Cruise ship in water

A Landlubber’s Guide to the Disney Cruise Pirate Night

Ahoy there, mateys! Whether it’s your first time sailing the high seas with Disney or you’re a crew of returning sailors, for many, one of the highlights of a Disney Cruise is Pirate Night. Held on one evening of your voyage on many Disney Cruise Line itineraries, this swashbuckling soiree is a ton of fun. 

So, tie on your bandana, straighten your eyepatch and read on (don’t forget your pegleg!) as we go over everything you can expect from the Disney Cruise Pirate Night, including special entertainment, activities, dining and more. Not sure what to wear? (Yes, costumes are recommended.) Don’t worry – we’ve got some ideas to get your creative juices flowing. And no, we aren’t talking about rum. 

Pirate Night on a Disney Cruise – What You Need to Know

Disney Wish ship in dock

No matter which Disney cruise ship you’re sailing on, what ports you’re stopping at or when you’re traveling, cruising with Disney can be downright magical. With exciting entertainment, including Broadway-style performances, fun activities, and delicious dining, there’s enough to keep you happy all cruise long (and your next cruise and your next cruise and your…). 

No matter if you’re cruising during the holidays (Halloween on the High Seas, anyone?) or setting sail the rest of the year, one of the most popular parts of many Disney Cruise Line itineraries is Pirate Night. I’ll admit, I wasn’t exactly stoked to sign up for Captain Jack Sparrow’s crew before we went on our first Disney Cruise a couple of months ago. 

Oh boy, was I wrong. Between Captain Jack Sparrow making quite the entrance, getting to see everyone’s costumes (and I do mean basically everyone – almost all of the people I saw were dressed up for Pirate Night in some way, and, not to mention, some buccaneer Disney characters) and ending the night with a bang, Pirate Night ended up being one of my most favorite evenings. So, gather round, me hearties, as we go over what you can expect. 

What is Disney Cruise Line’s popular Pirate Night? 

As you can probably tell from the name, Pirate Night takes place during one evening of certain Disney Cruise itineraries, with activities starting early on in the day and concluding with two swashbuckling shows starring the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Hook and Captain Mickey Mouse, a figurative and literal buccaneer-friendly buffet, and a fireworks finale. 

For the complete list and times for all Pirate Night activities, refer to the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app. Aspiring swashbucklers can conquer all sorts of high-seas happenings during Pirate Night, such as: 

Pirate Night Treasure in Your Stateroom

Mickey on a cruise funnel

The Pirate Night fun starts in your stateroom. To get the pirate party started, your stateroom attendant will leave some gold chocolate coins emblazoned with a skull and crossbones, as well as a complimentary red Pirate Mickey Mouse bandana for each person in your party. This can be used as a subtle, swashbuckling-inspired accessory (with a sprinkle of pixie dust) to add to your pirate getup or serve as the entire costume for those who didn’t come prepared. 

Mickey’s Pirates in the Caribbean Show & Deck Party 

Once you’ve put on your buccaneer best, it’s time to make your way to the pool deck for Mickey’s Pirates in the Caribbean Deck Party. The show typically takes place shortly after the first dinner seating has finished. 

Starring a cast of Disney characters in all their swashbuckling finery – including Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy – the show sees this adorable pack of pirates sing, dance and teach sailors how they, too, can live the pirate life. But, keep a weathered eye on the horizon. The villainous Captain Hook and his faithful first mate Mr. Smee have also been known to sail these seas. 

Buccaneer Blast! Fireworks at Sea (Pirate’s Rockin’ Parlay Party on the Disney Wish)

Atrium of a cruise ship

A Disney Cruise Pirate Night doesn’t just offer a night of wholesome buccaneering fun. It also features the only fireworks show at sea. After all, every pirate tale needs to have something gold and sparkly. It just so happens that, for Pirate Night, we mean fireworks instead of treasure. 

While not on the same level as shows like the Epcot or Magic Kingdom fireworks, the show, the only pyrotechnic display of its kind in the cruise industry, is still thrilling and the perfect way to end the night. The show takes place back on the pool deck and usually starts after the second dinner seating has finished. Then, once the fireworks are over, it’s time to boogie like a buccaneer at the Club Pirate Dance Party. 

On the Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, guests get in the swashbuckling spirit during Buccaneer Blast!, featuring Captain Jack Sparrow and his motley crew of pirates. With Captain Jack’s crew kicking things off with some improvised songs inspired by some guests and his epic entrance rappelling down from the cruise ship’s funnel, it’s as amusing as it is action-packed. 

On the Disney Wish, meanwhile, Pirate Night winds down with the Pirate’s Rockin’ Parlay Party hosted by Captain Redd, a descendent of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride’s famous redhead. Along with an appearance by Captain Jack Sparrow and an explosive ending, this high-seas adventure with a rock ‘n roll twist features edge-of-your-seat stunts, exciting special effects and a rock rendition of Disney’s classic sea shanty, “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me).”

Pirate-Themed Dinner in the Main Dining Rooms

Deck of cruise ship

The high-seas hijinks of Pirate Night don’t stop there. You can also eat like a pirate (minus the scurvy and obscene amounts of rum, of course) with a swashbuckling-inspired menu in the rotational dining restaurants. Please note that three-night sailings with a Pirate Night miss out on this specially-themed meal.  

Served at each of the main dining rooms on the ship (not the adults-only signature restaurants like Remy, Palo and Enchanté) for sailings of four nights or more, the Pirate Night dinner features a special menu filled with tropical flair. Think dishes like the Deep-Fried Calypso Crab Cake, Tia Dalma’s Jerk Chicken, and Jack’s Treasure-of-the-Seas with seared scallops and grilled shrimp. Even your server will get in on the fun, decked out in buccaneer garb with some pirate phrases possibly thrown in for fun.

Adventurous Activities the Whole Family Will Love

Looking for more buccaneer-inspired fun to keep you entertained between shows? Guests can also take part in all sorts of activities especially for the event. In addition to things like pirate trivia and plentiful photo opportunities, one of the best parts of Pirate Night is seeing your favorite Disney characters all decked out for adventure on the high seas. Just remember that lines to meet characters can get long, particularly when they’re in unique costumes, so be sure to plan accordingly. 

Late-Night Buffet for Hungry Buccaneers

Cruise ship in the water

From climbing the rigging to swabbing the deck, being a pirate can be exhausting. Fortunately, for any late-night, scallywag-related hunger pains, there’s the Disney Cruise Pirate Night buffet. Set up in the ship’s casual buffet restaurant, complete with pirate-y décor, this swashbuckler’s smorgasbord is sure to satisfy any cravings. 

Pirates League Takeover of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

While no longer available in the theme parks (just Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique), the Pirates League is alive and well on Disney Cruise Line. Available exclusively on Disney Cruise Pirate Party Nights, the Pirates League is perfect for those wanting a treacherous transformation. 

Unlike Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, guests ages 3 years and above are welcome to participate in a Pirates League makeover, with prices starting at $99.95 for kids and $69.95 for adults. Pirates Leagues packages take approximately 30 minutes and come with the following:

Swashbuckle (Children) – $99.95 

  • Pirate vest and waist belt
  • Shoulder parrot
  • Bandana, eye patch and earring
  • Sword
  • Makeup application

Swashbuckle (Adult) – $69.95 

  • Pirate vest and waist belt
  • Bandana, eye patch and earring
  • Makeup application

Pirate (Children) – $199.95 

  • Pirate costume of your choice
  • Shoulder parrot
  • Treasure chest cinch bag
  • Coin necklace
  • Telescope
  • Bandana, eye patch and earring
  • Makeup application

Is there a Pirate Night on every Disney Cruise?

Disney Magic Cruise Ship at Sea

Sadly, not all Disney Cruises have a Pirate Night. The themed evening was recently removed from Marvel Day at Sea itineraries, and due to environmental restrictions, fireworks (the hallmark of Disney Cruise Pirate Nights) are not permitted during Alaskan cruises and some European itineraries. 

That said, from the Disney Dream to the Disney Wonder, all Disney cruise ships do offer itineraries with a Pirate Party Night, and you don’t even need to be sailing to the Bahamas or the Caribbean. Many sailings lasting three nights or longer include this swashbuckling soiree, with Pirate Night typically scheduled for the third night of your Disney Cruise. However, this could change to accommodate the weather. To find out for certain, refer to your itinerary closer to embarkation or check the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app. 

Does everyone dress up for Disney Cruise Pirate Night?

Costumes aren’t required for Pirate Night on a Disney Cruise. Having said that, the vast majority of cruisers do dress up for the occasion, even the adults. You’ll see everything from folks donning the bandana from their stateroom with their everyday clothes to all-out costumes worthy of any Halloween contest. 

Although it can be fun to put on your best pirate garb and walk around saying “arrr” all night, not everyone enjoys dressing up or has enough room in their suitcase for a full-on costume. You should do what makes you comfortable, whether that’s cosplaying as Captain Jack Sparrow, throwing on a red-and-white-striped shirt with black pants and tying a free bandana around your head, or just wearing your normal clothes. 

Tips & Tricks for a Disney Cruise Pirate Night You’re Sure to Treasure 

Stairway with cat

Whether you are always down to get dressed up, have been practicing your pirate speak for ages, or are simply here for the booty (and by ‘booty,’ we mean fireworks and pirate-inspired eats), these easy-to-follow Disney Cruise Pirate Night ideas will make sure you won’t want to walk the plank by the end of the night. 

Join the Pirate Night Crew with a Scalawag-Worthy Costume

While we totally support you in whatever decision you make (it’s your vacation, after all), we do highly recommend that you dress up in some way for Pirate Night. Disney Cruise guests go all in on theme nights, and Pirate Night is no exception. Look at your budget and luggage and get in on the fun by putting on whatever amount and style of pirate garb is right for you. 

Planning Your Pirate Night Disney Cruise Outfits

Trying to do a lot with just a little bit of money and space? Consider going for a casual, DisneyBounding-style look with affordable everyday pieces you can possibly wear again. This is the route my group took during our first Disney cruise, and we’re glad we did. 

Rather than spending a bunch of money on something we would only wear once or twice, we opted to use wearable pieces that didn’t take up too much room – some we already owned – like ripped, black jeans, peasant-style tops, red skirts, horizontal-striped shirts, and black boots. 

The pièce de résistance? The freebie bandanas from our stateroom. These also make for the ultimate low-effort Disney Cruise Pirate Night costume: Just show up in your regular cruise wear, tie one around your head and sport a menacing snarl. And bonus, they take up no space in your suitcase at all. 

Ice cream cone with signage

Ready for more? Add in accessories like a pirate hat and plushie shoulder parrot, wait until you get onboard and arm yourself with a toy sword from one of the ship’s shops, or pack a pirate Halloween costume. 

Or, for the ultimate Disney Cruise pirate costume, book a treacherous transformation at the Pirates League. Not only does each mutinous makeover comes with makeup and at least a few outfit pieces, but the experience is also a ton of fun. 

Spots can fill up fast, so schedule your reservation ahead of time. Early afternoon timeslots are our favorite as they don’t coincide with any Pirate Night activities and allow you plenty of time to try out your new swashbuckling look. 

Storm the Deck Early for the Best Views of the Pirate Night Shows & Fireworks

When it comes time for the live shows of Pirate Night, the pool deck fills up faster than you can say shiver me timbers. So, you’ll want to get there at least a little bit early to make sure you have a good spot to take it all in. On the bright side, there’s plenty going on to keep you entertained until the show begins, like taking photos, bottomless soft-serve, and watching the constant stampede of pirates. 

You’ll especially want to be strategic about where you decide to watch the fireworks, whether Buccaneer Blast or Pirate’s Rockin’ Parlay Party. No matter which ship you’re on, the fireworks are launched from the starboard side of the ship (the right side if you’re facing toward the bow, or front, of the ship). 

Large TV screen on ship deck

Accordingly, some of the best fireworks views on Pirate Night can be had from the ship’s port side, as this allows you to see both the stage show and the fireworks from the same vantage point. The starboard side is also good when it comes to pyrotechnics, but you’ll miss a lot of the show. 

For those with a Verandah Stateroom on the starboard side, you might even be able to watch the display from your balcony, especially if it’s located near the bow. However, due to safety concerns, those with rooms located midship or aft may be asked to stay off of their balconies during the display. 

Skip Out on the Themed Pirate Night Feast in Favor of an Adults-Only Dinner

I’ll be honest. As someone who typically loves Caribbean food and global flavors overall, this wasn’t my favorite dinner of the cruise. Even our delightful server couldn’t muster up much enthusiasm over the menu, and for good reason. It was all very meh. 

So, as much as I love a meal with a theme, this is the one Pirate Night event I’d probably skip on my next Disney Cruise and do one of the adults-only eateries like Palo, Remy or Enchanté instead. 

Hijack Late-Night Hunger at the Disney Cruise Pirate Night Buffet

Plate with 1923 at table

Still hungry after your Caribbean-inspired dinner? Whether you were equally unimpressed with the Pirate Night fare or have the appetite of Captain Hook’s alligator nemesis, this late-night buffet is sure to satisfy. Likewise, don’t overeat at dinner and risk being too full to try something. 

Take Advantage of Pirate Meet-and-Greets & Other Ferocious Photo Opportunities

We love meeting Disney characters when they’re all dressed up – even better when we’re decked out, too. Not only does it help to make ‘conversation’ with the character, but donning your buccaneer best makes for some truly memorable photos with the rest of your pirate crew. And, don’t forget about all those fun photo backdrops!

Well, aspiring swashbucklers, that concludes our guide to the Disney Cruise Pirate Party. Have you experienced this popular theme evening? What part of Pirate Night is your favorite? Let us know in the comments! Then, find out how to save on your next pirate adventure by booking your Disney cruise with us.