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AprilShowers
03-07-2006, 11:51 AM
DMom has surprised me with tickets to MK on Sunday, March 19. We are going to visit her in FL, and wanted to do some "stuff". She called to say we're going to MK.
Now, I wanted to do something nice for her and her DH. I am taking my two girls ages 10 & 12.
I called Customer Service and asked about a Fireworks cruise. We have reservations to board at the Grand Floridian Marina at 8:00p.m. and leave the dock at 8:30p.m. She said the fireworks will begin at 9:00 and the cruise takes an hour. That means we'll be done by 9:30 right?
My questions are: Will we enjoy the fireworks from the cruise? She said we would, but wasn't really enthusiastic. Also, will we have enough time to then catch the Spectromagic Parade at 10:00?
We've never been to MK before, but saw the Electrical Light Parade at DCA two years ago and loved it!!!

wwithers
03-07-2006, 12:10 PM
Ill stick with what I posted about this recently:


I've been on both fireworks cruises and there is a reason that you can usually get a Wishes cruise but have to do the Cindy's breakfast dance to get an Illuminations one.

On the Wishes cruise, You can't see the fireworks all that well (you drop anchor some distance from where the Ferry docks) and if the wind is blowing, the captain has to keep making corrections to keep you steady which means turning the motor on. Also if the wind is blowing some of the fireworks can be blocked by the trees. Overall not bad/not anything to write home about. Also, the music on the boat is very "tinny" and disappointing (Quite frankly, I enjoyed it more from the Poly's beach)

The Illuminations cruise was great. We got picked up at the Beach Club, stopped at the Boardwalk to get some wine and then we docked under the bridge to France. we had a fantastic view, because of the way that the boats dock, there's no drifting and you are so close that you can feel the heat when they shoot up the flames. Fantastic!

AprilShowers
03-07-2006, 01:24 PM
Thanks for the input, I asked the lady on the phone if we could see the fireworks from the cruise and she said we would have an awesome view!
NOW what should I do?
Do you have any other suggestions for something special that I can surprise my Mom with and that the kids will enjoy too?
We're not staying on the property, and only have one day at MK.
Thanks again for your helpful advice.

wwithers
03-07-2006, 05:17 PM
Thanks for the input, I asked the lady on the phone if we could see the fireworks from the cruise and she said we would have an awesome view!
NOW what should I do?
Do you have any other suggestions for something special that I can surprise my Mom with and that the kids will enjoy too?
We're not staying on the property, and only have one day at MK.
Thanks again for your helpful advice.

You can take an illuminations cruise (which I highly recommend). You don't have to have Epcot park admission to do this.)

While highly unlikely, you could try to reservations to go to dinner at California Grill and watch the fireworks from there.

Let me think about other things. Also, If you do decide to do the fireworks cruise I am almost certain that you can have the captain drop you off at MK instead of taking you back to the hotel.

ralfrick
03-08-2006, 08:21 AM
The odds of getting an Illuminations cruise less than 2 weeks out are slimmer than Kate Moss after a week of ingesting nothing but coke. You could call every day about cancellations, but I wouldn't get hopes up. As for making Spectro, you can get a great spot around Town Square right up to the start, so as long as you can get to the gate, easy I'd think if they drop you off at the MK dock, you should be fine.

Cheers.

Mickeymac
03-08-2006, 11:15 AM
We have reservations to board at the Grand Floridian Marina at 8:00p.m. and leave the dock at 8:30p.m. She said the fireworks will begin at 9:00 and the cruise takes an hour. That means we'll be done by 9:30 right?
My questions are: Will we enjoy the fireworks from the cruise? She said we would, but wasn't really enthusiastic. Also, will we have enough time to then catch the Spectromagic Parade at 10:00?
We've never been to MK before, but saw the Electrical Light Parade at DCA two years ago and loved it!!!

I like the Wishes cruise and think you will have fun. We've been on both cruises, and prefer the Wishes cruise as opposed to the Illuminations ones. With the Illuminations cruises, you are now tucked under the bridge between the UK and France, along with the other boats all in a row. The Wishes cruise is a lot more intimate JMHO. I also find that if there is a party at the UK pavillion, then the crowd ahead of your boat is a tad bit distracting. The Breathless also docks ahead of you. In this shot of Wishes, you can see the pontoon boats along the bay. I was in the Magical Fireworks Voyage boat on this trip and we were behind them. We were not close, and it wasn't until I checked this shot, that I realized that they were there. http://mickeymac.smugmug.com/photos/12877500-S.jpg

If you are booking a Wishes cruise, I heartily recommend requesting one of the boats with sound. You can 'hear' the storyline from the other boats nearby, and from the MK for a bit, but it's not as good as having your own sound system. We also find the unobstructed view of the fireworks reflecting in the Seven Seas Lagoon, with the Castle in the middle just gorgeous. To us, it's a lot more of an intimate experience. If Tinkerbell flies, you can also see her surprisingly well. http://mickeymac.smugmug.com/photos/12876972-S.jpg

It's a tight jog over to the MK for Spectro, but you might be able to make it. With the time you have now, you will also get up close and personal to the Electric Water Parade. This is the Grand in the background:
Ihttp://mickeymac.smugmug.com/photos/12876405-S.jpg

If you want to see my Illuminations shots, let me know and I'll upload them.

AprilShowers
03-08-2006, 02:24 PM
Thanks again, everyone for your suggestions. I think I'll keep the reservations for the Wishes Cruise and try like crazy to make it back for the parade.
Another question: The CM on the phone said there were no boats available with sound. Would it help at all if I kept calling back, or does this just annoy them?
She said it wouldn't make a difference at all if we had no sound. Was she just "blowing smoke" at me?
Thanks again everyone!

ralfrick
03-09-2006, 10:08 PM
Would it help at all if I kept calling back, or does this just annoy them?

Unless it's angry or obscene, I think one phone call is pretty much like any other to these folks; you're extremely unlikely to get the same operator twice anyway. Could be cancellations; you never know.

Cheers.

Mickeymac
03-10-2006, 03:53 AM
April,

To compare a boat with sound to a boat without sound would be like comparing listening to your own stereo to listening to your next door neighbor's stereo. It can be done, but it's sooooo much better to have your own.

Also, there are dozens of agents over in the Tours department in the afternoons, if you're nervous about hitting the same agent twice, but I gotta tell ya, if a good CM gets the same person twice, who's trying for the same thing, they are more likely to see it as 'ooooh, good, this Guest really knows what she wants' and try harder for you. They don't see it as a pain at all. I'm with Ralfrick, keep calling, especially once your travel dates get close.

I've also had a couple of instances of being able to upgrade a boat on the day of, but it's tricky to do. There are last minute cancellations by Guests due to weather issues.

MISSIONSPACE201
03-10-2006, 05:12 AM
WHERE DO YOU GO FOR RESERVATIONS, OR DOES ANYBODY HAVE A PHONE NUMBER?
I ALSO HEARD IT'S NOT CALLED A FIREWORKS CRUISE. SO IF YOU ASK FOR A FIREWORKS CRUISE THEY WILL TELL YOU THEIR IS NO SUCH THING.:rolleyes:
I GUESS IT'S CALLED SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
PLEASE HELP BECAUSE IT SOUNDS PRETTY COOL.
ALSO ANYBODY KNOW HOW MUCH IT COST??

Mickeymac
03-10-2006, 06:26 AM
407.WDW.PLAY is the number to call and then follow the prompts for entertainment then cruises. They change the prompts just often enough to drive me nuts.

I book the cruises for my Guests, and these are the very technical names that I use to book by:

Wishes Fireworks Cruise

or, get this...

Illuminations Fireworks Cruise.

hehehee! :D Seriously, the problem some Guests have had is not in the name, it's with the confusion of which number to call as it's often confused with teh Magical Fireworks Voyage that the CM's can book over on the Travel Company side. Do NOT call the main booking line to book a Fireworks Cruise otherwise you'll end up in trouble. If you call the WDW-PLAY line, you'll be all set.

Oh, and wanted to mention I have a wicked hard time reading all capitals due to some eyesight issues. Don't want a great question like yours going unanswered. Hope you don't mind my mentioning it! :D

MISSIONSPACE201
03-10-2006, 08:44 AM
Sorry for all the caps. Thank's alot for the info,I'm going to call,but it sounds like I will have to book far ahead do to it being so popular.

ralfrick
03-10-2006, 09:05 AM
Sorry for all the caps. Thank's alot for the info,I'm going to call,but it sounds like I will have to book far ahead do to it being so popular.
With the Illuminations Cruise you have to call within minutes of the first day to reserve your preferred date. I'd advise making a dry run first just to see what the message sound like when they are opened as opposed to when they're closed. This is what I did for last July, copied for a letter I'd sent my brother. Details may have changed as far as greetings and such, but should give you the idea.

Here are the details for reserving our boat. The more that are calling, the better the odds. The first day we can call is April 10 to book for July 9. They open at 7 AM Eastern, 6 central, 4 Pacific. You should start dialing a few minutes early.
407-939-7529
If they are still closed, you will hear this:
"THANK YOU FOR CALLING THE WALT DISNEY WORLD MASTER STARTERS OFFICE.
OUR OFFICE IS CLOSED"
If you hear it, hang up and hit redial.

When they are open, you will hear this:
"Thank you for calling Walt Disney World Golf and recreation reservations."

As soon as you know it is the open message (the big tip is the word "golf"), immediately press 3, then press 1. You should be either connected to someone, or hear a message that you're on hold, but you should not have to do anything else other than wait. I have called this weekend while they were both open and closed to verify this information.

By the way, after you press 3, you shouldn't even hear the prompt before pressing 1, but for the record, it is asking if you're already in Orlando to press 1. Although we obviously aren't in Orlando, answering the question accurately will delay you by asking other questions as well. The answers are for marketing purposes, and are not seen by the phone operator. Speed matters.

As soon as you get a live person, IMMEDIATELY say:
"Hi 8PM Specialty Cruise Yacht Club Marina July 9 for Illuminations PLEASE!"

Do not wait for a pause, do not stress about interrupting, do not pass go. Be as sweet as sugar the rest of the call, apologize for being abrupt, offer to make a donation to their favorite charity, but state what you want quickly and clearly. Everyone's competitive and the operator's want to beat their co-workers as much as we want to beat anyone else trying to book. The person will understand

Cheers.

Mickeymac
03-10-2006, 09:10 AM
In addition, do a practice call a day ahead, as they change the prompts from time to time. I can't stress that enough.

Also note that the Wishes cruises are much easier to get than the Illuminations ones as there are more boats and it's not as popular, at this time.

Good luck - they are loads of fun!

shawnarae
06-26-2006, 07:32 PM
Has anyone done the Wishes cruise from the Grand One yacht? We have 15 people in our party for our Nov trip, too many for the pontoon boats (I assume, being 7 adults & 8 kids). I am curious how much to Grand One runs per hour or per cruise.

Last August my family of 5 went to WDW and did the $120 Wishes cruise from the GF Hotel. It was great, even though we had a boat with no sound, we still heard it all. Anyway, the driver mentioned as we exited our pontoon "the Grand One is also a choice that rarely gets booked for the Wishes cruise". Anyone have any info? I may call tomorrow just to ask....

Mickeymac
06-27-2006, 07:30 AM
Shawna,

We just came back from one. it's $400 per hour. You can bring your own drinks and snacks onboard, and if you want something more, you can order from Private Dining. We had cheese and crackers and a dessert tray with the best chocolate strawberries I think we've ever had. The maximum number of Guests is 12.

I have photos here of the current yacht in daylight hours: http://mickeymac.smugmug.com/gallery/1449827

Let me know if you would like more information.

bradk
06-27-2006, 07:33 AM
if the majority of you are staying on site (I think the minimum is 80%), you should probably consider forming a grand gathering instead. they have a fireworks cruise which includes pirates and peter pan.

there are lots of other grand gathering events available as well, i believe one of which is a private breakfast with mickey at tony's town square.

ETA: here's Disney's list of experiences: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/special/magicalgatherings/ggSpecialProducts?id=GrandGatheringsSpecialProduct sPage

shawnarae
06-27-2006, 10:51 AM
NICE PICTURES!

We are all staying at the Grand Floridian. And there is 15 of us, so I am going to call WDW and see about the Grand Gatherings. Thanks for the link!

Mickeymac
06-27-2006, 11:55 AM
Heartily second the Magical Fireworks Voyage. I have photos of that (I know, you're surprised) at http://mickeymac.smugmug.com/gallery/324044

shawnarae
06-27-2006, 02:18 PM
LOVE those pictures. OK, SOLD! How fun!

Obviously that boat is big enough for everyone, what kind of boat was it? And it is set around the Wishes fireworks, so the planners would know when the fireworks start, ect. I just remember booking the specialty cruise last August and them asking me what time would I like to board the boat, we had to coordinate it around the show's start time.

Where at the Contemporary did this take place? How long would it take us to get from GF to the meeting point? Thinking if we should do it on night 1 or 2. Opinion? We will get to the hotel by 5:30pm I assume on night #1.

bradk
06-27-2006, 02:32 PM
just as a minor tangent, i think typically just asking for the last cruise of the night would get you the fireworks cruise.

Mickeymac
06-28-2006, 05:39 AM
Obviously that boat is big enough for everyone, what kind of boat was it? And it is set around the Wishes fireworks, so the planners would know when the fireworks start, ect. I just remember booking the specialty cruise last August and them asking me what time would I like to board the boat, we had to coordinate it around the show's start time.

you know, I'm an idiot. I don't have any pictures of that boat. i think I'll have to go back on it. LOL! Seriously, it's pretty large, much bigger than a pontoon, I would say about half the size of the Friendships in Epcot.

It is set to the Wishes fireworks, and there can (will!) be adjustments in timing as the MK fireworks schedule changes. I'm to the point where I just recommend that Guests check with their Grand Gathering itinerary at check-in, since some of the time, the meeting time I get at booking is wrong.

If you book a specialty cruise, they still don't give you a boarding time until about 2 weeks beforehand, which is about right, although I've had Guests get shifted right up until check-in. Keep an eye on yoru final itinerary, and double check with the times guide. I know it sounds like a PITA, but you really sound like you know what you're doing.


Where at the Contemporary did this take place?
It is usually held on the atrium level of the Contemporary, down at the end with the shops. They rope off the area there and have dessert tables, etc. They have had it outside near the marina in the past (near the Mickey sillouette) which is where you see the bulk of my dessert pics are from. I've attended both inside and outside. Both are excellent and well worth the money, however, there's some extra magic in the air in the fresh air venue.


How long would it take us to get from GF to the meeting point?
Not long; minutes maybe, maybe 10? - just the commute time on the monorail plus any wait time for it. If it's indoors, it's just heading over from the monorail stop to the shops, which is just a couple of minutes. If it's out of doors (and you won't know until you get there) it would add a couple of minutes to walk to the courtyard outside (head to the back of the resort, to the wing buildings, there are usually signs.)


Thinking if we should do it on night 1 or 2. Opinion? We will get to the hotel by 5:30pm I assume on night #1.
Personally, I feel it's a spectacular way to start or end your trip, however, it's only offered on certain nights, and you're at the mercy of what is available. You have plenty of time on your first night. Be aware that it's a dessert buffet. I don't recommend a table service dinner beforehand, in order to take advantage of the goodies.

Also, I don't remember your travel dates offhand, but if you can manage to book it on a Mickey's Very Merry or Not So Scary night, you get to see the fireworks-in-the-round from the shore - it's a spectacular view and lights up the entire horizon, from Space to Big Thunder.

I forgot to add that music is piped right into the boat, too.

Mark Goldhaber
06-28-2006, 08:27 PM
you know, I'm an idiot. I don't have any pictures of that boat. i think I'll have to go back on it. LOL! Seriously, it's pretty large, much bigger than a pontoon, I would say about half the size of the Friendships in Epcot.
Sounds like it's one of the repurposed Discovery River Boats from DAK. Did it look something like this (http://albums.mouseplanet.com/WDWDAKAsiaProcessed/discovery_boat1_mg.jpg)?

Mickeymac
06-28-2006, 10:04 PM
it's a different color.

LOL - yes, I think that's it! (just being difficult)

shawnarae
06-29-2006, 10:36 PM
Thank you...you have a wealth of infomation on the cruise! YAY :) I feel all informed!