Since our flight from Chicago was getting us in early enough that we had an entire afternoon at Disney our first day, I wanted to do something special for our arrival. It had to be something outside of the parks – I wasn’t “wasting” a ticket just to do one or two things. I considered a couple of options, but ultimately decided to go with the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage. I am SO glad I did!
Pirates & Pals starts at the Contemporary Resort. Start time depends on the timing of the fireworks at Magic Kingdom on the night you are sailing. For us, the fireworks were scheduled at 9:00, so we were told to check in for the cruise at 7:30. Originally, fireworks were scheduled for 8:00 that night, so when I made our dinner reservations, I made them for 5:00. We were able to have a very nice meal and eat at a very relaxed pace (not the norm at Disney) and still have more than enough time to get to the cruise.
Our dinner was at The Wave…of American Flavors on the first floor of the Contemporary. The check-in for the Pirates & Pals Voyage is on the 2nd floor. The 2nd floor is where a lot of meeting rooms are, but it’s pretty easy to find the check-in area. We were the first ones to arrive, thanks to our early dinner. Once you check in, you are given your “ticket” that tells if you are on the Hook boat or the Smee boat. We were assigned to the Hook boat.
At this point you are also given a bandana for each member of your party to wear. This is a great souvenir, and helps them track down stowaways. There are also some fun activities to do while you wait (I won’t spill all the beans…).
About an hour or so before fireworks time, you are introduced to your hosts for the evening.
Our guide was Patch…the one in the blue shirt. These guys are amazing. After greeting us with a few jokes, we were let into the party room. There was more food in here (ice cream, chocolates, lemonade, cake…) than anyone needed. We milled around a bit and then our special guests arrived and partied with us, along with posing for pictures.
Finally, it was time to head out for the boats. Each boat was assigned a flag bearer. For the Hook boat, it happened to be G!
This meant she got to carry the flag, walk with Patch and Captain Hook, and lead the way to the boat. We also had front-row seats in the boat. Score! Now, we were there at the end of January. Even in Florida, the end of January is chilly! Luckily, the boats came with blankets to keep us warm.
And we’re off! As we set sail on the Seven Seas (Lagoon), Patch played some games with us. G & J both won pirate hooks. C won a sword with an eye patch. We also sang some songs and just had a good time. We pulled right out in the middle of the lagoon. At 9:00, the fireworks began, and the music from Wishes was played over the speakers on the boat. It was a perfect way to see the fireworks.
After the show, we returned to the pier and were greeted by a special friend.
This was a great way to kick off a week at Disney. It was pricey, but I think all of us would agree it was worth it. A great view of fireworks, characters you can’t meet elsewhere in the parks, souvenirs, sweets. Definitely a great start!
(Like G’s bow? It was made by Fan Girl Creations on Etsy. I don’t see this particular one on her site anymore, but she does great work!)
(Shirts were made using stencils and painting with bleach on black t-shirts.)
Up next: Breakfast with Farmer Friends.