Featured Venue Fridays: American Adventure for a Ceremony

This week’s featured venue post was written by Disneymooner Vanessa.  To read more about her wedding, please go to our private Disneymooner Forums. Vanessa had her wedding ceremony at American Adventure Rotunda followed by a Living Seas reception.

It is hard to pinpoint when I decided I would have a Disney wedding, but I had my mind made up long before I met my husband. I knew about the Disney Wedding Pavilion, but beyond that I did not know anything about having a Disney wedding. After getting engaged I thought that a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding would exceed our budget; however after doing some research I soon discovered that I was wrong.

Once we decided on getting married at Disney I realized that I wanted something different compared to the traditional ceremony. The wedding pavilion is a beautiful place, but it did not fit the quintessential Disney experience that I was looking for in a location. While researching video and photography vendors online I came across a sample video of a wedding inside the American Adventure Rotunda. When I watched it, I instantly fell in love with the location for our ceremony.

My husband and I are very political, so the grandeur of the rotunda reminded me of this connection that we have together. An added bonus was that Epcot is my family’s favorite park. Many of our guests had never been to Disney World prior to our wedding, so I knew the location would completely amaze them.

A lot of brides choose to use this venue for a reception; however the site requires a minimum of 100-150 guests that we would not have been able to meet with our small guest count of only 50. Having our ceremony there allowed us to utilize the space with our small group. The current site venue fee for ceremonies in the American Adventure Rotunda is $2,000 plus tax.

An added bonus to the location is that the Rotunda is Epcot’s only indoor ceremony location. It was great to be able to plan our wedding without being worried about the weather.

There are several tips I learned along the way while planning our ceremony in the Rotunda. First, ask to enter from the side entrance instead of the main doors. Many of the wedding videos I saw of the bride entering into the Rotunda were washed out as they opened the main doors and light flooded in from behind her. I asked for our ceremony to be set up facing the side entrance and our planner had me enter in from inside the National Treasures Exhibit. She also mentioned the option of having me come down the elevator from the Parlor reception venue although that is not what we did in the end.

Another tip is to save on spend your money wisely when it comes to decorating. The rotunda is very ornate, so you do not need to spend a lot of money on added décor. The standard issue chairs that come with the facility rental fee do not blend well with the Rotunda’s background. We decided to pay for chair covers to solve this problem. The covers were more affordable compared to renting completely different chairs.

An important videography and photography tip is to ask your vendors to take photos from the second floor. The aerial view during the ceremony is amazing. In addition, we asked our photographer to take a group photo with all of our guests looking up towards the second floor after the ceremony was over.

There are some limitations in terms of the music offerings that can be used at this location. We paid for a keyboard player which sounded great with the acoustics of the room. One other thing to consider is the time of your wedding. Since the World Showcase does not open to outside guests until 11 a.m. weddings in this area must take place during the morning. We had a 9 a.m. ceremony which meant my day started at 4:30 a.m. Only receptions are allowed at the site in the late evening.

Four years later I would still pick the same ceremony location. The American Adventure Rotunda was the perfect fit for our personality and budget. It gave us an in-park experience that none of our guests will ever forget.

To read more about Vanessa’s wedding join our private forums, including her recaps.

A Disney Bride’s Favorite Moment: Katie

Some of our Disneymooner Forum members have been sharing their favorite moments from their Disney Wedding

by Katie

Disneymooner Favorite Moment

I think that *my* favorite wedding memory was the walking into the American Adventure Rotunda and seeing how beautiful it looked and realizing that all my planning came together just as I always imagined!

Thank you for sharing your favorite moment Katie.  To read more Disneymooner’s favorite moments please visit our forums.

Featured Venue Fridays: Sunset Pointe

This week’s Venue review is written by Disneymooner Beth. To read more about her wedding and read her recaps, please going our private forums.

Everyone who is planning a Disney wedding has a reason for why Disney was the perfect place for them. Everyone who has had or is planning a Disney wedding has a reason for why they picked their location and here is mine.

We knew from the get go that we wanted a small wedding. My husband does not like being the center of attention so we decided to focus on our families and to pick a place that they might want to go to. We explored options in Colorado, California, but my heart kept coming back to Disney in Florida. After quite a bit of discussion and pricing we decided to make it a go.

Once we knew for sure we wanted to get married at Disney we had to decide on a wedding location. There were so many amazing choices from those that were in the park, to the Wedding Pavillion, to several of the resorts. We sat down and started really talking about our vision. My husband and I are both very laid back people. We knew that a suit or tux was not really his style so I ruled out places that seemed very formal to me like the Wedding Pavillion. Then I saw a picture of Sunset Pointe and I went that’s it. For us Sunset Pointe was perfect for so many reasons. It was at the Polynesian which is where we were going to be staying. It seemed very romantic to me with the palm trees around a path that was isolated. It had a view of the castle, I don’t think any explanation is needed there LOL! I had many fond memories from growing up of walks around the Poly with my family so really for me it was perfect. My husband agreed with me absolutely that it was right for us.

Our wedding trip was going to be his first trip every to Disney so the day we arrived we went straight to Sunset Pointe so he could actually see it. We walked slowly up the path with the excitement of knowing that in a day or so this place would have a permanent place in our heart. Once we reached the top we sat down for a little while to soak it all in.

Escape Wedding at Sunset Pointe

Disneymooner photo by Chapman Photography

Looking back now seven years later there is no possible way I would have changed our location because it did truly represent us, who we were, and who we wanted to be.

So why did you choose your location? What about it made it perfect for you?

Featured Venue Fridays: Atlantic Dance Hall

This week’s Venue review is written by Disneymooner Jennifer. To read more about her wedding and read her recaps, please going our private forums.

The Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort is the perfect reception venue for the couple that wants a beautiful view. Located on the bustling boardwalk, the Atlantic Dance Hall is a two-story 1940s style nightclub. The venue has art-deco touches throughout the building with polished-gold railings and marble tables, as well as a balcony overlooking Crescent Lake. There are so many beautiful touches throughout the venue that you don’t need to add much décor, but all floral, décor, and entertainment that you do use must be provided by Disney. The maximum capacity for this venue is 200 guests.

Atlantic Dance Hall - Disney's Boardwalk
You can host events at the ADH 7 days a week. The venue typically hosts buffet style events and these have a lower minimum, but you may serve a plated event on Sunday and Monday, with a higher food and beverage minimum. Tuesday-Saturday, your event must end before 8 P.M. but on Sundays and Mondays you can have the venue for the whole night. A perk of having your night reception at the ADH is a waterfront view of the Illuminations fireworks show, but the views from the wraparound balcony are stunning at any time of day.

View of Boardwalk from Atlantic Dance Hall Venue

There is a beautiful wooden dance floor. The second story of the venue overlooks the dance floor so your guests can watch you complete your first dance as a married couple from the indoor balcony that wraps around the club and then descend down the grand staircase to the reception.

View from Second Level of Atlantic Dance Hall

View of Illuminations Fireworks from Atlantic Dance Hall

A Fairy Tale Focus ~ Sarah & Pat

Disneymooner Pixie Sarah, and her husband Pat, were married on July 15th, 2006 at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion. They hosted their reception at Living Seas Salon inside Epcot followed by an Illuminations Dessert Party at Italy Isola

Disneymooners: Tell us a little about yourselves!

Sarah:100% Disneyphiles. If it deals with Disney we need to be apart of it and know about it. As DVC members we always have a trip (or two planned.

Disneymooners: What made you decide to have a Disney wedding and why?

Sarah: We both grew up on Disney. Our families both took trips each year and so when we met we continued building on that number of trips together. I don’t think there was ever a doubt in our minds when we got engaged that we would be returning to say I do. We actually had no other locations in consideration; it was Disney wedding or bust. We knew having a wedding in Walt Disney World meant it got that Disney seal of quality and magic.

Disneymooners: How did your friends and family respond when they found out you were having a Disney wedding?

Sarah: I don’t think many people were shocked when they heard the news. We had gotten engaged there and as soon as we decided on a wedding there we began telling people to save up for a destination wedding. We were lucky and were not met with much resistance on the traveling. Our families were very supportive and they are all Disney fans themselves.

Disneymooners: Was there any particular reason why you chose your venue locations?

Sarah: The wedding and reception venues were givens for us. We were getting married in the heat of a Floridian summer so we needed an indoor location. I always dreamed of having a wedding at the Wedding Pavilion, with every monorail ride overhead. The Living Seas decision was made 2 years prior on the Behind the Scenes Tour at Epcot. Part of the tour shows you this private room in the Living Seas. As soon as our tour guide mentioned couples could have their receptions there, our eyes met and the decision was done.

Disneymooners: Planning a wedding, especially long distance, can be stressful for a couple. They wonder how it will all look in the end. How did it feel for you when you saw it all come together on your wedding day?

Sarah: Planning the wedding from a distance was a touch stressful at times, but the planning session and constant communication with my wedding planner really helped ease all the anxiety for me. I think it was a really surprise for us to see everything come together. You see it all piece by piece for so long, that it’s hard to see the grand picture of how the centerpieces will look on those tables under that lighting. We were really blown away by how well Disney took our ideas and brought them to life. I remember the biggest moment for us was seeing our reception for the first time.

Disneymooners: Was there anything that surprised you? Maybe something that you didn’t expect to have such a huge impact on the day?

Sarah: I think I was really surprised at how the adults reacted to our three characters at the reception. We had Mickey, Minnie and Stitch at our reception and the look of excitement and awe really captured us. To see these giant smiles on the faces of grown men and women dancing with Mickey was priceless.

Disneymooners: Part of the excitement for a lot of couples is to see their guests react to the magic of a Disney wedding. What aspect of your wedding do you think your guests loved the most?

Sarah: It’s really hard for me to name just one aspect that our guests loved. There are a few things that they still talk about. I think the guests were really taken back by the Dessert Party at Italy Isola and the private area for Illuminations. They really felt like they were celebrities that night being escorted back stage to a private area just for them.

Disneymooners: What was the #1 splurge you had that you couldn’t imagine not having on your wedding day?

Sarah: Our Illuminations Dessert Party. Looking back I don’t think our wedding would have been the same if we didn’t have that event after the reception. It was a final farewell to our guests who traveled so far for us. It was the perfect ending to an amazing day.

Disneymooners: Tell our members about the top 3 things that you’re glad you did for your wedding.

Sarah:

  1. Had characters at our reception. The look of pure exhilaration on the faces of the youngest to the oldest as they danced with Mickey Mouse and Stitch at our reception was priceless.
  2. Had a few group events prior to the wedding. We had our rehearsal dinner and a night out at Pleasure Island a few days before. I was so thankful for those special moments with our friends and family. I found myself wanting more of those moments during the trip.
  3. Surprised our guests twice. We hired Major Domo to play a prank on our guests during the ceremony. No one knew what was going on and really thought our best man had lost the rings. The story is still told to this day with big laughs. We also surprised everyone with the lighted slipper sorbet at our reception. Everyone thought that was the greatest addition.

Disneymooners: Was there anything that you wish you had done? Or wish you had done differently?

Sarah: Looking back in the weeks and months after the wedding there wasn’t really anything I would have done differently. We were so happy with the event from start to finish, I can’t imagine changing anything. Now that almost 6 years have passed I think there are so new trends and additions I could have added had they been an option. I think if given the chance now I would have done an Epcot photo shoot after the wedding.

Disneymooners: Photography is very important to all brides. Was there a particular shot that you knew you absolutely had to have to document your day?

Sarah: There were a ton of photos I had on my must list. I even made a detailed list of top 20 pictures that MUST be taken and handed it to my photographer. He was great and carried it around all day to make sure he got all of them. If I had to pick one…they were the fireworks shots from our dessert party. Those are still some of my favorites. However, I did find that some of my more cherished ones were the unexpected ones taken.

Disneymooners: Do you have any words of wisdom to our future brides?

Sarah: Plan the wedding you both want, not the wedding you think other people want. We really did plan the wedding we both envisioned. Sure we took others into consideration but the wedding venues, style, theming, music, ceremony, etc were all us. And for those brides ready to walk down the aisle, my advice to every bride that I have seen off over the years. Take a mental picture. At some point on your wedding day stand off to the side and look around at everything around you. Take in the sights and sounds and the people around you. The day goes by lightning fast and you will be happy you took a few precious moments to be in the moments, once its all over.

You can read all about Sarah’s wedding here

Sarah, on behalf of Disneymooners, thank you for taking the time to share a little about your wedding planning and day. You are a great member of our community and we look forward to following along in your Happily Ever After! All the best ~ the Disneymooners