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nativetxn 07-14-2001 12:40 PM

***Illuminations Cruises-what they are and how to book one-Find one to share***
Illuminations cruises are a fun and special way to view the Illuminations fireworks at Epcot. These cruises are very popular and require some advance planning in order to get a reservation.

You will tour seven seas lagoon prior to the beginning of Illuminations and be entertained, by your boat's pilot, with Disney trivia and views of the Boardwalk and other resorts, then you anchor beneath a bridge for an unobstructed view of the fireworks. One of the things we enjoyed the most about our Illuminations cruise was being able to just get off the boat and go to our car without fighting the huge crowd that was leaving Epcot afterwards.

Illuminations cruises are technically called "Specialty Cruises". There are 3 levels and prices for these cruises and you can read about them <b>HERE</b>.

There are only 5 boats available for this activity and they depart either from Boardwalk or Yacht/Beach Club Marina:

<b>Pontoon Boats</b>: Only 4 pontoon boats are available for this cruise. The cost is $120 plus 6% tax for the boat (this includes the pilot). Each pontoon boat will accommodate up to 10 adults or 12 passengers if some of them are children. The cost is not determined by the number of passengers, so sharing a cruise is good idea if you want to reduce cost.

<b>The Breathless</b>: This is a <b>reproduction</b> of a 1930's ChrisCraft Runabout. It will accommodate a maximum of 7 passengers. The cost is $175 plus 6% tax. This boat departs only from the Yacht &Beach Club Marina. This vessel has more speed than the pontoons.

In addition to the basic cost of the cruise, you should allow a gratuity for the Captain. We had 4 passengers on our cruise and tipped our Captain $25. He did a great job and paid special attention to my 6 year old nephew, my dh says now, that he wishes he had tipped him more, because he just made the whole experience wonderful.

<b>How to book an Illuminations Cruise</b>:

You need to call 407-939-7529 exactly 90 days before the date you want to reserve. You can determine when to call by using the DIS's priority seating calculator if you <b>CLICK HERE</b>

Since these cruises are so much in demand, start calling about 6:55 am <b>est</b>. If you get a recording that they are not open yet, disconnect and immediately hit redial. If you get the recording thanking you for calling hit #4 right away, as soon as the second recording begins press #2, when the third recording begins press #2. This will take you to a reservationist, if you have to hold do not disconnect or you go to the bottom of the queue.

When the reservationist answers <b>do not</b> make small talk, immediately tell him/her that you want to reserve the 8PM specialty cruise for such and such date. <b>Do not</b> ask to reserve an Illuminations cruise or you will waste time hearing that there is no such thing. After you get your reservation you can talk all you want, but these cruises are very difficult to reserve and seconds count when thousands of people are competing for only 5 boats.

When the reservationist indicates that you have obtained the reservation, tell him/her that you want to see Illuminations. He/she will then make arrangements for your cruise to depart the marina about 1/2 hour before Illuminations begins.

You will be told that they cannot guarantee that you will see Illuminations. They tell you this because, if Illuminations is delayed for any reason, your boat will still return to the marina at the end of your hour. So far, there have been no known instances where Illuminations was not seen.

If you have flexibility in your WDW itinerary, it is best to try to reserve a cruise for the first night you have available. That way, if you don't get the reservation, you can try the next day and the next, if necessary.

If you are unable to secure a reservation for an Illuminations cruise, do not give up. Cancellations happen every day. Keep calling and trying for that reservation, even when you are in WDW. I was told by a captain of one of these cruises that his boat has often sat idle because someone cancelled. You can snag a cancellation. I know, because I was lucky enough to get a cancelled cruise only 6 weeks before our trip last year.

You can also sometimes find someone who has a reservation already and is willing to share the space and cost of his cruise with you. The <b>Illuminations Cruise Central</b> posts on the Theme Parks board are there to help people match up for these cruises. There is an Illuminations Cruise Central for each month, beginning 3 months ahead of time.

Good luck getting a reservation for an Illuminations Cruise, I hope this information is helpful to you.


dmermod 07-30-2001 09:37 PM

Silly Question Time
I want to try and get a Illumination cruise, but I'm past the 90 day mark. Should I just forget it, or will they entertain my ressie request.

Any help will do :bounce:

Thanks in advance

nativetxn 07-31-2001 03:52 PM

I would go ahead and try for a reservation. Cancellations are common, so you might be able to land one. Just keep calling. I was able to reserve a cruise last year, only about 6 weeks out. So I know it's possible.


dmermod 07-31-2001 06:04 PM

Thanks !!
Thanks nativetxn - I'll start calling tonight.

That's the last thing I need to plan for our anniversary trip. Got a lot of help from the other boards.

Thanks again !!

minniepumpernickel 01-02-2002 02:48 PM

We don't have time to do this, on my upcoming trip, I wish we did! Sounds so romantic! A great thing for couples to do!;)

curtessey 10-27-2002 11:14 AM

We'll be in WDW Feb 6, checking out Feb 13, 2003 and the 90 days out is quickly approaching. We'd like to reserve a cruise, but I'm wondering if they do Illuminations every night or just weekends? I've looked at and can't find confirmation that far out. Anyone here know? Altho the cruise would be fun, I'd really like to enjoy the show also.'

Thanks for your help.


nativetxn 10-31-2002 07:37 PM

They have Illuminations every night at Epcot. Unlike Tapestry of Dreams, Illuminations is rarely cancelled. Even if it rains Illuminations goes on as scheduled :)

You're going to love Illuminations and the Illuminations cruise is just so <b>magical</b>. Good luck getting that reservation.


curtessey 10-31-2002 08:44 PM

Thanks for the info Katholyn, I will definitely be getting up early to call in next week.

Thanks again, I will let you know if I'm successful!


williejs 02-11-2003 07:40 AM

Greetings. My boyfriend and I will be at WDW on March 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, and 10th and would love to do an Illuminations Specialty Cruise, however I did not plan far enough in advance to make this possible.

We are both in our mid-40's. We would not be a pest or problem. Other than a few "oohhhs and aahhhhs" you wouldn't hear a peep from us. We'd come with cash and big smiles. Could you share a place on your boat with two midwest folks, who just want to do something "special" and away from the crowds?

Thanks for considering us.

nativetxn 02-17-2003 01:05 PM

Hi williejs, welcome to the DIS, I'm very glad you found us.

You might have more luck finding a March cruise to share if you post your request to <b>THIS THREAD</b>

Good luck finding a cruise to share.


Nink 04-10-2003 10:59 AM

New Year's Eve
There are 6 of us going for New Year's this year.

I need help with the following:

1. Is it possible to book a boat for New Year's Eve?

2. Are there late cruises for midnight as compared to the 9 pm show?

3. When should I call for reservations?

This would be especially nice since two of the people going have never been before.


nativetxn 04-16-2003 01:02 PM

It is my understanding that you can book a cruise for New Year's Eve. I used our handy little priority seating calculator to learn that you need to call on October 2, 2003 in order to reserve an Illuminations Cruise on 12/31/03.

Usually the cruises stop running about 10pm but they may have additional specialty cruises for midnight on New Years Eve. You should call and ask about this.

Good luck getting that reservation and let us know what you find out about any midnight boats.


tonig2 08-01-2004 05:56 PM


I am looking to share an Illuminations cruise on the 27th august there will only 2.

I thought it would be a really special thing to do the as me and my fiance are getting married the following day

PM if anyone has space

Thank you

LIMOGE7 12-14-2004 09:28 PM

do it . It is worth it and you will love it.

FutureAshleyDukes 02-21-2005 12:20 AM

NativeTxn - just wanted to thank you for the post. I was able to book a specialty cruise for my honeymoon. :boat:

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