Walt Disney World, located in Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Florida, offers a lot more than four parks. If you are willing to splurge, you can take behind-the-scenes tours, receive private escort to the front of the line of each ride, or visit exclusive areas. One of the most unforgettable of these experiences is a private Disney fireworks cruise. Guests can board a pontoon boat and set sail for a breathtaking view of the fireworks from one of the parks. Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or just simply want to immerse yourself in the magic of Disney, this private fireworks cruise has you covered. This all sounds great, but is it worth the hefty price tag? Keep reading to learn about my experience and opinion to decide for yourself.

My Experience

To date, I have taken the private Disney fireworks cruise twice: once in 2015 (Epcot) and again in 2023 (Magic Kingdom). To keep the information in this article as recent and up-to-date as possible, I will be discussing my 2023 experience.

The Boat

We boarded our cruise from the dock of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. One of the first and most exciting things that I noticed about the boat was that free snacks and drinks were offered; a snack bucket with pretzels, rice treats, cookies, and Doritos was placed on top of a cooler filled with sodas and water bottles. The boat was also stocked with blankets in case of a cold night. This was perfect for me, as I was freezing! After marveling at all of these amenities, I plopped down on one of the comfortable benches and enjoyed the ride.

“Behind The Scenes” Tour

The ride began about 30 minutes before the firework show started, so our driver gave us a little “behind the scenes” tour. First, we saw the Disney bat house, which holds approximately 500,000 bats; these flying creatures serve to rid the parks of mosquitos. We also sailed past the entrance to Discovery Island – a Disney theme park that was abandoned in the 1990s and is otherwise illegal to visit. Please note that every driver is free to choose their own path, so you may not see these particular sights on your fireworks cruise.

Fireworks Show

After our small tour, we made out way over to the area of the Magic Kingdom firework show. The boat parked about 50 feet from the shore, and we could see Cinderella’s castle in the distance. I personally loved watching the fireworks from the water. The fireworks looked different than they do in the park due to the different angles at which they were being viewed; it felt like an entirely new (but still amazing) show! However, depending on where you sat in the boat, it was rather difficult to hear the music or see the projections on the castle. When the show ended, our driver returned us to our starting point. One of my favorite parts of the experience was that we could enjoy the fireworks without fighting the crowds to exit afterwards!

The Pros

  • Because you do not have to enter the park to board the boats, you do not need to deal with crowds before, during, and after the fireworks show. This is especially convenient when the fireworks are over, as the mass exodus from the park can make it difficult to quickly get a ride back to your hotel/house.
  • The boats are a bit farther away from the park, as you’d expect, but this allowed me to see every single firework that entered the sky. It is an entirely different experience than watching this show from directly below (a better one, in my opinion).
  • Our driver took us to many secret locations, such as the entrance to the abandoned Discovery Island theme park and the Disney bat house.
  • Snacks (rice treats, pretzels, cookies, and Doritos) and drinks (sodas and water bottles) were provided.
  • It was a very comfortable experience. The seats are cushioned and feel like lounge chairs. If you get cold, they have tons of blankets.

The Cons

  • I was sitting in the back of the boat (closest to the fireworks, but farthest from the speakers), so it was tough to hear the music that went along with the fireworks. If you are big into this aspect of the show, as I know many people are, this may be a deal-breaker for you.
  • This may not come as a surprise, but it wasn’t easy to see the light show on the castle from where we were positioned in the water.
  • Taking the private Disney fireworks cruise can be expensive if you are not with a large group of people willing to split the cost.

The Cost

In January 2023, pontoons from the Captain’s Shipyard started at $399. I expect the price to increase as it has in recent years. For the most updated cost information, click here or call 407-WDW-PLAY.

Is it Worth the Money?

Do I think a private Disney fireworks cruise is worth the money? The answer to that question depends on a lot of different factors. If convenience and VIP treatment are important to you, you may wish to consider this experience; you will have transport, prime views of the show, snacks, drinks, and comfortable seats, all in the absence of annoying crowds; some travelers prioritize this and allocate their budget to allow for it. Another thing to consider when determining if this cruise is worth the money is how many people you plan to split the cost with. If you are riding with 10 people, it will come out to approximately $40 a person; this, in my opinion, is an absolute steal!

Personally, I would only take the private Disney fireworks cruise again if I had enough people to split the cost with or if it were a very special occasion. Viewing the firework show from Magic Kingdom is much more cost-effective on a typical day when my budget is tight. I often allot money from my budget towards convenience and luxury on a trip when I see fit, but I could not justify spending $399 myself when there are so many other things I’d like to do at Disney.

What do you think? Does it seem worth it to fit this private fireworks cruise into your Disney budget? Contact me or let me know in the comments below!

If you want to schedule this activity for your Disney trip but are unsure how it fits into your budget, click here to download my free 30-page Budget Travel Planner!

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