*DIS Contributors review meals, resort stays, and entertainment that they have paid for during their own vacations. They only utilize discounts and offers if they are available to the general public, such as annual passholder discounts, Tables in Wonderland, or DVC membership discounts. They receive no additional compensation for dining experiences or events, so that they may give their honest opinions about price and value.
When my husband and I want a night out alone in Walt Disney World, our options for onsite childcare these days are pretty limited. The Children’s Activity Centers that we used in the past are now closed. And while my girls did enjoy the short-lived Pixar Play Zone at the Contemporary Resort, that closed down as well. While my girls are getting older, they are not quite old enough to be touring the parks on their own, but I also don’t want them to be bored sitting in a hotel room while we go out and enjoy ourselves. So when I heard there was a new option available, we were excited. But when I saw that this new option was called Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew. I wasn’t sure if two tween girls, who are not that interested in pirates, would be able to enjoy themselves there. However, we decided to give it a try.
The Pirate Crew is located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Unlike the old Children’s Activity Centers that had longer/more flexible hours, Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew is an event that starts at 5pm and ends at 8:30pm. It includes dinner and a scavenger hunt for pirate treasure via a pontoon boat ride around Crescent Lake.
At $55 per child, that’s about $16 per hour, and much more expensive than previous offerings. The old Pixar Play Zone was $65 and ran from 5pm to 10:30pm (about $12 per hour) The original Children’s Activity Centers were $55 and ran from 4:30pm to midnight (about $8 per hour).
While the price per hour is going up, there has definitely been a move to having more of an experience for the kids versus just childcare (although my kids always loved the old Children’s Activity Centers, too).
Ironically, when my kids were younger, we never took advantage of the late-night hours of the Children’s Activity Centers. Now that they are old enough to stay up late, it’s not offered anymore! It’s worth noting that even though Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew is advertised to end at 8:30pm, when we checked in, we were told we could extend it until 9:30 for $15 per hour per kid.
Similar to previous childcare we’ve used at Disney, the ages for this event were 4-12. Since my kids were almost 12 and 10 at the time of our vacation, I was a little worried that it would be filled with little kids, and that they wouldn’t feel comfortable. However, it turned out that there were a variety of kids at the event. Although most were a bit younger, there was a good mix of boys and girls, and the kids were broken up into 3 different age groups for the activities.
My girls tell me that the night kicked off by learning some pirate phrases like “ahoy”. Captain Hook then came by and told them that there was treasure to be found! The kids were separated into groups, and started to search around the room for clues. After dinner, the hunt for clues continued on a pontoon boat (all the kids wore life jackets). Each group took a different boat, sailing from the Beach Club area to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and back. Each boat found a clue, and then the different groups put their clues together and found the treasure! At the end of the night, each kid got to bring home a piece of the treasure (a gold-colored souvenir coin) and a certificate.
What Could be Better:
The event was advertised to last for 3 and a half hours at the Beach Club, and my husband and I planned our evening around that. We decided in advance that a dinner at Il Mulino, next door at the Walt Disney World Swan, would be a good use of that time. But, if we had had a little extra time, we would have headed over to Epcot or Hollywood Studios instead. The option to extend to 9:30 was not advertised in advance, so by the time we found out about it, it was too late to change our plans.
Overall, my kids really enjoyed his event, and my husband and I had a lovely ‘date night.’ The cast members were, as always, excellent at engaging with the kids and making it fun for all ages. The boat ride was what made this really different from any other childcare option we’d used in the past. Ironically, I’m not sure I would have been comfortable sending my kids on a boat ride without us if they were younger – so this is definitely one aspect where I was glad they were older. In the end, both the parents and kids had a great experience, and would do it again!
So, what do you think of the childcare options at Walt Disney World Resort?