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Old 06-04-2012, 08:25 PM   #1
happenin2you
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Our WONDERful first trip "home" to Alaska- A Trip Report -Finished 1/8!!!


Hi! I'm Deanna. If you don't know me, I'm 27 and happily married to my best friend, Chris. Here we are on the happiest day of our lives.


Fast forward to last year, we spent our 4th anniversary at Disneyland and did something we've been thinking about since our honeymoon at WDW, we bought DVC!

So we booked a cruise to Alaska on the Wonder for our first trip "Home" from May 21-28. Chris has been wanting to do an Alaskan cruise for some time and it just worked out perfect for us.

That's where the title for this report comes from, we cruised on the Disney Wonder to Alaska and it was our first trip "home" as DVC members, for those who don't know, it was our first vacation with our Disney timeshare.

The plan was to spend a couple days before and after the cruise in Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA just exploring and searching for good food, which is what we always do on vacation .
We are foodies, so there will be plenty of food porn to feast your eyes on.

Handy Dandy links to updates:
Saturday May 19: Leaving Las Vegas

Sunday May 20: Vancouver
Vancouver Aquarium part 1
Vancouver Aquarium part 2
Stanley Park and Vera's Burgers

Monday May 21: Getting to the Wonder
Lunch, exploring the Wonder, and Sail Away show with videos
Dinner and fun and games

Tuesday May 22: Art of Entertaining, Palo Brunch, more exploring
Tastings and Animator's Palate
Cove Cafe sunset and coffee

Wednesday May 23: Tracy Arm Day
Endicott Arm
Glacier!
Last of the glacier and dinner at Animator's
Dessert at Animator's and more

Thursday May 24: Welcome to Skagway
mmm... salmon chowder
Lunch and a museum
The brothel tour and dinner at Parrot Cay

Friday May 25: Juneau and the State Capitol
Capitol and Governor's Mansion
Mt Roberts Tramway
Top of Juneau and Pirates!
Taste of Alaska dinner

Saturday May 26: Character breakfast and Ketchikan
More Ketchikan and dinner

Sunday May 27: Captain's Gala and Till We Meet Again

Monday May 28: Discovering the Olive8 and Pike Place
Seattle Underground and lunch

Tuesday May 29: The Duck on land
The Duck on water
The last update!!!

Link to TR with Navigator's from this cruise

Birthday update Sunday June 10- Palazzo Suite and Cabana

Colorado mini TR Friday June 15- Monday June 18- Getting there, Aquarium, bang!, Sam's No. 3, Coors Brewing Company
Coors Brewery part 1
Coors Brewery part 2
Coors Brewery part 3
Coors Brewery part 4
Coors Brewery part 5
Family, Tea, and Steuben's

Various Foods non-cruise related
From my kitchen, John Mull's Road Kill Grill (Las Vegas), El Segundo Sol (Las Vegas), Snooze (Denver, CO), Virgilio's (Littleton, CO), Dbar (Denver, CO)
Jack N Grill (Denver, CO), Duffeyroll's (Denver, CO), Denver Biscuit Company (Denver, CO), Disneyland Resort

Up next: Leaving Las Vegas

Last edited by happenin2you; 01-08-2013 at 05:03 PM. Reason: New links!
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:33 PM   #2
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I'm in. Sounds Amazing!
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:01 PM   #3
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I'm in. Sounds Amazing!
Hi! Thanks for joining in!
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:46 PM   #4
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Yay, an Alaska trip report! Post lots of details (I'm so demanding!) because I'm sooooo excited about our cruise in August and want to live vicariously through everyone else while I wait!
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:52 PM   #5
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Yay, an Alaska trip report! Post lots of details (I'm so demanding!) because I'm sooooo excited about our cruise in August and want to live vicariously through everyone else while I wait!
I'm glad to have you! I saved all the navigators and things so I will have lots of details between those and my memories. Thanks for joining in
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:46 PM   #6
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Joining in! Can't wait to be on the opposite cruise (SEA to Vancouver repo) in Sept!!
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:50 PM   #7
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Vancouver


The next morning I woke up bright and early and checked my lovely view from our window and saw this

Nice. We just so happen to have a membership there and were planning to buy some bottled water to keep in our stateroom. I'm really specific about water, I hate spring water. That's all they had so we didn't get any, but we did find the amazing cookies they had on our flight in, so we grabbed a box of those to bring back to the states. When we were checking out, we discovered our membership had expired, in April.... we weren't planning to renew it right then, so we were going to leave, but the manager came over and swiped his card so we could buy the cookies. Score!

After our Costco adventure, we went back across the street to our hotel and waited for the shuttle to take us back to the airport so we could pick up our rental car. We didn't get it the night before because the shuttle was free and we didn't see any reason to pay for the car for an extra day. When we got to Hertz, we were offered an upgrade to a Ford Fusion for $16 or a small Mercedes SUV for $25. This is what we got

Crazy, right? Chris has been thinking about buying one and he thought it would be a good opportunity to see if he really liked it, which he did.

From here we went in search of my favorite Canadian coffee chain, Tim Horton's.

We got a chocolate glazed donut, a boston creme, a sour cream donut, and two caramel iced capps! Delicious! I don't ever pass up a chance to have a Tim Horton's Iced Capp, they're amazing!

The plan after this was to drive by the cruise port so we had an idea of where it was and the spend some time exploring Stanley Park. While we were safely parked in our car in the Tim Horton's parking lot, setting the navigation to our next destination, a woman parked her car right next to ours and opened her door right into my passenger side door, with me sitting right there! Are you kidding me? Then she acted like nothing happened and went in to Tim Horton's. I was going to run after her and throw a fit, but I looked and there wasn't any damage on the car. This of course was right after we had denied the insurnace from Hertz. Since there wasn't anything visibly wrong, we decided to go on with our day and not waste our time trying to figure out American and Canadian insurance companies.

We were staying in Richmond, which is where the airport is, and the drive to Vancouver was probably 15-20 minutes. It is absolutely beautiful there. I should have taken pictures of the scenery in the city, but I was working with the navigation and I'm not very good with miles:kilometer conversions, so I never really knew how far away we were from something and was constantly watching for the next turn. We found the Canada Place cruise port fairly quickly and easily, and then we moved on to Stanley Park. By this point it was raining. Chris had planned for us to rent bicycles and tour around the park, but the weather was not permitting and I wasn't feeling like getting soaked and cold. Instead, we opted for indoor activities.

Next up: The Vancouver Aquarium
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:56 PM   #8
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So I'm a mad woman, I always schedule myself to work on the day we're leaving for vacation. It's really ridiculous because I'm always my least productive when I'm dreaming about going away to somewhere exciting. So I got up bright and early on Saturday May 19 and went to work to sell drugs, at Walgreen's That's what I do when I'm not being a forever student, I'm a pharmacy technician. It was pretty slow that day so my boss let me leave early. We were all packed and ready to go so we just had some relaxing time for a bit before we left for our flight to Vancouver. We arrived in Canada about 12:45 am and I finally got a stamp in my passport!

I felt like that was the official start of my vacation so I started taking pictures of things in the airport.


We got a taxi to our hotel since we were told the shuttle didn't run this late, but were told to get a receipt and we would be reimbursed at check in. Our speed maniac taxi driver got us to our hotel super quickly and then said he didn't take credit, which was ok since I had ordered canadian currency from our bank, but then we forgot to ask for a reciept. When we checked in Chris told the girl what he was told about reimbursement for the cab fare and that he forgot to ask for the receipt and she just asked how much we paid and gave it to us anyways. This was the first of several great encounters with great customer service and friendly people in Canada. They're just so happy up there!

We were exhausted from a long day of traveling and fell asleep pretty quickly.

Next up: A full day in Vancouver
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:25 PM   #9
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Stanley Park and Vera's Burgers



After the aquarium, I remembered I had seen a sign for the totem poles in the park, so we got back in the car and decided to drive around until we spotted another sign telling us where to go. Like I said earlier, there are signs all over the place so we found the totem poles pretty easily. As we were driving around, I tried to take some pictures of things that we passed but visibility was low and we couldn't see much. I'm pretty sure this was the bridge that we would be sailing under the next day on our way to Alaska. For those of you on the reverse, bummer you'll probably be sleeping when you go under it.

And then.... there she is! The Wonder! Well, kinda. She's hidden behind a Celebrity and Holland America ship.


I was really into seeing the totem poles. When we parked, I got out and went right for them, leaving my husband behind to deal with parking... it just took him a quick second and he caught up to me.

Approaching the poles


Totem gate?














And each of us with our favorite totem poles

It is still raining at this point and I had an umbrella, but my husband didn't and we thought it was more important for the camera to be under the umbrella than me for my quick photo.

This plaque went with the pole I am standing with.


My husband showing us his British Colombia license plate and the Wonder peaking over his left shoulder.



By this time we were getting hungry, so I entered a search for Vera's Burger Shack and we were on our way.

We're here!








Enjoying my vanilla shake. I was gonna order the banana, but the cashier said it's not made with real bananas and she couldn't really say what it was made with. She kinda kept saying "it's kinda..." and then would rub her fingers together. Ok not for me then. Thanks for the heads up!


Our poutine. Apparently a Canadian specialty, specifically from Quebec. It's fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy. I wasn't a fan, but I don't like brown gravy. Chris thought it was ok. When we told my dad, he was raving about it like it's the best thing ever (my family is from Niagara Falls, NY, but I have tons of family in Ontario, too.) He said he gets them all the time in NY, but I don't remember ever seeing one before. I probably didn't remember because of the gravy.


I know this was a burger place, but I'm not a ground beef person either. Actually, the only was I really like beef is in the form of a filet mignon. Just not a burger girl. So I ordered the chicken burger, which was just a chicken breast, grilled with hot sauce (I'm from the Buffalo area, remember?). It was good, but how exciting can a chicken breast be?


I picked this place for my husband, who loves burgers. He was in heaven deciding between all the potential burger deliciousness. I think he went with the regular Vera burger with the works which includes: Ketchup, mustard, Dijon mustard, relish, mayo, Vera's Sauce, lettuce, raw onions, tomato, hot peppers, hot sauce, pickles, BBQ sauce, honey mustard.There was a ton of stuff on there.


After dinner, we decided to look into buying a bottle of liquor to have in our stateroom in case we wanted to make our own cocktails. We went to two liquor stores and quickly abandoned that idea. The first store I went in was a tiny corner liquor store that didn't have very much selection and I just about died when I saw they were selling Crown Royal for over $50 per bottle. I thought it had to be because we were still in downtown Vancouver area and people who live in the high rises on the island probably have higher income and the prices are probably jacked up because of that. So we drove back towards our little hotel in the more suburban area of Richmond and found a liquor store very close to our hotel. And my suspicions about higher liquor prices downtown were disproved. This place had much more selection. They had 750ml bottles of Smirnoff vodka, which sells in a Las Vegas grocery store for between 8.99-11.99 depending on the store, for over $35 per bottle! What! For that price, we decided to skip it. At this point we were really wishing we had bought something at the Duty Free in the airport, but oh well, no big deal. The funny part was when we went back to our hotel, we went to the bar across the street to have a drink and chat for a bit, and drink prices were average to a little bit less than what we pay at a bar here. Weird, right?

After that, we went back to the hotel to go to sleep. It was a little early, but we hadn't got to bed until after 2am the night before and woke up bright and early around 8am, so we were ready to sleep. And the earlier we went to sleep, the earlier we'd wake up to get to the Wonder!

Up next: Finally boarding the Wonder!
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:38 PM   #10
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Great report about the aquarium and totem poles! We are looking for things to do when we disembark in Sept!

Meanwhile...you have all these pictures of the rain, fog, and humidity, then a picture of your hair all nice looking. Um, what the heckl

Can't wait till the next one!
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:23 PM   #11
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I'm here....I'll catch up later! Can't wait to hear all about it!
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:29 PM   #12
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Mmm, his burger looks amazing! Not so sure about the fries though.

Holy moly that's a lot for booze! I'm so glad we brought some alcohol with us on our cruise. I hate paying jacked up prices, when I know I can make it for myself for less than half the price.
Chris was pretty into that burger. The liquor prices were obscene! I was pleasantly surprised by the not crazy high drink prices on board the Wonder.

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Count me in!!! Your trip report sounds awesome so far. Love all the pictures. I cant wait to visit Alaska one day
Welcome! Alaska is beautiful! You'll love it.

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Great report about the aquarium and totem poles! We are looking for things to do when we disembark in Sept!

Meanwhile...you have all these pictures of the rain, fog, and humidity, then a picture of your hair all nice looking. Um, what the heckl

Can't wait till the next one!
Stanley Park was a good time. It would have been so much better if we could have done all the outdoorsy stuff we wanted, but we still had a good time. The funny thing about my hair is it's sooo straight, humidity does nothing to it. Unfortunately, it doesn't like to hold a curl or no matter how much product I use, it refuses to be voluminous. I'm over it. Thanks for the compliment though

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Your waist and cholesterol numbers will probably be glad that we didn't meet before your cruise. One place I have to recommend in downtown Vancouver is a dessert restaurant called Death by Chocolate. The last time I was there, I worried that I would be diagnosed with diabetes the next morning!
And on the drive to Seattle, in White Rock which is immediately before the border, there are several fish & chips restaurants overlooking a bay. Moby Dick's is my favorite, and you can easily make yourself sick trying two or three at once to notice the subtle differences in flavor.
We saw Death By Chocolate, but I think we were trying to hurry to the ship at that time so we couldn't stop. The other places we would have missed because we didn't drive between Seattle and Vancouver. Maybe next time we will try that though. It seems a lot of people did and they enjoyed it.

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Great update, love the pictures

I hope it stops raining for you soon
The rain does stop at just the right moment.

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I remember that rain. Glad I didn't go get some alcohol then if it was pricey. It'll be interesting to read about the cruise I was on from someone elses perspective.
That's what I was thinking. I've subscribed to the other reports I've seen so far and we all saw and did different things.

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Great report so far! I'm in!
Thanks! Welcome!

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Originally Posted by caitlinsdad View Post
Thanks , we will be on the Wonder next year from Vancouver, Thanks for the city sights
Glad to share!

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What a great trip report! I'm also a foodie and can't wait to read and see more
There will be more, I promise.

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Originally Posted by jenf22 View Post
Happy birthday! Hope you have a great time in Denver. We've been having great weather - hope it holds out for you. There is a big fire right now (not near Denver), so there may be some smoke.

Love your trip report! Thanks so much for doing it!
Thanks! We're driving up early Friday morning. California catches on fire every summer it seems, and we get their smoke, so it won't be anything new for us. Honestly, I like the way it makes the sky orange. Are you in Denver? Any reccommendations for food or sights?

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I'm here....I'll catch up later! Can't wait to hear all about it!
Thanks for stopping by! I just finished reading your report earlier. I love how you finished on such a positive note.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:35 PM   #13
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Finally, the Wonder!


This morning we woke up, went down for breakfast in the hotel, then came back upstairs to get ready for the day and check out. Well... while I was blow-drying my hair, my blow dryer made this crazy mini-explosion noise, the motor stopped whirring as loudly, and there was smoke... Seriously? If you knew me, you'd know that I make a lot of sound effects. At this time it was something like a freaked out EHHH! Chris came in quickly to investigate why I was freaking out and he looked freaked out. I think I saw the fear in his eyes that this broken hair dryer could greatly affect the rest of our vacation. I just shrugged it off, threw it in the trash, and used the hotel dryer to finish the last section of my hair that needed drying (thank goodness I was mostly done anyhow).

We had passed a Zeller's the day before, which is kind of like a K-Mart or Target, and I knew they'd have hair dryers so we set out to look into that. They had a lot of dryers, but none of them looked like anything I wanted. They were all Conair ones that I could get at Walgreen's for 14.99 but they were selling them for $40 and up. I decided to skip it because the one I had, I had only gotten last year after the one I've had since high school finally broke, and I thought that if I bought one in Canada and it broke too, then I wouldn't be able to return it or warranty it from another country. At this point I had spent way too much time pondering this and we were now running late to return the rental car without being charged for a second day.

We booked it to Canada Place where we dropped off our luggage. We got gas, for a crazy high something like $1.69 per litre, luckily we didn't drive very far and put less than $10 in, and got the car back just in time. Funny thing was we returned the car in downtown Vancouver and the lady that helped us was the same one who had rented it to us the day before at the airport. She told us that it was a short walk from there to Canada Place, and although it was raining, it wasn't raining very hard and we decided to walk. We just had our two small carry-on bags with us and the walk was pretty easy until about half way, when we conveniently reached a London Drugs, when the rain started coming down harder... We went in there, found another Tim Horton's where we got two more Iced Capps, and bought another umbrella for Chris because his waterproof jacket was starting to leak on the back of his neck and get his shirt wet. Just as we're getting to the end of Granville, there's this huge Price Waterhouse Cooper building and we weren't sure to go to the left or right of it to get around to Canada Place. Well of course we choose the wrong way and that was to the right. We climbed a few flights of stairs carrying our heavy carry-ons, which were full of water, and got to the top where we saw an amazing view of the Wonder and lots of signs telling us there was no access to Canada Place from there. It seems it must be some sick joke to watch travelers with their luggage in tow expecting to get to their ship and have to turn around and go back down the stairs. The accountants at PwC probably just laugh all day about it. Oh well. We'll take the exercise. What we did find up there, though, was a lovely view of the Wonder!





We quickly made our way back around, sped through the boarding process and next thing we knew the Disney Wonder was welcoming the Pardo family aboard! We went straight to Studio Sea to try for a Palo brunch reservation because they had been completely booked when we tried online. We got the next day at 11:30 am. A little late, but we were happy to get one at all. After this we were talking about going to get something to eat when they annouced our rooms were ready, way ahead of the time they tell you. We were desparate to get rid of our carry-ons, so off to the room we went. We were down on deck 2 in 2605, a Deluxe Interior.





















I was so excited to check it out, but the room looked exactly the way they do on the DCL website, so not much of a surprise. We loved it though. On our way to the Beach Blanket Buffet, I was admiring the ceiling sculpture in the atrium, when Goofy approached us and wanted a picture. Well, Ok Goofy First magical Disney moment!



Up next: Exploring the Wonder and lunch

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Old 06-13-2012, 10:00 PM   #14
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Yay, you're on the ship!! Not so good though to have a waterproof jacket leaking before you make it to Alaska!
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Disney Wonder to Alaska 8/20-27 '12...Aulani 3/26-4/3 '14 heading BACK to Alaska on the Wonder! 8/24/15

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