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Old 06-05-2011, 07:57 PM   #1
hardtoport
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Grand Gatherings - Epcot Illuminations Dessert Party

Hello! I am new to the board and have questions I cannot seem to find answers to regarding the Illuminations Dessert Party.

I called Grand Gatherings and was told it is a buffet dinner at the Odyssey, with a private, roped off dessert party nearby afterward to view Illuminations. They said it was not possible to reserve just a dessert party in a chosen country around Epcot. Is this true?

I know of someone who got married and had their reception outside of Paris. Also, I've seen pictures of people with a dessert party in the UK... I am just confused, and I'm starting to feel that my dream of having my family and friends gathered here is not so practical, especially if 80% of the group needs to stay in a Disney Resort.

Anyone with better insight? All the information online seems to be from various message boards.
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:18 PM   #2
lurkyloo
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Yeah, unfortunately the only way to get any real info on Disney seems to be on message boards because the official Disney web sites are so frustratingly generic (the problem is you gotta take all that message board info with a grain of salt!)

Grand Gatherings offers just that one option for having a dessert party in Epcot, but you can book your own private event by calling Disney Catered Events at 321-939-7278. You have to be staying in a Disney owned-and-operated hotel, and certain party locations have guest-count minimums.

Click here for info on a couple of private events I've booked this way.

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-05-2011, 10:11 PM   #3
hardtoport
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Thank you, lurkyloo!

I will give Catered Events a call tomorrow. I was a little surprised that I spoke to two people (one from WDW-Dine and one from Grand Gatherings) who didn't seem to have a clue about this.

Do you happen to know if the policy of staying in a Disney Resort applies also to 80% of your group when you deal with Catered Events? I can see my partner and I staying in one, but I can't expect that of most of my friends and family. We're willing to splurge on the experience of a dessert party at Epcot, but not so much on a hotel stay, since we usually Priceline great hotels for a fraction of the sticker price.

Thanks, again!
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Old 06-06-2011, 02:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hardtoport View Post
I will give Catered Events a call tomorrow. I was a little surprised that I spoke to two people (one from WDW-Dine and one from Grand Gatherings) who didn't seem to have a clue about this.
Honestly, Disney is so big and has so many employees and departments that it's sort of an "right hand doesn't know what the left one is doing" situation most of the time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hardtoport View Post

Do you happen to know if the policy of staying in a Disney Resort applies also to 80% of your group when you deal with Catered Events?
I've never been asked how many of my guests are staying at the resorts. With Grand Gatherings, it's sort of a generic service at a low (to Disney) price point, so I can see why they'd need to impose a requirement like that to make it worth their while. But with private events like weddings and parties, as long as you meet the monetary minimums, they don't seem to care where your guests are staying.
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Old 06-06-2011, 01:59 PM   #5
cubgirl78
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We did a Private Dessert Party in the UK Lower last Sept 2010, and LOVED it. I contacted our Disney resort catering division which happened to be the Boardwalk. (as noted, Disney doesn't offer this info on their website, so it took some calling around for me to find the proper channel) I spoke to the BEST person ever, and she made this the easiest thing about our wedding weekend. She was very helpful and was very honest with locations etc. We didn't have a large party of people, only about 28, so we were limited as to where we could go. When I called, I had to give her our confirmation number for the hotel, and then I was sent a quote and menu options. Disney really is the best there is for making you feel like you are the only one having a party with them. There were dessert parties at every country that night, but we felt like it was only us.
We didn't have our wedding at Disney, we did ours at Celebration, FL, and that didn't seem to matter. We got ALOT of sweets for the price, and our wedding guests were in awe, which in itself was priceless. Good luck, you won't be disappointed, just make sure you stay on them as to what you envision!
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:39 AM   #6
hardtoport
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I just got off the phone with Disney Catered Events, and this is what I was told:

- Events may be booked up to one year in advance
- You must have already booked your stay at a Disney Resort
- The majority of your party must also be staying in a Disney Resort
- A dessert party for 20 people starts at about $1500

The only thing that kills me is that the majority of my guests supposedly have to stay at a Disney Resort. I expect to have about 25 guests, most of them coming in from California, so this trip will be expensive enough. Maybe I'll just settle for dinner reservations.

Thank you lurkyloo and cubgirl78 for guiding me in the right direction!
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:17 PM   #7
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I don't really get how they moderate the "majority of guests staying on property", to be honest. Our guests weren't even counted as we came in, let alone even asked if they were staying on property (although they all were).

I'm a pretty strict rule follower when it comes to DFTW (you know...people trying to sneak into the park with their wedding dresses or have a secret ceremony in the park), but honestly...I had never heard of that rule in my wedding planning. At all. I mean, if you're going to pay the $1800.00 dollars, and the viewing fees (which we didn't even end up paying)...what does it matter where your guests are sleeping? I guess I see a point to the hosts being on property, but that's it.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:24 PM   #8
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Agreed—I've now planned two non-wedding private events at Disney World and never once been asked where my guests were staying...
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:18 PM   #9
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We were never told our guests had to stay on property at all! We were just asked how many were attending, and all told to meet at a central location by the boat docks in Epcot where they put wristbands on us and escorted us to the location. Don't let them tell you they have to stay on property (they only told us that was the case IF you were having a Disney wedding). If you are at the Boardwalk area, ask for Jennifer O'leary in the Boardwalk catering Dept. She was a life saver and was the BEST! Good luck!!!!
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:40 PM   #10
Becky2005
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Interesting...is Shades of Green considered "On Property" for this? I have an Illuminations dessert party booked for July. Our party size is 15 and when we originally booked -- Most of us were staying at Shades of Green with 1 family completely off site.

We have since moved over to Ft. Wilderness since I got a PIN code but our stuff still says Shades of Green (I did tell them but they didn't seem to care).

We aren't paying a viewing fee per person because everyone will be in the park that day...we are in the Viking Landing but they are bringing in a few tables for us (not sure it's worth it but it was one of those -- I think I would rather go ahead and pay the extra fee & find out it was a waste of money rather than go cheap & WISH I would have just done it, KWIM?).

Just looking at our cost and it was under $900, not counting the milk which is going to be BOC, so who knows how much that will be.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:36 PM   #11
hardtoport
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Party is back on!

Thanks for everyone's help in getting me started with the Illuminations Dessert Party! I spoke to Andrea today, the events coordinator from BoardWalk, and we've just begun the process of organizing our celebration for July 2012.

With regards to my biggest concern, the whole "majority of guests must stay on Disney property" deal, my partner and I will stay at BoardWalk, but we can book a few rooms at a value resort later to meet the quota. We'll see if we can get by without doing it, though...
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Old 01-03-2014, 05:07 PM   #12
Persampieri27
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Smile

Has anyone had a welcome dp at Hollywood studios??????
. I want to save the epcot dp for wedding day?... We are possibly looking in the months of July/ August
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