A wedding is a zip-a-dee-doo-dah day


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Walt Disney Attractions is supporting agents with commissions and other services after clients they refer to Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings staff actually sign to hold the nuptials at Walt Disney World.

In 1999 some 2,300 couples did just that, including some who chose to repeat their vows.

The weddings staff is housed in Franck's Studio, where brides come to plan nearly every aspect of their weddings, including floral designs, menus, cake design, photography, the ceremony locale, bridal party and main meals, the reception and special services. The latter can include arriving in Cinderella's coach or having the ceremony performed during the Tower of Terror's two 13-story drops.

About the only ingredient that Disney cannot supply is the person conducting the ceremony, but referrals are available.

Franck's is across a footbridge from the 250-seat Wedding Pavilion. The pavilion is on a tiny island, houses an organ and offers a view of Cinderella's Castle when looking toward the stage.

While agents are aware of commissionable honeymoon packages, some may not realize the potential income in booking an entire wedding, noted Rebecca Grinnals, senior sales development director for the Fairy Tale Weddings department.

The Deluxe Intimate Wedding packages, fully commissionable, are priced from $3,269 per couple; the Premium version, from $3,869.

The Deluxe plan covers four nights at a choice of on-site hotels: Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Contemporary, Yacht Club, Beach Club, Polynesian Resort, Wilderness Lodge or BoardWalk.

Also covered for the bride and groom are unlimited admission to the major parks, the smaller parks and Pleasure Island; a wedding coordinator; flowers for the bride and groom; a wedding reception with a two-tier cake serving up to eight guests plus the bride and groom; a champagne toast; a choice of a violinist, flutist or guitarist for the ceremony and cake-cutting; a four-hour limousine charter for transfers; a romance basket filled with treats; a wedding gift, and a wedding certificate signed by Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

The ceremony can be held at Sea Breeze Point or a gazebo, both near the BoardWalk Hotel; the gazebo at the Yacht Club; the Sunrise Terrace (four stories up) at Wilderness Lodge overlooking gardens and Bay Lake; a grassy hill overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon with a view of Cinderella's Castle, or Sunset Pointe at the Polynesian Resort.

The Premium plan, also commissionable, includes the same components, except that the ceremony is held in the Wedding Pavilion and accommodations are in a lodgeview room at Disney's Wilderness Lodge.

Effective Aug. 1, at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., similar commissionable wedding plans will be available along with larger Fairy Tale Weddings with numerous options.

Also, weddings on Castaway Cay, where Disney Cruise Line vessels call, are available.

While Disney does not pay commissions on its larger Fairy Tale Weddings or the Castaway Cay ceremony, the agent still retains a major role.

In fact, Disney works with the referring agent to send out Save That Date notices to prospective wedding guests, referring them to the bride and groom's agent for Florida, California and cruise travel arrangements.

Thus, there is the potential to book commissionable packages for wedding guests involving transportation, hotel rooms and theme-park tickets; if clients opt to divide a week at Disney World with a cruise, that segment is commissionable. The earnings can be considerable, added Joann Rahill, wedding-honeymoon director for the Fairy Tale Weddings department.

Of course, weddings need not be Disney-themed, she said. The characters and Disney trappings all are optional.

Couples who compare the cost of a traditional wedding in a hotel or banquet hall in their hometown with a similar affair at Disney World might be surprised by the competitive rates, she said.

Meanwhile, nine engagement packages (without hotel rooms) are offered, priced from $295 to $1,895 per couple.

Clients who want a romantic or wild Disney setting to remember the moment of engagement might be interested in these arrangements, which are carried out by an engagement staff led by Kim Hogan.

These arrangements are not commissionable, but the couple's related travel is.

These plans are often made directly by the groom who wants a surprise venue to pop the question to his intended. They can include a private area for dessert while watching the Epcot fireworks/light show; in front of Cinderella's Castle while marathon runners are passing by; at an elaborate dinner, or during the Tower of Terror experience.

Hidden musicians and a waiter with champagne and glasses can appear suddenly as the groom gives the signal.

Fairy Tale Weddings
Phone: (407) 566-6282

Engagement information
Phone: (407) 824-5130

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