Fireworks Cruises vs. Dessert Parties

Our 180 day mark is fast approaching for our August 2016 vacation, and I’m trying to decide between a dessert party and a fireworks cruise. We have three boys (13-23 at trip time) who will be good with just about anything, and one daughter (16 at trip time) who is not afraid of fireworks, but doesn’t like them. All kids except the eldest have been to WDW before, and we’ve done fireworks cruises with them. Last visit, we did the Epcot/DS fireworks cruise.

I’m leaning toward a dessert party, but I’ve noticed that they seem to open bookings a month or two prior, and I know the fireworks cruises would be unavailable that close to the date. If we did the MK fireworks cruise, I’m also a little concerned that the new show has a lot of projections on the castle that we won’t be able to see from the water.

So, here are my questions:

  1. Do I book the MK fireworks cruise now and cancel if we can get a dessert party reservation later? (I really don’t like the idea of doing that.)

  2. For a dessert party, I’m leaning toward the Star Wars version at DS, because the eldest is a Star Wars fan and this is his first trip. I know Wishes is going away in May and a new show will be at MK, but based on food/location/value, do you prefer the DS or the MK dessert party?

  3. Any other tips or suggestions?


would love to know about the fireworks cruise as well. Have never done either.

We did the MK fireworks cruise in 2012. We ate dinner at Chef Mickey’s (nine people, three generations) and picked up our cruise at the Contemporary marina. Our captain was awesome - every time we have done this, we have had a wonderful captain. I can’t remember the order we did this in, but we cruised around Bay Lake and got to see the Electrical Water Pageant close up. We also went to Seven Seas Lagoon, where we stopped to watch the fireworks. We did pay the extra money to have the fireworks music played on the boat, and that was well worth it. We had a wonderful view of the fireworks, though we couldn’t really see the castle projections, which was fine. It was also a huge bonus to arrive back at the Contemporary, get in our car, and go back to our resort without dealing with the crush of people leaving MK.

The Illuminations cruise we have done more, last time was July 2014. We pick up the boat at Yacht & Beach Club, then they usually take you on a tour of the canal by the Swan and Dolphin, down to DS, then turn around and come back, down the canal to EPCOT, near the International Gateway. The Illuminations fireworks cruises park right there, either right in front of or almost under the bridge between UK and France. It’s a great view of the show, and you can see everything. Depending on how the wind is blowing, you may get a bit of smoke blown your way, but it’s nothing terrible. In 2014, our captain took us to Illuminations first, then took us over to DS to watch the Frozen fireworks from the water. We saw those fireworks at the Frozen Dessert Party inside DS a few days later, and I have to say, the view from the water was better. However, you can’t see anything that happens down closer to the ground, just as with MK, which may or may not be an issue, depending on personal preference.

I would imagine that this year, the Illuminations cruises would go there at 9:00 and then head over to watch the Star Wars fireworks at DS at 9:30. There is no extra charge for music on these cruises, as you can hear the sound of the show, no problem.

The other fun part about the Illuminations cruises is that when you are traveling through the canals, there tend to be a lot of people walking along them who will wave to you. If you go with a celebration package that includes a banner and balloons, even more people will wave and call out - we did this one year with my mom for her 65th birthday and she thought it was the cat’s meow that so many people waved and wished her a happy birthday.

The fireworks cruises are a special experience. We usually go with extended family, so we come close to the maximum of 10 or 12 people on the boat, but if you are in a smaller group, I know people post on various Disney boards about interest in sharing the boat and costs.

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I am looking at fireworks extras, like dessert parties and cruises. We have two days in MK, one in each of the other parks, one day rest in the middle and 1 day at the end of our trip for parks but not sure which one yet.
I can’t decide on what firework add on to do.
We have ROL and Fantasmic Dinner and Seating.
I was considering doing Star Wars the extra day at the end, or doing a cruise our arrival day, Now since I don’t think our DS2 will like Fantasmic, just sending my husband and our DS2 and DS14 over to Star Wars while my DD12 and my parents and I do Fantasmic. How crowded is the Star Wars show?
If I do this I now have to decide between a cruise the night we arrive or a dessert party during our MK day. I worry about crowds and leaving the park but also worry about the not seeing the projection from the cruise. We have dinning plan so the desserts aren’t a huge draw.

The show isn’t hard to watch. There is tons of space.

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