by Fancy Free Diva
One of the most amazing and magical experiences I’ve had at Disney was also one of the most piratical. On our last trip to WDW, we treated our family to the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage, a pirate-led, snack fueled, song-filled, firework-covered, character-suffused boat ride. If you have pirate fans in your travel party, this experience is a must-do.
Diva Tip: Because Disney encourages visitors to plan so far ahead, I downloaded a free pirate font and created a treasure map on parchment paper from our local scrapbooking store so that I could gift the fireworks cruise to my sister and her family and my mother the Christmas before our trip. The treasure map was a sort of I-O-U that I could put under the tree for them – it made the perfect gift!
On the night of our cruise, we met at the Contemporary Resort. There was a special sign to greet us, and upon check-in, we were given our boat and seat assignments. In addition, we were issued and instructed to wear special pirate bandannas, and we were given a pirate scavenger hunt to complete in order to earn some pirate treasure (aka chocolate coins).
Diva Tip: To make our Pirate experience even more magical, I purchased a pack of eye patches from our local party store, and I downloaded and printed out Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Guide to hand out to members of our party. You could also make an appointment at the Pirates League to get decked out in pirate finery before your cruise (read Disney Diva’s review of the Pirates League), or ride Pirates of the Caribbean and play A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas at the Magic Kingdom before your cruise. Read Jayship Earth’s review of A Pirate’s Adventure to learn more about this FREE game in the Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland.
Once we finished our scavenger hunt, we made our way back to the check-in desk to claim our treasure. They still weren’t ready to let us into the pre-cruise party, so we visited the tables they had set up with special activities for the kids. They had pirate-themed puzzles, games, and coloring pages for the kids (and the young-at-heart) to play with while we waited.
Once they let us into the room, we met our pirate hosts for the evening, and there was a special character meet-and-greet with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. The characters were located in one corner of the ballroom where the event is held, and there was a traditional line for the meet-and-greet. It’s probably best to try to get in line early so that you have more time to enjoy the snacks afterward!
Diva Tip: Be sure to have your autograph book ready before it’s your turn. Check out Canadian Diva’s character autograph tips and get some DIY ideas here!
In addition to some fabulous character interactions, we were given some delicious pre-cruise snacks. The snacks were unlimited and included: cake, cotton candy, Mickey ice cream bars (all you could eat!), chocolate gold coins, small bags of pretzels and Smartfood popcorn, chips and salsa, fresh fruit, and drinks, including coffee, tea, and lemonade. There were some standing tables set up throughout the pirate-themed and decorated ballroom, and there were some chairs arranged against the walls of the room, but there were no table and chair combinations.
Diva Tip: Even though the drinks are unlimited, you may want to limit your consumption and/or be sure to visit the restroom before the cruise. There are no restrooms aboard the ship.
Bonus Diva Tip: Fancy Free Daughter LOVES those chocolate gold coins! One of the cast-members gave us the fantastic idea of using one of the coffee cups that come with covers and filling it with coins instead of coffee. Those coins lasted more than a month!
Once we had our fill of snacks, we were led down to the boat dock and aboard our pirate vessel. Patch, our pirate guide for the evening led us in a series of pirate-inspired songs and trivia questions, awarding pirate-themed prizes (like pirate rubber duckies, pirate swords, pirate pistols, etc.) for correct answers.
Diva Tip: Don’t worry if your child doesn’t get the chance to answer a trivia question correctly; every child was given a prize when we disembarked, even my 1-year-old, who had fallen asleep on the cruise.
After the songs and games, and once we had made our way to the center of the Seven Seas Lagoon, we stopped to watch the Electric Water Pageant. I had heard of the Electric Water Pageant, but it was something I had never seen until the night of our cruise. It was amazing! Imagine the Main Street Electric Parade, but on boats instead of parade floats, with the lights all reflecting off the surface of the water. There are special speakers inside the boat that pipe the music into the ship to enhance your enjoyment of the spectacle, too.
Diva Tip: The Electric Water Pageant occurs nightly at 9:00pm on the Seven Seas Lagoon. It can be viewed from the shores of the Lagoon at the Polynesian (9:00pm), Grand Floridian (9:15pm), Wilderness Lodge (9:30 pm) and Fort Wilderness (9:45 pm), the Contemporary Resort (10:10 pm), and the entrance of the Magic Kingdom (10:35 pm on nights when the Magic Kingdom is open late). These times are approximate.
Shortly after the Electric Water Pageant, Wishes! Nighttime Spectacular began. From the boat, you get a great, if a bit far away, view of the Magic Kingdom and the fireworks. Again, the music is piped in on the ship’s speakers, making for a really magical viewing experience.
Once Wishes! ended, the ship returned to the Contemporary Resort where we were greeted by another special guest: Peter Pan! This was another great opportunity for character interaction, and a chance to grab another autograph and some memorable photos.
All in all, this was a truly fantastic experience, and one I look forward to repeating. In my opinion, the entertainment and perks make this event well worth the price. Disney’s Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage costs $41/child and $69/adult (as of December 2015). Reservations can and should be booked 180 days in advance by calling 407-WDW-PLAY (Note: your credit card will be charged upon booking. There is a 48-hour cancellation policy.)
Diva Tip: This event is probably most perfect for older children. My 1-year-old and 4-year-old both fell asleep before Wishes! began. My 4-year-old loved the snacks, songs, and trivia, though, so the experience definitely wasn’t wasted on her. However, I’m looking forward to repeating the experience when they’re both a little bit older and can hopefully stay up a little bit later to really get the full effect of the event.
***Disclaimer – We at Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos hope you enjoy reading our articles, and encourage you to share any you feel may be of interest to someone else. We do ask, however, if you choose to share the photographs attached to our articles, you give credit to the photographer. Thank you for your cooperation and sharing our love of Disney!