Tiana’s Riverboat Party and Ice Cream Social Review

Naveen caught us!

We are on a mission to try all of the Character Dining experiences at Walt Disney World. The hardest (and best!) part is that they add new experiences all the time. Over the last year, WDW has added two new experiences :  Tiana’s Riverboat Party and Ice Cream Social in November 2016 and the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast in April 2017. We were lucky enough to snag a reservation at Trattoria Al Forno to the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast earlier in the year. You can read more about that amazing meal with Rapunzel, Ariel, Flynn Rider, and Prince Eric in my Bon Voyage Breakfast post. That meant this trip had Tiana’s Riverboat Party written all over it!

The Experience

Tiana’s Riverboat Party and Ice Cream Social is billed as a VIP viewing of the Festival of Fantasy Parade on the Liberty Belle Riverboat in Magic Kingdom. You enjoy an ice cream social with desserts before boarding the Riverboat to view the parade. After the parade finishes, you go back go pick up Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen to enjoy a cruise around Tom Sawyer Island together.

It does cost “extra” for this experience and is not covered by a dining plan. The current price is $49 per adult and $29 for each child under 9 years old.

Know Before You Go

Arrival

You need to arrive at the Riverboat about 45 minutes before the parade starts.  The Ice Cream Social is held before the parade. You will want to arrive early enough time to eat your desserts and grab a picture with Tiana and Naveen. We stuck to this timing on our trip and still felt a little rushed so you might want to extend this to an hour to get the full experience.

When you check in, they also give you a sticker signifying you are signed up for the experience. Kind of random, but the stickers WILL NOT stay stuck to the back of a Disney Princess Costume. The material just doesn’t play nice so I ended up with my little Tinker Bell’s sticker on my shirt as well. Almost all of the girls were dressed up in their princes gear, and I saw lots of stickers on the ground.

Sticker for Tiana's Riverboat Party

Everyone got a sticker to participate in the Riverboat Party

What to Bring

  • Autograph Books : Tiana and Naveen will sign autographs on the Riverboat, but not during the picture opportunity at the beginning. Since Tiana moved to Fairytale Hall, this is your only  chance to get an autograph with Prince Naveen.
  • Camera: You will also want a good camera to take pictures of the parade. The viewing area is pretty far away, so you will need a good zoom in order to get good pictures.
  • Festive Dress : It is a New Orleans celebration and almost everyone was dressed up for the occasion!

The Ice Cream Social

The Ice Cream Social was decorate in true New Orleans fashion!

The Food

We entered the Riverboat waiting area and were right in line for ice cream! There are two options , chocolate or vanilla. You also get a serving of three New Orleans inspired desserts. Drinks are standard Coca-Cola products, Lemonade, or Fruit-Infused water. My kids had a fun time decorating their sundaes with a variety of different toppings!

The Fun

During the Social, Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen line up for pictures. The area is pretty crowded, so I manned the treats while the rest of the family got in line for their pictures. The picture had a full PhotoPass photographer, but they were also happy to take pictures for you as well. You can’t get an autograph at this stage, but can get in line for one later during the trip around the Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer Island.

The Liberty Belle

I’m ashamed to say this was our first ride on the Liberty Belle Riverboat despite numerous trips to Walt Disney World. With three decks, the parade and trip around Tom Sawyer Island gave us lots of time to explore the boat. The kids had a great time exploring and asking questions about the different sights.

As we pulled away from the dock, all of the cast members waved goodbye!

The Parade

The Festival of Fantasy parade is one of our all-time favorites. We’ve watched it from many different locations, and I wouldn’t call this a “VIP” viewing area. There were three main issues that caused the parade to not be the highlight of this experience:

  1. The Riverboat’s railing is so high that my 4 and 7 year old could not see over it. This meant I had to try to alternate holding each one up to see while the other had to sit and try to look between the railings. There was one area at the front of the boat with seating, but it was quickly taken up by other families (can’t blame them!!).
  2. There are also a lot of trees in the way of your viewing. We really only had a few clear shots for pictures, and the Diamond Horseshoe was our vantage point.
  3. The crowds around the parade make it almost impossible to get good views of the walking characters. If you are someone who enjoys seeing or interacting with the characters, this is not going to be your favorite spot either.

Despite the challenges viewing, we still got some awesome shots of the parade.

Trip Around Tom Sawyer

After the parade finishes, we went back to dock and pick up Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen. We then launched for a trip around Tom Sawyer Island on the Rivers of America while they played music and led parades around the boat.

Tom Sawyer Island

We were able to see so many things around Tom Sawyer island that we had never noticed before. I’d seen some on our rides on the train from Frontierland, but we enjoyed the sights during our trip!

Time with Tiana and Naveen

The character interaction here was actually very good. They did several passes along each deck of the Riverboat and paused at the front of each deck for pictures and autographs.

It was, admittedly, hard to keep up as a parent though. The kids followed Tiana and Naveen all around the boat, and I found I had to squeeze by and take alternate routes to keep up because I didn’t want them roaming the boat without me. The other big downer for my kids was that they didn’t get in line early enough for an autograph with Tiana.  We did snag one with Naveen. There were some hurt feelings, but overall they got to spend a lot of time following her around and dancing. Moral of the Story : Get your autographs early into the trip!

Summary

So, should you book Tiana’s Riverboat Party and Ice Cream Social for your next trip to Walt Disney World?

  • YES!
    • If Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen are your favorite, then this is the only opportunity to get to meet both together. You get to spend a lot of time with them and enjoy the character interaction.
    • You are like me and are on a mission to try every Character Dining experience!
  • NO!
    • If you are looking for true “VIP” viewing of the parade, you will likely be disappointed with Tiana’s Riverboat Party.
    • You aren’t on the dining plan and want to use this as a substitute for a Character Dining experience. You can meet many more characters for the same or cheaper. Breakfast is always the most affordable.


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