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Old 11-30-2012, 09:15 AM   #1
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Fireworks Cruise..Help!

I am hoping you Disers can help me out. My husband and I are planning on booking a fireworks cruise for my family in June..It is going to be their Christmas gift.

There are going to be 9 of us and I am debating between the Wishes Cruise with music piped in and the Illuminations Cruise.

So my question is which do you prefer...Pros? Cons?

Also when do I book? 180 days? And is it like dining..I can call at 180 but book for the next 10 days?

Finally, who do I call to book?

Thank you! I am very exciting about this surprise and I think everyone with enjoy it but I just like to have everything planned out!..
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:33 AM   #2
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Great question....would love to know also.
What about that huge yacht boat cons & pros?
Sorry i asked on ur thread.
Disney World Trip - Sept. 18-24, 2008
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:42 AM   #3

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I have done Wishes once and Illuminations 4 times now, most recently was last month. Obviously, I enjoy the Illuminations one more.

The reason I like Illuminations more is that the boats get you close and at water level. A lot of the illuminations show takes place at that level. And although I have camped out and gotten prime viewing spots for Illuminations, it's still a better show sitting on the water like that. Wishes viewing is out in the lagoon, you aren't close to it. You can get just as good of a view standing free at the Narcoosees dock at the GF. Wishes, IMO, is only fantastic viewing it from Main Street inside the park.

The negatives to Illuminations is that the wind direction could alter your experience. We've never had it happen but I've read reveiws where people were very disappointed because the wind blew towards them and they couldn't see it well. Also, the cruise boats for Illuminations dock right next to one another. It will not be a private experience; there are 4 boats that dock very close to one another. Neither of these would affect a Wishes cruise.

I don't remember the number you call, I'm thinking it's WDW-PLAY. I have always called early on the first day of 6 months out. I do not believe it's the 180 + 10, you call at 180 days from the date you want to do the tour. I have always called at 4am (my time on the west coast).

Don't forget that you will need cash for the tip for the boat captain. I think the cruise itself is $375. It will include soft drinks, water and bagged snacks.

The Grand I Yacht can only be done for Wishes. If I had a large group (more than 6), I would definitely do it but we are never more than 4 for our fireworks cruise. On the pontoons, 6 can sit up front in the sideways seating but the other 4 seats are at the rear of the boat.

I think the fireworks cruises are a nice treat. My husband thinks they are outrageously priced for what you get.
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:11 PM   #4
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I have done both and I much preferred the Wishes cruise.

For me one of the best parts of the cruise was the pre-fireworks part. The captain took us all around the lake, and pointed out all the various hotels, and Discovery Island, etc, and he had interesting tid-bits about each one. We also were able to view the electric water pageant from the pontoon. The lake is much bigger at the Magic Kingdom, and it was just a very nice experience. The fireworks were great too, and it was cool to see them reflect off the water. The angle from the boat is excellent, and you don't feel too far away.

For me the Illuminations cruise was not nearly as nice. They did take us on a quick cruise over to the Studios, but there is not as much over there, so it wasn't as interesting. The waterway is very small, it almost feels like you are on a river for most of it. I was also not crazy about the locations that we watched the fireworks from, we were behind another boat. I much prefer the view from the bridge between UK and France.

I think the Illuminations one book earlier than the MK ones, I would try to book it at 180 days if you can. I have been able to get the MK one much closer to the date, but if you know you want to do it, I would make the reservation ASAP.

Don't forget to tip your boat Captain!
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:02 PM   #5
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I'd say if you're going in june, book as soon as you possibly can.

I've never done the Illuminations cruise, but my family has twice done the Wishes cruise, both times for special occasions... and it was truly special on both occasions.

I think the deciding factor for me came down to the shows themselves. I love, love, love the music from Illuminations. But the show itself is a little long and has that awful, endless segment with the globe spinning and images being flashed upon it. I'd rather sit home under headphones and blast the Illuminations music and actually watch/hear Wishes from the water.

For me, there was also something very cool about being in the middle of the Seven Seas Lagoon at night, on the private boat, and just taking in the sights that have, since I was a kid, been what Disney World is all about: The monorail, the Contemporary, the Magic Kingdom, the Grand Floridian... before the show began, I was already lost in the magic. And afterwards, our awesome driver -- Rose, I believe was her name -- very generously took us to the two different resorts that we were staying at (some were at Fort Wilderness, others at the Wilderness Lodge) despite our cruise having left from the docks at Fort Wilderness.

It was an awesome experience that I will never, ever forget.

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Old 11-30-2012, 11:34 PM   #6
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up front disclaimer: never been big on illuminations, so might be a bit biased

Have done Wishes (1x) and Illuminatins (1x) with extended family and for all of us we enjoyed wishes much more. The key for us I think was the pre and post cruise experience... being on the lagoon for wishes offered a lot more to see and for our guide to chat about. You also have the opportunity to get some cruising speed and enjoy a boat ride. Seeing the electrical parade after was also a fun experience for our family as we'd never seen it although I understand there's no guarantees you will get to watch it as part of the cruise. Finally, watching the show out on the lagoon even though there were plenty of other boats around gave the whole experience an intimate feeling and unless you took time to pay attention to the other boats, I found myself forgetting they were there.

For Illuminations you are mostly going through some channels so it's a very slow ride with little to see. Our guide was good and personable, but the cruise leading up to the show was uneventful and the ride back after the show was the same. For the show itself, we were in the lead boat with an unobstructed view, but with all the boats packed in you definitely don't get a feeling of privacy like we did on Wishes.

Strictly going by best seats for the show - Illuminations probably can't be beat. But for ambiance and overall experience, we'd pick wishes hands down. Again tho, we're not big Illuminations fans so that might be a big part of it.

Edit - illuminations has *very* limited availability. I think I remember reading only 4 boats total although IIRC, there may have been 6 there with us. Wishes can fit a whole lot more because they are not limited on err.. seating capacity being out on the lagoon. Either way you probably want to call as early as possible (180 days or more?).

Last edited by jsavagemd; 11-30-2012 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by LadyntheTramp View Post
I am debating between the Wishes Cruise with music piped in and the Illuminations Cruise.
All of the Wishes Cruise boats now have the music piped in.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:18 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice! We were leaning towards the Wishes cruise and this thread confirmed it! Also, I think Wishes will be more special to my mom and dad because they took a cruise like this when they were at Disney for their honeymoon!

I guess it will have husband on one phone for the cruise and I will be on the other securing BOG and the other restaurtants!

Now I just have to decide on where all 9 of us are going to eat those other meals!
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