Last fall, our family took the best Walt Disney World vacation ever! We were able to do so much in just a week. Even with this being my 20th trip, I was still able to do new things each day. One of the new things we tried was the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage. (Warning! This post has lots of pictures!)
This event begins an hour prior to the scheduled Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom. On our specific night in November, Wishes began at 9:00pm. We were told the event at the Contemporary Convention Center began at 7:45 but were asked to check in at 7:30. Since it was a later start, we chose to have dinner at 'Ohana at the Polynesian and rode the Monorail over to the Contemporary Resort for our Fireworks Voyage.
Once we were at Disney's Contemporary Resort, we asked the lady at the front desk where we needed to go for the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage. She was very friendly, as expected, and directed us to the south end of the resort to the Convention Center.
The further we moved along the hallways, we started seeing these electronic signs reminding us which ballroom to find.
When we arrived, we went straight to this check in desk. She confirmed our reservations and gave us a card with our ship name (Smee) and seat/ row assignment. She also gave each person in our party a Pirate and Pals Bandana. We were instructed to wear this bandana throughout the event to let the cast members know we were part of the Voyage.
My 5 year old and I chose to wear ours on our heads. My husband tied his around his neck and the 2 year old refused to wear his, of course. I tied his to the strap of my camera (around my neck). Nobody questioned where his bandana was because he was always with me or my husband and we were proudly wearing our bandana!
Once we were checked in and had our bandanas, we still had some time to kill before the ballroom opened for the start of the event. There were several pirate statues in the hallway that made for great photo opportunities. We had several pictures made of the boys and the family.Along with the photo ops, there were tables of activities for the kids. One table (above) had jigsaw puzzles of pirates which were about 25 pieces so kids could easily complete it in the allotted time. There were also coloring sheets and a pirate game sheet along with red, blue, and green crayons (below).
The fact that there were only three colors frustrated my son! He said he couldn't color the "right way" because he was lacking so many colors. So, if your kid insists on having plenty of colors to choose from, bring your own! These were great activities to help pass the time.
In addition to the pirate statues and activity tables in the hallway, there was Stroller Parking. We parked our stroller outside the ballroom and let the boys roam. We put our souvenirs and valuables in our backpacks and left everything else in the stroller for the evening.
When it was time for the party to start, we entered the ballroom after instructions were given by our pirate guides, Patch and Patch. In the room, it was sensory overload! I think music was playing, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee were posing for character meet and greets, and there was food galore! There was no rhyme or reason to where to go first or what to do first. We waved to the characters and made our way into the room.
When we entered the room, the characters were immediately to the left and the food and drinks were in the back of the room with tall, round tables set up throughout the room for families to stand and eat.
As for snacks, there were PLENTY! We filled up at 'Ohana for dinner, so we didn't take advantage of the snacks like we should have! Next time, I'll eat a light dinner or an early dinner so we'll have room for all the snacks and desserts at the party. Some of the snacks on the table above are fruit, popcorn, pretzels, chips and salsa, and chocolate gold doubloons.
There were also two large sheet cakes with the Pirate and Pals logo. I was not able to get a picture of the cake before it was cut into so many pieces. Again, you could get as much as you wanted! It was a yellow cake with white icing.
One of our favorite parts of the party was the freezer FULL of ice cream and popsicles! We each had a Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich, but they also had strawberry fruit bars and orange & cream bars. My boys were wide eyed at the fact we could just grab ice cream "without paying!"Another favorite with our family was the treasure chests full of cotton candy! We each took a bag of the cotton candy and at the end of the night, before we got on the boat, and we grabbed a few extra for later. Guests were allowed to take as much of the food as they liked on the boat and drinks with a lid could be taken as well. For the amount you paid for this event, don't feel guilty for stashing a bag of popcorn or cotton candy for later!
My little one was not posing as Captain Morgan, he was gnawing on a bag of apples watching guests pose with Hook and Smee! Of all the junk to eat, he chose apples! :)When our bellies were full of snacks, we decided to visit with the characters. We were actually last in line. I was too busy chasing boys, eating, opening and taking pictures to be first in line! We spent quite a bit of time with these two. We took a family picture and pictures with just the boys. They even signed our autograph books and "joked" around with us.
Since nobody else was in line to meet these two, I decided to have a solo photo shoot!
Right as we were finishing our pictures with Hook and Smee, Patch and Patch came back in the room. They asked us to get the card we received at check in and see if we were on the Hook boat or the Smee boat. The divided the group into these two groups.
We were on the Smee boat with Patch. He was very enthusiastic and happy we were all here! He held the Smee flag in the air and asked each of us to follow him to the boat. We walked through the Contemporary out to the boat dock near the pool on Bay Lake. We still had our stroller parked in "Stroller Parking" and were told the strollers would be moved and waiting for us when we returned and exited the boat.
On the boat, Patch led the group in games, trivia, singing and stories. He gave out plastic pirate prizes to the kids who answered the trivia correctly. Patch did a great job entertaining both the adults and kids and did an excellent job keeping everyone engaged as we traveled on the water to our spot to watch Wishes. Below are two of the songs we sang on the boat!
C-man was totally into all the games and singing on the boat. He was still young enough to not be "too cool" to participate! Once we made our way out to the Seven Seas lagoon, we anchored and got ready for the fireworks.
All three of my boys were mesmerized by the show and loved every minute of it!
While it was not easy to take good photos and video, I still tried! Even if I had had a tripod, it wouldn't have done any good because the boat was rocking the whole time. There were several other boats out on the Lagoon watching Wishes as well.
When Wishes ended, everyone clapped and cheered and we were off again. As we were heading back to the Contemporary, Patch told us the story of Peter Pan and Captain Hook in Neverland. My boys were listening intently as if they had never heard the story before! When we exited the boat, each child was given their own plastic pirate treasure- a sword, hook, gun, eye patch, etc.
The biggest surprise for my boys was at the end. When we got back to the dock, Patch had finished telling the story of Pan and Hook and Peter Pan himself was waiting on us!! While my boys were super excited, they were way too tired to stand in line for an actual meet and greet. We had met him earlier in the week, so they didn't feel like they were missing out on anything. Based on the lines to meet Hook and Smee, I would guess the Peter Pan line was about 30 minutes long.
Tips for Disney's Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage:
- Again, eat a light or early dinner so you'll have room for all the treats!
- Arrive at least 10-15 minutes early to insure you have time to check in and not miss the party.
- Odd numbered rows have a better view of the fireworks. We were lucky to have these seats assigned to us. You can always request an odd row when you make reservations and see what happens.
- Make sure young ones (and old ones!) use the restroom prior to boarding the boat. There are no restrooms on the boat.
- Check the "Know Before You Go" section on the Disney web page for the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage. There is a wealth of information regarding cancellations, inclement weather and more.