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Monday, May 5, 2014

Pirate's and Pals Fireworks Voyage

The final Disney post!!! 

A fellow Disney lover friend of mine, Amanda, posted on FB awhile back about a Pirate Night thing they did with their sons. I hadn't ever heard of it before and got info from her about it. Zach and I actually looked into booking the event last May when we surprised Kye with a short Disney trip. But then we found out the cost and just didn't think we could justify spending that much. However, when we decided to skip out on a big birthday party this year for him and do Disney instead...it could work! I took the money I had saved for his party and instead used it to book the event! Perfect :) 

We ate an early dinner of leftovers from the week and then told Kye we had one last special birthday surprise for him! He was SO excited and was also super sweet and concerned about Britt's feelings being hurt since she would not be going with us. We decided to have Mrs. Charlotte stay back with Britt at the condo because the event was pretty late but also because we wanted it to be ALL about Kye. And two year olds have a way with monopolizing a lot of the attention ;) I'm so, so glad we decided to have it just be the three of us. I felt pretty guilty about it when we first left b/c Britt had LOVED the fireworks during the week and she loved Captain Hook so I knew she really would have enjoyed it. But hopefully there will be another opportunity for her to go too!

Last time seeing this sign!
When I packed for the trip I wasn't sure IF Kye would want to dress in the theme for the event. And if he did want to, I wasn't sure if he'd want to wear his Peter Pan costume from Halloween or a pirate outfit. So I brought it all and when we told him what was happening we showed him his options and let him choose. He went with the pirate outfit he wore last May at Disney (Which, btw, I got for like $5 at a used kids sale and it's been a HUGE hit. In fact, it's now too small and I totally need to get him a new one! We didn't even have a pirate hat that came close to fitting!). 

He took his outfit VERY seriously and was truly super, super excited. Kye is a lot like me in many, many ways. And one thing we have in common is that we don't get overly crunk. Like we don't jump up and down and freak out about things. We are pretty mellow, pretty much all the time. We could tell Kye was thrilled about the event because he was SUPER CHATTY. The whole drive he said he wanted to practice telling Pirate Stories and told us this long, long pirate tale :) 
The event was held at the Contemporary Resort and it's the first time where we attended something Disney related where getting there early was not an advantage at all. In fact, if you book the Pirates and Pals event then I'd recommend getting there right on time! We were told to meet in a conference room at the Contemporary...it was crazy how HUGE the convention center area type place is and how many large conference rooms they have. We had a tough time finding where we needed to be!

Once we got there we were impressed with the fun pirate decor


I am so, so glad we dressed Kye up like a pirate for the night. He got SO MUCH attention and it was so nice to hear people stopping us and telling us how cute he was. I know it made him feel good, especially after a week where we were constantly stopped about Britt. He soaked up the solo time and the individual special attention. It was precious to see him so happy and excited!
The event time started at 6:30 so we got there at 6:15ish. People took a LONG time to arrive but they had activities to keep us occupied. The night would include snacks, a meet and greet, and then a boat ride to watch the fireworks show from the water. Obviously we couldn't go on the fireworks ride until it was dark so I was interested to see how they planned to kill all that time leading up to it. When we first got there and checked in they gave us the option of doing a scavenger hunt so, of course, we did it! It was a hunt around the Contemporary Resort and I'll give you ONE guess who took it super seriously...
As we were walking around we noticed the AMAZING view so went out on a deck to get pics of the castle!

For completing the scavenger hunt they gave Kye another new pin!!! Kid got hooked up with new pins this visit!
Zach went and sat down and waited for us to be allowed in the big meeting room and Kye and I checked out the other activities. I think Disney took a play from my party planning play book...they had lots of color pages out ;) 

The guests were divided into two groups and we were each given bandanas to wear to specify which group we were part of. Coolest parents ever, right? ;)
total mug shot photo haha
I was very, very shocked at the amount of guests at this event. I talked to a cast member about it for awhile and asked if it was part of the meal plan...and it's not. She even talked to me about the randomness of the people you see there. All these random people who were there shelled out the $59 per adult and $34 per kid to attend it. But yet most of them didn't seem like who you would expect to see there. Like we saw a TON of people who only had daughters. And majority of the people there weren't dressed in theme at all or even seemed all that excited about it? We saw a few boys who had done the Pirate's League Experience earlier that day so they were dressed hardcore in pirate attire. But I think what happens is that people who call and book Disney through a travel person or cast member end up booking this event just as something to do and they just don't realize that there is a LOT more you can do at Disney? We did notice that a good bit of the people seemed wealthy (toting Chanel bags and such) so maybe when you have a lot of disposable income you just say "I want to book it all?" 

Don't get me wrong...it was a GREAT event. However, it was NOT cheap. And it is NOT something I'd do if I didn't have a son who also liked pirates and it's def not something I'd do without getting really into the whole pirate experience, ya know?

Once the doors to the conference room opened we went inside and were instantly impressed. When I called and read about the event I was a little leery at the cost when all the food that was included was "snacks." I'm shelling out the cost of a character meal and not getting a meal?!?! But the snacks were LEGIT. And they were unending. And delicious. And we tried to eat the most expensive stuff to make our money worth it haha. And we took several things with us too for the road ;) And we basically pigged out. Which only made this an even BETTER gift for our food-obsessed child! He was in heaven when we told him he could drink lemonade and eat whatever he wanted

We sat next to this guy and I KEPT getting confused and thinking he was real haha I think I said "excuse me" to him like a good 5 or 6 times!
Snack table
Time to GRUB
I may have been even more excited than Kye at the food selection...



Right when we walked into the room we saw Captain Hook and Smee waiting for the meet and greet. My talk with the cast member earlier came in handy (side note: ALWAYS get friendly with cast members, it often pays off in a big way!) b/c she told me not to rush to get in the line to meet them. So we enjoyed our snacks and waited until it was close to the end and then were among the last people to meet the characters. I think being last is an advantage because they aren't as rushed feeling. You don't have a line of a million people waiting so the characters are more relaxed and interact more. 

We devised a plan and when it was Kye's turn he walked up and started singing "never smile at a crocodile" and Captain Hook got scared!
Hiding behind Smee ;)


Stealing Kye's sword





We, of course, thought of our recent Halloween costumes...Jordan as Smee was priceless and Z did make a great Captain Hook!
Family Photo!
When we first arrived we talked a good bit to the cast member who checked us in and then I also got chummy with that other cast member later in the evening. I think our connections with them may be why Kye got chosen for an extra special job? Or maybe it was because he's so adorable ;) Either way they asked Kye to be the leader of the Smee crew and he had the honor of carrying the flag all the way from where we were to the boat! So cool!!!





Smee has some BIG feet!!!
When we got to the boat Smee waved goodbye and our pirate captain took over for the voyage. He was great!!! Since characters don't speak it made sense that they had the switch and it was a very family friendly fun type experience. He really did awesome at keeping us all entertained the entire ride! The ONLY disappointment we had that night was that the boats we rode in were just plain boats. Zach and I both had expected a pirate themed boat? 

It was a cold night and I was thankful Kye had chosen the outfit he did because it's actually fleece and very warm. We also brought along hot chocolate for each of us and Kye was more into that than he was the stuff our captain was talking about!
Singing pirate songs while sipping that cocoa haha
I am a big believer in getting into things. We spent the money to be there so why not make it as fun as possible right?!?! The captain sang a lot of fun songs and we sang happy birthday to Kye and it was just a great time! He even asked for anniversaries and since no one had any upcoming ones he took volunteers to dance in the center of the boat to "Kiss the Girl" I do NOT dance but we totally did it ;) 
Gotta hold up your pirate hooks!

When we got to the spot to see the castle and the Wishes fireworks show I got pretty excited. It was a BEAUTIFUL spot! I told Zach if it wasn't a kid thing and wasn't pirates then it'd totally be romantic!!! Don't you think?!?! I took a couple videos of it too! Here is video one and video two




On the way back from the fireworks we played Disney Trivia which was super fun! We won prizes for correct answers and they were all pirate themed gifts. At the end they said everyone who didn't win something could also choose a prize so we ended up keeping the pirate duck we won for Britt and letting Kye get a sword.

When the boat docked we were fed into a line to meet Peter Pan! I had to stop by the bathroom so we ended up being towards the end of the line as well. We visited with another family who was from Texas and they did the Pirates League experience that morning. They had three kids so I enjoyed getting some insider info about that while our boys played!

Right away Peter grabbed Kye's sword!


And he asked Zach to have a sword fight with him hahaha







Kye was SO happy and it was a great surprise to get to meet Peter at the end of the night :) We had a blast and I do highly recommend the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage to anyone who is looking for something extra special to do at Disney. I do think it's much too expensive to justify it as a "must do" but if you have been to Disney before or have a special celebration then I do think it's well worth the cost! Kye has talked about it endlessly since we've been home and has already said it was the very best birthday ever and that the wants the exact same birthday next year (good luck convincing Daddy kid haha!). He has also told Britt that she needs to do Disney for her birthday AND that we need to take the baby to Disney as soon as it's born to celebrate it's literal birth day ;) I have created a Disney fan for sure!!!
Kye was sleepy and silly on the way home and we sang "Pirates Life for Me" and got him tucked into bed right when we got back. Mrs. Charlotte was already asleep so he waited until the morning to fill her in on all the fun. It was a very, very special way to end our trip and I'm truly thankful we did it. I especially just loved having the quality time with Kye as he did AMAZING in the big brother role all week when most of what we did was catered towards Britt so I appreciated getting that one on one time with him and showering him with some special birthday loving!

We headed home first thing that next morning. Our kennel closes at noon on Saturdays and if you don't pick up by then you can't get them until Monday and get charged the extra fees so we like to get home quick ;) I was SUPER sad to leave. Which really doesn't happen very often on trips. Usually when we head home, I'm ready. We all are "ready." We have fun on the trip but you get to a point where you are just ready to be back home and back into normal life. This trip was much longer than our usual ones (a full week!) but it was the first one I can think of in a long time where NONE of us were ready to get back to real life. 

I have been very blessed in so many ways. On of which is with the ability to travel the world. I've visited so many amazing places and have had fabulous vacations. And I know people think I'm super mega lame for saying this...but it's true. This Disney trip was the BEST trip of my ENTIRE life. Dead serious. Every single day was perfection. I felt great (foot didn't bother me once...pregnancy was a breeze). We all got plenty of rest and sleep. Everyone was happy. Only ONE minor discipline issue the ENTIRE week. Kids got along beautifully. Zach had fun. Mrs. Charlotte was amazing. Weather was awesome. It was just flawless in every possible way. I love when Zach and I go away together on trips and do think it's important for us to do that for our marriage, but having my WHOLE heart there with me that week at Disney made it just so perfect. It was the first time I've gotten to experience Disney with BOTH of my kids and I just loved it. I loved how much THEY loved it and it was the trip of a lifetime that will be very difficult to beat!!! 

It truly was a trip that will continue to live on for us as we talk about it constantly. When we got home Britt got out all the Disney figurines we have and talked about each one and how she saw them at Disney and put them in little piles with the other characters they go with. She also insisted on wearing a no-longer-glowing glow stick necklace from one of the fireworks nights. She is truly a Disney girl now and Mama is ready to make some more magical memories together ASAP!

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