How to Plan a Small Private Event at Walt Disney World

Whether you’re celebrating your anniversary, planning on popping the question, or looking to add a private meal to a wedding package that doesn’t include one, today’s episode has got you covered! Many people don’t realize that they can plan a private meal, reception or dessert party through Disney Catered Events with as few as two guests. The only requirements are that you pay for at least 10 guests and be staying at a Disney-owned resort.

On today’s show, I walk listeners through every single step of the planning process, from choosing a venue to adding a ride mix-in that gets you to the front of the line on your favorite attraction. I also cover tips I learned by planning multiple anniversary parties, including dinner at Tower of Terror Courtyard and desserts during IllumiNations. My special guest is Lauren Syvertsen, who shares the story of the amazing surprise birthday party she threw her husband, including appearances by four characters from Aladdin at Fez House in Morocco and an over-the-top cake!

CLICK HERE to listen now! Option-click or right-click to download an MP3!

Carrie’s photos © Root Photography / Lauren’s photos © Disney Event Photography


32 thoughts on “How to Plan a Small Private Event at Walt Disney World

  1. I’m not sure if this relates but my fiancé and I plan to marry at home in July and would like to celebrate with 10 family members at Disney – no need for a private event per se but is it even possible to reserve spots for 12 people for things like ferrytale fireworks desert cruise, grand Floridian tea room, or even Celebrarion at the top?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Sierra! Each of these has its own policies. You can call Disney Dining to reserve the Grand Floridian Tea Room, and they will tell you the largest group size. If it’s too small, you can just make multiple reservations that add up to 12 people. I have seen couples reserve spots for groups at the various public dessert parties, so I’d imagine the Ferrytale and Celebration at the Top events work the same way.

  2. Hi I would like to hire a desert party for wedding pictures and a small number of guests 8 is this something I can do

    1. Yes! If you want to wear wedding attire, you will need to book it via Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings in conjunction with a wedding ceremony. These minimum amount you must spend is $5,000, and at least $2,500 of that will be for the ceremony venue. This episode explains how to have a small Disney wedding for the minimum expenditure:

      To book a dessert party without a wedding ceremony through Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings, you will need to hold a full 4- or 5-hour reception in that location, not just a 2-hour dessert party, and the Event Minimum starts at $15,000. Alternatively, you could book just a dessert party via Disney Meetings & Events, starting at $5,000, but you will not be allowed to wear wedding attire.

  3. Hi Carrie. Looking to book a birthday party—my fiftieth—for October 2022 (far away, but I’m in quarantine and have nothing but time to dream)! When should I reach out to Disney? We want an in park event. Probably will end up with fifteen to twenty people. Would love to have a few characters. Is the new minimum still $3000?

    1. Hi! You could call them a little before the 12-month mark to get started. The latest minimum is $5,000—there was talk that it was going up to $6,000 right before everything closed, but we’ll see what the situation is once things are fully reopened. This post has all the latest details (pre-closure) on planning via Disney Catered Events:

  4. Hi Carrie,

    happy new year!!

    me and my fiancee have a escape wedding booked for October 2020, we want to book the moonlight room at the Toledo for our meal.

    is this now booked through a private catered event or is it booked through a normal reservation?

    do you have a contact information to book through?

    many thanks in advanced Carrie.

    1. Hi Joe! So this is the direct number for reservations at Toledo: 1-407-939-3890. From the voicemail, it sounds like you have to call Disney Catered Events if you want to book the private room, but you might try leaving a message to see if you can get the skinny from a real person!

  5. Hola me encantaría festejarle su XV años ami hija en Disney Catered Events como para 30 personas para junio 2020 me gustaría k fuera un día inolvidable k me recomendaría carrie

  6. im turning 60 october 4th would like to have a small family party saturday october 5th at a resort or one of your restaurants. 20 people.

  7. Hi I’m looking to do a private character meet for my party of 5. Would this require the $3000 minimum spend or is there any way cheaper to do it?

    1. Yes, the only way to do a private character meet and greet is to hold a Disney Catered Event, and that triggers the minimum. Characters start at $1,325 for one and $1,900 for two, so you’d have no trouble reaching that minimum!

  8. HI Wondering if you have any experience or insights into planning a gender reveal at disney? We would like to pop the balloon in the park close to the castle

    1. Hi! If you wanted to do a catered event to celebrate, the closest location to the castle in the Magic Kingdom would be Tomorrowland Terrace, which has a $10,000 food and beverage minimum. If being near the castle is the most important criterion, you might do better to just plan a dining reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table or The Plaza, or even informally gather in front of the castle during regular park hours to pop the balloon.

  9. Hi, I’m looking to plan a private dinner for my parents 50th anniversary next year. We will have 8 adults and 2 children, what would you recommend would be our best option? I’m hoping that we can somehow incorporate fireworks into our dinner as well.

    1. For fireworks, I’d do an IllumiNations dinner party at one of the countries in Epcot. With only 10 people, you could do UK Pubside, which has a great view but requires special permission from the park, or wait to see if you can get a larger area (like UK Lochside) if no one else has booked it about a month out. This page has complete details on how to book an event like this. Note that Disney Catered Events now requires you to spend a minimum of $3,000 (Mon-Thu) or $3,500 (Fri-Sun). So everything Disney provides counts toward that: food, drinks, cake, venue fees, viewing fees, transportation, photography, decor and entertainment.

  10. I’m looking to get married at disney world this October 2018 and we are just wanting it to be the two of us what are some prices and places that offer this??? Jennifer

      1. Hi me and my partner are wanting to have small wedding ceremony outside tower of terror their will only be 3 of us how do we do this

        1. Hi Aiden! The lowest Event Minimum for a ceremony at Tower of Terror is $15,000 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You can have a group of any size, even just three people, but you’d have to spend that much money with Disney on the venue fee (in this case, it’s $4,500), floral, decor, transportation, entertainment, photography, etc.

  11. Please help me…My husband and I got married at Disney World December 31, 2007 and had our reception at the Grand Floridian…We are going back for our 10 year anniversary and i want to do something very special. We were going to the California Grill Party but i would rather has a private party.
    Thank you
    Kitrina Jordan

    1. Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary! The phone number to call to plan a private party is at the top of this page, under Disney Catered Events. I would suggest an IllumINations dessert party, but New Year’s Eve is a super-popular night in Epcot, and I have a hunch all the IllumiNations viewing spots are booked already. But it never hurts to ask! There is a $1,000 minimum now to plan a private event through Disney Catered Events, but if that’s do-able, they can help you come up with alternative ideas that might fit your style, like a dinner somewhere. A cheaper alternative is private dining at the Grand Floridian, also discussed at the top of this page. For that you’d just call the number I listed for Grand Floridian Private Dining. You might also consider a fireworks cruise on Seven Seas Lagoon or into Epcot to see IllumiNations. For that you can just call 407-WDW-PLAY.

  12. Celebrating my 50th anniversary for at least 45 guests on August 5th 2017
    No dancing, no alcoholic drinks
    Just have it catered

  13. This is so informative! Is there a good time frame when to reach out to Disney Catering for an Illuminations Party or to Grand Floridian private dining? I would love to surprise my husband with one of these options for our one year wedding anniversary trip in April, but I’m not sure of our dates yet.

    1. Hi Katherine! I think 6 months out is a good time to reach out. The Grand Floridian seems to like to do things in the last 3 months but will send you menus and info before then, and Disney Catered Events can take a while to get you hooked up with a planner. (Just remember: Don’t flinch if they tell you the minimum is something ridiculous like $5,000. It’s not! They’re just testing you…).

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