What It’s Like Doing a Wedding at Disney World’s EPCOT: The First Wedding at Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Ceremony Site
First off, can I just say it felt SO GOOD to be back at Disney on official business again? Working there for a year in 2019 and getting to do tons of fun shoots in the parks, creating content, and seeing my content displayed for Cast Members was a joy I did not expect! This was what made us want to move down to Orlando from Indy, so being back just felt right. I got to reminisce on walking backstage at Epcot and talking to the chefs from Food and Wine, and it felt right!
ANYWAYS, let me break down how the day went. We arrived at Boardwalk at 5 AM, we meaning the amazing Ana Stella Photography and I. When you hire an outside content team, you also have to hire Mears to transport them to backstage AND hire a Disney guide to escort the pair around the parks. Once we drove back to Epcot, we were dropped off near where the skylines lift off. We walked around to the France Pavilion where the entire wedding + reception would take place. Disney’s big rule is you cannot leave the space that was booked, thus the media guides following us. The ceremony was already mostly set up in front of the fountain of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure exit. The ceremony was to begin at 7 AM, with a reception from 8-10 below the bridge connecting UK to France.
While it was pitch black until half the ceremony was over, I honestly loved the mood it created. I was able to capture the France pavilion with all the streetlights and romantic fountain in a new way, and it inspired me to work with the light I had. And the ceremony space was just beautiful. I loved the way they had baby’s breath set up to create the aisle and ended in a spiral, and how their decor left you just in awe of the architecture. Truly felt like we were filming a wedding behind The Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The bubble exit was definitely the most beautiful shot I took all day. I kept seeing people doing them on Instagram, so I was thrilled + it did not disappoint! Shoutout Disney’s bubble blowers for working perfectly in this moment.
Then, the most precious moment of the whole day that was certainly not planned. Didn’t matter how tired we all were, this made everyone SO HAPPY. I was cheesing like I was the one who just got married. Let me set the scene. EPCOT opened at 8 AM that morning. We took portraits in the back of Remy’s by the large fountain until right at 8 AM. By this time, an entire crowd of people had already gathered and rushed to be the first in line for the new ride. This is also spring break crowd, so it may have been even more full than normal. The Cast Members had until this point blocked people off from even seeing that there had been a wedding. We turn the corner and start towards the long queue line starting past Sleeping Beauty’s character spot, and immediately the crowd starts clapping and cheering, pouring out their best wishes to the newlyweds. They simply smile and say “Thanks for coming!”, and we were able to capture the moment. So, for a few minutes, Chelsey and Yosbel soaked in the magic of this Disney moment. It truly felt magical.
Lessons I Learned:
The beautiful light during the sunrise and until about 10:30 AM is worth getting up early for. Everyone was so beautifully, evenly, naturally lit that these were some of my favorite portraits ever. And not just because it looked like we were filming an elopement in Paris.
NEVER do a Disney wedding again without a cart. Or at least bring an assistant. Being a fit person, I never imagined what carrying 4 tripods, 3 cameras, 2 lights, an audio bag, 2 backpacks, and a purse would do to my back after just a few hours. Shooting in a theme park means there’s no getting ready room to store equipment in. Yup, whatever equipment you bring, you have to pick it up with every step you take. So walking from the parking lot to Boardwalk’s front entrance, the Skyliner to Remy’s, back to the reception space and stopping all along for portraits, and back to Boardwalk. Just my two hands and a lot of confused guests and a grimace on my face. It was ROUGHHH! Still best wedding ever, just a lesson learned, and a warning to you!
Definitely worth it to bring 2 lights. It was pitch black for all of our solo portraits and half of the ceremony. I would have been royally screwed if I hadn’t lugged them out of my trunk!