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Disney Cruise Pirate Night: What to Expect on Disney Ships

Melinda Crow

Last updated
Sep 19, 2023

Read time
4 min read

Disney Cruise Pirate Night is an event offered once per sailing on Disney Cruises and is one cruisers will not want to miss. This dinner and deck party is based on the Pirates of the Caribbean theme, complete with Disney character appearances and entertainment. Plus, it has something for everyone onboard, from tots to teens and tweens.

Like everything Disney does, the Disney Cruise Line spares no detail and employs all sorts of special effects and jaw-dropping displays to make Pirate Night feel magical.

Pirate Night On a Disney Cruise: What to Expect

On Pirate Night, Disney cruise ships transform into a haven for buccaneers. But don't let the name fool you; it’s not exclusive to evening because themed fun is offered all day long. Starting in the afternoon, there are pirate-related activities in the kids’ clubs and chances for families to meet Mickey and friends -- in pirate costume, naturally -- for photos.

Everyone onboard is encouraged to dress up, and many passengers bring costumes with them specifically for this event.

Before the evening festivities begin, cruisers can make appointments at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (on Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Disney Magic, Disney Wonder and Disney Wish) to have themselves transformed. The Boutique supplies visitors with accessories like swords, eye patches, bandanas, scars, earrings and makeup applications that include either black eyes and beards or lip gloss and gems. Note that the packages cost extra.

At dinnertime, meals in the main dining rooms are themed, featuring waiters in pirate garb and menus that look like treasure maps. Menu choices are also themed and might include dishes like Jolly Rogers Barbecue Rib Salad and Pirates Golden Pot Stickers.

After dinner, dancing and games begin on the pool deck with Mickey and other Disney characters, until a band of pirate thieves -- costumed actors, of course -- try to take command of the ship. Their efforts are thwarted by Captain Jack Sparrow, who excitingly appears atop the ship's funnel and then rappels down it in a theatrical display. The night culminates with an impressive at-sea fireworks show.

Our Pirate Night Experience On Disney Dream

Admittedly, we weren't expecting much participation among passengers when we attended Pirate Night on Disney Dream; fortunately, we were wrong. We donned a pirate hat and hook with some shredded clothing and striped tights -- and we fit right in. Costumes ranged from elaborate Jack Sparrow replicas to simple earrings and eye patches, but everyone seemed to have fun.

We observed several of the character-led dancing and games (including what appeared to be a ring toss activity involving treasure chests). That part, clearly geared toward children, was peppered with crew members selling expensive light-up toys and glow sticks from carts surrounding the pool deck area.

When the festivities ended for the younger crowd, we made our way to one of the upper decks for a better view of the pool deck stage and the anticipated arrival of Jack Sparrow. Although we were fully aware of what was to come, the experience still left us feeling amazed.

Those around us who weren't in the know made the performance even more memorable as they stared, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, heads to the sky, at Jack and his antics; many gasped audibly as he jumped from atop his perch high above us all. The typically over-the-top Disney fireworks show drew cheers and smiles everywhere we looked.

Is Disney Cruise Pirate Night Worth a Try?

Absolutely. Although it is possible to avoid the fanfare, why would you want to? It's free, it's fun, and whether you're the oldest or the youngest onboard, we guarantee you'll be impressed. It’s Disney entertainment live right in front of you, and isn’t that the main reason for going on a Disney cruise?

You can also expect pirate raids on Disney cruises throughout the Caribbean and even on sailings in the Mediterranean.

Pirate Night on Your Disney Cruise: Things to Note

On Halloween sailings, Pirate Night is scheduled on October 31. If you're planning to dress up for Halloween, you'll either have to trick-or-treat as a pirate or pack two costumes and do a wardrobe change, which can be a bit cumbersome.

Pirate Night is not available on Alaska cruises or Northern European cruises (think Norway and The Netherlands). Instead, you’ll enjoy a Freezing the Night Away theme night.

When packing pirate costumes (or any costume, for that matter), be mindful of toy weapons. We had no trouble taking our plastic hook in our checked luggage, but we've heard tales of fake swords and other look-alikes being confiscated if they're packed in carry-on bags (read more about this topic in our piece on Halloween cruise tips).

Publish date October 10, 2019
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