01-23-2002, 12:57 AM
Community Rank: Jetsetter
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Omaha, NE, USA
Re: Boat excursions anyone?
Hi Brian, and first of all, congratulations on 30 years of marriage!
We did the "Illuminations Cruise" just a week ago to celebrate our 19th anniversary. Disney calls these "Specialty Cruises". They needs to be booked through the Sports & Rec. Line, 407-939-7529. You can book 90 days prior to the date you want. These go quick, and there are only 5 boats (1 yacht), so begin calling at 6:55 a.m. eastern time. As soon as you get a CM tell them you want the specialty cruise for xx date and which fireworks/show you want to see. (The CM may tell you that they can't 'guarantee' that you'll see the show, because if the fireworks/show is cancelled they will still run the cruises. But from what I understand, they only cancel the fireworks for hurricane warnings and extremely severe weather.)
The Pontoons hold up to 12 people and cost $120. The Yacht "Breathless" accomodates 7 people and is $175. Desserts/snacks can be added for extra $$. There is a 15% or 20% discount if you pay by American Express. Unlike priority seatings, you will be charged if you don't show. You must give a 24-hr. cancellation notice if you change your mind.
Our excursion was much like Hidden Mickey's. We met at the dock of the Yacht Club around 8:15 and boarded our pontoon. We toured the Boardwalk area, then around to the MGM area. Our captain pointed out interesting facts about the resorts, and made a special point to involve the children (9-13 yrs). We anchored underneath the International Gateway Bridge with 4 other pontoons and had a ground-level close-up view of Epcot's IllumiNations show. We could even feel the intense heat of the fire from the show. (I suppose you can experience this by standing on top of the bridge as well, but we didn't have to scout out a spot and wait like those standing above us).
It was a spectacular view of the show, and definately one of the hightlights of our trip. I would recommend it.
I believe that there is also a cruise which departs from the Contemporary Resort and views the MK fireworks. (Since the MK fireworks and the electrical water pageant are at least 3 hrs. apart you couldn't view both on 1 cruise. My personal preference would be to view IllumiNations from the Pontoon).
Another advantage to this cruise is the quick exit you can make from the park -- no big crowds to contend with. I hope this has been helpful. I'm sure the Sports & Rec Line can answer your questions also.