Planning a Disney Wedding: The Menu Tasting

Planning a Disney Wedding: The Menu Tasting

Previously I shared my experience at a Disney Wedding Planning Session. In that post, I mentioned that couples can also request a meeting with chefs that will be preparing your reception meal. This can be scheduled the same day as your planning session, or at another time. We chose to have our planning session in the morning and our menu tasting in the afternoon on the same day.

In the months leading up to the planning session, your Disney wedding planner will send a menu tasting checklist where you can request the dishes that you wish to try. There are eight slots available and you are allowed up to three proteins (entrées). Your planner will also provide sample menus from Disney Catering. For the tasting, you can choose any of the items from these menus or you can even ask to try the chef’s interpretation of your favorite dishes at Disney restaurants. Tip for future bride and grooms: don’t waste a tasting spot on a dish that you know how it tastes.  For example, Mickey waffles taste the same everywhere. We want to have them at our brunch reception, but we didn’t need to try them at our tasting.

Since our reception will be held at the Boardwalk Resort, that is where we had our tasting. We were scheduled to meet back up with our planner at 2:15 at the Boardwalk Convention Center.

Convention Center Disney Wedding
Convention Center

We got there a little early and wandered around a bit before our server, Manny, saw us and showed us to our room. Yes, we had our own server for the tasting! He was awesome and got us sodas and water while we waited.

The tasting itself actually took place in a sectioned off portion of a ballroom. There was a table set up that was decorated and had several napkin folds on display.

Disney Wedding Table

At the far end of the room, the buffet was set up. This was mind-blowing to me, that they set up a buffet like to would be for our actual reception.

Buffet Disney Wedding
Buffet set up

Once our planner arrived, the first order of business was to choose a napkin fold.

Our napkin fold Disney Wedding
Our napkin fold

Then Chef Redgie arrived. He introduced himself and told us about how he started as an intern three years ago and did so well that he was offered a permanent position. He told us that the BoardWalk Catering Department is the smallest of all the resorts with six chefs. He brought us over the the buffet stations and described each of the dishes the had asked to try. He held off on preparing the pasta dishes so that we could see those prepared on stage. He told us we could customize as we go. As we tried each thing, we talked about what we liked or didn’t like and Chef Redgie took notes. He told us that they love to customize the menu and work with couples to make sure everything is exactly they way they want them. They will even prepare your favorite family dishes if you provide them with a recipe. I thought that was a pretty cool option.

Here are the dishes that we tried, minus the pasta dishes that I didn’t get a picture of:

Chicken Disney Wedding  Salmon Disney Wedding  Pork Disney Wedding  Cinnamon Disney Wedding  Lobster Disney Wedding

 

From left to right: parmesan-crusted chicken with creamy tomato sauce, seared salmon with pancetta marmalade and dill cream, maple ginger pork loin with fig compote, cinnamon bread pudding (picture taken before the warm vanilla icing was added), truffle-scented macaroni and cheese with lobster meat. Not pictured are penne pasta with cognac cheese sauce and artichokes; and genelli pasta with asiago cream sauce, roasted tomatoes and spinach.

Everything was delicious and it was really difficult to decide on our final menu. In the end we cut the pork, lobster macaroni and cheese, and the penne pasta dish. We were also given a couple of parting gifts which was so nice and really made us feel special.

Parting gifts : whisk and heart cookie cutters Disney Wedding
Parting gifts : whisk and heart cookie cutters

This was such a cool experience and I am so excited for our brunch reception. Huge thanks for Chef Redgie and Manny for being so amazing!

Chef Disney Wedding

 

And with that, the majority of our wedding planning is complete. We just need to get a few last minute details together in the next four months and then it’s wedding time!

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Inside a Disney Wedding Planning Session

Other than the actual wedding day, brides and grooms planning a wedding at Disney probably most look forward to planning session day.

I’ve mentioned before that planning a Disney Wedding follows a unique schedule. Beginning at six months out from your wedding day, couples (and parents/family members if they are part of the planning process) schedule a planning session with their assigned wedding planner. These can either be held in person or over the phone if couples aren’t able to make the trip to Florida. This is the time when you can finally give voice to all those ideas you’ve pinned to your Pinterest board for your wedding day!

You can also schedule a separate menu tasting with the chefs that will be preparing the meal at your reception. I’ll discuss that in another post.

For now, I’ll tell you how our planning session went when we met with our planner a few weeks ago at Franck’s Bridal Studio.

Franck's Disney Wedding
Franck’s Bridal Studio

FranckDoor Disney Wedding

 

We got to meet in the Merryweather room! Disney Wedding
We got to meet in the Merriweather room!

Depending on the size of the wedding and number of events taking place, sessions last around 3-4 hours. During this time, our planner basically took us step-by-step through our wedding weekend beginning with rehearsal. We talked about where and what time we would prefer to hold rehearsal. They won’t guarantee a time and place until 30 days before so we had to give a couple of preferences.

Then we moved to the actual wedding day, starting from the time we wake up. This was important because we had to make sure that we had our photography set up for the right time to cover everything based on the hourly package that we picked. Since we are having an Epcot ceremony, our day will be starting very early.

We then made decisions on everything from transportation (if you want to use Cinderella’s coach for your wedding, now is your chance!) to song choices and favors and linens for the reception. Nothing is set in stone at this point. Essentially this is the “blue sky” phase of wedding planning. We were told to include everything we thought we might want. In the following weeks, our planner will prepare a Banquet Event Order (BEO) and then we can make cuts or adjustments from there, once we recover from the sticker shock! We had done a lot of research prior to our appointment so we had a very good idea of what we wanted. However, if you don’t, they have lots of displays and pictures to show different options. Basically anything you can think of – this is Disney after all!

Disney Wedding Display
Fall wedding decor

The final thing we discussed during our meeting was the most fun – cake!! We could taste four different flavors of cake and four different fillings. We got a couple of bonuses because they included the buttercream icing and a slice of cake to show us how the layers would be. This was really fun and so hard to choose! I almost wish we were having a bigger wedding just so we could have more layers on our cake! In the end we chose marble cake with peanut butter cup filling for one layer, and almond cake with amaretto crunch filling for the other.

Disney Wedding Not the cake we chose
Not the cake we chose 😉
Flavors we tried Disney Wedding
Flavors we tried

After cake, our floral designer came in to meet with us and discuss any flowers and décor we wanted for our wedding events. Lucky for us, our venues don’t need much extra decoration so that part was over pretty quickly. Plus, I came prepared with pictures and paint chips of our colors so that helped to make sure we were all on the same page.

Bouquet Examples Disney Wedding
Bouquet Examples

Going into our meeting I was pretty anxious. I was worried that maybe we wouldn’t connect with our planner or that she would try to talk us into getting a bunch of extras that we didn’t want or need. I’m happy to report that everything went very smoothly and everyone was really helpful and kind. Our planner really took the time to make sure we came up with the best options. It was really fun to finally do some official planning! Throughout the day I kept think about how lucky we are to be there. It’s still a little surreal!

Now we just have to wait to get our BEO and hope we don’t need to make too many adjustments! Stay tuned for my report on our menu tasting, which was probably one of the most special experiences I’ve ever had.

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A Disney Wedding Site Visit

My fiancé, Cliff, and I are currently in the middle of planning a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding. Weddings at Disney are planned in a unique way. Even if you know what date and venues you want to use, they can’t be booked until exactly a year out. So, even though Cliff and I got engaged in May of 2013, since we wanted a December 2014 wedding we had to wait until December 2013 to make it official.

There are a few things couples can do in the meantime. At 16 months out, Disney will pencil you in for the date and venues that you want. If more than one couple want the same times and venues, there will be a lottery process so it’s important to come up with a few back-ups just in case. You can also schedule a site visit with a sales consultant to check out up to three venues available for wedding events. The way we approached that was to narrow down our choices and check out as many venues as we could on our own. For example, we considered having our wedding ceremony at the Yacht Club Gazebo, which can easily be seen at any time. That way we saved places for our site visit, which were not generally accessible to the general public. We decided that we wanted to see the Living Seas Salon in Epcot, American Adventure Parlor in Epcot, and the Attic at the Boardwalk Resort.

Yacht Club Gazebo
Yacht Club Gazebo

You may remember my previous wedding planning post about Franck’s Bridal Studio. That is where we began our day by meeting with our assigned sales consultant. First, we discussed generalities of what we were planning for our wedding, like the size of our guest list. We then found out that we wouldn’t be able to see the Living Seas Salon that day because it was booked for another event. We did get to see some photos from past events that gave us a pretty good idea of the space and we decided that it would probably be too big for the number of people we would be having.

Soon it was time to drive to our first location: The American Adventure Parlor. Our site visit was before Chase Bank used this location for their lounge during Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, so neither one of us had seen this space before. The best part about going to see this location was getting to drive through backstage! We entered backstage near Test Track and drove around to the back of the American Adventure. We walked through the gates next to the pavilion (between America and Italy).

Entering Epcot
Entering Epcot

American Adventure

At that time, we had no idea that the elevator to take us up to the Parlor existed.

Elevator
Elevator

Inside, there is a room with tables that would be used to our brunch. We liked the main parlor area with the windows looking out onto the promenade. Over all though, we decided that the space wasn’t right for us.

Tables Hallway Parlor Left Parlor Center Parlor Right Landing

On to our next destination. We drove over to the Boardwalk Resort, went up to the 3rd floor, and walked down a loooooong hallway of guest rooms to reach the Attic, which is located directly above Jellyrolls.

Boardwalk

IMG_3498

 

Let me just say, when we walking into that room, I immediately knew that I wanted our reception there. It had the atmosphere we were going for. We wanted our reception to be a more laid back, family gathering rather than a party. We weren’t having a DJ or anything like that. This was perfect. It was filled with antiques and looks like parlor in your grandmother or great aunt’s house.

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And the view overlooking Beach Club (where we had our first date) and Epcot (where we would have said our vows just a little bit ago) just really tied everything together.

This view.
This view.

 

Soon it was time to head back to Franck’s to finalize our venues. When we got there, we were given the opportunity to check out the wedding pavilion on our own while our consultant looked up the answer to a question we had about one of the locations.

Wedding Pavilion

The Wedding Pavilion is absolutely gorgeous and I can easily see why it’s so popular. It has the traditional chapel feel, a view of Cinderella’s castle, and it’s air-conditioned!

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That concludes our Disney Weddings site visit. Here are a few tips in case you have one in your future:

Do as much research beforehand as you can so you can narrow down the places that you may want to see. The Disney Weddings website was recently redone and has a lot of great pictures. Focus on sites that you wouldn’t be able to check out on your own. Make a list of questions to ask your consultant, they are a great resource and in our experience, very helpful!

Now you’re probably wondering which venues we chose. Our ceremony will be held at Italy Isola and our reception in the Attic!

Italy Isola
Italy Isola

We had a couple of backups for dates and venues in case there was a lottery. We did end up having to move our date up one day because the Attic was booked. We got really lucky though so it wasn’t a big deal. Up next is our planning session, which is held at around 6 months out. We will meet our planner and go step-by-step through our wedding day. We’re really looking forward to it – especially the cake tasting portion!

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A Visit to Franck’s Bridal Studio for Wedding Planning

My fiancé, Cliff, and I are currently in the beginning stages of planning a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding. I’ll have more posts about this process in the future, but as a sort of introduction to Disney Weddings I thought I would start with a sharing a little bit about Franck’s Bridal Studio.

Franc'ks   Franck's side

Franck’s Bridal Studio is right next to the Wedding Pavilion. If you’ve been on the monorail you’ve probably heard the spiel about the Wedding Pavilion as you approach the Grand Floridian hotel. This is the place where couples get to meet with their consultants and planners to plan their big day.  In fact, it was named after the ultimate wedding planner, Franck Egglehoffer, played by Martin Short in Father of the Bride.

Wedding Pavilion
Disney’s Wedding Pavilion

In August, Cliff and I met our wedding consultant there for our site visit to decide which venues we wanted to use for our wedding (more on that in a later post!).  I was so excited to be there on official wedding business!  Inside there are displays of wedding cakes, bouquet samples, and table settings. You can even check out some of the Alfred Angelo Disney-inspired wedding gowns. The meeting rooms are named after the fairies in Sleeping Beauty: Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather.  Seating areas have photo albums full of wedding pictures to help inspire brides and grooms during their planning. Everywhere you look there is something beautiful to see. I cannot wait until our planning session this summer!

Entrance featuring wedding ring door handles.
Entrance featuring wedding ring door handles.
Cute Cupid Mickey weather vane.
Cute Cupid Mickey weather vane.

We were the only appointment that morning (on a Saturday), so while we waited for our consultant to set up for us, I went around and took a few pictures!

Inside
Entering the studio. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!
Seating area
One of the seating areas. Looks cozy with some curtains for privacy if needed.
Seating
Another seating area with stacks of photo albums. Looks so inviting.
Window Close Up
Beautiful window details.
Banks House
Love this picture of the Banks family house from the Father of the Bride.
Table Setting
Table setting inspiration.
Bouquets
Bouquets and centerpieces.
Display
Display case with sample of wedding favors.
Cake Accessories
Cake servers and toppers.
Yellow Cake
Sunny yellow cake.
Mad Hatter Cake
Mad Hatter style cake.
Castle Cake
Showstopper!

I probably could have spent all day looking at all the details in the studio! Thanks for coming along on this little tour. Check out Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings recently redesigned site here for more information on planning a Disney wedding. Keep an eye out at On the Go in MCO for more of our personal experiences in the future.

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