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Venue Spotlight: Brisa Courtyard

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Venue Spotlight: Brisa Courtyard

I have a special place in my heart for the Brisa Courtyard! When Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel was first constructed, Brisa was my favorite place to sit and talk with my best friend and watch the monorail go by overhead. My favorite quiet little spot at the Disneyland Resort!

Now it reminds me of our wedding day since we held our pre-reception at Brisa. It’s a very popular pre-reception spot, and a fine ceremony or reception location in its own right. We love a versatile event space!

Location: The Brisa Courtyard is located at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, near the entrance to Downtown Disney. It is an outdoors venue and is surrounded by six floors of hotel rooms. The Monorail track goes by overhead.

Venue Spotlight: Brisa Courtyard

There are actually three sections to the Brisa Courtyard. Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings historically uses two of these sections. For ceremonies, pre-receptions, or receptions, the circular section is often used. This is the largest section, and is located directly next to the walkway to Downtown Disney. The Monorail travels directly overhead, which is very fun. We had our pre-reception here and we loved it!

Venue Spotlight: Brisa Courtyard
{Photo by Root Photography}
Just a short walk away from the main Brisa is a smaller section that is generally used for small ceremonies or pre-receptions. It’s a little too small to accommodate reception tables.

This spot is actually much more private than the main Brisa Courtyard, but as you can see from the photo below, it is a lot smaller, making it a great, intimate ceremony spot.

Venue Spotlight: Brisa Courtyard
{File photo from DFTW}
Here is one reception layout that utilizes both spaces, with guests (about 30) at round tables in the main area of Brisa, and the cake table set up in the smaller section of Brisa. I have also seen wedding receptions where the cake table is located within the main Brisa courtyard. With such a blank slate, you have a lot of options!

Venue Spotlight: Brisa Courtyard

Here is a video tour of the two main sections of the Brisa Courtyard that are often used for weddings. (Thank you to Disneyland Bride Hope for assisting with videography!)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How many guests can you have a Brisa Courtyard ceremony/reception?
A. For a ceremony, you can have up to 150 guests, give or take. Jennifer and Peter had 106 guests at their Brisa Courtyard ceremony and the space looked pretty packed!

Venue Spotlight: Brisa Courtyard
Brisa Courtyard – Photo by Ari Simphoukham from Jennifer and Peter’s Disneyland Wedding
For a Brisa reception, I believe the most I have heard is 50 guests, which still allows room for a dance floor. If space for dancing isn’t a concern, you could fit a couple more round tables, or another roman table. The maximum guest count for a Brisa reception is 80.

Q. Is the venue private?
A. It is semi-private. It’s true there is a walkway adjacent to the courtyard that is heavily trafficked between the hotel and Downtown Disney. The courtyard is also surrounded by large windows, and hotel room balconies.

One time I was walking through the Grand Californian Hotel and I couldn’t help but notice a ceremony starting at the Brisa outside. I admit I stopped and watched as the wedding party and bride came down the aisle. It drew quite a crowd, but with everything going on around them, I’m not even sure if the couple or any of the guests noticed.

Disney will also put up “Private party” signs and privacy hedges to discourage random guests from trying to crash your party. Cast Members will also be milling about the area, making sure no one causes a disruption during your event.

Q. Is the Monorail noisy?
A. Kind of! It’s certainly not quiet and could potentially interrupt a key moment during a ceremony. For a more lively pre-reception or reception, guests will get used to the rumble. As a guest at a pre-reception event at Brisa, I remember all the guests reacting with “Oooooh!” the first time the Monorail went by. After that, you get used to it and don’t really notice it anymore.

Q. Will guests be watching our wedding from their balconies?
A. It’s possible … no one can stop lookie-loos. But, it’s rare. Most hotel guests are out enjoying the parks during typical event hours.

Q. Can we have Mickey and Minnie at our Brisa reception?
A. Sort of! You can have Mickey and Minnie at your reception, but since Brisa is only semi-private, characters can’t be outside because they may attract outside guests, and you don’t want any extra wedding crashers! A special “meet and greet” can be set up for your guests in a smaller, adjacent ballroom based on room availability. As always, character interactions are subject to approval and policies are subject to change at any time, or for any event.

Q. What kind of food can we serve our guests for a Brisa reception?
A. I’ve seen wedding receptions with both plated menus and buffets; however, I am hearing from recent couples that only buffets are offered at Brisa receptions right now. Please verify with your planner.

Q. Can you have a dance floor at Brisa reception?
A. I have seen a number of receptions at Brisa and I have never seen a formal dance floor laid down. I have to assume that because the floor of the Brisa is uneven (bricks), an actual dance floor would not work out. However, you can set up your tables so there is an open space for dancing. You can see in the photo below, this reception had plenty of space between guest tables (38 guests) for dancing.

Venue Spotlight: Brisa Courtyard
{Photo by Katie Keller Photography}
Q. Can we play loud music late into the night?
A. Since Brisa is surrounded by hotel rooms, there is a noise curfew. I’ve been told the music must be turned off by 10pm, so no late night receptions at Brisa!

Q. What happens if it rains or if it’s super windy?
A. As with all outside ceremony venues, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings always has an indoor back-up location available if it seems the weather might be less than cooperative.

Q. If we have our ceremony at the Rose Court Garden and our pre-reception or reception at Brisa Courtyard, how do our guests get from The Disneyland Hotel over to Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel?
A. The short answer is – they walk! After your ceremony is over, Cast Members will guide your guests through Downtown Disney to the Brisa Courtyard. Below is a map of the path they generally take (in red). However, for the couple getting married or any guests with mobility issues, Disney has golf carts to transport them across the street (in white).

Venue Spotlight: Brisa Courtyard

Q. Where do our wedding guests park for a Brisa Courtyard wedding?
A. Your guest’s parking lot will always coincide with your reception location, regardless of your ceremony location. So if your reception is taking place at The Disneyland Hotel, your guests will park in The Disneyland Hotel parking lot. If your reception is taking place as Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, your guests will park at the Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel parking lot.

Q. We chose other venues but we love the Brisa Courtyard; are there any other options to utilize it?
A. Yes! You could host a rehearsal or welcome dinner at Brisa, or a farewell brunch or evening “dessert party.” Check with your Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding planner or consultant regarding these options.

I hope this answers some questions you might have about having your wedding ceremony or reception at Brisa Courtyard. If you have additional questions, please reach out and I will try my best to answer!


This article was originally written in August 2015 and has been updated.

About Mindy

Mindy Marzec is a life-long Disney fan who grew up in Los Angeles. She started This Fairy Tale Life to share Disneyland travel tips for adults. When not at Disneyland, you can find Mindy at home snuggling with her cats and re-watching Thor: Ragnarok for the billionth time.