I had always heard about the “specialty” cruises that Disney World provides out on the open waters of Disney World Property. It’s not that I have never had interest in them, I just have never had the means to splurge on one. Here is my take on my first Illuminations Cruise, enjoy!
My good friend, practically family member, Cassie Lowery texted me that she wanted to surprise her husband, Keith. Now when I tell you how great these people are, that doesn’t even do them justice- they are spectacular! So when she reached out to me to help her surprise Keith for his birthday, I was all for it! She invited our family on their first Illuminations Cruise, which we made part of the surprise. She took him to the Yacht Club gift shop last night to “shop” then walked out the marina for a bit where he was just randomly taking pictures. He saw the boat with the balloons on it, and that’s when Cassie told him that that was for HIM. I guess he was VERY shocked, and while they were on one side of the Marina building, we were on the other, hiding out. Keith had NO CLUE we were coming with until they asked Cassie how many, and she started to laugh. We walked around the building and Keith said “I KNEW it!!” It was a GREAT moment!!
It slowly started to mist, and it was my nightmare coming true. Cassie had asked me about the weather lately, and I had said it storms almost every afternoon lately. I feared we would be in a down pour on this beautiful boat, but after a light shower, it stopped. We had such a great time- they take you down the water way to the Hollywood Studios area, then back to the Boardwalk area, then park in front of the bridge that connects the World Showcase between France and the U.K. You get incredible views of the Swan and Dolphin, Boardwalk, and the Yacht & Beach Clubs.
We had a party of 6, but each boat can hold up to 10 people. They provided snacks like chips and pretzels, along with a cooler full of Coca-Cola products and bottled water. But the best part is the view you get from the boat- front row seats on the water! It was a spectacular view, and at no time do you ever feel “too close” to the action. It is a comfortable way to see Illuminations without having to hem and haw trying to find the right location before the show inside the Park. Seeing it this way will spoil you for shows to come.
We had Captain Scott, a 13 year Veteran, who loved his job and really did a great job explaining all the details about the Illuminations show. I would recommend any of you asking for him- tell him the TN/WI families sent you! We talked to him about everything, and he was incredibly friendly. It does a lot for anyone’s vacation experience to have a friendly Cast Member, rather than the one who would rather be anywhere else. We were all VERY impressed!
Now, is it worth the money? I saw that the cost, recently, is $325 plus tax. It depends on what you are looking for. The cruise provides privacy among the group you have invited, no one else besides the driver is on your boat. When you see the show though, they do tie up all the other boats together, making you right next to others on either side of your boat. It wasn’t anything bad, but I don’t want people to get the impression you are the only cruise just sitting there watching it. Because it is a special thing, I would say the price is justified. If you can have several people go in on it together, the cost would be quite affordable. It would be a HUGE plus to book something like this for New Years or the 4th of July- we know this since we are the ones who held our New Years spot for 10 hours last year.
Call ahead to book your Illuminations Cruise at 407-WDW-PLAY- you can reserve up to 180 days in advance to your trip. Because Disney does tend to change rates from time to time, make sure you call to confirm the latest information. I hope you are all fortunate enough to enjoy one, and thank you again to Cassie and Keith for a wonderful evening on the high seas!