ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE: A REVIEW

ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE: A REVIEW

As part of our Disney Fairytale Wedding package, it was a requirement for the bride and groom to stay on property for four consecutive nights. This wasn’t a problem, as I thought it would be a great addition to our wedding and a fun mini honeymoon!

Dee and I have a plan to never stay at the same resort twice, until there are no more resorts on WDW property to stay at. We have all of the value resorts covered and most of the moderates, so we knew we’d be staying in a deluxe resort. The next step was to look at which resort was our dream resort, since it was our wedding weekend, and we landed on Animal Kingdom Lodge!

We booked a Deluxe Studio Suite, Savannah View at the Jambo House. We requested early check-in, since my bridesmaids and I would be getting to the resort around 10:00 that morning. Dee wouldn’t be showing up until after the wedding, as we planned to not see each other or stay together until then. He stayed at the Polynesian Resort for the first part of our stay to be closest to the ceremony space.

Finally, this is where my review begins. I am going to base my review on three categories: (1) Customer service, (2) Food options, and (3) Room/Resort Amenities.


Customer Service

In this category, they get a 10/10. If it were possible to go over ten, they absolutely would.

The outstanding customer service started the minute we pulled up to the resort. My car was beyond packed – I had my wedding dress and everything else we needed for the wedding, our suitcases, gifts for the entire wedding party, wine and champagne, snacks – literally a car full. The bell attendees at the front of the resort immediately unpacked my car. Since it was too early to officially be “checked in”, they kept my things safely in the baggage area, but allowed us to go in and out to grab what we needed until we had our room.

Next, during check-in, I was speaking with the receptionist about the size of the studio I had booked. I explained to her that the morning of my wedding, all of my bridesmaids would be with me plus my hair dresser and MUA as well as all of my family. I asked if that room was large enough to accommodate all of those people, and she assured me it would be fine. I didn’t find out until later that she upgraded my room from the studio to a Deluxe 1 Bedroom Suite, Savannah View. It was a DVC room, and let me tell you – it was able to accommodate all of those people. It was very spacious, laid out nicely, and was perfect for what we needed. We didn’t even find out about the upgrade until unlocking our room and walking inside. It was a wonderful surprise!

Another magical moment that was made for us was at the pool bar. The first day there, my bridesmaids and I frequented the pool bar – both while sitting at the pool, and as a stop before heading for my bachelorette party. My MOH, Megan, made sure everyone knew I was getting married the following day. The next day, after the ceremony, our friends and family came to our resort and suite to swim and hang out. We, of course, frequented the pool bar. The same bartender as the day before was working and he remembered our group. He ended up surprising Dee and I with a plate full of sweets as a congratulations. The plate included zebra domes (my favorite!), homemade chocolate candies, and truffles. It was such a cute surprise!

The great customer service doesn’t stop there. The cast members native to Africa were a joy to speak with – one even gave Dee and I a complimentary light saber and autographed pictures from Mickey and Minnie! The bartenders at the bar inside of the resort were also very engaging and a pleasure. One of the cast members that worked in The Mara recognized us daily and would be sure to acknowledge us. It truly felt like a community of people that enjoyed their job and loved creating magic. Everything that was done for us was done without expectation, and it was beyond magical.


Food Options

For the food category, I would score 9/10!

During our stay, we wanted a laid back honeymoon. We headed to MK for an evening, but the rest of our time was really spent at the resort. We ordered room service and ate (plenty of times) at The Mara, but that was it. We really wanted to try Boma, but we couldn’t score any reservations and the wait was always a bit too long.

However, room service and The Mara did not disappoint! Room service was pretty pricey, of course, but the food was always still hot and spectacular. The Mara offered plenty of different and unique options, which was a refreshing change from the rest of the resort food court options we have had in the past. The food was, once again, always hot and tasted fresh. We ate 2-3 meals there a day, during the whole stay, and I never felt bored of the food.

The reason why this category only got a 9/10, even though all the food we had was awesome, is because of how hard it was for us to get into Boma. I would have loved to had tried that option since I’ve heard such good things about them, but I’ll just have to make reservations and head there another time!


Room and Resort Amenities

I give this category a 10/10!

I’ve already touched on the room – it was beautiful. When first walking in, you see a full size kitchen equipped with a dish washer, oven/stove, full size refrigerator, and microwave. There was also plenty of counter space, a large sink, and the cupboards were filled with cups, plates, bowls, etc. The kitchen flows into the living room that included a dining table (for four), a couch that pulled out to a queen size bed, two end tables, a coffee table, and a large chair which pulled out to a twin sized bed. There were also two french doors that opened to the very large balcony which overlooked the Savannah.

There was then a hallway that lead to the bedroom and bathroom. The bedroom had a California king size bed, a chair, a desk, a large television, a dresser, and an armoire. It was very spacious, and also had two french doors which opened up to the balcony. The bathroom was separated into two areas – the area with a sink, a mirror, and a closer, then the area with the toilet and shower/Jacuzzi tub. There was also a closet with a washer and dryer in unit!

I am still mesmerized by the room. As if the upgrade wasn’t enough, I loved the balcony with the beautiful view. You really can’t beat waking up every morning to a giraffe 100 yards away from you and zebra all around. It was beyond breathtaking, and I don’t think I could have spent too much time out on that balcony!

As far as amenities, there were plenty. Our favorite was the pool, which was large and had a pool bar and a water slide. It was surrounded by tropical greenery that gave it an exotic view. There were also fire pits where they had fires in the evenings, and they offered plenty of other activities during the day. Of course, the best amenity was the Savannah itself, which included plenty of fun and exotic animals to see!


To wrap it up, this resort is beyond a dream. If you’re looking for a staycation at WDW – a resort that you don’t have to leave – this is it. Never did I get bored just sitting at the resort. There is plenty to do, and so much to explore, that a week there just at the resort would be an event in itself.

I could honestly go on and on about this resort, but I’ll end it here. Below are some pictures of our room, our view, and the resort. Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified when we post next. See ya real soon ūüôā

Our Room

The Resort

Our View

OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING!

OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING!

After over two years of waiting, our day was FINALLY here! Wedding weekend was beyond what I imagined it would be. But, today we’re here JUST to talk about our wedding, which was nothing short of beautiful. Here’s the story of our fairytale!

The morning of the wedding, we woke up on two different sides of WDW resort. My bridesmaids and I all stayed in our honeymoon suite, at Animal Kingdom Lodge. My husband and his groomsmen, however, stayed at the Polynesian – which was where our ceremony was taking place. This is where the fairytale begins…

The Ceremony

6:30 a.m.: Me, Megan, and Emily wake up. We order room service, change into our robes, make some coffee, and pop a bottle of champagne for mimosas. At around 7:00, my hairdresser and makeup artist arrive and we start getting ready for the day.

9:30 a.m.: We’re finally done getting ready, and start taking “getting ready” photos. Surrounded by my family, I am on cloud nine. Most brides talk about how nervous they are the day of their wedding, but I was just so ready to walk down that aisle and see my groom!

10:30 a.m.: By this time, I’m completely freaking out. You’d think I was worried about getting married in less than an hour, but no – I was terrified to walk through the lobby in my dress. I’m beyond an introvert, so people staring at me while I walk by makes me very uncomfortable and I knew the white, sparkly dress I was wearing would attract eyes from all around. I walked through that lobby with my head completely down, just thinking about what was to come.

10:45 a.m.: The limo drops us off at the Poly. We walk in and we are greeted by our wedding coordinator. She shows us our bouquets, and lets us know of a few minor issues that needed solved before we could walk down the aisle. No big deal, we sat in the lobby and waited. This waiting, though, took about 45 minutes and this is where my anxiety fully set in. Again, I don’t think I was nervous about getting married, but the waiting was what was getting to me. My legs wouldn’t stop shaking, and my heart was pounding. Every minute felt like an eternity!

11:20 a.m.: Everything was situated and it was finally time to walk down the aisle. As we walked to the ceremony space, I heard the violinist and saw the backs of the heads of all of our guests. My anxiety went away, and was replaced with a swarm of butterflies. It was finally time! One of my favorite moments of the day was at this time, when I saw my dad standing off to the side, waiting for me with the biggest smile on his face. I swore I wasn’t going to cry before the wedding, but I immediately started crying. Just thinking about this simple but wholesome moment puts a smile on my face, and I’m so sad I don’t have a picture to capture that moment.

11:30(ish) a.m.: The ceremony began. All of the bridesmaids walked out one by one, and eventually there was no one left besides my dad and I. By this point, my shoes were killing me (as beautiful as they were), and I couldn’t walk very fast. But then, I saw Dee. With tears in his eyes (and all over his face), he was smiling and there at the end of the aisle. It was the moment I had been waiting for, for over two years. My tears immediately went away, and I couldn’t help but laugh and smile. This is the moment it really hit me. Also during this time, because I am the most socially awkward person alive, I literally said the word “hey” to Daron when stopping with my dad at the end of the aisle. This is still something he laughs at me about to this day.

11:50 a.m.: The ceremony was over, and we walked back up the aisle to cheers and the violinist playing in the background. It was now time to head over to take photos, do the champagne toasts, cut the cake, and have our first dance. The first thing I did, though, was immediately take off my shoes. I had a pair of sandals in my purse to throw on in case of this exact situation, but I left my purse in the limo. So, I spent the rest of the ceremony bare foot. Oh well, lol.

11:55 a.m.: The champagne toasts begin. First, Megan gave a speech that had me beyond tears. Megan is not too much of a sentimental person, but man, her speech killed it. Then followed Emily, who’s speech had me in tears but also cracking up. Of course, she had to throw in how much we hated each other when we first met – but that’s how the best friendships start right? Last was Dee’s brother, Anthony, who was told (by my own husband) that he wouldn’t have to give a speech at the ceremony. He didn’t find out until we were on our way to the ceremony itself that Dee was wrong and that he would, in fact, be giving a speech. So, he “wung it” and it was great.

12:15 p.m.: We cut our cake and our guests enjoyed a slice. Dee tried to feed me only icing, which is only the worst part of the cake itself. Dee also tried to make it as messy as possible, but I made sure that didn’t happen!

12:20 p.m.: While our guests were enjoying their cake, they also got to enjoy our first dance. We asked our violinist [prior to the ceremony] to play Perfect by Ed Sheeran, and it was just that – perfect. Dee made fun of me just about the entire dance for not having shoes on and for saying “hey” at the end of the aisle, but I mean I really didn’t expect anything else.

12:25 p.m.: It was time for pictures! A few dramatic shots of Dee and I, followed by group pictures of the families, the bridal party, etc. Before the pictures, though, we had our “bubble exit” from the ceremony space to where we would be taking the pictures, which was fun! Are you really at Disney World if you don’t walk through a cloud of bubbles?

12:45 p.m.: We took just a few more pictures on the beach, and it was time to head back to the lobby. We had a few drinks, then all parted ways to rest, hang by the pool, and get ready before the dinner show/reception in the evening.

1:00 p.m.: The limo picked up the bridal party and took “the long way” back to AK. We had some champagne, listened to some music, and really took a step back to celebrate and enjoy everyone’s company. The limo ride was about an hour, and it was definitely a highlight of the day!

Now, you might be looking at the times in the timeline thinking “wow, all of that in an hour?” Well, you weren’t the only one thinking that – so were we. You see, you pay for two hours time to have all of these experiences. However, due to a few situations out of our control, our ceremony time was cut in half. It felt very rushed, family members missed certain events happening, and we really didn’t have a moment to step back and take it all in – but it was still beautiful. It is absolutely a story to tell, and I am so grateful to have even had the chance to get married in Disney World and have such a magical experience.

The Dinner 

For our dinner/reception, we chose to head back to the Polynesian and watch The Spirit of Aloha dinner show. All of our bridal party and guests, about 30 of us, made reservations for the show when booking the wedding. The dinner show is a base ticket that you are supposed to purchase ahead of time. However, since we were with the wedding, they just “reserved” our space and we didn’t have to pay until before the show itself. So, we showed up about an hour early and waited in a painfully long line to purchase each ticket.

The dinner show was nothing short of amazing. This was my second experience at the show itself, and neither time did it disappoint. Each adult paid about $75 for their ticket, which included an all-you-can-eat family style meal, unlimited beer and wine, tax, and gratuity. Combine all of that with an amazing show, and it’s absolutely one of the best deals you’ll find in Disney.

The cast members at the show went out of their way to really make the night special for us as well. They gave me a lei made of beautiful live flowers, and dee got a seashell necklace that he fell in love with. Throughout the show, they had different times where our guests and I were invited up (along with other guests at the show) to dance and become included in the show itself. They even called Dee up to dance on stage, competing with some other guy in the audience! Knowing how shy Dee is, I still can’t believe he got up there – but he did, and he forsure gave everyone a show! Lol

To end the night, a few members of the bridal party as well as Dee and myself stayed after the dinner show to talk, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company on the beach. It was the perfect end to a long, special day!

Looking back, I think about the saying that I believe everyone told me to expect – Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. This proved to be true, but it still didn’t take away from the fact that it was our special day. Of course, there are things that we wish we could have changed about the day – but that’s with everything, right? I can’t help but look back on the day and smile, knowing that I got to marry my best friend surrounded but the people I love in the happiest place on earth.

Well, there you have it – our Disney Fairytale Wedding! I know this was super basic, but I didn’t want to go into great detail and make a never ending post. However, be on the lookout for upcoming posts and major announcements, where you’ll get to hear all of the magical details!

Thanks for reading! Below are some pictures that were shot by my family and friends, as well as a few we got in our sneak peak book from Disney! We should be getting more photos soon, and we are also headed to the Magic Kingdom to do a wedding photo shoot there – so be sure to follow our Facebook and Instagram pages so you can see all of the beautiful pics when we receive them! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified when we post next! See ya real soon ūüôā

7 THINGS NO ONE WILL TELL YOU BEFORE HEADING TO WDW!

7 THINGS NO ONE WILL TELL YOU BEFORE HEADING TO WDW!

Happy Sunday! Before starting this post, I want to apologize that I’ve been gone for so long! I had my bachelorette party, then I was sick with walking pnemonia, then I was too busy getting things ready for the wedding, then it was¬†wedding weekend! I have some exciting posts coming up to talk all about our stay at¬†Animal Kingdom Lodge and our¬†Disney Fairytale Wedding!¬†Be sure to stay tuned ūüôā


There is so much that goes into planning a Disney vacation – from dates and airfare to dining reservations and Fastpass+, the list goes on and on. These days it’s really hard to just head to your vacation¬†without all of the preplanning and details. However, there are some important details that people won’t tell you while you’re planning that might really come in handy! Here are seven things that I think you must know before heading to your WDW vacation:

  1. You now have to pay for parking at your Disney resort.¬†Back in early 2018, WDW announced that guests would now be charged a nightly fee for overnight parking at resorts. The prices vary based on which category resort you are staying ($13/night for Value, $19/night Moderate, and $24/night Deluxe) and will be charged at the end of your stay. Prior to this, parking at a Disney resort overnight was included in your stay. So, if you’re renting a car or driving to the resort for your stay, be prepared to pay those fees when checking out!
  2. The Disney rash is a real thing!¬†Disney World in it’s entirety is about twice the size of Manhattan, or 40 square miles. On an average park day, you can expect to walk anywhere from 10-15 miles! This type of exercise probably isn’t worked into your daily life, which can lead to the dreaded Disney rash. Also known as “golfer’s rash”, the¬†Disney rash causes irritation to the blood vessels in your lower leg. This is caused by walking an extended period of time in heat and humidity. To avoid this, make sure you’re getting those steps in and getting your body ready before you head to your vacation!
  3. Everything will be a line. Literally, everything. From waiting for busses, to baggage check and security, to scanning your tickets to get in the park and everything after that Рthere will always be a line. You might get lucky and be able to  walk right on an attraction, but those experiences are few and far in between. Be prepared for the lines and you will be a lot less frustrated!
  4. Not everyone is in a happy and magical mood. You’ll see kids crying, parents arguing, elders annoyed – you’ll probably even bicker with your loved ones yourself. The extreme temperatures, long park days, and crowds of people are enough to put anyone on edge. To avoid arguments work resort breaks into the hot days, expect that things won’t always go to plan, and understand that you¬†will have to wait 10 minutes to get your Dole Whip.
  5. Your vacation will not be perfect, no matter how much you plan! Things happen, and things will go wrong. Make the best of anything that is thrown your way on your vacation and it will be much more enjoyable! Remember, over planning is your enemy! Make. Time. For. Mid. Day. Breaks!
  6. Being late doesn’t always mean you’re “late”.¬†Your Fastpass+ might only be an hour window, but you will have a grace period of about 15 minutes after the window closes to still make that reservation! Same goes for dining reservations – there is usually about a half hour grace period. Be sure to ask cast members nicely and don’t go in¬†expecting anything, but they will usually work with you happily!
  7. It’s going to be hot.¬†Pretty much no matter when you come to WDW – it will be hot. You might be lucky and find yourself here during the whole¬†two weeks of “winter” temperatures [mid 50’s-60’s], but chances are – it’ll be hot. Bring layers, a ton of water, sunscreen, fans, even an umbrella. Be prepared!

I cannot stress enough that your magical Disney vacation will not go to plan. Things¬†will go wrong, but what’s most important is being able to run with those challenges! Keep these seven tips in mind, though, and it’ll make for a much smoother vacation ūüôā

Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified of any new posts. We have some super exciting wedding content coming up that you won’t want to miss! See ya real soon ūüôā

PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART III

PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART III

Welcome back to part three of this series! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out parts one and two¬†here:¬†PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART I¬†and¬†PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART II.

As of today, our wedding is only 26 short days away. All of the fine details have been ironed out, final payments have been made, and now we are just enjoying our last few weeks being engaged!

But anyway, let’s move on to part three of this series. In part two, I promised this post would be all about the period between submitting our¬†Banquet Event Order and making our final payment. That time has past, and there’s really not much to report!

What I have loved most about planning a wedding through Disney is that they take care of all of the little details. Other than making a few choices discussed in part two, finding an officiant, hair and makeup artists, and getting our dress and tux – there really hasn’t been much for us to do!

After submitting our BEO, really all there was to do was wait until the final payment was made. During this time, our guests were able to make their hotel accommodations in our room block. My fiance and I had to complete a form for our Disney photographer listing our photography styles, who was in our bridal party, and a few other details. And that was pretty much it.

Once the final payment was made, I had to once again look over the BEO to make sure everything looked good. Once it was finalized and all payments had been approved, we moved into the final stage – waiting for the big day!

The week final payments were made, my fiance and I got a¬†third surprise package from Disney in the mail. The package was once again in the same beautiful Cinderella blue packaging, but enclosed were handkerchiefs for my groom and I. There were cards enclosed as well, giving us several ideas on how we could incorporate them into our special day! Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of this package, but it was truly just as beautiful as the last two.

Now, we simply wait. Our coordinator through DFTW, Steffane, is now finalizing all of the details to make sure everything is ready for our big day. The next step will be the wedding and we are so beyond excited for that day to come Рall we have to do now is show up!

That brings us to the end of Part III of our Disney Fairytale Wedding series! Sorry there wasn’t much detail, but there really wasn’t much to report! Part IIII will be all about our big day, so definitely be on the look out!

Thanks for reading! I hope you are enjoying this series ūüôā We are so excited for our special day, and cannot wait to share it with all of our. Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified when we post next! Thanks for reading, see ya real soon!

MY FAVORITE PARK IN DISNEY WORLD!

MY FAVORITE PARK IN DISNEY WORLD!

One question I’m always¬†asked when helping others plan their Disney World vacations, or just discussing WDW in general, is “What’s your favorite park?”. This is always hard for me to answer, because I love¬†all¬†of the parks, but I do have my favorites!

To start, I never include¬†Magic Kingdom when considering which park is my favorite. Since MK is the flagship park of WDW, of course it takes the cake. If you only have one day on property, I would suggest spending the day in entirety there.¬†Because of this, I literally take it out of consideration because, duh, it’s a given! So when answering this question, I give that mini spiel then consider the remaining parks to decide which is my “favorite”.

After MK, Disney World has three main parks – EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Aside from that, there are also two water parks on property (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach) as well as a dining and shopping area, Disney Springs. DS is literally my most favorite place to spend an evening on property, but since it isn’t a “park”, I take that [as well as the water parks] out of the equation.

That leaves¬†EPCOT, Hollywood Studios,¬†and¬†Animal Kingdom.¬†Honestly, it’s a hard tie for me between two of the three and whichever I consider my “favorite” depends on my mood. Those two parks are…

EPCOT. When I was younger, I remember EPCOT being my least favorite park on property. It had no appeal to me, and was honestly quite boring. Now that I’m older [and don’t have kids of my own], this park is one in which I find myself wanting to go to quite often. Between the festivals,¬†the ability to drink and snack around the world, and the opportunity to immerse myself in several different cultures, I thoroughly enjoy this park. All Disney parks are for kids of all ages, but I feel that this one more than the other’s is more enjoyable and draws more attention from an adult crowd! If I’m in the mood for a drink or for some exciting snacks, this is the park I head to.

Hollywood Studios. To me, this is just such a fun and exciting park. Right now, it doesn’t appeal too much to too many people due to the lack of attractions and it’s size, but that soon will change when¬†Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge¬†opens. The draw for me to this park, and the reason why it’s considered my favorite is really due to the atmosphere. I love the feeling of being in “old” Hollywood. The shows, attractions, and street performers are all some of my favorite things on all of property! Even before¬†Toy Story Land opened, this was a park I¬†had to go to every visit to WDW. So, if I’m in the mood for a good time filled with entertainment and thrill, I head to HS!

As I mentioned above,¬†Disney Springs is an honorable mention. This is a great place for a date night and for people to head when they want something that is on property but doesn’t scream¬†Disney. DS has a whole different vibe of it’s own, and it’s really a great place to head with your significant other to eat, grab a drink, do some shopping, be entertained and have some fun. From the AMC movie theater to¬†Splitsville bowling alley to the¬†Characters in Flight hot air balloon ride and so much more, it really is a great place for a date night!

And there you have it! My favorite (well, two favorites!) Disney World park! Which park, aside from Magic Kingdom is your favorite? Leave a comment below to let me know!

Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified of any upcoming posts. Have a great week, we’ll see ya real soon ūüôā

EPCOT FESTIVALS: RANKED BEST TO WORST

EPCOT FESTIVALS: RANKED BEST TO WORST

If you’re a fan of Disney World, you know¬†all about the EPCOT festivals. Personally, one of my favorite things about WDW are the festivals at EPCOT. However, it seems like there is¬†always a festival going on! One ends, and other begins. Although I think thats a bit¬†much, all of the festivals are different in their own ways which make them each their own.

I thought it might be fun to dive deeper into the four festivals and rank them in order of best to worst. To rank them, I am going to take three things into consideration: (1) The time of year the festival is offered, (2) The offerings/unique things to do at the festival, and (3) My own personal interest. I would like to note that these are all solely based on my own personal opinion and your opinion might differ – and that’s okay!

I am going to rank them in order from¬†best to¬†worst. I will say that none of the four are¬†bad, and I enjoy every single one! However, some festivals outshine others. Let’s get started!


1. EPCOT’S International Festival of the Holidays.¬†

This past holiday season was the first time I got to experience this festival and I was¬†blown away.¬†Literally, last year if you would have asked me which festival was my favorite, I would have answered¬†Flower and Garden without a doubt. As we can see now, that opinion has changed drastically! Here are some reasons why this festival is the “best” on my list based on the three characteristics I outlined above.

  • Time of year.¬†Christmas is my favorite holiday, so it is only right that I¬†love the time of year this festival is offered. From the decor, to the theming, to just the overall vibe – it absolutely draws me in. The only downfall to this festival when considering the time of year is that if you go to the festival between the week of Christmas to the week after New Years – it is crazy packed.
  • Unique offerings. One of my favorite things at this festival ended up being the¬†Candlelight Processional. If you are struggling to get into the Christmas spirit, watch this show (which is free with park admission!) and that will change quickly. Other than that, each country has story tellers to tell how their country celebrates the winter holidays, there are carolers, there are unique food and wine offerings – I could go on and on. Check out our excerpt to last year’s festival to learn more in this blog:¬†HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN WDW!
  • Personal interest.¬†I already mentioned this above, but I am¬†all¬†about¬†winter holiday’s. Given that there is a whole festival dedicated toward celebrating these holidays around the world? I was living.

2. EPCOT’S Flower and¬†Garden Festival¬†

It was actually really hard to choose whether the #2 spot would be Flower and Garden or Food and Wine – they both hold a special place in my heart! There are three specific reasons why¬†Flower and Garden took second place: It was the first EPCOT festival I had ever experienced, my fianc√© and I visited the festival every year we have been dating, and it completely transforms the park with beauty! However, let’s dive in to some specifics with the three characteristics I mentioned above:

  • Time of year. When I wasn’t a local, coming to visit WDW in May was a guarantee every year. It isn’t too crowded and the weather is perfect. Being that Flower and Garden starts in March and runs through May, the festival has the luck of those two factors. Other than that, this festival happens in the midst of Spring, and seeing the vibrant flowers all around you, completely transforming the park, makes visiting this festival in EPCOT a must-do experience.
  • Unique offerings.¬†Aside from the beautiful floral details literally¬†everywhere, there are plenty of things to do and see at this festival. From admiring the topiaries to attending a concert as part of the¬†Garden Rocks¬†concert series, to venturing through a butterfly garden – the things that are available to do at this festival are never ending. This was another reason why this festival beat out Food and Wine for the number 2 spot – there is¬†so much more to do! Unfortunately, I have yet to make a blog post about this festival, but it’s coming!
  • Personal¬†interest.¬†Honestly, the beauty of this festival encompasses me every time I experience it. The flower details and topiaries alone are enough to take your breath away! Especially when I’d come to visit from Ohio, it was just a beautiful sight to see.

3. EPCOT’S Food and Wine Festival

Although this is at the #3 spot, I absolutely LOVE this festival. It’s an entire festival dedicated to literal food and wine, and I’m Italian – what isn’t there to love!? However, this festival fell down to this spot based on the combination of unique offerings based on my personal preference. The aesthetic and decor that goes above and beyond for the¬†International¬†Festival of the Holidays¬†and¬†Flower and Garden also couldn’t be beat by this festival. However, Food and Wine still holds a very special place in my heart! Let’s break it down into the three main characteristics:

  • Time of year.¬†This is another festival where the time of year makes it that much more enjoyable. The festival usually starts in August and runs through mid-November. A vast majority of this festival runs through another one of the slower seasons in WDW. This might change, however, considering¬†Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens August 29 and I am sure this will bring heavy crowds!
  • Unique offerings. Last year, there were plenty of things offered at this festival including¬†Eat to the Beat concerts, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and more. I outlined the entire festival in a guide that can be found here:¬†A GUIDE TO EPCOT‚ÄôS INTERNATIONAL FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL 2018. There are a ton of things to be done at this festival, all unique to the theme, but they are almost all things that can be done at places outside of the festival.
  • Personal¬†interest. As I mentioned above – I’m Italian. Food and wine are two things that are very big in my family and I grew up with. It’s how you bond with friends, how you show love for your family, it was a huge part of our family culture. So, of course I’m always elated over an entire festival dedicated to those things! Like I mentioned, based on this sole reason itself, this festival will always hold a special place in my heart!

4. EPCOT’S Festival of the Art’s¬†

This year was also the first time I got to experience this festival. This festival is the newest offering of the four, and is obviously based all around the arts. I had fun, and there were a lot of unique offerings, however I really wasn’t as impressed as I am when I attend any of the other festivals! Let’s look at the characteristics outlined below:

  • Time of year. This festival happens basically right after¬†International¬†Festival of the Holiday’s¬†ends. It’s colder in Florida, which makes it a lot more bearable to attend during the day, but it is also Disney’s racing season. Both time I attended this festival, it was packed with people who raced in one of the marathons! Also, unlike the top three festivals, this particular festival doesn’t happen in a time that necessarily¬†reminds you of the arts – but when would that even be? In my opinion, it just seems like this was a festival Disney came up with to fill in some space during the year where there wasn’t a festival.
  • Unique offerings.¬†There were some pretty cool offerings during this festival that we loved. Guests were able to watch Broadway-style performances, live painting performances, paint/graffiti part of a wall as part of an entire picture, purchase art, see living statues, and more. The theming was absolutely there and there was plenty of things to do, but nothing was offered, in my opinion, that was a¬†can’t miss experience.
  • Personal interest. I¬†love art exhibits and museums. I would take heading to a museum or art exhibit any day over heading to a festival or party. However, this festival seemed more like artists¬†selling their art and Disney selling their products than celebrating art itself. I was hoping to see a lot more art showcases than art on sale, and I just didn’t really have those experiences.

And there you have it, EPCOT’s festivals ranked best to worst! I will say, as I think I’ve said in this blog now several times, I do absolutely love all of these festivals. EPCOT is my favorite park, so of course I get very excited when there are different things to experience!

Thanks for reading! Do you agree with my rankings? How would¬†you rank the festivals? Let me know in the comments below! Also, be sure to subscribe to the blog so you’re notified when I post next. Have a great week, see ya real soon ūüôā

PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART II

PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART II

Welcome back to part two of this series! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out part 1 of Planning Our Disney Fairytale Wedding here: PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART I! I cannot believe our wedding is 68 short days away! Time is seriously flying by. My bridal shower is this upcoming Saturday, I have all of my hair, makeup, nail, etc appointments booked for the big day, and now we are just trying to get all of the small things together!

But anyway, you’re here to read about the next steps we’ve taken toward planning our dream wedding. A lot has happened within the month that I’ve written the first part of this series! We are now into planning all of the fine details and have had a few magical surprises along the way.


Part II: Planning our Fairytale Wedding 

Transitioning from Joe (sales representative) to our Coordinating Team

In the last blog, you saw that I worked hand-in-hand with Joe De Matei to learn more about the package we chose for our wedding as well as book our special day. After the Letter of Agreement was signed on all ends and completed, Joe introduced us to our new coordinating team. We were assigned an overall wedding coordinator as well as a room specialist and a photography specialist, which I will discuss in further detail down below.

The experience we had while working with Joe was exceptional. He was readily available whenever needed to answer any questions we had during the booking process. As his final gesture after introducing us to our team, we received a surprise package from him in the mail! In beautiful packaging, it included a card of well wishes, a Prince Charming coin charm, a Cinderella shoe bag, and a few cards with the items for ideas on how to incorporate the items into our special day.

Although I am positive this is something all sales rep’s send their couples after introducing them to their coordinating team, it was a surprise that brought me to tears of joy! Some pictures of the package can be found below ūüôā


The Planning Kit

A few days after Joe introduced us to our coordinating team, we received an e-mail from our Wedding Coordinator, Steffane Christian. She briefly introduced herself, and then outlined the next several steps we would be taking leading up to our big day. The first few steps were to review the planning resources she attached, and then complete a planning kit.

This planning kit was no joke! It is a 22 page kit which basically outlines in fine detail every detail for you to specify for your big day. You start by putting in your personal information (both the bride and groom), and from there outline every little detail. The details we had to choose and specify for our big day included:

  • Floral. There were several bouquet and boutonniere pairings for us to choose from. We were also able to choose the flower colors within the style that we chose! Those two things were included in the package already, and after choosing those we were given the option to choose additional add-on floral.
    • The add on’s included bridesmaids bouquets, boutonniere’s for the bridal party and father of the bride and groom, corsages for the mother of the bride and groom, and floral decorations for the ceremony space. For each additional add-on, there were several options and styles to choose from ranging in price.
  • Enhancements. These items are all things that are not included in the base price of the package. Items that you could add on for the ceremony include flower girl baskets and ring bearer pillows, a sand ceremony set, charms for bouquets, a unity candle set, and more.
  • Photography. As I mentioned in part 1, two hours worth of photography is included in the package. However, couples have the option of adding on additional hours of photography as well as additional albums and prints. Couples also have the option of adding an in-park or additional resort photo shoot, which can be chosen on this page as well.
  • Cake. There were about five different cake styles that we were able to choose from, with about 5 more “enhanced” cakes that we could also choose with an up charge. After choosing the style we wanted, we were able to choose the cake flavor and filling. There were a ton of options for this part and it was definitely hard to choose!
  • Beverages. With the package, two bottles of champagne are included. We had the option here to add on additional bottles of champagne, sparking cider for underage guests, and treats to give out as favors.
  • Transportation. A four-hour, 8 passenger limousine is included in our package for transportation to and from the ceremony space. At this part in the kit, we had to outline the first two stops and last two stops for the limo driver. We also had the option of upgrading our limousine to Cinderella’s Coach or a variety of other style vehicles.
  • Music and Entertainment. This was probably my favorite part of the entire kit. Here, we were able to outline every song choice we wanted for our ceremony including the wedding party entrance, the bride’s entrance, the sand ceremony song, the recessional, the cake cutting ceremony, and the first dance.
    • They do provide you with a list of songs to choose from. However, at no additional cost you are able to personally request any song as long as you provide your coordinator with the sheet music!
    • In your package, a violinist is included. In this section, however, you can choose to upgrade or add on additional musicians or even pay to have characters come to the ceremony.

I would say that this planning kit was really the only downfall of planning a Disney wedding, if you could even call it that. Part of a traditional wedding planning experience is to taste test cake, go to a florist and see the bouquets and flowers firsthand to design your wedding floral, and meet with a photographer in person. However, the planning kit does have photo’s of everything, but it’s all digital. I found myself quite often thinking “I wish I could see this/try this in person”.

On the other hand, this planning kit outlined literally everything and made all of the details a one-stop-shop. It was very simple to navigate and really takes the stress away from having to go to different vendors to plan it all yourself.

I did have to speak with Steffane a few times while going through the planning kit with various questions. We exchanged emails but also spoke over the phone. She was very informative and helpful, and always answered emails promptly.

After submitting the planning kit to Steffane, she informed us that she received it and would review it over the next several days. We were then told that we would be expecting a Banquet Event Order – Rough Draft in our email within the next two weeks!


Room Blocks and Photography

Aside from our wedding coordinator, our room specialist and photography specialist both reached out to us around the same time Steffane did.

  • Photography Specialist – Karen Chandler. Karen’s email started just like Steffane’s did, introducing herself and telling us what her role in our wedding would be. Basically, she provided us with a website where we could go see all of the Disney Wedding photographer’s personal albums. She told us to check all of them out, as they all have different styles, and recommended we choose a “top three” that fit our aesthetic. Karen told us to put their names in the Planning Kit (which we did) to let our coordinator know who we would prefer. We were informed that there was no guarantee we would be assigned one of the three we chose, but that they would try their best to accommodate!
  • Room Specialist – Janet Moore. Janet started her email introducing herself like the other members of her team did. She then gave us a timeline regarding the room block including when she recommended people book by, when the block would close, how many nights we can reduce out of the total we reserved, and more. Janet also provided me with a link to share with my guests so they can book rooms directly in the block. Lastly, we were provided with our own unique link to track our guests bookings and other additional information.

I really didn’t have to reach out to Karen during this stage in the process, as it was all self explanatory. However, I did have a few questions for Janet and she was very prompt in returning my call as well as extremely kind and easy to work with. She has been in this business for over 20 years and you can tell she still loves what she does!


Banquet Event Order

It took less than a week from the time I sent the completed planning kit to Steffane for her to send the first draft of our Banquet Event Order. This is basically a detailed receipt of all of the choices we made as well as any additional add-on’s we chose. She instructed us to print the BEO out and review it. If we have any changes, we simply mark them on the page and initial at the bottom of the page to confirm.

With the BEO, she gave us our estimated budget and the due-date. Steffane instructed us to send in the edited and complete BEO with the remaining balance no later than one month before our wedding so she can finalize all of the details.

About a week after sending the BEO, my fiance and I got another surprise package from Disney Fairytale Weddings in the mail, this time from Steffane! This package was in the same beautiful packaging as the other, and included a well wishes card, a Pixie Dust charm for my bouquet, and a set of Prince Charming collar stays/tie holders for Daron. They are absolutely beautiful, and of course brought tears to my eyes – again! Below are some pictures of this lovely package ūüôā


And, that brings us to the end of Part II of our Disney Fairytale Wedding series! Part III in our series will be all about the time period between submitting our BEO and final payment to our big day, so be on the look-out!

Thanks for reading! I hope you are enjoying this series! We are so excited for our special day, adn cannot wait to share it with all of you. Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified when we post next! Thanks for reading, see ya real soon ūüôā

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE

Over the course of the past week, Disney has dropped tons of details about their new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.¬†The land is coming to both Disney World and Disneyland this year. Details about cast member costumes, food and drink offerings, opening dates, and more have been announced. Here is everything we know about whats to come in the new land:

Opening Dates and Details 

  • Galaxy’s Edge is set to open¬†May 21¬†at Disneyland and¬†August 29 at Disney World.
    • Guests who wish to visit the land in DL between May 21 – June 23 will be required to already have a park ticket and make a no cost reservation in order to control crowds. There is no doubt that the reservations will be hard to come by, as they are limited. Guests staying at any of the three Disneyland resorts during this time frame will have a designated reservation time to visit the land. Guests will only be allotted one reservation per person.
    • Disney World, as of now, will not follow this advanced reservation policy. Capacity will, however, be limited.
  • At the open of¬†both lands, the only attraction that will be open and operating in the land will be¬†Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.¬†The second attraction,¬†Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be opening at a date later in the year on both coasts.
    • There will be no Fastpass+ reservation opportunities available at WDW or DL for¬†Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run¬†upon opening.
  • Galaxy’s¬†Edge¬†will¬†not be open or available during Extra Magic Hours or Magic Morning at Disneyland. As of right now, WDW plans to keep the land open in Hollywood Studios during Extra Magic Hours upon opening.
  • Below are some concept art photos of¬†Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and¬†Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance as provided by D23.

Cast Member Costumes

  • WDW cast members were invited to an exclusive event where they were introduced to the costumes that will be used in the land.
    • There will be unique name tags/badges worn by cast members that are far different than the classic white badges worn by CM’s around the park.
    • The costumes look very layered, heavy, and are created with dark colors. Most costumes include long sleeves and jackets or vests. However, costume ambassadors claim that breathability and the extreme summer temperatures were taken into consideration when creating the costumes.
  • Photo’s of the costumes released by Disney can be found below.

Food and Beverage

  • Food service options in the land will consist of¬†Oga’s Cantina, Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, Ronto Roasters, Milk Stand¬†and Kat Saka’s Kettle.¬†
    • Oga’s Cantina¬†will be a very immersive dining experience that most guests are looking forward to. The restaurant will serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as meals for both lunch and dinner. This will be the first¬†ever restaurant in Dinseyland park to sell alcoholic beverages.
    • Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo¬†will be another immersive restaurant in the land. This restaurant is described as “fast-casual”, which I’m assuming means a quick-service restaurant.¬†Non-alcoholic beverages as well as lunch and dinner meal options will be served.
    • Ronto Roasters seems to be another quick-service restaurant that will serve barbecue style sandwiches and other finger foods for lunch and dinner.
    • Milk Stand will be a vendor where Disney Imagineers worked hand-in-hand with Lucasfilm to create the iconic blue milk Star Wars drink. The drink will be plant-based to accommodate dietary restrictions. There isn’t much more information on this vendor as of yet.
    • Kat Saka’s Kettle will be a stand in the land where guests can find various flavors of popcorn.
  • No reservations will be taken for any of the dining experiences in the land.
  • The Disney Dining Plan will¬†not be accepted for any food or beverage items at any vendor in the land.
  • Below are some photos of various food and beverage items as provided by D23.

Merchandise

  • There will be plenty immersive merchandise locations in¬†Galaxy’s Edge. Guests will be able to build driods, create lightsabers, and purchase their own Jedi costumes and apparel.
    • Droid Depot will allow guests to create BB-series or R-series droids. The driod’s will be able to interact with elements in the land and respond to guests behaviors. There will also be pre-built droid’s available for purchase.
    • Savi’s Workshop will allow guests to build their own “high quality” lightsaber. Guests will be guided through the process, and will get to chose from a variety of options.
    • Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiques will be a merchandise location where guests can find items from different¬†Star Wars stories. An anamatronic¬†Dok will be at a desk in the merchandise location interacting with the surroundings.
    • The¬†Creature Stall will have various plush creatures available for purchase including ¬†pogs, wampas, and more.
    • Toydarian Toymaker¬†will be another location guests can purchase plush characters from the series as well as wooden and tin toys and instruments.
    • Guests who are a part of the resistance will be able to purchase apparel and accessories from¬†Resistance Supply.¬†
    • Likewise, if you consider yourself a part of the first order, you will be able to pick up first order apparel and accessories at First Order Cargo.
    • Other apparel and accessories will be available for purchase at Black Spire Outfitters.
  • There has been no word or communication from Disney on whether guests will be able to wear the apparel they purchase from the shops in the land.
  • Everything sold in¬†Galaxy’s Edge was made specifically for the land, therefor will not be available for purchase outside of¬†Galaxy’s Edge.
  • Below are some photos of merchandise that will be available for purchase, as provided by D23.

And there you have it – all we know so far about¬†Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! I know personally I am thrilled for this land to open, and I cannot wait to experience it. However, with anticipation and all the hype will come¬†heavy crowds – so, if you plan on visiting the parks to experience this land, be prepared for long waits to just get inside.

Are you excited for¬†Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge¬†to open in Disneyland or Walt Disney World? Let me know down below! I’ll also leave some newly released concept art from Disney and D23 below. Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified when we post next. See ya real soon!

 

8 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE MY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!

8 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE MY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!

Planning a WDW vacation can be stressful, especially if you’ve never been to the resort/parks and don’t know exactly what to plan for. I thought I was completely ready for our first trip – I had our park backpacks packed and ready, I chose weather appropriate clothing, I made sure we had sunscreen and bandaids – but there were some things I had no idea about that I should have been prepared for.

Although my fianc√© and I had the best time on our first WDW vacation (you can read all about it here: OUR FIRST DISNEY TRIP AS A COUPLE!), there are some things that I wish I had known before our trip! Had I known these things, it would have went for a much smoother vacation. So, here are 8 things that I wish I had known before our first trip that would have made for an even more magical vacation!

  1. The My Disney Experience app is a necessity. From booking Fastpass+ and ADR’s to checking wait times for rides, navigating your way around the park, finding out showtimes for parades and fireworks – the list goes on and on. I made the mistake of not having this app during my first visit to the park and found myself asking cast members question after question that could have easily been answered in the app! The app can be downloaded on all smartphones and is free, making it an absolute necessity!
  2. Take advantage of the Fastpass+ booking window. The wait times are very long – especially in peak seasons (which is basically all the time now). Guests staying on property can book their Fastpass+ reservations 60 days in advance, while other guests with tickets-only [and Passholders] can book up to 30 days in advance. Use those windows to your advantage and be sure to score your must-have rides! Some Fastpass+ reservation ideas can be found here: BEST RIDES FOR FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS!.
  3. Making Advance Dining Reservations (ADR’s) is necessary to get into a good table service restaurant for dinner. If you read all about our first Disney trip, you’ll know that we had a very hard time finding any table service restaurant to eat dinner at. Your family, your feet, and your body will thank you if you score reservations at an indoor, air conditioned “sit down” restaurant. Guests staying on property can book ADR’s up to 180 days in advance!
  4. Make sure you pack comfortable, supportive shoes. Our first trip, I made the mistake of wearing sandals to Magic Kingdom and ended the night with blisters covering my feet. Be sure that the shoes you pack for the park are comfortable, supportive, and broken in! Once again, your feet will thank you!
  5. Adding the Park Hopper option to your ticket isn’t really worth it. I’ve mentioned this time and time again in my blog and when giving advice to people heading to WDW for their magical vacations – the park hopper, in my opinion, is not worth it. If you’re staying on property for enough time that you can visit all four parks in four separate days, make it a point to do that. If you’re not staying long enough to visit all of the parks, find out which parks are your priority. It takes so much time out of your day to go from park to park, and it hinders your overall experience.
  6. Dining plans are totally worth it. For my fianc√© and I, the DDP completely makes sense. We eat three meals a day, we tend to order the more expensive things on the menu, and it is very convenient for us. Had I known how much we would enjoy and appreciate the DDP, I would have added it on to every one of our WDW vacations! I made an entire blog about DDP’s (A BREAK DOWN OF WDW DINING PLANS!) which will break down into great detail what plan is best for you, if any at all!
  7. Be prepared to wait in line – for everythingSeriously – everything. From the monorails and busses, to baggage check and getting into the gates, to getting your photo’s taken by a Photopass member and more you will constantly be in a line. The more prepared you are for it, the less stressed out you will be! As I mentioned above, you can cut down the wait times for these lines by doing things such as heading to the parks at rope drop, making ADR’s, booking Fastpass+ reservations, and having a strategy.
  8. Amazon can ship things to your resort. This is something that I recently found out and never had the chance to take advantage of when I visited the WDW resort for vacations! You can have Amazon ship packages to your resort, and the resort will hold them until checking in. Then, they will bring the packages right to your room! This can come in handy if you forget a necessity at home, but a good friend recently used it to order an inexpensive stroller for her child! This way, she didn’t have to pack her bulky stroller, and planned to donate it to a charity before she left. The possibilities are endless!

As you can see, there are still useful tips and tricks that even I am learning about as time goes on. There will never be a straightforward way to book the perfect vacation, but knowing some of these things ahead of time will only help you in the end!

There you have it! 8 things I wish I knew before my first trip to WDW! Leave a comment below telling me something you wish you’d have known before your first visit that would have made things a little smoother! Also, be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified of any new posts. Thanks for reading, see ya real soon ūüôā

PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART I

PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART I

In honor of my wedding being less than 100 days away (yay!), I thought it would be fun to create a series where I document the planning process of our Disney Fairytale wedding! In this series, I’ll take you along the planning process with me in anticipation of our big day.

But first, let’s backtrack a bit. Up until about January, we had an entire destination wedding planned. The wedding was set to be at Bilmar Beach Resort in St. Petersburg, Florida for all of our family and friends on May 25, 2019. We were looking at 150-200 guests, and it was going to be beautiful.

The closer and closer the wedding got the more stress that was added on. Our family and friends began stressing about getting time off of work and if they could afford it, it was hard finding vendors due to the wedding being Memorial Day weekend, and the list could go on and on. So, finally, my fiance and I decided we would cancel our “big” wedding and elope. That is what leads us to the start of Part I of our Disney Fairytale Wedding series…

Part I: Booking our Fairytale Wedding 

Choosing Our Package

When considering and brainstorming places to elope, one of the major factors we were considering was what would be easily accessible while still fitting into our lifestyle. We didn’t want to just head to a courthouse – we wanted something that would compliment who we were. I started googling “Places to elope in Orlando, Florida”, and Disney Fairytale weddings popped up. We knew then that we would be having a Disney Fairytale wedding.

There are three tiers to choose from for a Disney wedding, and this is where the planning began. The three options are:

  • Wishes: Starting at $12,000 with a minimum of 18 guests.
  • Escape: Starting at $7,000 with a maximum of 18 guests.
  • Memories: Starting at $3,500 with a maximum of 4 guests.

Initially, we thought that the Memories package would fit best for us since we wanted to do a simple elopement. However, the more we discussed the idea of our “special day”, we couldn’t picture saying I Do without our parents and siblings with us. We decided that the Escape package was the best fit for us, and this is where the fun began.

Disney’s Escape Wedding Package

Now that we chose which package would best fit our vision and our guest list, we then contacted a Sales Representative to get further information on how the package works and what is included. Our representative, Joe De Matei, was outstanding and a big help in this first stage of the planning process! During about an hour-long consultation on the phone, I was given the following information on what would be included in our special day:

  • A one-hour ceremony. Within this hour-long time frame, we would have the traditional wedding ceremony including a processional and a recessional. The hour also includes champagne toasts, a cake cutting ceremony, and a first dance.
    • There were several venues to choose from, which I will get more into a little later.
  • A two-tier cake and two bottles of champagne. These two items, as part of the ceremony, are included in the package cost.
  • A solo violinist. The violinist is included for the ceremony, and the song choices for the sand ceremony, processional, recessional, first dance, cake cutting, and more would be decided upon by my fiance and I. We were informed that they have pre-set songs we could choose from, or we could make special  requests ahead of time!
  • A bouquet and boutonniere. For the bride and groom only. There are several options to choose from!
  • A four-hour limousine charter. This can be used for our bridal party or any special guests.
  • 2-hour service of a Disney photographer. The photographer would be there to capture all moments during the ceremony, as well as photos of the bridal party and family after the ceremony has ended.
    • Included with the photographer is a 20-photo personalized album as well as a USB of all photo’s taken on the special day with printing rights.
  • An on-site wedding coordinator, room specialist, and photography coordinator. This team is assigned to you after booking the package.

A few other things that I took note of in regard to the package are…

  • There are several enhancement options that can be added on to customize the special day including floral decor for the ceremony space, additional hours for photography, videography, floral for the bridal party, and more.
  • We were able to set up a room block with special rates for rooms and tickets for our guests. If our guests reserve 10 room nights in total, we are provided with a complimentary nights stay at the resort of our choice.
  • We are required to have a four-night stay booked as the couple, and the reservation has to be linked to our package.

Lastly, some things that are necessary (or, that I found necessary) for our special day and are not included in the package are:

  • An officiant. We are provided with a list to choose from, but the officiant must be paid for and booked seperately.
  • Floral for our bridal party. We have the option of ordering floral through the Disney floral department or bringing in our own.
  • A reserved space to get ready for the bridal party. This one is fine, as we are able to get ready in our hotel rooms and be escorted in the limo to the ceremony space.

After speaking with Joe, we decided that this package was perfect for our elopement and fit our dream very nicely. This moves us into the next part of the process, which is deciding on a venue and putting a “soft hold” on our package!

Choosing our Venue

With the Escape package, we had five different venues to choose from:

  • Disney’s Wedding Pavilion at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
  • Canada Terrace at the Canada Pavilion in EPCOT
  • Sea Breeze Point at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
  • Wedding Gazebo at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort 
  • Luau Pointe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Our first choice was the Canada Terrace in EPCOT. We love that park, and the backdrop of the ceremony space is the waterfall in the back of the Canada pavilion. However, even though the date we wanted was open (May 24), the only time slot available was 9:00am, as they only do ceremonies before park opening which – to us – was entirely too early!

Our second choice was Luau Pointe. We absolutely love the Polynesian, and this ceremony space is beautiful. It’s very tropical and surrounded by beautiful greenery with the backdrop being Seven Seas Lagoon. Since we initially were supposed to get married on the beach, we figured this was perfect! After deciding on this ceremony spot, we were informed that the 1:00pm slot was already reserved, but a 9:00am and an 11:00am ceremony was open and available. As I mentioned above, 9:00am was too early for our taste, so we decided on the 11:00 slot!

Soft-Hold of our Date and Venue

The next and final step of the booking experience was to put a “soft hold” on our ceremony venue, date, and time. What this basically meant was that everything was reserved in our name for about a month’s time span while the Letter of Agreement was being drawn up and until the deposit was set.

To draw up the Letter of Agreement, I had about two weeks to fill out a form from Joe. On the form, I had to choose up to three resorts for our our room block (one value, one moderate, and one deluxe) as well as a resort for our complimentary room. I also had to provide him with basic information including our contact information and our parents’. Since it was easy information, that part of the process only took about three days.

After sending in that information, it took about another two weeks for Joe and his team to draw up a Letter of Agreement. I had to review that all of the information was correct, and my fiance and I had to sign the document. We then had about two more weeks to get the deposit of $1,000 over to them. Once everything was signed and they received the deposit, Joe and his team took about another week to sign the document on their end as well as assign us our wedding coordinator team.

And, that brings us to the end of Part I of our Disney Fairytale Wedding series! Part II in our series will be information on how we planned every detail of our wedding with our coordinating team, so be on the look-out!

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy this series! We are so excited for our special day, adn cannot wait to share it with all of you! Below are some photo’s of the venue we chose (Luau Pointe)! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified when we post next! See ya real soon ūüėČ