On our last trip to WDW in December of 2015, we tried to include a few ‘themed’ days as part of our touring plans. We scheduled a Knights & Princesses Day, A Jedi Day, and a Pirates & Cowboys Day. One of the lovely aspects of a WDW vacation, is that it lends itself to being a super planner or a limited planner. Either way, you’ll have wonderful time no matter what! Theming a day out of the parks can also be a patience saver for those days when crowd forecasts are high.
For our Pirates & Cowboys day, we decided on the following itinerary:
- A character breakfast at 1900 Park Fare
- Pirate Adventure Cruise for the kids at the Grand Floridian Resort
- Touring Adventureland, Frontierland and Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom
- Dinner at the Hoop-dee-doo Revue
We started the morning off with a breakfast reservation for 8am at 1900 Park Fare, with visits to our table from Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Mary Poppins, Alice and the Mad Hatter. The Mad Hatter is always a favourite of ours – he likes to joke around with us, and the kids love making funny faces with him for the camera. The restaurant is a buffet and has a very wide range of breakfast foods including an omelet station. I was a little disappointed however, that our son decided to go with a bowl of Cocoa Puffs for the his breakfast; but can’t blame him, as this was one of our last days, and we were all on food overload!
Then it was off to the Pirate Adventure Cruise which we had left as a surprise for the kids. After filling out a bit of paperwork; the kids were suited up with life vests, and the story telling began. Essentially, the story is that the two cast members are the granddaughters of a mischievous pirate who has buried his treasure somewhere around the Seven Seas Lagoon. They recently discovered a letter and a map that he left for them, and ask the kids if they would like to join them as pirates on their treasure hunt. As this is a kids only cruise, the information from our kids about the cruise and where they went was a bit jumbled. They remembered going to the volcano at the Polynesian resort and seeing a marooned pirate ship at Discovery Island; but getting more details out of the 6 and 4 year old was a bit difficult. They did come back to port with pirate bandannas and necklaces, and mentioned a snack and potty break along the way. The treasure map led them to a treasure chest hidden near the Gasparilla Grill at the Grand Floridian. It was very fun to be there to watch the kids’ excitement at seeing the chest and getting their ‘cut’ of the pirate booty!
Pirate Adventure Cruises sail from the Grand Floridian, The Carribbean Beach Resort, The Beach Club and Port Orleans Riverside; and are offered for children ages 4-12. Kids must be potty-trained. As we were staying at the POP Century Resort, and planned to visit Magic Kingdom for some park touring after the activity, we decided on the tour that starts at the Grand Flo.
While some websites might suggest adults getting a spa treatment at Senses while the kids are off on their Adventure; by the time the kids are boarded onto the boat and returning back to the docks 15-20 minutes before the end of the cruise to see the treasure unveiling, you only have a bit more than an hour. We used that time to go explore the Grand Floridian Shops and sit in the sun outside the Gasparilla Grill with a cup of coffee. The atmosphere of the Gran Flo is very relaxing, and we were happy to share some quiet time together sitting on a shaded bench and looking out over the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Then it was off to the Magic Kingdom. We caught Tinker Belle on our way into the park during the parade – no line! Then it was off to Liberty Square to go to the Haunted Mansion, followed by exploring Adventureland. We had Dole whips for lunch, a ride on the Magic Carpets, a trip to the Enchanted Tiki Room, and a meltdown by our daughter over Mickey Bars that lasted a good 45 minutes (which ate up our time for Pirates ironically). We ended with Splash Mountain, which was a nice way to finish our touring. I had been hoping to make it to Tom Sawyer island, but the crowds were quite large and it took us much longer than we had hoped just to maneuver through the crowds.
Next up was the Hoop-dee-doo Revue! We got in line for the Ferry over to Fort Wilderness, and changed the kids into their Western digs while we waited for the boat to arrive. When Disney suggests you leave an hour or more for transportation – listen. We arrived at dinner with just enough time to go to the restrooms and then be seated. The photopass photographers that are there to take a commemorative photo had already packed up, but were nice enough to still take a photo of us. The food and the show are wonderful. We were seated right beside the pianist and the banjo player, and had lovely conversations with them. Our server was awesome, and full of western puns. The sangria was yummy, and our four-year old daughter who is a picky eater asked for 2 helpings of the fried chicken! The show is very interactive, and the main characters walk all around Pioneer Hall throughout the course of the show, which gets all the guests very involved.
We took our time leaving the restaurant and Fort Wilderness knowing that the first round of Ferries would be very crowded. We ended up chatting with a family from England that was going to be in Orlando for 3 weeks! We found a play structure for the kids while we waited for the ferry queue to peter out, and then hopped the bus back to POP Century. All in all, a delightful, jammed packed, themed day!
Other suggestions for Pirate theming:
- Dress up in Pirate gear – Dress-up the kids in their favourite Jake or Zarina gear!
- Make a reservation for the Pirates League in Adventureland
- Attend the Jack Sparrow pirate tutorial in Adventureland.
- Play the interactive A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasures of the Seven Seas that runs through Adventureland
- Take the Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage and meet Captain Hook, Smee and Peter Pan
Other suggestions for Pirate theming:
- Throw in some Cowboy flair to your outfit
- Visit Woody and Jessie
- Make a trip out to Tom Sawyer’s island
- Catch the Frontierland Hoe-down in front of Country Bears Jamboree