by Fancy Free Diva
I know it’s horrifying for some of you to hear, but it’s true: not every little girl wants to be a Disney princess. Gasp! Fortunately, even Disney acknowledges this not-so-universal truth by offering an alternative to its powder-pink Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: The Pirate’s League. While some of you may be thinking that the Pirate’s League is only for boys who want to play pirate or for those savvy grown-ups who are trying oh-so-desperately to emulate Captain Jack, the Pirate’s League offers more than just the pirate makeover. At the Pirate’s League, located adjacent to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and the Plaza del Sol Bazaar, deep in the heart of the Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland, you can become a mermaid. Yep. A mermaid. No, not Ariel. There’s a difference, as you will see.
When you enter the Pirate’s League, you have to swear an oath not to reveal its secrets, otherwise you may be cursed. If, however, you can adhere to the pirate’s code, you are allowed to enter.
Diva Tip: In my opinion, the Pirate’s League is far superior to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in one key way: anyone can make an appointment. That’s right: you don’t have to be 12 or under. Next trip, I’m totally making appointments for the whole Fancy Free Family!
The interior of the Pirate’s League offices is dark and well themed: it really looks like a pirate’s hideout. There are rope covered barrels and shipping crates to sit upon. Seafaring paraphernalia abounds, and the cast members working there could have stepped right off a pirate schooner flying the Jolly Roger. There are map covered tables, presumably pointing the way to treasure, and the place is lit by mismatched lanterns hanging from the ceiling by ropes that could easily have graced any ship’s rigging. Even the walls show signs of cannon damage. Pirate flags festoon the ceiling, and as the cast members continually bicker with one another, all the time talking like pirates, it’s almost as though you’re transported aboard the Jolly Roger or the Black Pearl. The Imagineers really did an amazing job theming this location.
As your allotted appointment nears, you need to register at the front desk. There is a little bit of a wait, but fortunately there were pirate cast members playing a bean bag toss game that kept the little mermaids-to-be’s busy. Once it was their turn, Fancy Free Daughter and her two cousins bravely took the pirate’s oath, which was graciously extended to mermaids, but only after the girls all promised not to eat any of the pirates! This joke was lost on the little ones, though, who hadn’t seen any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, yet, and didn’t know that in that world, mermaids are dangerous creatures. The adults all got a good laugh, though, and the girls were escorted back to the changing rooms. Each girl got a mermaid t-shirt with the Pirate’s League logo and a matching tutu. Once they had all changed, they were seated in the main room, and the transformation began.
Like at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, there are various levels of makeover available, depending upon how many gold doubloons the pirate, or mermaid, in this case, parents want to shell out. Our girls got the full mermaid package, which included the costume (t-shirt and tutu), nail polish (a teal green and a silver glitter which they got to take home), make up (with take-home palette), a color changing barrette (it looks clear at first, but when it is heated up by the sun, it turns a vibrant shade of pink!), a flower necklace made of sea shell, and a pirate’s league sash, all for $89.95 (in July 2015) in pirate booty. (Note: You could also just purchase the makeover without the costume for $39.95.)
The cast members, like the fairy godmothers in training at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique were patient, entertaining, and engaging. This was welcome, fantastic, but a little bit unnecessary, because the usually squirmy girls were completely fascinated by the makeup process. The mermaid makeup spreads all the way across the face, from the eye to the hairline, and they use this really neat stencil to create the appearance of fish scales in the blue, green, and pearlescent makeup they use.
The whole experience took about an hour for all three girls to complete the process. Once their makeovers were finished, though, we were invited into the captain’s chambers for a special photo session. This room, made to look like a super secret armory, was also exceptionally themed, and really well hidden. The girls really thought they were entering a secret passage of sorts, and that added to the fun of the experience. There was a PhotoPass/Memory Maker photographer there to take pictures (like the photo sessions at Sir Mickey’s after the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeovers), but even he spoke like a pirate, dressed like a pirate, and convinced the girls that he was a pirate. All in all, it was a really magical experience.
Diva Tip: There is also a daily Adventureland Pirate Parade for participants in the Pirate’s League, weather permitting.
I would highly recommend the Pirate’s League to anyone who wants to try something a little different (and a little less expensive) than the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The mermaid makeover seems like a little known gem, but it looks really stunning. To book an appointment, call 407-WDW-CREW or 407-939-2739. Appointments are available 180 days in advance, and reservations are highly recommended.
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