Just when I feel like we’ve done most everything we could do at Walt Disney World, something new comes up that makes me realize why I love going back there time and time again!
On our recent visit to Walt Disney World, we had the opportunity to join some Disney World Moms Panel Friends for this Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage. This specialty cruise has been available to people who were visiting as part of a Grand Gathering, but it has recently been opened up to anyone. How lucky are those of us who don’t have enough family crazy enough to indulge our Disney addiction by traveling with us!!
The Voyage begins at the Contemporary. You check in with the Events Board to see where to meet, but it seems to be a theme to meet in the hallway of the Ballroom of the Americas on the 2nd floor. You are greeted by a Cast Member who presents you with pirate bandanas for your family, along with a ticket that tells you which boat you need to board and which row you’re assigned. In short order, the ropes are dropped, and you enter the area, decorated with various piratey type things, but the thing the kids hone in on is the snack table!
Filled with a feast any kid would gladly give up Halloween to enjoy, on our visit, there were bags of pink cotton candy, bags of peanuts, trail mix, fresh fruit, gourmet brownies, crispy rice treats (yeah, I know, they’re Rice Crispie treats, but that must violate something somewhere, so for the purposes of this snackfest, they are crispy rice treats), cookies, and chocolate pirate coins. You will also find a beverage station, featuring coffee, tea, ice cold bottled water and cans of soda.
All of the snacks and drinks are portable, and there is nothing to discourage you from taking them with you on your voyage. I know that my kids were so excited when the stars of the evening, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, appeared, they sort of forgot about the snacks. They were glad to have them while they watched the fireworks.
So, yeah, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee! They arrive on the scene, and graciously – as graciously as villainous pirates can – pose for pictures. Not only do you feel under no pressure to have your photo taken, it is entirely up to you to line up for the pictures. The cast member was kind enough to lend my daughters her marker, and they were excited to have the pirates autograph their bandanas. She was also kind enough to attempt to include my youngest daughter in the picture by having her stand a comfortable distance from her arch nemesis (who knew my four year old had one of those!), but she was having none of the picture taking nonsense.
After the pirates are through posing, they mix and mingle. As with other Disney characters, there is no speaking involved in the mixing and mingling, but there was some great fun to be had.
At some point in the midst of all this fun, we are introduced to our host for the evening, Patch, and his twin brother, Patch. During the party, this knowledge is only marginally important. Once we get on board the boats (there are two), Patch takes over the entertainment, and the evening is both fun and funny, with a generous enough dose of romantic to make this seemingly family voyage a very suitable option for honeymooning and anniversarying couples.
Games are played, songs are sung, and a special guest introduced. At one point, Patch actually goes row by row and welcomes every family, asking where they are from, acknowledging their celebrations. If that’s not a magical Disney touch, I don’t know what is. Then there is the part where Patch sings Kiss the Girl after he invites all of the couples celebrating their anniversary to get up and dance. It wasn’t my anniversary, but I was so tempted to dance – it was just that sweet!
Everyone was having a blast, and this really went a long way to dispel the concerns that this voyage was only for children.
The cruise took us past the Electric Water Pageant, something only one of the children with me had seen before – and so long ago, she didn’t remember. And from there, we found a spot, better than front row center at a Jimmy Buffet concert or behind the plate at a Phillies game, from where we enjoyed what seemed like a private showing of the Wishes Fireworks from the Magic Kingdom.
On the way back, as we are all glowing from the fireworks, Patch plays trivia games and awards prizes. Don’t worry if you don’t win one of the awesome prizes (I know they are awesome, because my kids mentioned 4,672 times on the way home that they were awesome). Everyone leaves with a sticker at the very least. Patch on our boat, by the way, was originally from my own home “port”! He was “awesome” – my kids said so.
And just when you think the fun has ended, a big surprise was awaiting us when we arrived back at the dock! Guess who?
The evening was wonderful, and well worth the price ($54 for adults, $31 for children). My girls talked themselves to sleep in the car on the way home, bubbling over with excitement.
We would defintely do the cruise again – and I might do it soon, to take my teenage daughter, who missed it due to sorority recruitment. Fun for kids, fun for adults, and an evening we’ll long remember.