So last night myself and my girlfriend, who just went to WDW for the first time a little over a month ago, attended the Pirate and Princess Party at MK. I have been to the Halloween and Christmas parties so I was interested in how this would compare. Once you enter you get your wristband and off you go under the railroad tracks, down a red carpet where cast members greet you and give you your "booty" bag and map. Then as we walked out of town square up the street cast members were saying "good evening princess" or "pirate". It was a nice little touch.
I will not give you a play by play of every ride we went on but needless to say we pretty much walked on everything. That ridiculous line u see on Peter Pan during the day, non existent. Of all the parties I have been to this has the smallest crowd. The only rides we had to wait at all for were the spinner rides(Dumbo, Astro, etc) So after going to the park for 22 years I finally rode Astro Orbiter . So that was cool.
The cast members pretty much make or break these parties. So after going to the Christmas party last year and seeing the crowd control nightmare they had clearing the park of day guests I was interested to see if they would do a better job during a summer day. It was a hard close at 7. They were making "themed annoucements" that the park was now closed and that the party had begun and you could only stay if you got your special ticket. The biggest difference I noticed between the christmas party and this one is that they flooded the streets with cast member checking wristbands and directing day guests to the exit. There were a few day guests whining but most seemed to understand. Not to be cruel but unless you have a park hopper only an idiot would have gone to that park today. So crowd control was greatly improved over the last party I was at. The one thing that does impress me with the parties is just the amount of cast member that are in the streets during the parties. Smiling, saying hello and trying to make sure everyone has a good time. There are alot of things that are wrong with that park but I can't complain about the cast members they really do a good job esp. at the parties even though I am sure many of them have been working all day long.
So we get off of BTMR and I notice that the first parade is about to start so we walk over there and pretty much got a spot right on the parade route right before it start. That is one thing that is unheard of at the other parties esp. for the first parade. Disney's Enchanted Adventures parade is an ok parade. The biggest problem is the theme music is just not that great. It is just sorta blah. So that doesn't help. That and it just doesn't seem to be as big as the Halloween or Christmas parade. The pirate ship float is really cool but the pirate flag squad was a little stupid. The ghost pirates were pretty cool. Capt. Jack is on the same float he uses in the Halloween parade but it is still neat. I guess the thing I noticed their simply didn't seem to be as many characters in the parade. Of course the parade ended with the Mickey and the rest of the gang on everybodys favorite reusable mirrored castle float. It was a nice parade but just didn't click with me the way the Halloween one does.
Magic, Music and Mayhem is simply the best castle fireworks show I have ever seen. Steve Davison really created an amazing show. This is the first show I have seen that really uses the perimeter shots not just for extra bang but truly integrated into the story of the show. The part were the pirates attack the castle simply has to be seen to believed. A shell would look like its coming right at the castle and as it faded that part of the castle would explode in smoke and sparks. It was awesome.
After that we did finally go after some treasure. It was a nice mix of candy, healthy snacks and trinkets. The bag is a lot smaller than the trick or treat bags at halloween but they are nice.
So we rode a few more rides and by 11:30 my girlfriend was wore out and wanted to go so we headed out of the park.
My only real complaint is besides the parade, fireworks and castle stage show none of the other entertainment had show times listed on the map. How are you supposed to see any of the extra entertainment if you don't know when it was gonna happen? Not all of us know to go to Disney fan sites and find out the entertainment schedule before we go. We got to see the pirate band Rusty Cutlass and they were great but come on Disney how hard would it be to put show times or at least and extra sheet with the show times on it. Then there are photos. Used to be when you went to one of these parties you got a free photo, then last year it became you got 50% off 5x7 photopass photos online. This year it was get 3 5x7 photopass photos for $19.95 but good only tonight at the Town Square Exposition Hall. Disney quite the nickel and diming over the photos. The whole point of photopass is to be able to look at your photos once you are home and pick and choose what you want. It is easy. This is just another little cut that is annoying.
Overall, we had a good time and with the light attendance I can see why people used to really like the parties. If there had been the same amount of people in the park for the Christmas party i went to last year I might have had a better time. I guess the biggest thing is this party just didn't feel special like the Halloween and to a lesser extent the Christmas one does. The fireworks were awesome, the parade pretty good, the cast members and entertainers were great and the crowd size just right but it just didn't give me the same feeling that I had at the other parties. I am guessing it is because this is a made up event and not celebrating a holiday. I don't know if these parties are gonna return but it would be a shame to lose the best fireworks show they have ever had. If you go for the fireworks they are amazing.