Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter
Joined: May 2007
||Posted: Nov. 14, 2008, 12:33 pm
Dream Theme Park Weddings
A theme park wedding can make for a magically memorable occasion, says Sara Macefield
Theme parks offer a perfect solution for couples looking to add a little fairy dust to their nuptials with a totally one-off experience.
Disney Resorts has long offered special wedding and engagement packages at Walt Disney World in Florida; but it also offers similar romantic packages at Disneyland in California, although these are not sold by the main UK wedding operators.
Theme park weddings tend to appeal to couples who are younger or have children and they can cater admirably for such family occasions.
However, the vast choice of overseas wedding destinations means demand is not that high, particularly as they tend to cost more than the alternatives.
“In our experience, couples tend to go more for New York or the West Coast; most of the bookings we get for Disney weddings tend to be direct,” said Kuoni specialist sales manager Sophie Parker.
However, Thomas Cook long-haul product manager Michael Thurston felt that the popularity of ceremonies at Disney’s Florida park had been fuelled by the strength of the pound against the dollar in recent years, while Jo Dewhurst, Cosmos Dream Weddings co-ordinator, said Disney that weddings tended to appeal to couples who knew the Disney theme parks well.
Virgin Holidays product co-ordinator Carla Reed said there is an average spend of between £2,000 and £3,000 on the operator’s Disney wedding packages.
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World stands way above the other parks when it comes to the scope and scale of packages available for weddings and vow renewals. Couples can choose from a variety of locations, from the Italian village inside Epcot to outside Cinderella’s Castle. The bride can arrive in style in Cinderella’s carriage and Mickey and Minnie can even be special guests – although this option tends to be much less popular with British couples than with Americans. Couples can also marry on one of the Disney Cruise Line ships.
Virgin Holidays offers a Disney Deluxe Escape Package from £2,489 per couple.
Cosmos offers a Disney Premium Escape wedding package for £2,395 per couple.
Kuoni offers a Disney Deluxe Intimate Wedding package for £1,788 per couple.
The Florida park does not offer wedding or honeymoon packages, but couples can marry at its three on-site hotels – the Loews Portofino Bay, Royal Pacific or Hard Rock, which treats couples like “rock stars.”
This French theme park arranges private ceremonies, with photos taken in the park and receptions in one of the on-site restaurants where entertainment can be arranged. Depending on the restaurant chosen and the number of guests, costs will vary, but the last wedding came to more than €20,000. It holds only around one or two weddings a year and, to date, no British couples have married there.
Famous for giving visitors the chance to swim with dolphins and interact with other sea creatures, this Florida park arranges vow renewals on request. It is also planning to launch special wedding packages, but plans are in the early stages.
Natalie Seale, Harvey World Travel, Biddulph Harvey World Travel branch manager
Natalie Seale has recently helped to secure her store’s first Disney wedding booking. The couple, in their 30s with two children, came into the chain’s Biddulph branch near Stoke-on-Trent wanting to get married in Florida.
“They wanted something that would include the children, so we thought Disney would be ideal,” Natalie said. “Once we showed them the Disney wedding packages, they just fell in love with them.” The couple opted for a Premier package with Virgin Holidays and will be staying at Walt Disney Resort for three weeks.
“The difference between the Disney Deluxe Wedding (£899) and Premier Wedding (£1,239) was around £300, but it wasn’t about the cost – it was about what they wanted to do as a family, and it’s their first time to Disney,” she said. The wedding is in April, and will be an intimate ceremony with just the couple and kids.
1976 and 1980 off-property
2000 off-property MK proposal
2001 Port Orleans Honeymoon
2002 All-Star Music
2004 Fort Wilderness Cabin
2005 Pop Century
2006 Animal Kingdom/Ft. Wilderness Cabin
2011 Disney Magic Western Caribbean
2012 Disney Magic Eastern Canadian