The Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise is one of those bucket list items for Disney World fans. It’s pricey for a nice view of the fireworks at $41 per child and $69 per adult. After looking at this for a long time, we included in during a short weekend trip to Fort Wilderness. If your family likes the cheesy Disney entertainment as much as we do, The Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise is a great choice for a non-parks day.
The Cruise is fairly straightforward. You meet at a designated place at the Contemporary Resort, usually the second floor conference center area, to sign in for the experience. Here, you are given your identification for the event, a bandanna. While waiting for the fun to start, there are props for photos scattered about. Enterprising little ones may also fund some puzzles in treasure boxes to occupy a few minutes of waiting.
Opening the event, Patch the Pirate and his non-identical twin brother Pirate Patch throw open the doors and invite guests into a ballroom. There, guests indulge in pirate grub and a guest appearance by none other than Captain Hook and Mister Smee before setting sail. Guests are strongly encouraged to eat all of the pirate grub they can stuff in their bellies and are invited to take more along for the cruise. We had Mickey Ice Cream sandwiches, cake, chips & salsa there. Not quite sure this was enough sugar to last for the whole event, we then stuffed popcorn, pretzels and cotton candy along with some chocolate coins in our bag for enjoyment later.
As the eat and meet portion of the evening winds down, guests are reminded several times that there are no bathrooms on the boat. Go now or don’t go. Once the lines for Captain Hook and Mr. Smee thin down as all the guests who wish to meet have had their chance, Patch and Patch return to divide guests up onto two different boats. The characters lead you off to the boats, complete with some antics on the way.
After you set sail, the Patch on your boat entertains with stories, song and celebrations of birthdays/anniversaries/etc. The captain positions the boat in the middle of Seven Seas Lagoon. The soundtrack to Wishes is piped in and it is the clearest I’ve ever heard it. The captain keeps the boat centered for an outstanding view of the fireworks.
On the cruise back to the Contemporary Resort, Patch entertains with Disney trivia and awards prizes to the kids. Each child gets at least one gift from the on board treasure chest. Back at the dock, there is one final surprise waiting for guests.
Peter Pan greets you at the dock on your return and is available for autographs and photos. DD loved meeting Peter. We forgot her autograph book (of course we did – after all, getting rare autographs was half the reason I booked the cruise). So, Peter signed the inflatable pirate sword she “won” from the pirate treasure chest on the cruise.
It was a wonderful experience. My husband laughed himself silly. Our Patch was a very talented entertainer. Our daughter fell asleep between my husband and I on our long bench on the fireworks watching boat during the fireworks, but woke up again when the captain turned the lights back on after the show. She had a blast doing the trivia with the other kids on the cruise back.
I strongly recommend the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise to anyone who likes the cheesy Disney entertainment and/or has an emotional reaction to Wishes. It’s great fun. While I am sure we will do it again someday, that day may be far in the future as this remains a pricey treat on an already expensive Walt Disney World vacation.