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Disney’s Wishes Fireworks Cruise

Today I’d like to share what I consider to be one of the most incredible and least promoted experiences in the Disney’s Magic Kingdom: The Wishes Fireworks Cruise.

Pontoon Boat

My husband and I travel to Disney frequently, and as such are always on the lookout for new experiences to enhance our trip.  While I was searching through the Disney website, a hidden gem appeared – the Wishes Fireworks Cruise.  As we were in the midst of planning our next trip, which would include my mother, aunt, cousin, his wife and their child, my husband and I decided to book this as a magical treat for the whole party.  The cruise was kept a secret from the rest of our group, and my husband and I had a very difficult time hiding our excitement!

When the day of our cruise arrived, we spilled the beans – and of course, they were thrilled.  None of us knew exactly what to expect, but we knew that since it was Disney this would be a magical excursion.

We arrived at the dock of at the Polynesian resort marina and checked in with the water sports booth.  Although our reservation had been made, we had not yet paid.  We had booked the Basic Package which I have detailed here:

21′ Pontoon Boat – Price: $318.44, all taxes included (As of January 2014) for up to 8 guests. The soundtrack from the show is not provided as a part of this package.

Once we had taken care of business, we were introduced to our captain, Ralph. I have to say right now that Ralph was fantastic!  He is a 20+ year veteran with WDW and really has some terrific insight to share.

As Ralph escorted us to our boat, he informed us that he had been able to upgrade our experience to the premium boat at no charge – we certainly hadn’t expected that!  For reference, I have included the details of this package here:

25′ Pontoon Boat – Price: $371.69, all taxes included (As of January 2014) for up to 10 guests. Not only does this cruise include a larger boat, but the exact soundtrack from the fireworks show that you’d hear in the park is played on the boat’s audio system!

As we boarded, we noticed that Ralph had draped towels over all of the seats to help keep us warm; the air was cool and damp as this was an early December evening.  Ralph had stocked a large cooler with several varieties of cold drinks, and a basket full of salty snacks which he handed out to everyone and let us know that we could just help ourselves at any time.  We certainly would not go thirsty or hungry for the next couple of hours.

Once everyone was situated and comfortable, we departed the Polynesian marina and made our way toward The Contemporary Resort.

On the evening of our cruise, the fireworks show began at 9:00PM. The boat leaves the dock around 7:45PM. This experience in not merely a great way to watch fireworks, Ralph was providing us a full tour prior to the show filled with interesting details about different sites we were seeing as well as Disney information in general.

One of the more interesting items Ralph talked about was that Disney is always thinking outside the box – and has a very unique feature, a waterway built OVER a road.  When you bus into the park and you see that bridge overhead it is amazing to think that Seven Seas Lagoon is flowing right above you!

Our cruise took us through Bay Lake with a view of Wilderness Lodge (see if you can spot the hidden bear), Fort Wilderness, River Country (the abandoned water park) and Discovery Island.   The latter 2 can only be seen by water craft.  As Disneyphiles, this made our cruise so exciting.  We were finally able to see two parks we had only read about!

As the time for the fireworks drew near, Ralph positioned the boat near the docks in front of the Magic Kingdom, and offered extra towels to wrap ourselves in (it had gotten pretty chilly) as we settled in to enjoy the show.

It should be noted that while your view of the fireworks is not “up close,” it is, however, crowd- and barrier-free, and you are able to see the full show in a comfortable seat!

Seven Seas Lagoon

Knowing what we know now, we would definitely book the premium package.  Having the audio from the fireworks and the extra space really made the cruise so much more enjoyable.

As the show concluded we were met with another surprise, a very close up view of the Electrical Water Pageant!

If you are not familiar with this pageant, it is the oldest running parade in Walt Disney World.  This premiered in October 1971 for Dedication Day and has continued until present.  This parade continues to wind its way through the resorts on the waterway, and we happened to catch it in front of the Grand Floridian.

The Contemporary Resort

As with the fireworks show, the audio for the Electrical Water Pageant can be heard in the boat and we certainly can’t beat the view!

If you have never seen this pageant before, it is truly a Disney gem that is worth taking the extra time to see.  For more information on the Electrical Water Pageant, click here:

After the parade we began to make our way back to the Polynesian Marina.  After docking, Ralph insisted that we take the unconsumed snacks and beverages we want with us.   Having read about this cruise before we took it, we knew that we should be providing a gratuity.  Ralph was so very good and knowledgeable, that our party decided on a $100 tip.  I am not sure what “standard” is, but you certainly want to budget for a gratuity – and we felt that considering the time, effort, expertise, and overall service that Ralph provided, that was the right thing to do.

All in all, Disney’s Wishes Fireworks Cruise is an experience that I would certainly love to do again.  It was enjoyed by everyone in our party – so much so that to a person, they cited this cruise as their favorite part of the vacation. Next time perhaps we will try the Illuminations cruise which is also available. For more information about this cruise click here:

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Visit here to learn more about Disney Cruises:

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Maura DeGrande
Guest Blogger

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