The Pirate's League in the Magic Kingdom immerses guests in the swashbuckling world of pirates and their wenches by transforming them into new recruits for Captain Jack Sparrow's crew. We set out one day last fall to give my then-8-year-old son an experience he had been yearning for since he became fascinated with pirates.
The Pirate's League has been around for almost three years, but when my son decided to be a pirate for Halloween, it was the first time we had darkened the doors of the lair that is tucked in between the the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and its gift shop.
Our adventure began with my son choosing The Cursed Pirate from five looks in The First Mate package, which includes a reversible bandana, The Pirate's League sash, earring and eye patch, sword and sheath, temporary tattoo, unique pirate coin necklace, removable teeth and a personalized pirate oath. This package now costs $34.95, plus tax. Costumes can be purchased in the gift shop next door or guests can wear their own outfits.
The Pirate's League certainly is not limited to boys; I have seen whole families come out of the experience together. In fact, The Empress package is designed for ladies and includes all of the above, plus vibrant makeup, nail polish and a face gem for the same price.
Then, my son received his official pirate name, -- a complicated procedure that included spinning a ship's wheel, which turned a pair of dice in a treasure chest, and matching the numbers in a captain's log. Next, he was led further inside to the Muster Station where we waited for the wench assigned to his transformation. We passed the time with a veteran pirate, who told my son and daughter stories and jokes.
When it was his turn, my son took his place in the chair and was transformed into a skeleton, which he proudly wore for the rest of the day (and night). The Cursed Pirate is one of the most popular makeovers at The Pirate's League. Recently, though, Walt Disney World added two new packages that are sure to be hits.
The Mermaid package -- first offered in 2011 for the release of the fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise -- has been brought back because of its popularity. A cast member last year told me that The Pirate's League had to discontinue the package before its scheduled end date because they ran out of supplies after such high demand. The Mermaid includes luminous mermaid makeup application, makeup palette, face gems, special hairstyle and color changing hairclip, nail polish, mermaid sash and color changing necklace. Price is $39.95, plus tax.
Disney Junior fans ages 3 and older can choose The Jake and the Never Land Pirates package, which transforms a guest into the main character of the show. The package includes Jake facial effect, bandanna with faux hair, plus the official Pirates League sword and sheath, treasure bag and pirate coin necklace, all for $29.95, plus tax.
After his makeover, my son took the pirate's oath and then entered a "secret" room, which he thought was very cool. Hidden treasure was revealed to him and his official portrait was taken by a PhotoPass photographer. (Guests are welcome to take photos during the transformation, but cameras are not allowed in the secret room. Also, no Disney PhotoPass photographers are available during the makeovers, so it's up to guests to document what they want for their scrapbooks.)
Afterward, newly minted pirates can join the daily Adventureland Pirate Parade, meet Pirate Goofy nearby or learn how to sword fight at Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial.
You can read more about The Pirate's League in Jack Spence's blog from when the experience first opened http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2009/06/pirates_league.html. Also, be sure to check out the AllEars resource page: http://allears.net/tp/mk/piratesleague.htm
The previous post in this blog was Cap'n Jack's Restaurant: Downtown Disney's Overlooked Dining Location.
The next post in this blog is Disney author Ridley Pearson shares what's coming next in 'Kingdom Keepers' series.