A guide to Pirate Adventure Cruises at Disney World

This is a guest post from Chad Bredderman. Here's Chad...

With Walt Disney World being so huge, it’s easy to not realize how many cool things they have going on outside of the parks.

On our last trip, we had some family that was meeting us partway through our 8 day trip, and we were going to change resorts to have adjoining rooms. So we set out to look for something fun for our 6-year-old son to do while one of us handled the check out, luggage transfer, and check in, but wouldn’t mean needing to track someone down in the park.

We found a great activity that turned out to be one of our son’s favorite things from that trip, a Pirate Adventure Cruise!

Pirate cruise options

The Pirate Adventure Cruises have four different options, and depending on which you choose, the day it happens will vary. They each embark from a different Disney resort, and have slightly different themes.

The majority of the adventure takes place on a boat that cruises around one of the waterways on the property while they tell their story and follow a map to the treasure. A snack and drink are provided to each kid, and they also get some pirate booty when they find the treasure chest at the end of the adventure.

Now comes the somewhat tricky part: the schedule isn’t advertised anywhere, and may change seasonally, yearly, bi-annually, every time it rains in Florida, or when Jack Sparrow says “savvy.”

  • Disney’s Pirate Adventure departs from The Grand Floridian’s marina and tells the story of Gasparilla. The voyage takes place on Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon. Sails Monday through Saturday.
  • The Islands of the Caribbean Pirate Cruise sets sail from Barefoot Bay Bike Works at The Caribbean Beach Resort. This cruise highlights Old Port Royale and its pirate history. Sails Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday.
  • The Albatross Treasure Cruise tells the tale of The Legend of the Albatross. It starts the voyage from the Bayside Marina at the Yacht and Beach Club, and sails around Crescent Lake and Epcot’s Showcase Lagoon. Sails Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • The Bayou Pirate Adventure  rounds out the quartet of excursions and sails from The Fishin’ Hole on Ol’ Man Island at Port Orleans Riverside. They talk about Captain Jean Lafitte, a New Orleans pirate, while cruising down the Sassagoula River. Sails Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  No longer available as of April 1st, 2017

The booking details

The cruises are only available to children ages 4-12, and they must be potty trained. The kids will be provided a life jacket and required to wear it while on the cruise. The cost for the trip is $37 per person.

They start fairly promptly at 9:30am, and last until 11:30am. Reservations are required and can only be made by phone (sorry no internet booking) by calling (407) 939-7529.

They request that you arrive at least 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork before the cruise starts.

Getting there

You do NOT have to be staying at the resort where the cruise starts (and finishes) to be able to participate. It certainly makes it easier, because there are no busses from resort to resort.

We drove from Art of Animation to the Grand Floridian when my son went. Having a car will make it easier if you’re not at one of the resorts, but you could always Uber, or if you’re a real glutton for travel, go to your nearest park via Disney transportation, then transfer to the proper resort.

Parking at the resort was pretty easy, but we were happy to have gotten there early because we needed to find out where the actual starting location was. Having never been to the Grand Floridian, it took a few minutes to get our bearings, but the Cast Members were, as usual, quite eager to help and get us where we needed to be.

One nice thing about the Grand Floridian cruise is that if you plan well (and hey, would you be here if you didn’t?), you can also schedule yourself a treatment at the spa there while your kids are out pirating.

What do they do on the cruise?

So what really happens on a Pirate Adventure Cruise?  Well, according to my son “lots of fun stuff, like learning about pirates and singing, and getting jewels!”

Please give me a moment while I bask in the fact that the first thing he said was that learning was fun.

Ok, I’m back.

Trust me. I took quite a lengthy moment while I was typing this, just in case you didn’t.

The guides also had a treasure map, and as they cruised, they looked for clues, landmarks, and other fun things to be sure they were on the right path to find the treasure (which they apparently found, brought back to shore, and divvied up the loot).

Note that the bandana is also included. They get to fill up the small treasure chests that you see in the large chest with loot, as well as a few more handfuls to put into a small bag that is provided.

********************

My son said that he really enjoyed it, and would like to do it again the next time we go to Disney World. This was also a great way to get a little down time into what is usually a rather hectic week of traipsing across the parks.

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Michelle Spencer

I have 2 boys ages 9 and 11. I’m looking for something different for them to do away from the parks. Do you think they will enjoy this or does it mostly cater to younger kids? Also, which cruise seems to be the best one to take? We are not staging at any of the 4 resorts so that is not a factor. TIA

chad bredderman

My son was asking to do it again at 8, so I’d guess for sure the 9yo would enjoy. The 11 is trickier. He may just like having some time away from the parentals…

Lisa F.

Do you think its better for the younger crowd? My son is 10 and all the kids in pics look much younger. Thank you for all the info.

Kelly M

Are parents not able to accompany the child on the cruise?

Stacy

The picture shows the kids on a pontoon boat. But then other pictures have a cute boat that looks more like a pirate ship. Does that vary based on resort? I’m underwhelmed if it’s a pontoon boat!

Jennifer Capodacqua

We stayed at Port Orleans and it was the covered little boats they used to get people back and forth to Downtown Disney. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. It was SOOO CUTE (and only $37). My daughter had just turned 6 and loved it. They went down the river, scavenger hunt, snacks, songs, etc. They were gone from 9:30-11:30am

Kathryn Curtis

I have a question about travel logistics. We are staying at the Wilderness Lodge. We have signed our son up for the Pirate Cruise out of Port Orleans Riverside. I am concerned about getting him to POR on time. We will be flying and have chosen to use Disney transportation (no car rental). If I take the bus from WL to Epcot and then from Epcot to POR… will we be able to make it by 9:15? Thanks for your input!! Your site has been so helpful.

Shanon

What is the duration of the crusise? Does it sail in the morning, afternoon? Thanks!

Susan

We did this when my son was 5. My daughter was having her first trip and we were celebrating her birthday so I wanted to do something special for him. He did the trip out of the Grand Floridian which gave us some time to walk around the resort and explore the grounds and their shops. Plus it was at Thanksgiving so the Gingerbread House was on display. He had fun, and it was a nice break from the parks for everyone. I highly recommend it! And what you can’t tell in these photos is the life jacket are pirate themed (at least they were 5 years ago).

Rhonda Beese

Do they take pictures for you/ do PhotoPass so we can see the fun our kid had?

Chad Bredderman

No, there isn’t a photopass person on the cruise. It would be cool, but alas.

Gaenor Oreilly

My daughter is 4 but my son will be 13, would they allow him to go with her ?

Gaenor Oreilly

I figured that would be the case, thanks for confirming though. Love reading all your info… Thanks again

Stacy Willyerd

So you know if they accommodate a hearing impaired child who uses sign language?

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