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Guest blog by: Fran Cassano

The Disney Parks have magical, storybook settings that serve as a perfect backdrop to your
wedding. But how can you make your wedding serve as a magical backdrop for the perfect trip
for your guests?

My husband and I got married at Epcot in Walt Disney World in January. Although Disney has
been a large part of our lives, it was a first visit for most of our wedding guests. Inspired by our
love for Disney and Central Florida, we encouraged our guests to make their trip about them.

We made it our mission to be as available as we possibly could for our guests in planning and during the wedding trip itself. It is safe to say that very few people knew where to start planning. I put all my Disney Parks knowledge to work for them and had to think fast in case there were some snags along the way.

So, here are some tips you might find useful to pass along to your guests (these can also come in
handy if you are planning a family reunion trip as well):

Brides and Grooms often create a wedding website with all the Disney links and Disney
planning phone numbers you need. Try to read through all of it. Take notes and
bookmark links. It’s fun to discover (or re-discover) all Disney has to offer.

If you or your guests are not tech savvy, call the Bride or Groom and have them arrange
something for you~be it your room, dining reservations or activities that require a pre-
registration, etc.. If they cannot, they will put you in touch with someone who can. You
may not want to “bother anyone”, but, in the long run, the Bride and Groom want you to
be happy and taken care of. I reserved several rooms on behalf of our guests and I had a
great time doing it. It got us all excited for the trip itself, in addition to the wedding.

Disney Fairy Tale Weddings will also allow you to pre-purchase park tickets when
calling the number to request rooms in the wedding room block. If you are only planning
to come for a weekend, and depending on the room type you stay in, this can end up
saving you more money than if you got a Park-Hopper package with or without the Disney
Dining Plan.

Themed Resort Rooms: We wanted to give our guests some Imagineering magic,
especially if they weren’t planning on going to the Parks. We arranged for our room block
to include the Pirate-themed Rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. They were a
hit…especially with the adults. If there is a way to book Pirate Themes Rooms,
Princess/Royal Guest Rooms, or anything at the upcoming Disney’s Art of Animation
Resort, it’s worth it. Now only if there were Haunted Mansion Rooms or DCL’s Magic
Portholes…or the Donald Duck Rooms brought over from Tokyo Disney Resort…

Issues with rooms upon check-in or during length of stay: Disney has written the book
on customer service. So, if dealing with a Disney room issue, I try to think of these two
things…Can you imagine dealing with the sheer volume of people day-in and day-
out?…And we all have bad days. Regardless of the matter, take a breath and work with
them. Usually this is all you need to do. If you do need to speak to the manager on duty,
being fair to the situation gets the best possible outcome.

Explain the Key to the World Card and Disney Dining Plan (DDP) Credits to your
guests. Disney charges all Authorized Room Charges and DDP Meals to the name of the
reservation holder, regardless of how many are in the room. Upon check-in and check-
out, definitely specify and verify where different adults authorize separate credit card
numbers to their Keys to the World cards.

Advanced Dining Reservations: utilize the 180-day ADR booking window for dining.
Take a tally at who in your group likes what and make suggestions that way. Some
people may not be interested in the typical Disney fare we all love, but treats and
memorable eats are to be found everywhere. Switching it up can also remind you of your
first visits.

Avoid the Dining Rush: Dine before 11 a.m. or after 2 p.m. for lunch or around 5 p.m.
for dinner.

Park Ticket Validation after event: even if Parks tickets are pre-ordered, for some
reason, this can take more time than envisioned. Guest Service Cast Members do
everything they can, but sometimes there is a process.

Must DOs: Disney’s PhotoPass; FASTPASS; Single Rider Line for long ride queues;
Rider Swap/Rider Switch if you have small children, special needs etc.

Try not to over plan and it is OK to separate. Disney can be overwhelming. We play
hard at Disney, but even we know when to take a breather.

Taking Boats and/or the Monorail is relaxing and peaceful, but takes longer than it may
seem. Plan to add on additional time especially if you have dining reservations. It’s so
worth it.

In theory, Extra Magic Hours is an awesome benefit. In practice, the evening Extra
Magic Hours can sometimes be even more crowded on the days offered than Disney
advertises. Stick with the morning Extra Magic Hours.

Other Guests: You are in the Happiest Place on Earth. As hard as this can be, try not to
let the actions of other guests get to you. Many of them are from other countries who
have different customs and they honestly don’t realize what they are doing..same goes for
frantic parents with strollers wanting to give their kids the same Disney Magic as you..or
people on scooters…or guests stopping in front of you snapping a picture of something
random without realizing you are behind them.

Hidden Mickeys: Be on the lookout for the silhouette of Mickey, a large circle with two
smaller circles atop (Mickey’s ears). They are everywhere, but are sometimes challenging
to spot. My husband has gotten really good at finding Hidden Mickeys.

Inspired by the Mouse: One couple, who had never been to WDW before, read
Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World Without Kids: The Official Guide for Fun-Loving Adults
cover to cover. On their first night, we showed them Mary Blair’s amazing hand painted
tile mural in the Contemporary Resort. That’s all it took. They became inspired to
immerse in all things Disney. Theirs was a first-timer “Disney Commando-style” success

Guests who make it their own: Activities like Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour or
anything at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway
really adds a special touch to your guest’s trip. Some guests also opt for special dining
experiences like Chef’s Tables or Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian. Facilitate these
options and see if there is a way to utilize your wedding transportation to get them there
if it is on the event day.

Non-Disney Fun: Orlando, Central Florida and the Atlantic Coast has so much to offer
anyone. It’s amazing to think of all the things there are to do there. Encourage guests to
venture off to places like Universal for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The
Kennedy Space Center, Daytona International Speedway, The incredible beaches, St.
Augustine. And don’t forget the excellent Outlet Shopping nearby.

Happy Planning! – Fran