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A Cruise to "Wish" For: The Wishes Fireworks Cruise at Walt Disney World

By Jennifer Maxwell, PassPorter Guest Columnist

No question about it, Walt Disney World is a magical place! From the charm of Epcot's World Showcase to the imagination of the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland, magic abounds in Florida's most enchanting forty seven square miles. So many "can't miss" experiences, so little time. Ranked high among these events is the Magic Kingdom's jewel, Wishes, the nightly fireworks spectacular bursting over Cinderella's castle. The thrill of standing in front of the castle watching the rockets explode and shimmer can make you feel like you and your family is the only one in the world sharing this awe-inspiring display. But what if you really could be together for a "private" viewing of this beloved show? You can!

The Wishes Fireworks Cruise is a way to explore Walt Disney World's Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon, learn Disney trivia, and enjoy a front seat to the nightly Electrical Water Pageant and Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. Add dinner at one of the Magic Kingdom resorts and you have an evening guaranteed to charm every member of your family!

The cruise is available at any of the Magic Kingdom Resorts: The Grand Floridian, Polynesian Resort, Contemporary Resort and Wilderness Lodge. Your experience starts at the resort's marina approximately forty-five minutes before Wishes begins. Your guide will meet you and escort you to one of the marina's many pontoon boats, each with a capacity of eleven passengers. As your boat moves out onto the dark waters, the guide will regale you with trivia about the many sights around Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon. Our family's most recent Fireworks cruise followed an animated dinner at Wilderness Lodge's Whispering Canyon Cafe, and began with a cruise across Bay Lake to see the old River Country water park, the shoes hanging from the tree across from Fort Wilderness, and bird speckled Discovery Island. Once this tour was complete, we were treated to a breathtaking view of Wilderness Lodge with its "hidden bear" image, lights sparkling in the darkness.

The next event you will experience on your cruise is the Electrical Water Pageant. Your guide will turn the boat around for the best vantage point and you simply sit back and watch as music fills the air and lights dance on the water. Children and adults will be enchanted as you begin to recognize some of your favorite Disney songs accompanying an electrified sea serpent, leaping dolphins, an octopus, and so much more. The grand finale of stirring music and sparkling American flags is also a sight to behold!

Once the Electrical Water Pageant moves on (it cruises around to every resort on Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon), it's time to cross the water bridge near the Contemporary Resort into Seven Seas Lagoon. Seeing the beautiful Magic Kingdom resorts from your own private sea vessel is delightful. However, as enchanting as The Grand Floridian, Wedding Pavilion, Polynesian and Contemporary all may be, the view of the Magic Kingdom itself will take your breath away.

Stopping in front of the park, you will have a view of the castle as its captivating color transformations take place. You will see the monorail glide effortlessly up to the park and then just as effortlessly depart. You can discover just how large the park is, as your guide may point out Splash Mountain and you can measure all the way across the park to Space Mountain. And then? The headliner of the evening begins!

Music swirls up from the park and is echoed by some of the boats floating around you in the lagoon. The lights darken in the Magic Kingdom and Jiminy Cricket's voice is heard over all else. The first shimmering firework sails into the air and cascades down over the castle. Wishes has begun.

And the view! You'll see details you may have never noticed from your observations inside the park. There is the "frowny" face created by the fireworks as the Evil Queen beseeches Evil to show its face. There is the castle lit with a blue cone shape decorated with white stars and moons as the music changes to the "Sorcerer's Apprentice". You'll see Tinker Bell's flight as you've never seen it before. All this is spread before you, a true feast for the eyes. It is a spectacular that you'll share with tens of thousands of people, yet feels as though it exists only for you.

The finale is followed by a trip around the Lagoon, back to the marina. No crowds, no lines, no monorail, just a simple private cruise back to the resort. It caps a perfect memory you are able to share together.

A Wishes Fireworks Cruise is as easy to arrange as any other recreation Advance Reservation. Call 407-WDW-PLAY (407-939-7529) as far out as 90 days in advance to book your own cruise. The current 2007 costs of a basic Wishes cruise is $225.00, and this includes up to 8 people as well as a driver, water, soda, and bagged snacks. A premium Wishes cruise is currently $275.00 and holds up to 10 guests plus a driver, water, soda, bagged snacks, and an audio feed of the soundtrack. But it doesn't stop here. For an additional cost ($250-300), you can book a birthday cruise, which includes balloons and a birthday cake. You can also add anything from a simple collection of beverages to chocolate covered strawberries all the way up to a full meal. Check with 407-WDW-PLAY for options, they're happy to help you!

Since our family's first Wishes Fireworks Cruise -- a surprise from my husband - we've made it an essential part of every vacation to share as a family and with friends. I can say this for certain: whether you are celebrating a special occasion or just being at the Happiest Place on Earth, a Wishes Fireworks Cruise is a wonderful and unique way to make your celebration even more memorable!

This article originally appeared in our August 5, 2005 newsletter -- subscribe to our popular newsletter today for free!

Related Articles:

  • Taking Great Fireworks Photos
  • Birthdays at Disney

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    Updated 10/5/07 

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