Disney’s Pirate Adventure at the Grand Floridian

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If you’re like me, going on a trip to Walt Disney World is such a big deal that it’s hard to focus on things outside of the four theme parks.  With children it’s a necessity.  Kids can get overloaded with all there is to do in the theme parks, and a little detour can offer a nice change of pace, especially on longer trips.  I took one of these detours for my son on a recent trip with Disney’s Pirate Adventure at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. 

The Pirate Adventure offers kids ages 4 to 12 a chance to get away from their parents for a trip around the Seven Seas Lagoon on an authentic pirate ship.  Well, it’s authentic to the kids, right?  The adventure is offered on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and costs $34.00 per child.  The trip takes place from 9:30-11:30 a.m., and can be booked at 407-WDW-PLAY up to 180 days in advance.

We had an early breakfast at Kona Café at the Polynesian, then took the monorail over to the Grand Floridian.  The Pirate Adventure leaves from the boat dock, which you have probably seen from the monorail before.  We showed up about 30 minutes early and met the cast members there to check in.  My son was outfitted with a life jacket, bandana headpiece and name tag, to make him up like a real pirate. 

Within a few minutes, he was out on the boat, and set sail across the lagoon.  Parents do not accompany the kids on this adventure, which I must admit was a source of concern.  I’m an overprotective parent if there ever were one, and leaving my son with Disney was a worry.  Let me say now that if you are like me and a worrier, you have nothing to fear here. 

The kids were gone for a couple of hours, during which time they sailed to several different beaches around the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake.  My son pointed out stops they made on the Polynesian beach, the Wilderness Lodge area, and the beaches next to the Magic Kingdom.  I’m sure there were others, but he was talking so fast that it was hard to understand him.  To say he was excited is an understatement. 

A Photopass photographer accompanies the kids on the journey, so you can purchase pictures of your child’s adventure even if you did not join them.  Each child also comes back with “buried treasure,” which is a collection of candy and pirate toys in a plastic chest.  Kids are also fed a snack while on the trip.

This little detour in our trip allowed us to take a morning off from the parks, but not take away too much time.  My daughter was only 3 at the time, so we did not send her on the Pirate Adventure, but we will next time we have the chance.  She would not be alone, either.  There were plenty of girls on the ship with my son.  

For us, it was a fantastic opportunity to do something for our daughter, by taking her to visit the princesses at the Magic Kingdom, then grab lunch as a family when my son came back.  Other families might take the two hours to enjoy brunch or explore the resorts around the monorail.  Whatever you choose to do, your children will definitely enjoy the Pirate Adventure. 

Do any of you have experience with these adventures?  Or can you recommend others around Walt Disney World?

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Posted on March 28, 2011

12 Responses to “Disney’s Pirate Adventure at the Grand Floridian”

  • I think it’s really lame that you can’t be over 12 years old to participate. I was pumped about this offering until I read that. I want to go treasure hunting!

  • LOL. It looked like a ton of fun. Unfortunately I could not include the Photopass figures, but they dug up the chest from the beach and everything. Even followed clues and a treasure map. I highly recommend it for anyone with kids.

  • We did this a couple of years ago, and my 8-year old wants to do it again. They didn’t offer the Photopass service back then, so we were kind of at the mercy of a 6-year-old’s version of events to figure out what happened. But she really enjoyed it – we figured out that much!

    It’s a little tough to fit into our schedule, since we like to be at the parks a little bit before they open, with the exception of one or two “sleep in” days. The 9:30 departure doesn’t really allow for much sleeping in, so we’re looking at giving up prime touring time. Still, it’s worth it if your kids have never done it before.

  • by Minniemouse27 on March 28, 2011, at 5:38 pm EDT

    My daughter has done the Port Orleans Riverside cruise (6.5yo) and the Grand Floridian cruise (7yo). This summer she will be turning 10yo and will be taking her younger brother (5yo) on his first cruise in August…this time she picked the one from the Yacht Club.

    After the first cruise she had the choice of doing another cruise or Bibbidi Bobbiti Boutique…. she picked another cruise! Told me she would rather BE a pirate than dress like a princess! :-).. although she made up for it with the number of princess dresses we brought with us to wear to character meals!!

    My daughter really enjoyed both cruises. Said one wasn’t better than the other because they were different in good ways and she couldn’t compare them. She is looking forward to searching for treasure in the World Showcase during the Yacht Club cruise in August.

  • by Lynn (lynnsc08) on March 29, 2011, at 11:30 am EDT

    My kids did this on Thanksgiving day last year. It was a great bit of Disney without having to go to the crowded parks on the holiday. Both boys enjoyed the trip very much and have asked to do it again despite my four year old being slightly apprehensive about going initially. Photopass wasn’t offered on their excursion. It’s a nice break for the parents too. My husband and I explored the monorail resorts for the first time without kids. I’m also a very overprotective parent and was so worried about sending my kiddos off on this adventure. The CMs there reassured me many times the kids would be fine and took extra care with my six year old who suffers from several different allergies. I’m planning on booking another cruise for the boys while we’re there for a week in October.

    • Lynn, thanks for your comments on the allergies. My niece has a severe peanut allergy and we always worry when she’s not with family/teachers and there’s food involved. She would love this!

  • We are trying to schedule this for our 7-year old twins this fall. I’m hearing that a photopass photographer hasn’t accompanied the cruise for almost a year now. Has anyone done the cruise within the last year and know whether or not that is really true?

  • Magnificent web site. Lots of useful info here. I’m sending it to some buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks to your effort!

  • We did this last month. It is still exactly as described. Perfect! Kids loved it and we escaped to the Floridian’s Cafe for a wonderful breakfast and rented a little boat and road around the Bay until they returned. Big hit.

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