Fireworks with Pirates!

One of my favorite parts of our trips to the Walt Disney World Resort is treating my girls to a special event–last time this meant a visit to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (if you didn’t know that the Bibbidi existed, just wait until I tell you about all the other unknown Disney magic that’s out there!). On our  most recent Disney World vacation I decided to surprise them with a sail on the Seven Seas Lagoon to view the spectacular Wishes fireworks display from a truly magical vantage point aboard the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage. I’d done a lot of reading about this event prior to booking it and was excited to experience it for myself–and excited to be able to share that experience with all of you!

DSC_2720The cruise departs several nights each week (this varies seasonally) from the marina at the Contemporary Resort and includes a private pirate-themed dessert party that takes place in one of the resort’s ballrooms.

Before our cruise we ate dinner downstairs at the Wave, one of the several table service restaurants at the Contemporary.  I was concerned about finishing dinner in time to arrive for our 7:35 p.m. cruise check-in as the Cast Member with whom I spoke upon making the cruise reservation was pretty strict about our arriving on schedule.  I did pop upstairs to the cruise check-in podium after we ordered our dinners and the folks there made a note that we were in the building and reassured me that we would be absolutely fine and to relax and enjoy our meals.  They did say to skip dessert, however, and promised that there would be plenty of treats to satisfy the kids’ sweet-teeth at the pirate party!

When we did arrive to officially check-in after dinner we were just in time for the special welcome by Patch the Pirate and his twin brother, umm, Patch.  Patch and Patch were jolly fellows chock-full of pirate humor, and invited us into the ballroom to begin the party.  We donned the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage-themed bandanas we were given at the podium and headed inside.

The ballroom was decorated with pirate statues and treasure chests and there were tables laden with cake, cookies, brownies and Disney’s quintessential crisped rice treats.  There were also bags of cotton candy (my girls made a beeline to that), popcorn, pretzels and chips, a drink station with hot tea and coffee also available, and a “hidden’ treasure trove of frozen delights.  Although the desserts and snacks were plentiful and the decorations abundant, the ballroom’s convention-like vibe left a little to be desired.  This was the only part of the experience that I didn’t love–I’m not sure where else Disney could hold this event in order for it to be a bit cozier, but the cavernous space made you feel like you were in, well, a ballroom.  It would have been cool if the experience had been in a more intimate setting as there weren’t tons of people there and the space was too large for the smaller group.

Setting aside, we were soon treated to the arrival of Disney’s most infamous pirate–Captain Hook and his sidekick Mr. Smee.  Folks lined up right away to take pictures with the scoundrels and collect their autographs.  I would recommend relaxing and enjoying your desserts rather than rushing right into line–there is a finite number of people present and the line just grows shorter, unlike in the theme parks where the lines grow longer!  We headed up to meet the characters near the end of the party and there were only  a couple of families ahead of us.  We decided to torment Hook by “ticking” loudly and menacingly.  He was appropriately horrified.

DSC_2715Soon after, Patch and Patch, who would escort us on our voyages, reappeared to gather us into our appropriate groups and lead us to the ships.  Guests are assigned to either the Smee boat or the Hook boat upon arrival as well as given a particular row in which to sit on board–tip: the odd numbered rows face the fireworks directly.  I’m not sure if this is something you are able to request, but I felt that it made for a much better viewing experience being on that side of the boat.  We were lucky enough to be in row 11 and the view from our seats was incredible!

Patch (and Patch), keeping up their ridiculous (in a good way!) pirate banter the entire time, each chose a First Mate whom was given the ship’s flag to carry from the ballroom down to the marina where the boats were waiting.  Our first mate was an adorable little guy who was all decked out like Jake from the Neverland Pirates from his earlier trip to the Pirate’s League in the Magic Kingdom.  He held the Smee flag proudly and followed Mr. Smee downstairs to the marina.

The cruise itself was the best part of the entire event, which makes sense as that’s the reason you do this!  Our Patch was fantastic–as soon as we were all on board he proceeded to have all of us introduce ourselves and say from where we hailed.  He had a witty remark for most of the families aboard and his silly schtick continued throughout our voyage.  He regaled us with song, stories and Disney trivia throughout our cruise as we sailed to an absolutely amazing spot on the Seven Seas Lagoon and anchored right in front of the Main Street U.S.A. train station.  The audio for Wishes was piped in through the boat’s speakers and Jimminy’s narration filled the air as the display exploded over Cinderella Castle.  I couldn’t believe how close we were–it was absolutely perfect and magical!  I didn’t even attempt to take any pictures as I knew my novice photography skills would not do the scene proper justice.

After the show, we motored back to the Contemporary and Patch swung right back into action with more Disney trivia complete with fun pirate-themed swag from his treasure chest.  Don’t despair if you don’t get your hand into the air quickly enough to answer some of those trivia questions, everyone leaves the ship with some pirate booty–skull and crossbones bling, pirate swords, pirate rubber duckies, eye patches and the like.

DSC_2731The final surprise of the evening was the loud crowing that greeted us upon our return by none other than the boy in green himself, Peter Pan.  My girls were super-fried at that point after having pounded the theme-park pavement starting bright and early that morning and actually opted out of meeting him, much to my chagrin!  So now meeting Pan is high on our list for a future visit!

All in all the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage was an absolute pleasure.  Cost is $57.50 (ages 10 and up) and $33.01 (ages 3-9) including tax.  The cruise is just one of the magical events that I can reserve for you during your family’s next trip to The House of the Mouse and you won’t have to spend a minute planning it for yourselves!

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