When I hear about Disney VIP experiences, I mostly think of private theme park guides, fireworks cruises, etc. At least, that’s what I used to think. Now, I think of a private party. I’m talking about an amazing location, great food, fab service, fireworks, no crowds, and an exclusive character meet and greet. Sound like a Disney dream? Well, it is! In this post I’ll show you how to plan a private dessert party at Disney World!
Last year we were in Disney World for our anniversary. I planned on surprising Mr. ADOL with a fireworks cruise on the Grand 1. Then, it got cancelled at the very last minute, and I was so bummed by the way Disney handled everything. So this year, when the trip fell over his birthday, I knew I wanted to plan something beyond amazing.
To book the Grand 1, all you have to do is call Disney’s “PLAY” number 90 days in advance. It doesn’t involve much. However, I know that Disney plans weddings, and for these bigger events, clients are assigned a planner. That’s exactly what I wanted this time around. This way, should something go wrong (like the Grand 1 breaks down and becomes unusable at the very last minute), I wouldn’t be left with absolutely nothing. I’d have someone working WITH me to create a fabulous experience, no matter what.
So as soon as we booked our end of August/beginning of September Disney World trip, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted it to be spectacular. I also knew that I didn’t want the Grand 1 (I’m just not over that disappointment yet)! Disney can do basically anything with a little
dreaming money, and I heard about these private parties, so that’s where I started. The problem is, we are only two people, and not some large wedding party. Still, I figured it can’t hurt to ask.
In January (2015), I emailed firstname.lastname@example.org, and vaguely explained what I was looking for. Within two days I received a generic message from Disney’s Catered Events, letting me know that while they usually gear towards groups of 10 or more, they can accommodate a smaller group (of 2), starting from $1,000 + tax & service. I said okay, and later that day, a Catering and Convention Sales Manager emailed me.
Then, the following day, the catering and convention sales manager called to learn more about what I was looking for – budget, details, etc.
Then Eric became my planner for the months to come. He was wonderful. He offered so many great suggestions, and constantly listened to what I wanted and didn’t want. Through many emails and phone conversations, we planned a spectacular event. Here are the details…
I won’t go into the many tedious details planning an event involves – coming up with a theme, menu, etc. However, the plan was that after dinner, we’d go to Epcot for fireworks.
But Really: We were having our very own private dessert party at UK Pubside, while we watched the Epcot fireworks, followed by yet another surprise! After fireworks, it was off to Fez House for birthday cake (and a character surprise)!
We had dinner reservations at Yachtsman Steakhouse, right at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort (where we were staying).
Then, after dinner, we headed to Epcot watch the fireworks, as planned. However, unbeknownst to Mr. ADOL, someone met us at the entrance. It was my planner, Eric, and he was with an event escort. He approached us, “Mr. LASTNAME, I hear it’s your birthday, please follow me.”
The excitement (and confusion/curiosity) began!
- Cost: $12.95 pp plus tax, Illuminations Viewing Fee (since we didn’t pay park admission)
We were off to UK Pubside with our guides. I was floored by just how many staff members Disney employed for our private event. I’ve never felt so VIP in my entire life. The path leading down to UK Pubside, and then blocking it, were filled with cast members. They all welcomed us and wished Mr. ADOL a Happy Birthday. I wish I had the time to talk and thank each one of them.
- Cost: $595, Photographer to capture the details (2 hours)
- Cost: $100 + tax, UK Pubside (to reserve the location)
My vision for the space was executed perfectly.
- $75.00, Custom keepsake scroll menu’s
- $338.75 + tax, Linen, napkins, candles, floral
It was time to sit back, relax, and be pampered – Disney style! We were handed glasses, which turned every light source into Mickey ears.
There was a chef concocting our desserts.
A bartender, offering a sampling of beers from around the world, and wine for me.
- Cost: $260 + tax and service, The food, which featured cheesecake with “Captain’s hook,” a smoking apple crisp, maleficent cupcakes, and more.
- Cost: $100 + tax and service, bartender fee
- Cost: $4.95, Bottled Water
- Cost: $7.00 per + tax and service, Beer Tasting
- Cost: $14.00 per + tax and service, Wine
Next up – fireworks! UK Pubside is my new favorite location to view them. I’ve never had such a clear shot before. It was truly spectacular!
Once fireworks ended, I love how Mr. ADOL thought were done… until we didn’t head to the park’s exit…
And this is what I loved about Disney… they took my vision and ran with it. Despite the MANY events they do per year, they have never done one in the location my planner proposed, Fez House. I love how they are constantly thinking outside of the box! The space was absolutely perfect!
- Cost: $250.00, Fez House Event Space
The ONLY downside to this space is that there’s no doorway. It’s basically a courtyard (and it was SO hot and humid out)! I wanted to have characters come, and even though the park was technically closed, people were still exiting. At Disney, you have to “enclose” the space when there’s characters, because you’re paying for the private experience. If another guest sees the characters, they can’t turn them away. The characters ALWAYS have to stay IN character and say hello. So originally, my planner proposed draping, which cost over $1,200.00. I wasn’t looking to spend that, and he really worked hard in coming up with a better solution that was more budget-friendly. We settled on plants, which was so much less expensive than the draping! When he first told me the price, I thought it was PER PLANT, but he said it was for the whole thing! I was impressed with how he worked so hard in coming up with a plan B.
- Cost: $250.00 + tax, Privacy plants
There were a lot of other things we went back and forth on, such as elaborate chairs (which I nixed, because they cost $400! For chairs!). I also took out smoke for the entrance, as well as specialty lighting, which I noticed was still in the space, and I wasn’t charged for! It was such a great surprise, especially for me, because it’s small details like these in which I notice most.
I love how surprised he was! After all he does, it was great to be able to finally surprise him.
The space was so wonderfully decorated. There were two cocktail tables (a high and low), each adorned with gorgeous linen and fresh flowers. The low table had two chiavari chairs for us to sit (a much better solution than the $400 chairs!), and on the high table sat the most amazing cake I have ever seen.
- Cost: $338.18 + tax, Linen, napkins, florals, etc.
The cake… Let’s talk about the cake. The theme of this portion of the evening was Aladdin. It took place in Fez House (Morocco), and I told Disney I wanted something that fit the theme. They went above and beyond. I mean, who would’ve thought to do a Cave Of Wonders cake?! Only Disney. It smoked. It changed color. It had every. little. detail.
- Cost: $400.00 + tax & service, Cake
And of course, what would a party be without some guests?
- Cost: $2,325.00, Having Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar, and Genie show up
I was so impressed with the character interaction. And the fact that they stayed for so long. We had so much fun taking pictures with them!
So after the characters left, we sat and actually ate some of that delicious cake. We had the photographer for a little longer, so we took some more shots around the Morocco pavilion before calling it a night.
What an unforgettable experience, and I cannot thank Disney enough for the fabulous memories!