When Greg Flowers surprised his girlfriend of four years, Melanie Boria, with a trip to Disney World back in January, he simply told her he found a good deal and decided to turn it into a spontaneous couple’s trip. Melanie was reasonably suspicious, because they weren't taking his daughter — but she still had no idea that Greg planned to pop the question at a secluded spot during a VIP safari tour of Animal Kingdom.
“As he kept going and talking about what he loved about me and what he loved about our relationship, I was thinking, Oh my god, is this really happening right now?” recalls Melanie, 26.
The other surprise? Greg, 35, also secretly had a camera crew capturing every moment. The entire proposal was filmed for a new special, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings, airing May 7 on U.S. cable network Freeform. The show follows Greg and Melanie, as well as three couples who had their weddings at Disney parks and on cruise ships.
While Greg and Melanie's epic engagement was made for TV, Disney is in the business of creating over-the-top and elaborate proposals, in addition to weddings. Prices start at $100 USD for something simple and standard, like a nice dinner, but if you're willing to spend at least $2,500 USD, you can go all-out with a custom proposal. One of the most popular packages, a sweet moment at a restaurant inside Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom, goes for $300 USD and comes with a miniature glass slipper surrounded by rose petals.
Disney proposals have even sparked an Instagram trend of posing with your engagement ring in front of Cinderella’s or Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
Social media is helping drive the popularity of custom proposals like the one Greg and Melanie had. “What we’re seeing is couples asking for something more expansive and immersive, with photos and videos,” says Korri McFann, Marketing Director of Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons. “I think in this world, everything has to be amazing — and documented.”
The internet also inspired Greg, who was brainstorming unique ways to ask Melanie to marry him, to look into a Disney proposal. He then came across a call on social media to apply for the TV show.
“I knew she was a big fan of Disney,” he says. “She’s always been a fan of princesses and princess movies, and she talked about going to Disney even as an adult and how she enjoyed it. I thought it would be the most magical way to propose.”
At first, Melanie thought Greg might ask her to marry him during their vacation but she lost some hope when they didn't have much alone time for the first half of the trip. Plus, Greg kept making random excuses to get away from her (it turned out he was meeting with producers). And the surprise was nearly spoiled when his microphone set off metal detectors at the park — a moment documented on the Freeform special.
But oddly, the frenzy calmed his nerves. “I’m trying to keep microphones hidden so I don’t look suspicious, and also I’m trying to work through what I’m about to say,” Greg recalls. “I wasn’t as nervous as I would have been... my focus was in so many different directions.”
Greg made it through the tour of Animal Kingdom, with producers posing as fellow tourists, before popping the question. Melanie was shocked. “I didn’t even know if I was really awake," says Melanie. “Am I dreaming right now?” She only realized she was being filmed when cameras emerged to document their celebration after she said yes.
The pair, who are getting married in 2018 — and yes, a Disney wedding is a definite possibility — plan to throw their engagement party when the special airs May 7. Although they'll watch the show with friends and loved ones, Greg says nothing will compare to being there for the big moment.
"The camera won’t be able to capture the excitement, the magic, the overall amazing experience," Greg says. "Whatever someone sees, multiply that by 100 and it might come close."