Grand Floridian Construction Shuts Down Wedding Pavilion

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The Disney Wedding Pavilion located near the Grand Floridian Resort has become a casualty of the “We’re not building a DVC! Pay no attention to this machinery!” construction Disney has been doing for the last few months. Essentially the dredging of the lagoon has to occur, as the coastline of lagoon is being reshaped to allow for the footprint of the resort. You can read about and see the details of the construction plans over at the Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia’s update from July.

This dredging to reshape the coastline of the Seven Seas Lagoon is going to occur during the last two weeks of September. How do we know this? Because Disney began calling and telling brides – less than 30 days out from their wedding date – that they can not have their wedding in the pavilion during that time period due to the construction. Less than 30 days out for fully paid weddings. You can watch the drama unfold over at the DisBoards as brides are notified.

We try to look at the somewhat bright side of things here at the Unofficial Guide and TouringPlans.com but this is just shrewd and shameless on Disney’s part. Poor form, very very poor form. We knew they were going to have to dredge the lagoon as early as July 5th, 2011, meaning internally Disney must have known some sort of timeline for the work. Bad Disney, bad bad Disney!

If you were having or attending a wedding at the pavilion in late September or early October we suggesting contacting Disney immediately.

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Posted on August 31, 2011

29 Responses to “Grand Floridian Construction Shuts Down Wedding Pavilion”

  • I was in the process of emailing you about this…so glad to see the post! I first read about this when the same bride posted the awful news at wdwmagic.com. Thank you so much for re-posting here and not sugarcoating the situation! I hope Disney will do the right thing.

  • by Shelley Bowman on August 31, 2011, at 4:31 pm EDT

    Thank you for posting this, I am the bride that started the discussion thread over on the DIS. No resolution just yet but my fiancé and I want to thank the public for the overwhelming response we have gotten regarding this matter. Will keep you posted, hopefully we will get our Fairytale ending.

    • I was in the process of responding to this thread on the dis when the thread went “poof”. Shame on Disney for treating the bride so terribly…and shame on the dis for deleting this thread! I am appalled and disappointed.

      • Sadly the Disboards has become more and more of a mouth piece for Disney. Anything that goes controversial and against Disney is usually deleted or locked. The MODs have stated that if it is not official Disney Policy, or it is not printed in official Disney documents them it can and will be considered inappropriate.

        • Dis had nothing to do with pulling the thread. Bride requested it be pulled. Some people voiced their opinions that perhaps she was being a tad bit unreasonable in her demands for compensation and the thread quickly came down after that. I think it’s a little unfair that when everyone was supportive she loved the attention but when people started to make less supportive comments she decided she didn’t like the attention anymore.

          • agreed… if you want your story all over the internet then you have to deal with people not agreeing with you. I don’t think anyone was mean, but she was demanding a 100% refund, wedding in front of the castle, free annual passes for life, honeymoon and all her guests to stay for free. I think it’s a bit more than a “tad” unreasonable… I would have been happy with taking an alternative plus a few upgrades with food and getting to stay at the honeymoon suite at the GF or something, thats a reasonable upgrade.

            I would still be angry if I were her though and luckily it seems like it worked out (she can’t tell us what happened of course…) and she is happy now with the outcome.

    • Shelley, I sincerely hope Disney magic comes thru for you. This is a time to think about all of your “wish list” items that you rejected earlier because of costs (like Glass Carriage, character appearances, castle wedding, dessert reception in Epcot for Illuminations, etc.) and ask your wedding coordinator to add them at no cost, or drastically reduced cost. They can be negotiated with. I got married in the wedding pavillion back in 1998, and managed to talk them into the storybook book entrance for the reception at 50% of what they wanted. I could tell from the pictures it had been around a while and was just taking up space in storage, so I talked them into a discount.

      It’s still not cool of Disney what they did, so I hope they and you can turn it around into a positive!

  • Wow, that is terrible. Many folks have to plan and save for their (or their kids) wedding day. Even more so for one at WDW. It’s not like a hurricane just rolled through and wiped the area out or there was a fire. The type of work they are doing, as mentioned, had to be known about more than 30 days out. They better be offering up some extra $pecial “magic” to compensate all the people who were looking forward to celebrating their special day there.

  • Wow. Just wow. Having gotten married recently, I know how stressful the process is (and how expensive and Disney wedding is because I could not afford one no matter how much I wanted it!). I do not know what I would do if it was canceled 30 days our with no advance notice! Disney, this is REALLY bad.

  • The sad part is that it’s in Shelley’s contract … so she “knew” about it. But that means Disney ALSO knew about it, and let her book the venue anyway. They NEVER should have done that. Walt would never have let the bottom line directly have a negative impact on the guest experience.

    Fact is, by trying to keep the DVC construction a secret (so as to not cannibalize sales at Aulani/BLT), they allowed a situation to develop that is causing a PR nightmare.

    Unfortunately, I don’t know what Disney could possibly do to make this right. Aside from literally shutting down the Magic Kingdom for a day so she could get married there, anything else would pale in comparison to getting married at the pavilion, which is now off the table.

  • Let me just say if I were one of the brides, I would be expecting a Cinderella castle kind of wedding as a replacement before the clock strikes midnight…

  • That’s interesting….Shelley’s thread is no longer on dis…

  • whoa, the thread is gone. only got to page 4. I want to know what happened to her case :(

  • by Shelley Bowman on August 31, 2011, at 8:47 pm EDT

    I had the thread on the DIS deleted. It was my decision, I did not appreciate some of the comments and it was getting out of hand. Thanks to everyone for your well wishes! We’re going to try to get this sorted out tomorrow. :) Hugs!

  • Shelly tweeted that she was requesting that the thread on the dis get pulled. The thread was starting to take a nasty turn.

  • Shelley, I admire your grace in the midst of this disappointment. I pray that everything works out and your wedding is better than you ever imagined.

  • Shelley, just wanted to tell you, I hope everything gets worked out! I’m so sorry to hear that this happened to you! Pixie Dust that you are able to have a beautiful, stress free wedding day!

  • Wow! So many people were supporting you on the DISboards. So many people reached out to help you. Maybe you should have thought about them before asking for the thread to be deleted. :(

    • We are two different Debs. I’ve added an avatar to distinguish us.

    • I agree. I think it is really good information for people to know about. If it was getting out of hand, it could have just been locked instead of removed.

    • The internets live for a very long time, I don’t think I’d want my wedding “remembered” on the internet that way.

      I appreciate the way that Shelley is handling a very upsetting situation, and I wish her and her spouse-to-be all the blessings and happiness in the world….

  • by Shelley Bowman on September 1, 2011, at 3:49 pm EDT

    This issue has been resolved and it really helped that I had that thread on the DIS deleted. It was not the hateful comments that were bothering me, but the social media storm it started. It was never my intention for the topic to go viral and once it did, I had to stop it. I’m sorry for those who were disappointed with my decision but it was the right one and Disney really appreciated it. Deleting the thread actually helped us come to an acceptable resolution.

    Thank you all for supporting us through this difficult time and we cannot wait to have our Disney Fairytale Wedding!!

  • Shelley – I’m sorry – i kind of have to disagree. If you didn’t want it to go viral, you wouldn’t have posted on the DIS, Twitter, or the forum on WDW Magic, and we wouldn’t even be seeing this blog post on here. I’m not saying you’re wrong, just own it – you were upset and posted it on social media – for support, yes, but you put it out there, no one else. I don’t blame you, if the same situation happened to me, i’d probably shout from the rooftops. I’m glad it was resolved to your satisfaction, you definitely deserved a positive outcome. Good luck on your wedding and “Happily Ever After”

    • Yep, what I learned from this situation is that making a big, public fuss will help you get your way. This isn’t necessarily a horrible thing… Disney is a big corporation and clearly the threat of having them being publicly shown in a bad light was enough to make sure they didn’t bully Shelley around. This is obviously what got the results- not deleting the thread, but creating it and making a big public fuss and THEN deleting it. I can’t see any other reason why the thread was created but to go viral and make a big deal… otherwise it would have stayed up to help other Disney brides know about the situation and what can be done.

      • No, not a horrible thing, she did what she needed to do – I just think she should own it, that’s all. A lot of people respect the way she handled herself, and that’s fine. I don’t think it was particularly graceful, but it was effective, clearly. And I think she did what she needed to do to get an outcome to satisfy her – but I disagree with the “Oh, gee, i didn’t mean for the story to get out”. No one else put it out there, she did that herself, so yes, she did mean for it to get out to force a result. Which, again, I’m ok with, sometimes you have to do that, especially with a big company. Just OWN it.

        • Oh I agree with you entirely. That’s why I said she can’t say that deleting the thread helped, since she wouldn’t have got what she wanted if she hadn’t created the thread in the first place. She can’t say she didn’t want a social media storm, it was what got her what she wanted and obviously what she intended, so why not “own it”, as you say. She should let other brides know that that is what they need to do in a similar situation- make a big social media fuss! You can’t publicly complain about something and get what you want because of that, and then when you get your way take it back and make it seem like its the wrong thing to do…

          • Ladies … cut her a little slack. It was her wedding, which she paid a LOT of money for. For a once-in-a-lifetime event, she deserved to get her money’s worth, and at the time, they were offering her significantly less. Anyone would have made a stink about it.

            Regardless, it’s done with, and I’m sure Disney will think twice about how they handle things like this in the future.

  • Rob, I too am a Disney bride, and trust me, I know EXACTLY what she paid. I don’t begrudge her doing it, I just think she knew exactly what she was doing having this go viral, and now she’s pretending that it wasn’t her intention. The reality is that Disney did end up taking care of her, and she’s happy – so THAT story should now be tweeted, blogged, on Google + and everywhere else she blasted her first messages – they DID fix it. Yes, probably party in thanks to the media storm she created, but it’s senseless when I read her comments now saying she never intended for it to be viral when that’s EXACTLY what she intended – she wasn’t wrong for doing it, I’m just not buying the “I didn’t mean for this to happen” bs. She DID mean for exactly this to happen, and more power to her for getting a satisfactory resolution in the end.

  • I love most of the acierlts which have been written, and especially the comments posted! Sweet Details