How to Plan a Private Anniversary Dessert Party at Epcot

lurkyloo

The Attic was just perfect!
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
UPDATE
Disney Catered Events now requires a $1,000 overall minimum expenditure (before tax and service charge) to plan an event of any size.

To hear a step-by-step podcast on planning a small private party at Walt Disney World, CLICK HERE.

For contact details and basic pricing, plus info on my IllumiNations and Tower of Terror dinner party, CLICK HERE.


Because we don’t really have planning journals and trip reports for anniversaries (but we’ll all be having anniversaries at some point! :teeth:), I thought I’d post all the info and a report of the private anniversary party we had at WDW last month. The whole story of the anniversary night (with tons of fireworks pictures) can be found in my trip report, so I’ll post just the facts here!

The Basics
There are two ways I know of to hold a small private event at WDW. One is to call Private Dining at the Grand Floridian (407-824-2474) and arrange to have dinner somewhere in the hotel or at the Marina during Wishes. FigmentFan just did this and wrote up a great, detailed report that you can read here: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2094394 (You can also arrange this type of event through WDW’s convention department – info below).

The other way to do a small private event at WDW is to work with Disney's Catered Events (321-939-7278). You will be assigned an event planner who works at the resort where you’re staying, but you can plan an event at any other resort or in some of the parks. The only requirement is that you be staying at a Disney-owned resort.

IllumiNations Dessert Party for Two
I worked with a planner at the BoardWalk on a surprise dinner and dessert (including a replica of the top layer of our wedding cake) during IllumiNations at Epcot. I contacted her about 6 months ahead of time and put down a deposit, but I had to wait til 90 days to sign the contract. Final payment was due 30 days before the event.

Because it was just the two of us, we reserved UK Pubside, a venue adjacent to the patio at Rose & Crown that is designed for a maximum of 10 people. In 2017, the venue-rental fee is $150 plus 6.5% tax, and the food and beverage minimum is $250 plus tax and 24% service charge. There is also a $10/person viewing fee if you don’t have park admission.







We had the option to try for one of the DP locations used for weddings, like UK Lochside, but since you have to pay the $22/person food and beverage minimum for the minimum number of people and that’s at least 20, it was out of our budget. As it turned out, I thought UK Pubside had the best view of IllumiNations anywhere, so we were happy to be there!

Dinner Options
Our planner presented us with three options for dinner:

1. Dinner ADR in Epcot/Desserts During Illuminations @ UK Pubside

2. Dinner with Rose & Crown Service/Desserts During Illuminations @ UK Pubside

3. Dinner at BoardWalk Inn/Desserts During Illuminations @ UK Pubside

I picked Option 2 so that we could spend as long as possible at UK Pubside. Unfortunately, Disney has since suspended dinner service at UK Pubside. You can still have a dessert party there, but you can’t do hot food. Apparently it’s tied in with the “What Will You Celebrate?” campaign and wanting to create some new options, but maybe it’s only temporary.

Because I’m not crazy about the Rose & Crown’s food, we were fortunate that the chef agreed to work with us to customize a dinner with dishes from other Epcot menus, including Le Cellier, Coral Reef, and the Epcot catering menu. I sent in a suggested menu and then we worked on it to get the price down to $50/person plus tax and service charge.

The price of dinner did not count toward our food and beverage minimum, but since they aren’t even offering it anymore, you won’t have to worry about this!

Anniversary Cake
I sent my planner a picture of our wedding cake and asked for a 6-inch anniversary cake that replicated top layer but in hot pink. Originally the price was $55, but when I asked to add the fondant “handles” from our wedding cake and to create an appropriately themed topper from fondant, the price went up to $110. However, this amount did apply to our dessert food and beverage minimum. There was also a $75 delivery fee to get the cake from the Grand Floridian Bakery to Epcot.

Desserts!
Because the cake applied to our food and beverage minimum, we only needed to order a few more desserts to make up the difference. We picked some from existing Epcot menus and asked them to add peanut butter chocolate marshmallow squares, which we’d had at our wedding DP but were no longer on their menus. We also asked to do milk, cider, and hot chocolate BOC, meaning we would only be charged for what we drank. And we added two scoops of vanilla ice cream for our cake.

Total Price
Without the cake and dinner, you can do one of these parties for $320 (before tax and service charge). Here are our totals, including tax and service charge:

Anniversary Cake: $117.15
Dessert Party + Cake Delivery + Handling: $210.26
Venue Rental Fee: $106.50
Dinner: $124.50
TOTAL: $558.41
 
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lurkyloo

The Attic was just perfect!
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Because it was only 29 degrees out the night of our party, they moved our dinner inside the covered, heated patio of Rose & Crown. However, we convinced them to let us go down to UK Pubside after dinner for the show and our desserts!

Our event guide, Rosie, met us in the lobby of Beach Club Villas around 7:15pm to escort us to UK Pubside. She was very good about keeping the secret from DH (although her call to the room a few minutes earlier probably would've given it away if he'd had any inkling what we were doing!).

She brought us to the patio check-in desk for Rose & Crown and led us around the back to our table on the patio.

This is where DH figures out we're having a private dinner:


And this is where he sees that the Roots are there to take pictures!



They'd made us personalized menus (which I kinda expected cuz our planner had asked me for a photo) and sprinkled confetti on the table.




Bad iPhone pic:



Our event planner, Tess, was there to check on us, as were the restaurant manager, our server, an Epcot lead, and some other official-looking guy. They all wished us a happy anniversary and checked to see if we needed anything else. Then we met the Rose & Crown chef, who wanted to see if we had any requirements before they sent out the custom menu I designed.

Earlier I had texted Tess about displaying our anniversary cake at the table, since we wouldn't be sitting at UK Pubside til later. It was GORGEOUS!











For comparison, this is what our wedding cake looked like:



I couldn’t have been happier with our anniversary cake. In fact, the more I think about it, the more impressed I am by the little embellishments they added this time. There were the handles, of course, and intricate scallops, the teardrop shapes, and tiny gold dots stenciled on the top. And then there was the topper, which was made entirely out of gold-dusted fondant and took who knows how long to create. It fit the design perfectly!

Unfortunately, we sent the Roots off on a date night, so we only have our crummy point-and-shoot pix of the food:

My appetizer was Le Cellier’s Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup.

Why did we let the Roots leave – WHY?!!!



DH had the Rose & Crown’s Mixed Greens Salad with Warm Break Croutons, crispy Bacon, Roasted Onion, Irish Cheddar, and warm Bacon Vinaigrette.




For dinner, I had the Rose & Crown’s Tamarind-glazed Pork Loin served with their Irish Cheddar Potato Gratin and Epcot’s Baby Green Beans.




DH had Epcot’s Lava Salted Salmon with Coral Reef’s Pepper Jack Cheese Grits and Epcot’s Baby Green Beans.



I’d taken a chance on some Rose & Crown dishes when their menu changed right before I had to submit my request. The pork loin was not great – I think it’s just a case of Disney’s using lower quality ingredients at the in-park restaurants – but DH loved his salmon, and I got to steal tons of his cheese grits.

After dinner, we met the Roots again down at UK Pubside, where our server had set out our cake and desserts:
















We also discovered Rosie down at UK Pubside, and she gave us some special 3D glasses that show you Mickey heads when you look at light sources – like IllumiNations!





I'll try not to stick in too many IllumiNations shots, but I wanted you to see how fabulous the view is. The fireworks are HUGE and breathtakingly beautiful. Some of these shots were taken from further back along the wall, but when you watch it, you have a full unobstructed view from under the canopy, like in the shot below.


This was when I realized that UK Pubside is THE bestest place ever to watch IllumiNations
























 

lurkyloo

The Attic was just perfect!
Joined
Aug 24, 2006








After the show, we cut the cake and had our desserts! They’d forgotten the vanilla ice cream for the cake, but I didn’t remember either until about three days later... They had set out a glass of milk for me, and we ordered hot chocolate from our server (who had to run back and forth between Rose & Crown and UK Pubside, bless him).






Chocolate cake with Peanut Butter Cup Mousse and chocolate frosting under the fondant



Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares, Panhandle Pecan Tarts, Chocolate-Covered Strawberries



Butterfinger Bread Pudding with Vanilla Bean Sauce



Maybe it was because I had a piece of cake in my tummy the size of a dictionary, but the marshmallow squares weren’t as good as I remembered. Also, the Butterfinger bread pudding was just weird – dry and fake-tasting. But DH loooooved the chocolate-covered strawberries. (What about the Panhandle Pecan Tarts, you ask? I didn’t get to try one til the next day, after it had been smooshed to death in the bottom of our backpack. Not the optimal eating experience...)

We got to stay as long as we wanted (the exact words of our server), and I think we left around 10:15pm or 10:30pm. Rosie stood out there the whole time and then graciously escorted us to the International Gateway on our way out - what a doll!

In all, a fabulous experience and one I'll definitely do again - even without dinner. I was most impressed by the level of service we got from Tess, considering we'd only spent about 1/100th of the cost of a large convention event. I highly recommend it! :)
 
  • DisneyBrideToni

    <font color=deeppink>Proud BLT DVC Owner<br><font
    Joined
    Apr 2, 2008
    Great info!!! How far ahead of time can you call up to plan a private dinner? Is it still the 90 day thing?
     

    lurkyloo

    The Attic was just perfect!
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2006
    Yes! I contacted Tess about 6 months ahead of time and put down a deposit, but I had to wait til 90 days to sign the contract.
     

    lov2b@disney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 7, 2007
    Do you have to do a dinner or can you do just a dessert " party"?

    And it is done through the conventions service?
     

    lurkyloo

    The Attic was just perfect!
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2006
    You don't have to dinner - in fact, now they don't even offer dinner anymore! So it's just a dessert party. :goodvibes

    You arrange it by calling the Catering & Convention Services number listed in Post #1.... and then you come back here and tell us all about it! :rotfl:
     
  • Nicola2010

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 23, 2008
    OMG Carrie i cant believe it's been over a year already!

    That has flown by!

    Ive finally been able to start my PJ, hope you can check it out!

    I loved your illuminations pics... i had the music going through my head whilst i was looking at them lol

    What a fabulous idea... will def be stealing this one from you in the future... might do it for the honeymoon since we can no longer have our DFTW :sad1: (but the info on that is in the PJ) and we were so looking forward to a DP... ooh the thought of that has perked me right up lol
     

    Bolanette87

    <font color=deeppink>The Queen Bee<br><font color=
    Joined
    Mar 2, 2008
    Carrie, this is all amazing! Robert wasn't willing to have a WDW wedding, so I've been showing him this and saying in a loud voice: "This would be a WONDERFUL thing to do for our first wedding anniversary!!!!!!!".... He doesn't look to be taking the hint though! :headache:

    It looks like a brilliant night..... You both look like you had a wonderful time!

    Now, what will you do for your second anniversary?? ;) He he.... Oh Gosh, that'll roll round! I get married the day after your two year anniversary!

    Bob xoxoxoxoxox
     

    AbbyPan

    "...oh he's a codfish, a codfish, a codfish..."
    Joined
    Feb 4, 2005
    How wonderful---I loved this idea Carrie, thank you for sharing!

    As always, I enjoyed your photos as well!!:goodvibes
     

    lov2b@disney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 7, 2007
    Perfect Carrie--Thank you...I think I will call this week, we are at the start of our 90 days on Sunday:cool1:

    I think since ours got rained in....we should try again:rotfl:
     
  • lurkyloo

    The Attic was just perfect!
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2006
    What a fabulous idea... will def be stealing this one from you in the future... might do it for the honeymoon since we can no longer have our DFTW :sad1: (but the info on that is in the PJ) and we were so looking forward to a DP... ooh the thought of that has perked me right up lol
    Oh I'm so glad to hear it helps! Before this, I never knew that regular joes like me could have a private event at Epcot, so I want to spread the word.

    Carrie, this is all amazing! Robert wasn't willing to have a WDW wedding, so I've been showing him this and saying in a loud voice: "This would be a WONDERFUL thing to do for our first wedding anniversary!!!!!!!".... He doesn't look to be taking the hint

    Now, what will you do for your second anniversary?? ;) He he.... Oh Gosh, that'll roll round! I get married the day after your two year anniversary!
    :rotfl: I'm thinking we're gonna have to hit the lotto so we can go to Tokyo DisneySea.

    And I hear ya about the hints - I have to do all the planning in our family. In fact, at dinner that night, a woman near us said, "My husband would never plan that for me!" to which I wanted to reply "Neither would mine!" :rotfl2:

    How wonderful---I loved this idea Carrie, thank you for sharing!
    As always, I enjoyed your photos as well!!
    Aw, thanks Abby! :goodvibes I hope you do one of these so we can see your pix too!

    Perfect Carrie--Thank you...I think I will call this week, we are at the start of our 90 days on Sunday:cool1:

    I think since ours got rained in....we should try again:rotfl:
    Yes - definitely! I think the weather gods owe you this one! :thumbsup2
     

    monana

    when you wish upon a star..
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2007
    This has to be THE BEST way to celebrate an anniversary. Thanks so much for sharing your anniversary experience with us all.
     

    DisneyFairy19

    Disney Bride 10-4-08!!! Annual Passholder!!! Been
    Joined
    May 23, 2006
    So beautiful Carrie- I cant believe its been a year, my parents 30 anniversary is coming up in July and I would LOVE to do this for them

    Thanks
     

    BaBeeCee14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 20, 2006
    Thanks for the info Carrie. I love this idea and really want to do it for our anniversary.

    You mentioned in an earlier post that they don't do dinner anymore. Did you mean at UK pubside or they don't do the dinner/dessert combo anymore? I wanted to do dinner at Coral Reef since our reception was at LSS and a DP at UK Pubside since out DP was was at Lower UK.
     

    D&R love Disney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2003
    Carrie thanks for all the information. I don't know if we'll ever get to Disney on our actual anniversary but I would like to do a special private event during one of our Labor Day weekend trips.
     

    lurkyloo

    The Attic was just perfect!
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2006
    You mentioned in an earlier post that they don't do dinner anymore. Did you mean at UK pubside or they don't do the dinner/dessert combo anymore? I wanted to do dinner at Coral Reef since our reception was at LSS and a DP at UK Pubside since out DP was was at Lower UK.

    They don't do dinner at UK Pubside anymore, but you can certainly make an ADR at a restaurant and then go to UK Pubside for your DP. I'll go back and clarify that in the post.

    Sounds like a great anniversary plan! :thumbsup2
     

    rumrunnergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 11, 2005
    I was so excited to read about FigmentFan814's anniversary dinner, because then you posted that you had done a DP at UK Pubside. The next day my planner called because I had sent in my 2-month paperwork, and she booked UK Pubside for a DP for us. The other option is Japan, but it's being remodeled in May while we're there.

    It's really great because I won't be getting Cindy's Coach, and since our wedding party is small it didn't make financial sense to do a regular DP (even Sago Cay Pointe is out of reach), but we can swing this small one. I got the menu I wanted at the price I wanted too. Woot!

    My planner said that just like a regular DP, there is a $50 "small party" charge if you don't have meet the minimum - or in this case, the maximum (10 people). I see you didn't get charged that, but I thought I'd pass on what my planner said. However, there is no $75 set-up fee since there are already tables and chairs there, so that's a bonus.
     

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