There were moments when I thought I was nuts for reserving a table at the ‘Ohana restaurant for my BFF‘s bridal shower last Sunday, at Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Resort. After all, who throws a bridal shower at a character meal? But when the bride and groom are both Disney freaks, throwing a Fairy Tale Wedding at WDW, it makes a certain amount of sense. Lisa and Trace are not just Disney freaks, but both podcasters: Lisa and I are co-hosts of Those Darn Cats, and Trace is a co-host of The Disney Dudes, and in fact it was the Disney online fan community that brought them together.
I’d picked the venue in part because it’s possible to reserve tables for fairly large parties, and I wasn’t sure how many people we’d be accommodating. I also liked the theme that the name implied: ‘Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.
(I was a little tweaked by the fact that my son finds the Polynesian restaurant offensive, due to its appropriation of Hawaiian culture, and I’m kinda with him on this, but I set that aside. One could argue that the same issue affects the actual Hawaiian Islands, actually.)
Making the invitations was awfully fun. I found a suitable floral theme in an invitation kit at my local Target, from the Letter Impress line, and embellished it with pictures of Lilo and Stitch.
My mother helped me with favors for the shower, and flower leis for the bride, as she lives in Hawaii two months each year, and would be traveling from Hawaii for the wedding. She brought two leis, one with fresh flowers, and the other dried flowers as a keepsake.
I arrived an hour early for our reservation, in the hopes that the Cast Members at ‘Ohana would help decorate the table in some small way, perhaps just a sprinkling of the Mickey confetti that I’ve seen on so many Disney tables before. But the ‘Ohana CMs told me they didn’t have any such thing, and suggested I check the stores. Thanks to a helpful tip from a CM at the pin station near the monorail entrance, I went to the Concierge desk and was given an armful of plastic leis, with plenty for my guests plus a couple to take apart and scatter on the table. Once our shower guests had all arrived (including the bride of course!) the ‘Ohana CMs brought me to the table ahead of the group, and helped me prepare the table with favors and flower petals.
The meal itself was quite good, with the typical heavy breakfast foods of the ‘Ohana character breakfast menu. Having the meal served family-style worked well for a bridal shower, so everyone could sit and chat, and the food just kept coming. It was also easy to plan for budget-wise, especially since ‘Ohana accepts the Tables in Wonderland card.
And, of course, we showered the bride with gifts! I can hardly describe all the wonderful presents that the guests brought, but I’ve just gotta tell you about something I stumbled across: When I’d stopped at the concierge desk for table decorations, the concierge had also given me a few buttons to give to the bride, and I’d tucked them into the bag with my other presents. Little did I know that two of the pins the concierge had given me are out-of-print; Lisa tells me that they’re the Holy Grail of the wedding planning DISBoards.
Finally, it was time to leave for Epcot, to continue the pre-wedding festivities and meet up with the guys in the party. But not without paying our respects to the big cheese! Lilo, Stitch, and Pluto had all stopped by, but we didn’t get a chance to see Mickey until we were on our way out.
I’m sure that a bridal shower with huge, plush characters stopping by for hugs doesn’t suit everyone’s style. But we had a blast, and in my humble opinion it was a great way to kick off the Weddingfest activities last weekend. Many thanks to all the guests, and to the Cast Members at ‘Ohana for such terrific service! Special shout-outs go to Genevieve at the concierge desk for the pins, and Twana at ‘Ohana for her cheerful and welcoming service. (And yes, dear readers, I’ll be following my own advice to let Disney know when Cast Members have provided especially excellent service by dropping Guest Services a note.)
Congratulations, Lisa! And thanks for letting me throw you a party.