Last time I talked to y’all about Grant and I’s wedding, we were prepping for our first meeting at Franck’s (the wedding studio at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion/The Grand Floridian). Well that meeting has come and gone, and we made some great progress during it.
Things are far from being set in stone, but I still wanted to share what venues we toured with y’all! All of our current thoughts on what we think we will choose are going to stay private for the time being. But as we move down the timeline, I’ll open up and share more with y’all. I included some pictures of the venues for some reference, but they aren’t the best so bear with me!
We had our meeting scheduled for 9am on Tuesday, January 14th at Franck’s. Upon arrival we were introduced to our consultant in person. We were then taken into a private room to talk in more detail about some general information. None of our answers had to be super specific, but more general questions such as:
- Potential date
- Estimated guest count
- Estimated budget
- Ceremony/reception venue ideas
We also chatted for a bit about room block information, transportation information, amongst other things, but we didn’t get into too much detail. Our consultant also gave us a booklet with general pricing information on venues, food, entertainment, etc.
Prior to the meeting, our consultant asked us which three venues we would like to view. We were somewhat disappointed to learn that the one we were hoping to look at was unavailable that day. While I am now satisfied with the venues we did look at, I wish she would have looked at the other venue’s schedule earlier and asked us if we wanted to reschedule due to it being unavailable.
The three venues we wanted to look at were California Grill, Living Seas Salon, & GM Lounge. The GM Lounge (located above Test Track) was the venue that was unavailable. However, I am now kinda happy we didn’t look there since they are unsure of the timeline for Epcot construction (which could make for a not-so-pretty view), we’d have to get GM’s permission to book it (since they own and operate it), and out of our three choices it had the biggest price tag for venue fee (which was over $2,000, not including guest transportation, which is also required). Thankfully, we were able to add another venue since that one was unavailable. Our consultant recommended Atlantic Dance Hall, which I knew would be a no from me, but I figured we’d look just because it was offered to us.
So we hopped into a Disney Fairytale Weddings branded car, and headed to our first venue: The Living Seas Salon. If you’re a Disney World lover, you’ve probably heard of the The Seas with Nemo & Friends. It’s located in Epcot and home to a few Finding Nemo attractions, as well as Coral Reef Restaurant. The restaurant and pavilion’s claim to fame is the 5.7 million gallon Sea Base aquarium. The Living Seas Salon is in the back of the pavilion, and there are quite a few private meeting areas of various sizes. However, the largest one is where they hold wedding receptions and has multiple windows looking into the gigantic aquarium,
This location has a rental fee of $700 plus tax, and can hold a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 100 guests. Private transportation is also required for all guests due to the location; all guests enter from backstage.
Next, we rode over to Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. Boardwalk holds a special place in my heart since it is one of my family’s Disney Vacation Club (DVC) home resorts. However, I knew this location would not be for us. While some elements of it would be perks, such as the dance floor and second floor for cocktail hour, I knew the ambience was not up my alley. And it just felt too big. You’d need well over a hundred people in there to not make it feel empty.
This location has a rental fee of $500 plus tax, and can hold a minimum of 80 guests with a maximum of 120 guests.
Finally, we went to California Grill at the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, overlooking Magic Kingdom. Our friend Ashley came with us on our tour, and she had never been to California Grill, so it was very special to see her reaction seeing it in person for the first time.
California Grill does not have a rental fee; however, it is important to note that receptions must start after 10:30am and end before 3:30pm. The maximum number of guests is 120.
And that, y’all, is only skimming the surface of the information given to us about those locations. There is so much that goes into planning any wedding, but especially a Disney wedding. The hardest part is finding locations that check all of your boxes. Some locations only allow certain meal times, some only allow a plated meal instead of a buffet, some do not allow a dance floor, certain in-park locations may require you to start your reception 2 hours after park closing, etc. So in that sense, it’s more difficult than planning a normal wedding. However, it’s nice having a planner appointed to you and it not costing any extra, and it’s essentially a “one stop shop.”
Needless to say, our first meeting contained a lot of information. Our next step on our wedding planning to-do list is sitting down and talking with my parents about everything we’ve learned so far. They are coming to visit next week, so I’m excited to present them with this information and talk through our currents thoughts with them. After that conversation is over and done with I think I will be in a better place mentally. As of right now I’m trying to not think about too much since it’ll just stress me out lol.
I hope you enjoyed this installment, and hopefully it gave you a tiny bit of insight into the planning process. If you’re interested, check out my other wedding planning diaries, and I’ll see you in the next one!
Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and based off of my own experiences. All information given was received from the current Disney Fairy Tale Weddings booklet.