Our Site Visit
Our site visit was a Saturday in May. We were lucky to stay in the Grand Floridian Villas the night before so we could wake up and look out at Franck’s Studio – this really amped up our excitement level! Up to four people can attend the Site Visit so we attended with my parents as they were key decision makers and contributors to our wedding. They are also Disney fanatics like I am – at some points throughout the wedding planning process I think they were even more excited than me!!
When our appointment time finally came – the morning seemed like an eternity – we walked over to Franck’s Studio and were greeted by a lovely assistant who offered us waters and invited us to peek around. The Studio is full of wedding ideas with cakes, floral, décor, card boxes, keepsakes, chairs & table settings. For a small space they fit a lot of magic in!
Meeting at Franck’s Studio
We met with Kristi, our assigned coordinator, in one of the three private meeting rooms, named after the three fairies in Sleeping Beauty, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. Initially, went through some basic questions about what our ideas were for our wedding. She reviewed the Wishes Wedding guidelines as far as minimum expenditures, guest counts, venues, and enhancements. We were able to see photos of various venue options and real weddings.
My favorite Disney Resort is the Boardwalk and I love the gazebo on the way to Epcot. I never knew it had a name, but it does, as Sea Breeze Point! Based on our anticipated wedding size (initially thinking 100 guests) we weren’t sure that was going to work if they all said yes. The Wedding Pavilion at the Grand Floridian of course was an option. So off we went to peak into the venue. Cast members were cleaning up from an earlier wedding but the Pavilion is still stunning. It is spacious, bright from the abundance of windows, and of course who can pass up the opportunity to get married with Cinderella’s Castle in the background? We knew we wanted this to be our ceremony location without a doubt.
Choosing a Reception Venue
But then where for the reception? We were not too fond of some of the provisions affiliated with outdoor venues, specifically character appearance limitations or DJ limitations. Therefore it was easy to say we wanted to host our reception in a ballroom. After checking out the Wedding Pavilion we were able to jump into a Disney Vehicle and start exploring. We first visited the Grand Floridian Convention Center and saw the White Hall Room as a potential for our pre-reception. We liked this location because it had indoor and outdoor space and the monorail passes by the terrace outside.
We also viewed some of the ballrooms at the Grand Floridian. The St. Augustine Hall is located along the Western side of the building closer to the parking lot. This room is a large rectangle that can be broken into 4 parts. The Salons are much larger and take up the central area of the Convention Center. These are your traditional ballroom spaces with high ceilings and these could be portioned into any combination of 9 spaces. To partition for our guest count we would have ended up with a long rectangular room and we did not prefer this as much.
Given that we wanted to try for the Wedding Pavilion for our ceremony we decided it would be easiest to have the reception also at the Grand Floridian. Though we love the Boardwalk area, it would not be as easy to coordinate transportation over to a ballroom there as it would right at the Grand. We could have gone to check out the ballrooms at this point of our Site Visit but decided against it. Instead we headed back to Franck’s to put in our requests for dates, times, & venues!