From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Melanie Curtsinger
After sailing with Disney Cruise Line more than two dozen times, I finally had the opportunity to cruise this summer on the Disney Wonder to Alaska. I’ll admit – Alaska is a bucket list destination for most, and while I was certainly excited to venture to the Last Frontier, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it as much as a tropical Disney cruise. Whether it’s my Floridian blood or just the fact that I’ve been to the Caribbean more times than I can count, I relate to Olaf on a deep level, because I, too, love all things warm.
That, of course, was my perspective before sailing to Alaska. Now, let me tell you why I would trek across the country to do this cruise again in a heartbeat. Without further ado, here is a Disney cruise to Alaska from my point of view!
1. Port Adventures: Have you ever wanted to take a helicopter to a glacier, hop on a small boat to see whales up close or watch lumberjacks climb totem poles and skillfully throw axes? If not, these need to be on your bucket list! Flying over mountaintops painted with snow and landing on Meade Glacier was one experience I can truly say I will never forget. The port cities surpassed my expectations, and the Port Adventures I experienced throughout the week brought them to life in ways I never imagined.
2. Dawes Glacier and Endicott Arm: On the second full sea day of our cruise, we sailed through Endicott Arm on our way to Dawes Glacier. Crew members were walking around with hot chocolate and my favorite Disney characters were greeting guests in their Alaskan attire. To see Dawes Glacier up close was nothing short of awe-inspiring. The views were out of this world as we navigated Endicott Arm, and it was on this day that I got caught up in the natural beauty of Alaska and officially fell in love.
3. Packing: It’s good to come prepared for all types of weather and adventures when you cruise to Alaska. Here’s a tip for this sailing: you spend a LOT of time outside, whether on Port Adventures or relaxing on sea days, so be sure to have plenty of options, from hiking boots and rain gear to jackets that range from light to heavy. Layers are essential – and so is your passport! Since this sailing leaves out of Vancouver, it is possibly the most important item you need to bring with you.
4. Onboard Relaxation and Fun: With so much to see and do in Alaska, it’s nice to spend time on board relaxing and enjoying world-class Disney entertainment during days at sea and in the evenings. “Toy Story 4” debuted in theaters while on my cruise, and we got to see the premiere at sea the very same day. I also spent quite a bit of time in the adults-only Cove Café, and I went to go to Palo for both brunch and dinner, which offered spectacular views while I happily ate my chocolate soufflé. There truly is something for everyone on the Disney Wonder, and my family was entertained at all times!
5. Tiana’s Place: Blame it on the beignets. My new favorite restaurant in the entire world (sorry, Palo) just may be Tiana’s Place! This lively restaurant, complete with jazz band, New Orleans-inspired motif and some of my favorite southern-style cuisine, was the highlight of my dining experience on the Disney Wonder. My dining rotation called on this venue three times throughout the seven-night sailing, and while only one night featured the “show” during dinner, all three were festive with live music, which made for an enhanced dining experience.
6. “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular”: For the first time in forever (actually, literally for the first time ever), I was able to see “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular.” All of the Broadway-style shows on the ship are well done and rival those you will see on the Great White Way, but this one is now my favorite Walt Disney Theatre production. Again, my vast love of Olaf may have something to do with it, but this show was a crowd pleaser for everyone in my family.
Are you planning a Disney cruise to Alaska this summer or next? If so, leave me a comment with your best tip or favorite moment from traveling the Inside Passage.