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Before you set sail on your Disney Cruise, make sure you read all about PIRATE NIGHT! We have the best tips for pirate night and how to make the most out of this themed evening on your cruise!
Disney Cruises Can Be a Lot of Work
Whether you are about to head on your first Disney Cruise or your 10th, there’s no doubt: Disney Cruises can be a little overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong – we love them. But planning for your Disney Cruise can be a LOT of work if you let it. First of all, it’s Disney, so many families will pack their favorite Disney costumes, Mickey Ears, and other Disney attire to wear around the ship and for character meet and greets.
If you are sailing on a Halloween Disney Cruise, you will want to pack Halloween costumes for trick or treating and partying on the ship. If you are booked on a Marvel or Star Wars themed sailing, those costumes and accessories are definitely must-pack items.
But Disney Cruises don’t just stop there – if you decide to participate in a Fish Extender gift exchange, magnet exchange, ornament exchange, etc, you might just need to pack some extra luggage to fit everything.
Every Disney Sailing Has a Pirate Night
Unless you end up on a really rare itinerary, for the most part, every sailing on every Disney Ship has a pirate night. Pirate night is EXACTLY what it sounds like: it is a pirate themed night with various fun activities all over the ship!
How to Find Out When Pirate Night is on Your Cruise
There are a few different ways to find out when pirate night will take place on during your Disney Cruise. Please note that actual daily schedules and itineraries are always subject to change, but you can usually at least get a good idea. For example, on our Disney Cruise to Bermuda, we had pirate night, formal night, Halloween day/night and Tangled night. It was helpful to get a head’s up on when some of those activities were going to take place before we set sail.
- If you are sailing Concierge, your Shoreside Concierge contact has all kinds of invaluable insider’s info available to you. Give them a call starting at a few months before your sail date and ask for itinerary details, including theme nights like pirate night.
- Join the Facebook group for your Disney Cruise sailing. These groups are often LOADED with helpful information and even if you aren’t sailing Concierge, chances are good that there are Concierge level cruisers in your FB group. They are usually great about sharing info with the group.
- Even if you aren’t Concierge, you can try giving Disney Cruise Lines a call (or use their online chat) as your sail date approaches. Usually if they have the information available, they will share it with you.
When Does Pirate Night Begin?
Most of the pirate night festivities begin with the first dinner seating (or Main Dining). As you head to dinner you will no doubt see many passengers dressed in their pirate finery. The pirate theme then lasts long into the night on the Mickey Ship.
Let’s dive in, shall we? Let me tell you what you really need to know!
Pirate Costumes – Tips, Tricks, Where to Buy
As you might imagine, many people (kids AND adults) wear costumes on pirate night. You will see everything from simple costume accessories (eyepatches, bandanas, etc) to full-blown head-to-toe pirate regalia. You can choose either extreme or something right in the middle. There are no wrong choices! Some cruisers choose not to get dressed up at all, though typically the Disney crowd tends to be game for a little fun.
- Disney Hands Out Free Pirate Accessories – On our first couple of Disney Cruises, we returned to our cabin before dinner to find eyepatches and bandanas for everyone in our cabin (though if I am remembering correctly, we were in the LATE seating for dinner). Sailings since then we have been in main dining and these accessories were waiting on our table.
- Disney Cruise Shops Sell Costumes and Accessories – And as you might imagine, they will come with a premium pricetag. I highly recommend bringing your pirate gear on board with you.
- Shop After-Halloween Clearance Sales – Stores like Spirit Halloween are PERFECT for scouting pirate costumes. If you wait until Halloween is over, your savings will add up! Walmart and Target are also good places to look for costumes and accessories.
- Consignment Sales – These seasonal sales are great places to look for Disney Cruise costumes (not just pirate costumes – but also Marvel, Star Wars and Disney themed characters!).
- Amazon Has a Big Selection – It’s no surprise, but amazon always has an abundance of pirate gear. I got this pirate costume a few years ago from amazon and have now worn it on 2 or 3 Disney Cruises. Glow sticks are a fun thing to pick up on amazon or at the dollar store. Not only do the kids love wearing them to the deck party at night, they also give you some extra visibility to keep track of the kids in a crowd.
Are the Pirate Deck Party and Fireworks Worth It?
Couple things to mention about the deck party on pirate night that might deter you from going, however please keep reading until the end before you make your decision.
- It’s REALLY crowded. The Pirate Night Deck Party takes places either between the two dinner seatings or after the late seating (we have been on 4 Disney Cruises at this point and have experienced them at both times). Many many MANY of your fellow passengers will be at the deck party. Next to the Sail Away Deck Party, this is probably the most crowded on-deck event during your cruise.
- The majority of the party does NOT include Disney characters. That’s right! The entire first portion of the deck party is a DJ playing loud music and some of the entertainment staff leading the crowd in dancing. The characters DO make an appearance towards the very end.
- It’s late. As I stated above, many sailings have the deck party after late seating for dinner. When my kids were really young, we missed the deck party simply because they couldn’t stay awake.
Okay, now that I have gotten that out of the way, some positive points about the Pirate Night Deck Party:
- It’s high energy, musical fun at sea. Great time to let loose, dance around, have some fun with your family. We have gone to 2 deck parties and missed 2. I think it’s a fun experience that everyone should try to do at least once.
- The finale: Captain Hook, Mickey on a zipline and FIREWORKS. The very end of the party is REALLY fun! Mickey ziplines from one funnel to the other – kicking off a fireworks display at sea set to the score from Pirates of the Caribbean. And while you won’t want to expect Magic Kingdom-esque pyrotechnics (you WILL be disappointed!), take it for what it is: a fun fireworks display over the ocean – a rare offering for cruise lines!
Many Sailings Offer a Late Night Buffet on Pirate Night
Years ago, I remember attending MANY “midnight” buffets on various cruise lines. It was a pretty predictable food experience and then when we sailed on our first Disney Cruise I was surprised at the lack of late night dining.
However, on Pirate Night, Disney makes an exception and almost always offers a late night buffet, after the deck party.
How is it? That’s funny that you think I can still stay awake that late. LOL!! I wish I had more details, but I have yet to make it to one.
Special Character Meet and Greets on Pirate Night
If you are into posing for pictures with the many characters on board the Disney ships, Pirate Night is an AWESOME night to run around and snap pics with as many as possible. This is because on Pirate Night, characters wear pirate-themed costumes that they won’t appear in on any other day during your sailing. Sometimes there are also special characters to pose with on Pirate Night who aren’t found other days.
Pirate Night Character Photo Opps not to miss (could vary by sailing) include:
- Pirate Mickey Mouse
- Pirate Minnie Mouse
- Pirate Goofy
- Pirate Donald Duck
- Pirate Daisy Duck
- Jack Sparrow
- Jake (Disney Jr)
- Captain Hook
If you decide to partake in the pre-dinner photo opps (typically located in the atrium) you can find some Pirate-themed backdrops on Pirate Night. These are typically only offered on Pirate Night.
Pirate Night is Most Definitely What YOU Make of It (or Don’t)
And you know what? That’s up to YOU to decide! (This is, after all, a VACATION!)
You get to decide what level of PIRATE you will partake in and I say it’s all good. One year I made this Instant Pirate: Just Add Rum Shirt for Bob and he wore it proudly around the ship, getting quite a few compliments on it!
Enjoy your cruise!!
More Disney Cruise Posts I have written:
Before you board:
8 Cool Things to Do on Your Disney Cruise
15 MORE Cool Things to do on Disney Cruises
Cruise Carry-On Bag Packing List (And What You Don’t Need)
Free Printable Disney Cruise Cabin Door Decorations
DIY Disney Cruise Tervis Tumblers
The Ultimate Guide to a Halloween Disney Cruise
Disney Cruise Line Vacation REVEAL Video – Surprise Scavenger Hunt – Halloween on the High Seas NYC
Disney Cruise Vacation Countdown FREE Printable
The Ultimate Guide to Disney Cruise Fish Extenders + Lots of Ideas and FREE Printables
Disney Cruise Reviews and Cabin Tours:
Disney Cruise Lines Review – Magic 3-Night Bahamas from Port Canaveral (with a Kid and a Baby!)
Disney Cruise Lines Review – Disney Dream 3-Night Bahamas
Disney Halloween Cruise Review – Magic 7-Night Bahamas from NYC
Disney Magic Cruise Ship Concierge 1 Bedroom Suite Cabin 8032 Video Tour
Disney Dream Cruise Ship Concierge Cabin 12506 Review