibility: a wedding at Walt Disney World.
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Planning a Disney wedding was nothing like I imagined, and I was blown away by the venue, food, event, details, and overall cost.
Keep reading for the biggest things that surprised me about planning my dream Disney wedding on a budget.
Disney has over 100 locations where you can have your ceremony and welcome dinner
When I started planning, I (naturally). But most of my guests aren't huge Disney fans like me, and I didn't want my ceremony to completely feel like it was at a theme park.
The castle is also one of the most expensive venues, with a starting fee of $25,000, which would eat up our budget.
But there are over 100 Disney venues to choose from, and they start at $2,500. Spots such as Fort Wilderness, Luau Pointe, and the Tree of Life - which has a venue fee starting at $4,500 - were definitely more in our budget.
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We chose to have our welcome dinner at Tamu Tamu Courtyard in our favorite park, Animal Kingdom. For the ceremony, we wanted something with natural views and plenty of florals, so we looked at some of Disney's resort locations.
Sea Breeze Point at Disney's Boardwalk, which overlooks Crescent Lake, was a top contender, but we wanted to get married in the park. Eventually, we landed on Italy Isola in Epcot, which cost $4,500 and included rental fees, chairs, a musician, and a sound system.
We were also lucky to have a date during the park's International Flower and Garden Festival, which meant we could enjoy all of the flora in the park at no extra expense.
Most venues must work around park hours, but some allow for special ceremony time slots
The biggest drawback of an in-park ceremony is that couples must work around park hours, which means choosing a super-early (around 6 a.m.) or late (around 10 p.m.) time slot.
The dream Disney World vacation is too expensive for the average American family
Walt Disney said he wanted his parks to be "a source of joy and inspiration to all the world." But high costs mean they're out of reach for millions.More than 30 years later, she was excited to return with her own children. But she was surprised by how expensive everything had become, she told Insider. She found the high cost of park admission particularly jarring.
But, where my venue was located, is an exception to the time rule. Since the World Showcase opens at 11 a.m., ceremonies start at 9 a.m.
You can also request food from any part of Disney to be served at your wedding
For most venues, including ours, menus are 100% customizable. We went with a standard one for our reception and then modified items based on what we wanted.
For example, we got theand turned them into an action station, where the chef cooks them and adds toppings of guests' choice at the reception. We also had action-station crepes and omelets, plus a bar for mashed potato and macaroni.
I also wanted to share my favorite food from the parks with my family. Fortunately, couples can request. The culinary team either re-creates it or provides a chef's interpretation of it - customizations weren't pricey either; we just paid based on the costs of the items we chose.
'I Had a Cheap Wedding, But It Was Amazing'
Originally, we tried hard to create a wedding for a budget of around £5,000 (US$7,000), but last minute expenses pushed the total costs up to around £7,300 ($10,340). In the early planning stages we considered every possible option in order to make the wedding affordable; we even seriously discussed holding it in a village hall and ordering £300 (US$420) worth of Domino's pizza.But when we looked at hiring an empty village hall or barn, we realized we would then need to hire tables and chairs, dinnerware and cutlery and even a sound system. We began researching local registry offices (the closest U.S.
Some of the food we served included Sanaa's bread service, Jiko's cauliflower bisque and lamb shank, Tiffins' Lion King dessert, Liberty Tree Tavern's Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake, and churros drizzled with Oreos. The Grey Stuff from Be Our Guest was our cake filling.
I also love that my husband and I canto enjoy some of the food that was at our wedding.
The chefs will even re-create family recipes or cook any non-Disney food you request
Although Disney food was a focus for us, the chefs aren't limited to park menus.
Couples can give the chefs a family recipe to re-create, which we briefly considered. I think it's a sweet way to bring a piece of home to a destination wedding or honor someone who has died.
For an extra fee, our guests got to go on a ride in an empty park
Since we had a small guest list, we definitely splurged on extra events, such as a "ride mix-in" that allowedafter the welcome dinner. It cost under $20 per person, and I was only charged for people who went on the ride.
We chose Flight of Passage, so our guests were escorted to the ride with no wait time. Plus, they got to experience Pandora at night in an empty park.
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We were also able to have a dessert party - and you can splurge for a bridesmaid tea party or cruise
After our wedding ceremony, we had a dessert party. Typically, these events are used for watching Disney's fireworks and eating desserts. Because of the pandemic, Disney wasn't doing fireworks, so we adjusted our plan.
We also took into consideration the Florida heat. We shortened our reception to only brunch, and then later in the evening, once the weather cooled down, we held a dessert party for dancing, cake, and desserts.
This allowed our guests to go back to their hotels and rest before the party portion of our event. In between events, my bridal party even headed over to Universal Studios for a few hours.
We held our dessert party at Whitehall Patio at the Grand Floridian, which featured the famous Monorail flying right over us.
For a higher cost, we could've added a farewell brunch, a bridesmaid tea party (you can invite Alice and the Mad Hatter), and a dessert cruise to our wedding.
Although I didn't communicate with the team of coordinators much, they nailed every detail
I'm a very type A sort of planner, so it was really hard for me to justto do their job.
Unique wedding cake toppers for every couple
These unique wedding cake toppers can upgrade any type of wedding cake.It may seem like a wedding cake topper is a staple that has been around since the inception of weddings themselves, but they really only gained popularity in the U.S. during the 1950s. That said, in recent years, the cake decoration has caught on and has become more unique and modernized for today’s couples.
Once I gave them my plans and ideas, I didn't hear from the team for a while, which was kind of terrifying.
I felt like something was- I've heard so many horror stories about wedding planners. But nothing did, and the few times that plans had to be adjusted, my coordinator already had a solution before contacting me, and everything was resolved in a quick email exchange.
Overall, the planning process was delightfully hands-off, which let me, such as my menu, without stressing over the little details.
Disney planners also helped me use my budget without going over
I easily hit Disney's wedding minimum of $10,000. Beyond that, my planner helped me use the rest of my budget in a smart way.
Since Disney was all-in-one planning, I was able to look at my overall budget and cut non-priority items, and I kept only the must-haves throughout the entire process. For example, the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake was putting me over budget, so we removed one item of decor from the dessert party that I didn't even notice was gone, and I was back on track.
The coordinators were also helpful when it came to making affordable swaps. When I told my florist I love white roses but, she designed a bouquet with white florals that captured the essence of what I wanted and stayed within my price range.
Overall, I'm shocked that I saved money by having a Disney wedding
Getting married at Disney isn't necessarily cheap, but it is much morethan I'd imagined. My mind was definitely blown by Disney's pricing models.
Above all, our intimatewas much cheaper than what we were going to spend on our larger, standard wedding.
At home in Oklahoma City, venues we looked at started at $5,000 - so I definitely feel like we came out on top with our $4,500 venue fee at Epcot. Disney's venue fee also included a violinist, chairs, an audio system with a sound technician, and a planner - which would've been thousands of more dollars for a traditional wedding.
Let me be clear: Getting married in front of Cinderella's castle with a big guest list is certainly going to cost you, butthat I felt were cost-effective.
Plus, we gotas our backdrop.
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Rainbow merch for June is great, but heres how Mickey could make the parks more magical and welcoming for LGBTQ+ guests every day of the year.This year, Disney Parks debuted a massive collection of Pride merchandise that, for the first time in company history, features rainbow designs and logos from all four major brands under the mouse umbrella: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars. The Rainbow Disney Collection is an explosion of fun, queer merch and it’s not just rainbows.