Disney Cruise Line has planned some exciting new port adventures in Alaska this year. During 2014 Alaska sailings, Disney Cruise Line guests will have the opportunity to explore the grandeur of America’s 49th state with a wide variety of fun and exciting Port Adventures.
Disney Cruise Line has worked with local tour operators to create family-friendly excursions that will both entertain and inspire the whole family amid Alaska’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.
These new port adventures offer a hassle-free and fun-filled way to experience Alaska’s breathtaking vistas, native wildlife and the history and customs of native cultures. After each day’s adventures on shore, guests will return to the comfort and amenities of the Disney Wonder.
While every port offers excursions for families to enjoy together, there are also tours that integrate separate activities for children and adults. The kids can be engaged in age-appropriate activities accompanied by youth counselors from the ship while parents are able to explore and relax on their own.
This year, most ports of call will include at least one tour that features distinctly Disney touches, beloved characters and rich storytelling to help bring local culture and customs to life. Signature Collection tours range from deluxe experiences in intimate, upscale settings to customized tours that are enhanced with experiences exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests.
The Disney Difference
In Skagway, you can board a motor coach for a tour through the city’s historic downtown area before arriving at the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp, nestled next to a waterfall at the foot of White Pass. At the camp, a cast of sourdoughs and dance hall girls will entertain with a hilarious puppet show inspired by the heady days of the Klondike gold rush and the tall tales told by prospectors who traveled to and from the treacherous pass.
After the show, everyone is sure to love the scavenger hunt through the camp. This will set the stage for a gold-panning expedition where you will be joined by some beloved Disney characters and everyone is guaranteed to find the precious metal in every pan. Next, you will gather around the campfire to roast marshmallows and pose for photos with the Disney characters, followed by an all-you-can-eat outdoor feast in the forest featuring wild Alaskan salmon freshly grilled over an alder wood fire.
Glacier Dog Musher for a Day is a Juneau adventure exclusive to Disney Cruise Line. This tour takes guests by helicopter over the massive Juneau ice field to one of the region’s awe-inspiring glaciers where they’ll meet the crew and the sled dogs of the Iditarod. During this interactive experience, guests can tour the camp and even explore behind-the-scenes areas including the kennel, cookhouse, living quarters and veterinary clinic before preparing a dog team for a day of mushing. Once the sled dogs are fed, harnessed and cleared for the trail, mushers take guests out on the snow-capped glacier for an unforgettable sled trip through the pristine wilderness.
There is also an exclusive Ketchikan adventure where guests learn about the flora and fauna of southeast Alaska while exploring Potlatch Park, a re-created native settlement that features a tribal house and salmon smoke shack. Youth counselors from the ship accompany children as they learn the art of totem carving from a native carver and paint a wooden feather to be added to a special totem pole designed exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests that stands in the park.
Into the Wilderness
In Skagway, guests board a vintage railroad car for a narrated trip up the White Pass and Yukon Route, which climbs nearly 3,000 feet to the summit of White Pass over 20 miles of steep grades and cliff-hanging turns. Along the way, a tour guide retraces the original route as the rail car passes Bridal Veil Falls, Inspiration Point and Dead Horse Gulch, and guests catch a glimpse of the original Klondike Trail worn into the rocks by eager prospectors more than 100 years ago. During the return trip down the mountain, children can ride in a private, kids-only car featuring sing-alongs, games, activities and stories of the gold rush. They are joined by a Railroader Guide and youth counselors from the Disney Wonder. Meanwhile, adults enjoy a toast of champagne or cider and receive a unique ornament to welcome them into the White Pass Summit Club.
From Juneau, teens are accompanied by Disney Cruise Line youth counselors as they suit up for an exclusive Helicopter Glacier Trek excursion just for them. The 20-minute flight features breathtaking views of the Juneau Icefield and surrounding wilderness. After touching down on the glacier, experienced guides instruct teens on the proper use of mountaineering gear before setting off on an adventuresome two-hour trek over rugged terrain filled with thrilling views and abundant opportunities for spectacular photos.
At an authentic Alaskan fish camp in Ketchikan, guests don fishing gear and board open-air, 20-foot skiffs for an intimate angling experience led by a professional guide. During the derby-style competition, guests drop a line in pursuit of rockfish, snapper, Pacific cod, halibut and salmon while keeping an eye out to spot seals, eagles, whales, birds, porpoises and even bears. After fishing, guests will head to a cozy wilderness campsite and feast on a meal made from the day’s catch, while guides award prizes for fun derby categories such as first fish, longest fish and even ugliest fish.
On the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour in Ketchikan, guests watch as professional fishermen haul in the catch of the day in 700-pound king crab pots. An on-deck aquarium serves as the crabs’ temporary home while guests get an up-close look and a chance to hold the crabs and snap a photo. After a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship, including a photo in the captain’s chair, Disney Cruise Line guests have an exclusive opportunity to enjoy a delicious dinner of fresh King crab and Dungeness crab with the crew while hearing more stories about life on the Bering Sea.
Heritage and History
In Juneau, guests board floatplanes for a 30-minute aerial voyage that includes breathtaking views of several glaciers before arriving at Taku Glacier Lodge, a remote outpost built in 1923 directly across from the picturesque Hole-In-The-Wall Glacier in the untouched Tongass National Forest. While at the rustic glacier lodge, guests enjoy a meal of wild Alaska king salmon while listening to tales of the lodge’s colorful past and stories of characters such as Mary Joyce, a legendary adventurer who made a 1,000-mile dogsled journey from Juneau to Fairbanks in the 1930s. The experience concludes with a return flight to Juneau, past snow-capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, lush forests and deep blue crevasses of the Juneau Icefield.
In Ketchikan, Disney Cruise Line guests can explore the rich culture of Annette Island, home to the only native reservation in Alaska. A signature Port Adventure gives guests a rare glimpse into a working village as they are immersed in the heritage of the Tsimshian people. Guests learn about the lives and language of the culture through song and dance, create their very own drums and learn a few words of the native language, Smalgyax. Guests are then invited to dance and drum with the native dancers in the cultural traditions.
Several Ketchikan excursions include a visit to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, a rollicking competition created especially for families that features some of the world’s top timber sport athletes going head-to-head for bragging rights and the title “Bull of the Woods.” Offering a historical look at the timber industry that helped shape Alaska, the one-hour show includes events such as chopping, sawing, log rolling, death-defying speed climbing and more, plus opportunities for a few Disney Cruise Line kids to participate alongside the burly competitors in select events. After clapping and cheering for their teams, families can meet the lumberjacks for autographs and photos at the end of each rowdy show.
Throughout a Disney cruise to Alaska, guests are immersed in the pristine wilderness and splendor of Alaska. The breathtaking, untouched terrain is a nature-lover’s paradise with unrivaled opportunities to catch a glimpse of incredible wildlife.
A variety of excursions include the chance for guests to spot awe-inspiring wildlife like magnificent humpback whales in Juneau, high-flying bald eagles in Skagway, majestic black bears in Ketchikan and playful sea otters in Sitka.
On May 24, 2014, the Disney Wonder will begin the Alaska season, starting with a special nine-night cruise from Vancouver to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka, Alaska. On June 2, the Disney Wonder will sail a total of 14 seven-night cruises from Vancouver to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska.
Have you ever been on a Disney Cruise to Alaska? What was your favorite port adventure?
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