How to Add a Dessert Party to Your Disney Wedding

Only at Disney can you cap your wedding day with a private fireworks viewing party—and potentially a private ride on an attraction!  Although commonly referred to as “dessert parties,” these private events can also include dinner and/or drinks, making them ideal as a cocktail hour, welcome party or anniversary celebration.

In-park dessert parties are available during the fireworks shows at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show, private parties are held at the Grand Floridian Marina and the Contemporary Convention Center’s Porte Cochere.

Complete details and pricing for every dessert party venue at Walt Disney World can be found in Chapter 5 of Carrie Hayward’s Fairytale Weddings Guide. Below is an overview to get you started…

How to Book

Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings

If you are having a Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding (or vow renewal) your sales consultant can book your dessert party venue, and your event planner will help you coordinate the party. There is no overall minimum expenditure when you book via Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings—you just need to meet the food and beverage minimums and venue fee, if applicable, for the location you choose.

Disney Meetings & Events

If you are not planning a Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding, you may plan a private party through Disney Meetings & Events: (321) 939-4648 or meetings@disneyworld.com.

Disney Meetings & Events requires you to meet an overall minimum expenditure of at least $3,000—before 6.5% tax and 24% service charge—no matter your group size.  The overall minimum expenditure varies as follows:

  • $3,000 (Monday–Thursday)
  • $3,500 (Friday–Sunday)
  • $5,000 (US holidays and Friday–Sunday in December)

Anything you pay Disney for applies to the minimum expenditure, including floral, decor, food, beverages, entertainment, transportation and photography.

Note that bridal attire is not permitted at in-park events planned via Disney Meetings & Events.

Basic Dessert Party Pricing

How much you pay for your event depends on which venue you choose.  In-park venues require venue fees, viewing fees and possibly transportation, and each has a different food and beverage minimum. Resort venues have no venue fees but different food and beverage minimums, and they may require an audio fee to pipe in the fireworks show soundtrack.

Below are some sample budgets for events at various locations. Note that the food and beverage minimums listed are for partial-seating events like dessert parties only. Certain locations have higher minimums for a sit-down dinner, where everyone gets a seat.

IllumiNations at Epcot

  • Venue Rental Fee: $300-$675, depending on location.
  • Food & Beverage Minimums: $500-$2,500, depending on location.
  • Viewing Fee: $10/guest (except bridal couple) for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings events or $15.75/guest without admission for Disney Meetings & Events. If you add a ride mix-in via Disney Meetings & Events, the viewing fee goes down to $10/person without admission.
  • Ride Mix-in Fee: $15.75/guest without admission for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings events or $15.75/guest for Disney Meetings & Events.
  • Backstage transportation may be required. Some examples are $34 for a one-way, four-person town car and $42 for a one-way, eight-person SUV.

Happily Ever After at the Grand Floridian

  • Venue Rental Fee: None
  • Sago Cay Pointe (10-75 guests) Food & Beverage Minimums: $1,250
  • Marina Patio & Terrace (20-100 guests) Food & Beverage Minimums: $2,500
  • Viewing Fee: None
  • Happily Ever After Soundtrack Fee: $738 up to 50 guests

Happily Ever After at the Contemporary

  • Venue Rental Fee: None
  • West Rotunda Courtyard/Patio (20 to 80 guests) Food & Beverage Minimums: $1,500
  • Porte-Cochere (50-500 guests) Food & beverage Minimums: $1,250
  • Viewing Fee: None
  • Happily Ever After Soundtrack Fee: $738 up to 50 guests

Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Small Patio (up to 40 guests) Venue Rental Fee: $300.
  • Small Patio Food & Beverage Minimums: $1,500.
  • Large Patio (40-100 guests) Venue Rental Fee: $350.
  • Large Patio Food & Beverage Minimums: $2,000.
  • Viewing Fee: $10/guest (except bridal couple) for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings events or $15.75/guest without admission for Disney Meetings & Events. If you add a ride mix-in via Disney Meetings & Events, the viewing fee goes down to $10/person without admission.
  • Ride Mix-in Fee: $15.75/guest without admission for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings events or $15.75/guest for Disney Meetings & Events.
  • Backstage transportation may be required at an additional cost.
  • Some examples are $34 for a one-way, four-person town car and $42 for a one-way, eight-person SUV.

Event Venues

This page links to photos of nearly every event venue at Walt Disney World. If you own a copy of Carrie Hayward’s Fairytale Weddings Guide, detailed pricing for every venue is listed in Chapter 5: Additional Events.

Every venue has a minimum and maximum capacity. Sometimes when you do a small event, your sales consultant might try to steer you toward a smaller, less desirable location. For example, the venues usually recommended for small fireworks parties at Epcot are Vikings Landing and Parisian Point, which both have overhanging trees that will block the high fireworks in any portraits taken during the show (if you’re not posing for pictures, don’t worry; you’ll be standing under the trees and have a good view of the show).

If you’d rather have an unobstructed photo view, like the one at 20-person-minimum UK Lochside (right), keep checking with your sales consultant as the date approaches. They will usually move you there if no one has booked it 30 days out. Likewise, if they’ve told you that a convention has booked the space you want, check again 30 days out. Often large conventions will book more space than they need and release some of it as the date approaches.

Viewing Fees

For in-park events where you see a fireworks show, there is a viewing fee that varies depending on whether you are planning via Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings or Disney Meetings & Events:

  • Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings: $10/guest (except bridal couple) and mandatory—even for guests who have park admission.
  • Disney Meetings & Events: $15.75/guest without park admission.  If you add a ride mix-in, the viewing fee goes down to $10/guest.

Ride Mix-ins

If your event is held inside a theme park, you can arrange what’s called a “ride mix-in,” where your party is escorted to the front of the line on the last ride of the night. This must occur in the same park where your event is held and at the end of the park’s operating hours (which means mix-ins are unavailable when the park has evening Extra Magic Hours). For example, you could do a ride mix-in on Frozen Ever After immediately following a dessert party at Epcot.

  • Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings: $15.75/guest without park admission.
  • Disney Meetings & Events: $15.75/every guest who rides, even those with park admission.

Party Timeline

The schedule of a dessert party is a little different than that of a dinner or other catered event. Usually it starts 30 minutes before whatever fireworks show you’re watching and only lasts an hour. Disney may suggest that the party start just 15 minutes before the show, so that if the food needs to be moved indoors due to weather, you will have more time to get to that location and eat the desserts after the show.

However, when you do a ride mix-in after the show, they lead you out of the venue as soon as the fireworks end, so you may wish to extend the dessert party time by 30 minutes on the front end. There is no cost to extend the party time as long as you don’t extend the food service.

If you do want to extend food service, they take the per-person price of your menu (which is based on one hour of service), divide it by two and add that amount to the per-person charge for each additional 30 minutes of service. So a $50/person menu will cost you $75/person if you extend food service by 30 minutes. However, you normally don’t need to do that because one hour is plenty of time to eat.

Rain Backup

Fantasmic! is cancelled for weather reasons more frequently than the other shows due to performer safety issues. Fireworks shows usually run in all but the most extreme weather, so only the food portion of your event will be moved inside. Your event guide will escort your party out to the original location (or sometimes a closer one, if available) to view the show.

Backup locations aren’t assigned until a few days out and depend on what is available that day. You may request a specific venue, but these are not guaranteed.

Sample Menus

Your Disney event manager will send you sample menus, but these are just suggestions. You may completely customize your menu by requesting dishes from Disney restaurants, approximations of family recipes, items from the Food & Wine Festival or pretty much anything you can dream up.

Just have your planner tell the chef what you’re thinking, and the chef will come back with a quote. This is also a good way to stick to a budget. If you can only afford to pay $X per person, ask the chef to customize a menu (maybe on a theme or around one dish you love) that costs exactly that much.

You can see a wide variety of catered event menus here. Since all menus are customizable, you may feel free to dip into older menus for ideas to re-create at your event.

Drinks

There are several ways to pay for drinks at a private event:

  • Package Bar: This means that you pay a per-person fee ($30 and up) for unlimited sodas and alcoholic beverages, possibly more than people will actually drink.
  • Bill-on-Consumption: This means you pay an estimated amount up front and then get a refund or a bill after that party, based on how much people actually drank. Unless you have a lot of heavy drinkers, you will probably get a refund and/or spend less than the price of a package bar.
  • Cash Bar: This means you make your guests pay for their own drinks.

If you want to serve alcohol at your party, you will be required to pay a $150 bartender fee, which is waived if the bar sells more than $500 worth of alcohol. For a dessert party, which only lasts an hour, you can usually get away with skipping alcohol—especially if you’re in Epcot, where there are places to buy it just a few steps away from almost every event venue.

Transportation

Whether or not you are required to hire transportation for your in-park event depends on its location. Usually Epcot venues close to the International Gateway do not require transportation because everyone can meet the included event guide at International Gateway and walk in. Some couples have also arranged to have the guide meet their guests at Epcot’s main gate, but the walk is much longer.

If your event planner requires you to book transportation, this does not have to be a pricey chartered motor coach unless you have a large group. Groups of about 35 or fewer will find it cheaper to take multiple $42 one-way SUVs backstage.

You’ll find a detailed breakdown of transportation prices in Chapter 3 of Carrie Hayward’s Fairytale Weddings Guide and in this episode of the Disney Wedding Podcast.

Private Character Appearances

If your event is being held at an indoor location or while the park is closed, you may add an appearance by one or more Disney characters. For 30 minutes of interaction, prices are $1,325 for one character, $1,900 for two, and $2,475 for three. Each additional character at the same appearance costs $600. Certain characters may not appear together, but you can schedule them to arrive at different times. Non-overlapping character appearances are billed as separate, individual appearances.

Due to licensing and theming restrictions, not all characters may be available at every venue, and some characters, like Winnie the Pooh & Friends, are not available at all. Some characters require a separate room with themed backdrops and props. For example, Captain Jack Sparrow runs $5,000–$6,500 for 30 minutes due to the decor he requires. Characters may not appear at outdoor in-park receptions until the park has closed to day guests. Additionally, alcoholic beverage service must stop during character appearances.

Complete details on character appearances may be found in Chapter 3 of Carrie Hayward’s Fairytale Weddings Guide.