Tips for my Wedding Guests?

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MsVersaci's picture
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Tips for my Wedding Guests?

Hi Lovely WDW for Grownup Folks!
Has anyone here every traveled to Disney World for a wedding? If so, as a guest, what tips do you have to offer that I can pass along to mine?

About 75% of our guests have never been to WDW and I want to be able to be helpful without overwhelming folks.

Thanks!
Kacie

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Kristen K.'s picture
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MsVersaci wrote:
Hi Lovely WDW for Grownup Folks!
As a guest, what tips do you have to offer that I can pass along to mine?

About 75% of our guests have never been to WDW and I want to be able to be helpful without overwhelming folks.

Communication is going to be key. How many guests are we talking about?

1. Make sure that your guests know what you expect from them. If you have lots of planned events and will be "holding their hand" through the trip, tell them that. If you expect them to mostly be off on their own and just show up for the special stuff, tell them that as well. When Becks got married she had the gamut, my family was pretty self sufficient, her family was pretty much just there for the vacation, and her groom's family expected to have their hand held the entire time. You need to be sure that your guests know in advance what your expectations of them and their demands on your time are.

2. Don't take your understanding of the Disney Transportation system for granted. When Becks was planning she and I had a big discussion about her renting a bus for her guests to get back to their hotel after the reception. I was adamant that she didn't need to spend the extra money when the Disney Resort Bus stop was 50 ft out the door of her reception site. In my head it was very simple that they would simply get on a bus and head back to the hotel. NO. Some of her guests wouldn't have been able to grasp that.

Give them the tools they will need for a successful Disney trip far enough before that they can start to wrap their head around the complexity of the location. If it were in my budget, I would send everyone a Birnbaum Guide with an itinerary of Wedding events attached a couple of months before. Now, I know that that isn't realistic for everyone to provide, but if your guests aren't used to the Disney way they will need all the information possible and how it applies to your special events.

If they are web savvy - send them here to ask travel questions!

alicemouse's picture
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Hi Kacie,

I would recommend giving them as few events as possible that they need to attend and focus your energy on those events. For each event, it would be a good idea to provide your guests with travel time estimates from their resort to the event and impress upon them the sheer size of the resort. Disney's official recommendation is "allow 90 minutes in transit time from one location to another." If I'm at DTD and need to get to the American pavilion at EPCOT, it could easily take 90 minutes or more in travel time, transfers, and walking. Provide the number of a local cab company in case your guests find themselves in a jam and need to get alternate transportation fast. Also, due to timing, one wedding events may require guests to travel before WDW Transportation begins for the day. I saw a blog from someone who got married in EPCOT at 7am. Surely they had to arrange alternate transportation.

If you try to help each person manage their vacation, you'll drive yourself crazy and miss out on enjoying your day. I would recommend to each small group/family that they consult with a local travel agent if they are unfamiliar with WDW. In selecting an agent, keep in mind that no reputable agency will charge you an upfront fee or a premium on any Disney travel product. (Those fees are paid by Disney on the back end.) The guidebooks are wonderful, but having a person to talk with can be very helpful for a first-timer who may not "speak Disney" and it will help build the excitement and energy.

When you have you plan ready, have one of your non-Disney friends read over your instructions and see if they understand what to do. That way you'll know what you've communicated the information clearly enough that a 1st-timer can understand it.

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

MsVersaci's picture
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Kristen K. wrote:
MsVersaci wrote:
Hi Lovely WDW for Grownup Folks!
As a guest, what tips do you have to offer that I can pass along to mine?

About 75% of our guests have never been to WDW and I want to be able to be helpful without overwhelming folks.

Communication is going to be key. How many guests are we talking about?

1. Make sure that your guests know what you expect from them. If you have lots of planned events and will be "holding their hand" through the trip, tell them that. If you expect them to mostly be off on their own and just show up for the special stuff, tell them that as well. When Becks got married she had the gamut, my family was pretty self sufficient, her family was pretty much just there for the vacation, and her groom's family expected to have their hand held the entire time. You need to be sure that your guests know in advance what your expectations of them and their demands on your time are.

2. Don't take your understanding of the Disney Transportation system for granted. When Becks was planning she and I had a big discussion about her renting a bus for her guests to get back to their hotel after the reception. I was adamant that she didn't need to spend the extra money when the Disney Resort Bus stop was 50 ft out the door of her reception site. In my head it was very simple that they would simply get on a bus and head back to the hotel. NO. Some of her guests wouldn't have been able to grasp that.

Give them the tools they will need for a successful Disney trip far enough before that they can start to wrap their head around the complexity of the location. If it were in my budget, I would send everyone a Birnbaum Guide with an itinerary of Wedding events attached a couple of months before. Now, I know that that isn't realistic for everyone to provide, but if your guests aren't used to the Disney way they will need all the information possible and how it applies to your special events.

If they are web savvy - send them here to ask travel questions!

I really like the part about explaining transportation. Our invitations included a booklet with an FAQ. Our ceremony is at Seabreeze Point and reception at Living Seas, so all of our guests are using our chartered coach. However, for those not staying at a blocked resort, telling them HOW to get to our ceremony has been challenging.

alicemouse wrote:
Hi Kacie,

I would recommend giving them as few events as possible that they need to attend and focus your energy on those events. For each event, it would be a good idea to provide your guests with travel time estimates from their resort to the event and impress upon them the sheer size of the resort. Disney's official recommendation is "allow 90 minutes in transit time from one location to another." If I'm at DTD and need to get to the American pavilion at EPCOT, it could easily take 90 minutes or more in travel time, transfers, and walking. Provide the number of a local cab company in case your guests find themselves in a jam and need to get alternate transportation fast. Also, due to timing, one wedding events may require guests to travel before WDW Transportation begins for the day. I saw a blog from someone who got married in EPCOT at 7am. Surely they had to arrange alternate transportation.

If you try to help each person manage their vacation, you'll drive yourself crazy and miss out on enjoying your day. I would recommend to each small group/family that they consult with a local travel agent if they are unfamiliar with WDW. In selecting an agent, keep in mind that no reputable agency will charge you an upfront fee or a premium on any Disney travel product. (Those fees are paid by Disney on the back end.) The guidebooks are wonderful, but having a person to talk with can be very helpful for a first-timer who may not "speak Disney" and it will help build the excitement and energy.

When you have you plan ready, have one of your non-Disney friends read over your instructions and see if they understand what to do. That way you'll know what you've communicated the information clearly enough that a 1st-timer can understand it.

Most of my guests are booking directly with our room block. My sister is a CM so she has been helping my immediate family book their rooms.

Our wedding is Monday Feb 2.

So far, here are the "scheduled" events:

--Causal Meet and Greet @ Beach Club Solarium on Saturday from 2-4. All guests invited, but it is super informal.

--Rehearsal followed by EPCOT Dessert Party from 6 to 9 on Sunday. Only the wedding party and immediate family invited. Basically, after our rehearsal we are walking as a group to our DP location.

--Ceremony @ SBP on Monday, followed directly by the Reception @ Living Seas Salon.

Does this seem like too much?

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MsVersaci's picture
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And of course, thank you ladies for your input!!!!!

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Kristen K.'s picture
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I don't think that sounds like too much at all. Just be sure to make it clear that outside of those times, folks are on their own. That way you'll get to have fun too!

alicemouse's picture
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I think that sounds perfect!

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

Allie's picture
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I've never had a Disney wedding, but I did get married just over three years ago and to add on to the great advice you've already received I would just add one thing: No matter how much prep you do ahead of time and how much great information you provide to your guests, assume that they aren't going to read ANYTHING. I received so many phone calls, emails, and texts the few days before and even the day of our wedding asking me questions that clearly had been outlined for the guests in advance. I can only imagine that in Disney World this will be even worse since there is a lot that can be overwhelming for first time guests and I'm betting some of them will forget (or not care) that you are busy with your own stuff and will call to ask you wedding and even vacation related questions. Make sure you put some in charge ahead of time that is willing to field these calls for you (maybe your sister the CM since she will be very knowledgeable about both Disney and the wedding details?) to take some of the stress off of you!

Kristen K.'s picture
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Allie wrote:
assume that they aren't going to read ANYTHING. I received so many phone calls, emails, and texts the few days before and even the day of our wedding asking me questions that clearly had been outlined for the guests in advance. I can only imagine that in Disney World this will be even worse since there is a lot that can be overwhelming for first time guests

Yes! Beck totally had that problem too.

MsVersaci's picture
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Allie wrote:
I've never had a Disney wedding, but I did get married just over three years ago and to add on to the great advice you've already received I would just add one thing: No matter how much prep you do ahead of time and how much great information you provide to your guests, assume that they aren't going to read ANYTHING. I received so many phone calls, emails, and texts the few days before and even the day of our wedding asking me questions that clearly had been outlined for the guests in advance. I can only imagine that in Disney World this will be even worse since there is a lot that can be overwhelming for first time guests and I'm betting some of them will forget (or not care) that you are busy with your own stuff and will call to ask you wedding and even vacation related questions. Make sure you put some in charge ahead of time that is willing to field these calls for you (maybe your sister the CM since she will be very knowledgeable about both Disney and the wedding details?) to take some of the stress off of you!

This! I am already finding this is true! We had a website and with our invitations included an informational booklet. Still....the questions:

The normal ones:
What hotels are you blocked again?
When is the date?
Can I drive to the reception? (No!)

The crazier ones:
Can we leave the reception to go ride rides?
Are you buying out all of the ride/EPCOT/park/ect?

Sheesh!

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