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Old 05-02-2004, 02:00 PM   #1
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ILLUMINATIONS CRUISES-What they are--How to book--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 HERE.

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

Pontoon Boats: Only 4 pontoon boats are available for this cruise. 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.

The Breathless: This is a reproduction of a 1930's ChrisCraft Runabout. It will accommodate a maximum of 7 passengers. 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.

How to book an Illuminations Cruise:


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 CLICK HERE

Since these cruises are so much in demand, start calling about 6:55 am est. 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 #3 right away, as soon as the second recording begins press #2, when the third recording begins press either your reservation number or phone number and finish with the pound sign. Then press #1, then #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 do not make small talk, immediately tell him/her that you want to reserve the 8PM specialty cruise for such and such date.Do not 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 Illuminations Cruise Central 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.

If you want to try to find a cruise to share, or if you have a reservation for a cruise already and are willing to share with others please post to thread.

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

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Last edited by CanadianGuy; 01-24-2009 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 05-13-2004, 01:58 PM   #2
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This is priceless info., nativetxn! I plan to use this for our next trip, I've always wondered about those people out on the boats, but I never could figure out how to find out more!

Thanks!
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Old 05-16-2004, 03:33 PM   #3
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so, if you want to fill your boat up with people you find in the forum. Should you say there are 10 people in your party or can this be changed at a later date?

I saw the minimum no of guest is 4, but there are 2 of us, so we will be looking to fill our boat with people who are willing!

Thanks in advance for any info! x
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Old 05-16-2004, 06:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
so, if you want to fill your boat up with people you find in the forum. Should you say there are 10 people in your party or can this be changed at a later date?
When I originally booked the boat, there were only 3 of us. Then a Dis family agreed to join us, so I called back and told them it will be 7 now. Then my mom decided to come, so I called them again and told them 8.

Just tell them you have 2, if that's what you have, and you can let them (Disney) know later if you get more people. They said they was no minimum, even one person can book a boat for him/herself.

The CM said they need to know how many are going to be on the boat in order to supply the proper life vests, especially if there are children going, since they need child-sized vests.
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Old 05-18-2004, 03:38 PM   #5
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Smoke and Baby

I am taking my husband on a surprise Illuminations Cruise this July, but I read one review that said the smoke from Illuminations was unbearable. We will be bringing our one year old along and I am afraid the smoke will be too much for him. Has anyone else had this experience? Maybe it just depends on the direction of the wind. Any suggestions?
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Old 05-20-2004, 07:36 AM   #6
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Well, it all does depend on the wind and weather conditions. On a clear night even if the wind is toward the boat most of the smoke will rise and go well over your head. On a more humid night it would stay much closer to the ground level.
I guess the best suggestion is be prepared. The boats are equipped with clear safety glasses, that you can ask the driver for. If your child is very susceptible to smoke, maybe bring a mask, much like a painter might wear.
Bottom line, I wouldn't not do a IllumiNations Cruise strictly on the possibility that the wind might be blowing your way.
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Old 05-25-2004, 02:04 PM   #7
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Question HELP!!

I booked us a cruise for Aug. 17 leaving from Boardwalk and also ordered the level 1 option.(Sandwiches, drinks and chips)I asked the CM if there was a way I could order some chicken fingers for my 9yo Ds-very picky eater- and she said no and that I also couldn't bring food aboard either. Is this true? I know that I could probably feed him before we get there .Also has anyone done the Level 2 option?(dessert) and what do you get with that?The CM did not sound as if she knew a lot about the levels.

Boy,just when I think I've got things under control here comes another fly in the ointment!!
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Old 05-26-2004, 06:01 PM   #8
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It is my understanding that if the food/drink is purchased on Disney property you can bring it aboard.

I hope Crazy Hakim sees this, he could give you a definite answer on this issue.

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Old 05-28-2004, 12:25 PM   #9
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We did an Illuminations cruise last September and brought champagne on board. Unless they've changed the policy since then, we had no trouble at all bringing a cooler, cups, etc. There were places for trash on board.
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Old 06-03-2004, 06:41 AM   #10
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???

Everything I see about the Illuminations Cruise talks about how the boats leave the Boardwalk. I think I have one booked but it leaves from the Yacht/Beach Club Marina. Is this really an Illuminations cruise? When booking they told me to call back closer to the date to find out what time it will leave...

also, I've invited other DIS'ers to come along but am not positive how shared cruisers determine price and how the "guest" pays. Do they send money ahead of time? Do they pay when we board?

Thanks!
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Old 06-03-2004, 07:05 AM   #11
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Re: ???

Quote:
Originally posted by Diamond_Girls
Everything I see about the Illuminations Cruise talks about how the boats leave the Boardwalk. I think I have one booked but it leaves from the Yacht/Beach Club Marina. Is this really an Illuminations cruise?
Yes "Virginia", you have an IllumiNations Cruise

Point of fact, "they" are trying to have all boats board at The Bayside Marina at The Yacht Club. It is just easier and less confusing to have all of the boats and parties at the same dock plus the BoardWalk Dock is really a Friendship Boat Dock. If at all possible, always request to be picked up at Bayside Marina, you can be dropped off at any of the following docks. Epcot Dock, BoardWalk Dock, Swan/Dolphin Dock, MGM Dock (as long as the park is still open) or back to Bayside Marina.
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Old 06-07-2004, 11:10 AM   #12
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Old 06-07-2004, 05:15 PM   #13
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Be sure who you book to share with.

We just got back last week. We were suppose to share a cruise with a fellow disboarder. We exchanged cell phone numbers and hotel info so in case something happened we could contact each other and let each other know there was a problem.

We confirmed the cruise the day before the other family left on vacation. We were getting there a day after them.

The night of our cruise, we showed up and waited. Checked at the desk...was told everything was fine....and we waited.....and waited.....after about 55 mins....at 8:45ish...we finally found someone that would look on the computer and found out the person we were sharing with had cancelled the day before.....and never called us. Tried calling her cell phone and got her message system.

We've been home a week and still haven't heard a word from these people who seemed **extremely** nice while we were setting everything up but who obviously aren't.

My girls decided that day they didn't want to do the cruise, but I told them we had made a commitment and couldn't back out at the last minute on someone else. All day I had to reiterate this to the girls because they really wanted to go to MK that night. Unfortunately, the other family didn't feel the same way.

Our family ended up not getting to see the show that night and ended up having to decide between Illuminations and Wishes for later in the week instead of getting to see both.

Sorry that this is so long...and so negative. I just had to vent and ya'll are the only people that would understand.

One question, if it was you, would you contact the other family? I haven't so far. But, maybe they had an emergency and couldn't make it. Maybe I need to give them the benefit of the doubt....but then again, it's been more than a week and they haven't contacted us to apologize.
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Old 06-08-2004, 06:41 PM   #14
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sharing illuminations cruise

HI!
We are a family of 4, myself, wife, 2 young well behaved boys,9
and 6. Would like to share cruise from 25 June to 2 July. I should say the illuminations cruise, that is for a ressie.
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Old 06-11-2004, 03:27 PM   #15
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Hi! Welcome to the DIS! You might have better luck finding a cruise to share if you post this request to our Illuminations Cruise Central for June HERE and our Illuminations Cruise Central for July HERE
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