Illumination Cruises-what they are-how to book one-FIND ONE TO SHARE

Discussion in 'UK Trip Planning Forum' started by nativetxn, Feb 28, 2002.

  1. nativetxn

    nativetxn <font color=teal>Moderator<br><font color=red>Hono

    Feb 15, 2000
    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.

    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 the appropriate Illuminations Cruise Central. Here are links to the current posts:





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

  2. BevS97

    BevS97 disney scrapper

    Oct 31, 2000

    do you need to use a park ticket if you take the cruise - the reason I ask is that we will have 10 day tickets and on our very first day we won't be going into the park - I was going to try for the cruise everyday, but am wondering if I got it on the first day would we have to use a day of our pass or not?

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  4. kazzie

    kazzie <img src="

    Jul 3, 2000

    You won't need to use any park entry days for the Illuminations cruise.You wouldn't be entering the park:D

  5. nativetxn

    nativetxn <font color=teal>Moderator<br><font color=red>Hono

    Feb 15, 2000
    I just felt like bumping this up. It seems to have been buried over a year ago :)
  6. KayleeUK

    KayleeUK Still here.....

    Oct 9, 1999
    Good Bump Kath :bounce:

    We loved the cruise we shared with other Disers in 2000. We hope to share again with some friends this year :D
    It is a great way to experience Illuminations !!
  7. Fantasia Sam

    Fantasia Sam I've been here so much longer!

    Feb 5, 2000
    I did one in December with some other DISers and I thought it was fabulous. I hope to be able to book another one when Paul joins me in December - I find them such an impossibility to get though but I'll be giving it my best shot when the time comes to book ;)

    UKANGEL Champagne Girls Rule!

    Jun 19, 2002
    we were so lucky and managed to book one on our first try this time!:)

    They are so magical, and great fun to share with others:):)
  9. UKDEB

    UKDEB Moderator Emeritus Moderator

    Jul 7, 2000
    Thanks to you, Kath, we've just shared our third cruise with fellow DISers. Each time, we've managed to hook up with someone through your <b>Cruise Central</b> links. Not only is it the best way to see IllumiNations, but we get to meet new friends too. :D
  10. WDWfan uk

    WDWfan uk <font color=red>.... but you can call me Shirley :

    Aug 21, 1999
    ........... bump!
  11. LilLisaLou

    LilLisaLou Mouseketeer

    Jul 15, 2005
    When we called this morning, the selections were different. Hitting #4 gave us the day's weather. I called back and after getting the thank you recording, I was instructed to press #1 for reservations. I did and was able to get our cruise.

    Wooo hooo!
  12. Claire L

    Claire L <font color=blue>Enjoys a good broadway show<br><f

    Apr 13, 2002
    I know that the options have changed recently, plus this thread is over 6 years old!

    Claire ;)

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