Today, I’m going to share my experience attending the Wishes Fireworks Cruise. I first went on this cruise in 2011 and again in September 2014. This most recent time, it was a birthday surprise for my dad. If you know me personally, you will understand just how hard it is for me to keep a secret. The cruise can be booked as early as 180 days in advance, but mine was booked about 90 days beforehand. That’s 90 whole days I had to keep my lips zipped…I barely made it! After a fun day at the parks and a delicious dinner at The Brown Derby (Yes, he was spoiled rotten!), we arrived at the Contemporary. We led my confused dad through the lobby and outside to the marina. He had no clue what this birthday surprise could be!
We walked up the marina at precisely 9:00 p.m. and were greeted by Captain Rich. He explained that he would be taking us on a nighttime pontoon tour around Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon. As we approached the boat, my dad broke out in a huge smile. The pontoon had been decorated with balloons and a huge banner reading, “Happy Birthday!” Upon finding a spot on the boat, Captain Rick offered us an assortment of beverages and snacks. What a treat! Now, there were ten of us and I must say, there was plenty of room. No one felt cramped on this 25 foot boat, and we were all comfy cozy as we left the dock and began our adventure.
As he drove us around Bay Lake, Captain Rich filled our minds with Disney history and trivia. At one point, we passed a tree littered with white shoes! When I inquired about this, Rich informed us that after captains retire, they head over to this tree and toss their white shoes into the branches. Close to the tree was the abandoned River Country water park. As Rick shined his flashlight on the ghost town, it was an eerie and spooky sight to behold. When we passed Wilderness Lodge, Rich told us to look closely. The builders designed the outside of the lodge to look like the face of a bear. Hint: The top two triangle-shaped windows are the eyes and the one below is the nose.
As we entered Seven Seas Lagoon, it was time for my dad’s next surprise. At the time I booked the cruise, I had also ordered a cake. The cake was delivered ahead of time and hidden from sight until this moment. My husband walked up to my dad with the cake and we all sang Happy Birthday. As we cut and ate the cake, Rich continued to steer the boat. He suddenly stopped and directed our attention to the right. Mere yards away from us was…the Electric Water Pageant! It was so exciting to witness the colorful lights and gleeful music while Rich ticked off facts such as how long the pageant had been running (since 1971) and how many captains were needed to steer the floats (Four). It was so unexpected and only added to the excitement of what was to come.
After the show, we traveled farther into the Lagoon, passing the Grand Floridian, and construction central – the Polynesian. Captain Rich pointed out the DVC villas at the Polynesian and showed us the private splash pool at each one. He also told us about the homes and condos on Disney property for purchase…a vacation home next the the Magic Kingdom? Yes, please!
Amongst all the friendly chatter and Disney facts, I hardly noticed that our boat was slowing down. I turned my head and directly in front of me was a perfect view of Cinderella Castle. Rich turned our attention to the castle and switched the radio on. With that, the Wishes fireworks show began. The audio came through the radio speakers, and we heard the familiar, “Star light, staarrr bright. First star I see tonight,” as white lights filled the air. If there ever was a perfect view to watch Wishes, this is it. Sitting on a boat, surrounded by loved ones, with a cool breeze on my face and joy in my heart. It was a beautiful show and we all may have shed a tear or two, although the men on board will never admit it!
Following the brilliant spectacle, we headed back to the Contemporary. As I sat by my dad, he looked at me, his face radiating with happiness and said, “This is the best birthday I’ve ever had.” Disney provided us the opportunity to personalize a relaxing and intimate birthday celebration full of Disney trivia and several magical surprises. We left behind our everyday stress and responsibilities and continued forward with a special memory to hold onto forever.
For those of you who are interested in your own fireworks cruise, allow me to break it down for you.
Basic Wishes Cruise ($292.88) includes:
- Room for up to eight people
- Captain (included in cost)
- Beverages and snacks
- Opportunity for Private Dining (additional food that can be delivered, such as our cake)
Premium Wishes Cruise ($346.13) includes:
- Room for up to ten people
- Captain (included in cost)
- Beverages and snacks
- Opportunity for Private Dining
- Wishes Audio music
Other information and tips
- The entire experience lasts about 1.5 hours
- The boat departs 30 minutes prior to the Fireworks show
- Birthday decorations are an additional $25.00
- Cancellations must be made at least 24 hours in advance
- I would strongly suggest arriving 30 minutes before your scheduled time
- To make reservations, call 407-WDW-PLAY
Have you attended a specialty cruise? What was it like? Share your story in the comments!