View Full Version : DDP and Grand Gathering Experiences - Help!

03-13-2007, 11:17 AM
I'm currently reading about the DDP because DH and I will be using it for the first time in September. I just noticed something called 'Grand Gathering Experiences' which I hadn't heard about before. If you have eight or more in your party you can use the DDP to do one of these three experiences:

1. International Dinner and Illuminations Dessert Reception: Enjoy a sumptuous dinner buffet including storytelling for the kids, followed by VIP viewing of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot. (2 TS Credits)

2. Safari Celebration Dinner: Take a VIP journey across the rolling savannah. Then enjoy a family-style, African-influenced feats and entertainment from Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. (2 TS Credits)

3. Good Morning Gathering: Begin your Magic Kingdom day with a unique Disney Character Breakfast filled with surprises followed by reserved seating at Mickey's Philharmagic. (1 TS Credit)

Has anyone ever done any of these? We have 8 people total going in September but two of them aren't on the DDP. Could they pay out of pocket to do one of these with us? Also, is there anywhere I can get more details? I'd like to know more about where exactly we'd be eating and where the 'VIP' section for Illuminations is.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

*** Something I should add - most of our party is staying in a DVC Property - we rented DVC Points and are not DVC Owners. The rest of our party is staying offsite. Do we even qualify as a 'Grand Gathering' if we're not all staying onsite? Do DVC properties count as staying 'onsite'?***

03-13-2007, 12:02 PM
I'm not an expert but I did look into it and decided against it b/c it was 2TS for the dinners, not sure about the breakfast. You can pay out of pocket but I think you pay in advance. I know the International dinner is in the old Odyssey Restaurant.
I thought you all had to be on disney property to qualify for grand gathering; but, I can't say for sure. I do know that you have to have a min. of 8 attend the event and you have to be registered through the grand gathering program which is why I believe you have to have at least 8 on property.
Sorry I can't help you more.

03-14-2007, 09:29 AM
A certain percentage, I believe it might be 80% of your group has to be onsite. The best thing to do is to first call 407-WDW-PLAN and ask them if you qualify.

As far as the experiences. There are actually 4, there is also a Magical Fireworks Voyage. That one is just snacks, though, so doesn't take dining credits. Illuminations and Safari each take 2. Recently, they have lowered the Good Morning Gathering to 1 credit (double check this, but that is what I was told when I booked).

As far as splitting, some dining plan, some cash. Here is what happens. Lets say there are 3 families in a gathering. Each must book the gathering separately. You cannot call and book for everyone, each group must call on their own. The reason is because it is billed to your package or room. It isn't a dining reservation like others where you get a confirm, your Grand Gathering number is your confirm. For example, last year there were 3 groups of us at the Safari. 2 of us paid with our dining credits, one family paid cash, and actually paid it when her package was due.

I've not done Illuminations but the other two families in our group did, and they thought it was just okay. I did do the Safari, which was terrific. This year I am trying the Good morning gathering and the Fireworks voyage!

03-14-2007, 11:48 AM
Thanks very much for the info! I think I'll end up calling to see if we even qualify as a Grand Gathering because we're using DVC points to stay onsite. It sounds like a lot of fun so I hope we do!

One more question - we'll be bringing our 1yo daughter with us for her first trip. Would the Safari be something that we could take her to? Could you tell me a little more about it? (For instance where do you eat and where do they take you on safari - is it an extension of Kilamanjaro Safaris or is it at the Resort?)

Thank you!!

04-10-2007, 12:30 PM
Last year my family did the firework pirate voyage and were very disapointed. Partly because of out expectations, we were told by our travel agent that is was going to be a great spread of desserts and fruit. It was prepackaged brownies and planters peanuts packages. Then we were all pumped for the firework voyage, we got Peter Pan on out boat, it had to be his first appearance as Peter Pan. He wouldn't talk much to the kids and wasn't very interactive. When a child would ask him sonething or ask him to tell a story his answer was "Wendy tells good stories but not me" He did pose for pictures but that's about it. The boat that got a pirate was singing and having a good time, our boat was silent.

I will also be trying the Good Morning Gathering this year on 9/29.