A Pirate’s Life’s for Me

Friday, April 29, 2011

With the amount of Children’s activities at Walt Disney World you would think the scales would balance between boy and girl opportunities.  About 3 to 5 years ago the scales were heavily weighted towards girl participants.  After all, princesses and fairies reigned in Fantasyland and beyond throughout the Disney parks empire.  Although a few boy experiences existed they were not on par with the number of princess and fairy opportunities for girls.  As girls frolicked through the Magic Kingdom in their Cinderella and Tinkerbell costumes boys were left holding the sword while watching girls have the time of their lives. 

In June of 2009 the scales became a bit more balanced towards boy experiences when Disney opened The Pirates League.  Located inside the Magic Kingdom near the back of Adventureland and next door to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction The Pirates League allows boys and girls to discover their inner pirate.  Capitalizing on their 'Pirates of the Caribbean' series of movies Disney has gone through great lengths to make the pirate experience more evident across property, especially for boys.  Included in this effort was the addition of the Jack Sparrow animatronics inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, new pirate souvenirs, new pirate based shows like the 'Pirate Tutorial', and the ability to get transformed into a pirate for the day at The Pirates League experience. 

Your child’s Pirates League experience starts when you first check-in to the stand located just outside the salon where you’ll be transformed into a pirate.  You are asked by the host or hostess what type of pirate package you’d like for your child.  I’ll discuss the package options and pricing later.  After a brief wait you are invited into the lobby area where you are greeted by a host or hostess who explains the mystery of the sea and the need for additional pirates to join their crew.  The Pirate League is filled with mystery.  Inside the salon and during your experience you’ll see doors, rooms, and here Cast Members talking about secrets that lie inside.  The mystery of The Pirates League is a big hit with children, especially tweens who love discovery. 

Photos inside the lobby

The first order of business is to get your child a pirate name.  Because our family was blessed with a daughter named Anna I’ll be describing our Pirates League experience through her eyes.  Girls are encouraged to experience The Pirates League just as much as boys.  In order to get your pirate name a pirate host or hostess pulls out a book.  The book lists all 12 months with several names under each month.  Our daughter’s birthday is in April.  Anna rolled a 6 and a 4.  Our pirate hostess looked at the April page under the numbers 6 and 4.  The numbers corresponded to a pirate name which would be Anna’s name throughout her Pirate League experience.  The 6 represented her first name and the 4 represented her last name.  Her new given pirate name would be Elizabeth Lockmonger. 

Once Anna received her pirate name she was called back to one of the dressing rooms where she put on the pirate costume she selected.  We chose to let her get the full package of costume and make-up specifically because we knew we could use the pirate dress for future costume opportunities on the Disney Cruise Line and during Halloween. 

This costume has a hidden Mickey on it! 

After another short wait Anna was called by her pirate name (Elizabeth Lockmonger) by one of the stylists who’d paint her face, fix her hair, and basically transform her to a new pirate.  The make-up package includes face paint, make-up, a pirate tattoo, a reversible hair bandana, pirate teeth, the leftover make-up in a pirate bag, and an eye patch and earring,.  Anna chose a full face paint similar to a skeleton.  It’s a very popular choice among children.  Once Anna was completely transformed into a pirate the stylist announced to everyone in the salon that a new pirate has been added to the crew.  Her name was Elizabeth Lockmonger.  Everyone in the salon erupted into a cheer to welcome Elizabeth to the crew. 

Once the face paint and make-up stage of the pirate transformation was complete we were escorted over to a secret door where she was given a sword and belt holder.  A hostess told us a secret lies behind the door.  It’s so secret we were unfortunately not allowed to take any pictures.  After a brief wait we were escorted into the room by a photographer.  The photographer told us of a secret treasure hidden inside the room.  It was Elizabeth Lockmonger’s job to find the treasure.  Elizabeth finally found the loot which consisted of a necklace and medallion we were allowed to take home.  The photographer took a couple pictures of Elizabeth in her new pirate costume and make-up with a great backdrop of a skull and crossbones.  We were escorted out of the room to the checkout desk where Elizabeth Lockmonger would conclude her pirate experience. 

At the checkout desk you are given a certificate with your pirate name on it plus the option to purchase the photograph you took inside the secret room.  The photo is a single 8 X 10 picture included with a framed pirate folder which costs $14.99.  Once you are presented with your certificate and decided on the purchase of your photo it’s time to pay for your complete pirate adventure.

Here are some fast facts about The Pirates League experience:  

  • There are 2 face paint packages to choose from; the First Mate package and Empress package.  Both packages currently cost $29.95 and include similar accessories.
  • The pirate costume is optional.  If you choose a costume the price is specific to the costume.  There are several costumes to choose from.  Some are gender specific while others can be worn by a boy or girl.  Anna’s costume cost $49.95.
  • Reservations are not required, but highly encouraged.  Getting a walk-up appointment is rare.  To make a reservation call (407)WDW-CREW. 
  • The entire experience lasts about an hour depending on the number of pirates ahead of you. 
  • There are currently no discounts for the face paint packages.  You can get an annual pass discount of 10% or a premium annual pass discount of 20% on the costumes and photograph.  Our entire experience with the 20% premium AP discount on the costume and photograph was $86.
  • Be sure to check-in at The Pirates League 15 minutes prior to your appointment so your experience can start on time. 
  • When you are ready to remove the face paint and make-up at the end of the day regular non-alcoholic wipes (like Wet-Ones) should take it off without any problem. 

Face paint and make-up options

Costume options

Elizabeth Lockmonger - The final product

Children love The Pirates League experience for good reason.  Spending the day dressed up as a pirate or female pirate “winch” is great fun.  It definitely draws the attention of other guests walking through the parks.  Our daughter was asked several times where she was dressed and made-up.  Not only will your children look like pirates, but they’ll probably start acting like pirates too.  If you have the time and opportunity be sure to check out Captain Jack Sparrow’s 'Pirate Tutorial' just outside The Pirate League venue.  Not only is it a great show for children to learn how to act like a pirate they’ll have a great shot to be asked to join the show.  Captain Jack and his crew are somewhat partial to pirates who are ready for action. 

Our family highly recommends this experience.  Try and get an early appointment so your child can be a pirate all day.  You might as well take advantage of the costume and make-up for as long as possible.  The cost of this experience may require you to find buried treasure before you arrive.  Gold and silver coins are acceptable forms of payment.  Get ready to discover your inner pirate.  We’ll see you on the Black Pearl.  Aaaaarrrrgh!!! 

Next Up:  I took a wrong turn in the Animal Kingdom and ended up in the middle of it all.... 

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About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


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