Adventures by Disney forums

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disney Trip Planning Forums > Adventures By Disney
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 06-20-2011, 04:24 PM   #16
MVAN
Disney Cruise Fan
 
MVAN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Washington Metro Area
Posts: 36

Juneau

Juneau day was a bit later for a meeting time – 7:45 AM. We met at our usual place in the Cadillac Lounge with Kori and Landon for our day of adventure Juneau is the capital of Alaska and is quite a bit larger with a population of about 40,000 people It is still a beautiful mountainous area – but there is an actual town with office buildings and a year round population. Having said that – the tourist/shopping area of Juneau is quit small – perhaps 5 blocks long. On this day, we were divided into two groups – for purposes of going on helicopters up to the dog sled camp on a glacier. We were in group 2 so we spent about an hour in downtown Juneau walking through the shops before we gathered for our bus ride to the helicopter pad. (Group 1 went up on the glacier and then spent time in Juneau). We were briefed on safety procedures and divided up according to weight although most families were able to stay together. We were not – so we were separated into one adult and teenager between two helicopters along with another family and Landon. We were also given life vests and glacier walking boots to wear – which felt a bit like moon boots. I have to say though it wasn’t icy on the glacier – more like mushy – and you sank into the snow as you walked.

The 20 minute helicopter ride up the mountains into the glaciers was breathtaking. We landed on an ice field in the middle of a mountain pass – where there were about 120 dogs and 15 people who spend their summer training their huskies for various competitions. We were divided up by pairs and assigned a dog sled and musher – and learned the finer points of dog racing. Each of us were given an opportunity to drive the sled as well as sit in the sled as we went along about a 2 mile trek of snow. I will say – this was the highlight of the trip for me – what an experience. When we had first gotten to the mountain – it was rainy and cold – but as we were going along the sled track – the sun came out and it became quite warm – even though we were on a glacier.

We rounded back and headed back to our helicopter ride back down – where of course – there was another ABD surprise gift. We took off our glacier gear and headed back into our bus for our next adventure.

We drove around the outskirts of Juneau and headed to the boat pier where we boarded an excursion boat to an island. Again – we had the entire boat to ourselves – with complimentary coffee and hot chocolate – and binoculars to view the sights. We did sight a few whales It is these little extras that really make the ABD tours so worthwhile. We landed at Orca Point Lodge – a charming restaurant on an island for a lunch of salmon or chicken. Again – there was another tour there – but they were in another room. I will say – it was nice when we got there – but when the larger (also Disney) tour arrived with over 100 people – it got quite crowded. The food was good – but I thought the servers a bit stingy in that you could have salmon or a taste of chicken (which was a small skewer) but not both. I would say the lunch was okay – the salmon was nicely grilled – but overall ambience because of the many people and the sort of stingy attitude of the servers made it less than a 10 We reboarded our boat to take us back to our bus. Once on the bus – we headed out to the Mendenhall Glacier. Another highlight There is a beautiful visitors center where you can see a short movie and talk to the rangers about the glacier or Landon led a group of ABD on a 45 minute walk to a cascading waterfalls. It was such a great time to see this beautiful site and learn even more about glaciers. After about an hour, we gathered again for our bus ride back to the Wonder. This was a very full day (as yesterday had been as well) and so when we got back to the Wonder, there was no time to go back into Juneau as we rushed back on the ship to make the 4:30 departure. This was Pirate Night on the Wonder, but frankly they should give it up. The show has to be done indoors due to the bad weather – there is no buffet – and there are no fireworks due to Alaska laws Most of the staff didn’t dress up – and it is like they are trying too hard to make it happen. Pirate night works well in the Caribbean – but it is sort of sad in Alaska – surely they can come up with a new tradition.

We were pretty tired so I tried to convince the girls not to go to the 10:30 movie tonight but make an earlier night of it. With the pared down Pirate festivities - it wasn't a hard sell. The trip is now going so quickly - tomorrow is our last port day.
MVAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2011, 05:10 PM   #17
MVAN
Disney Cruise Fan
 
MVAN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Washington Metro Area
Posts: 36

Ketchikan

Our last port day is Ketchikan – our southern most port on this cruise and a city between the size of the previous two. There are about 19,000 people in this town. It is a salmon town – to this day with many canneries and salmon hatcheries. My friend noted that this was one of her favorite stops and I can see why – it is quaint and pretty She had been talking about the thousands of salmons you could see swimming up stream in Ketchikan – but we found about that we were about one month too early. For those traveling in mid to late July – you will see the salmon.

We had a very leisurely morning as the ship didn’t dock until Noon. We went to the character breakfast and walked around the deck --- another day when it started out rainy but by 1 PM the sun was shinning (kind of). We walked into town for a bit of walking around and shopping (last opportunity) before we met up with the ABD group outside the logging show. Again, I was a bit apprehensive of what appeared to be a manufactured cheesy show with a pretend logging competition – but in fact – it turned out much better than I had anticipated as there was really a lot of good information about the history of logging in Alaska and the loggers – although pretending to have a competition – had real skills. Again, the girls noted it as one of their highlights. After the logging show, we hopped a bus for a small tour around Ketchikan to learn about the Native Americans who live there – and the history of totem polls as well as the salmon industry. After this short tour, we made our way to the Rainforest. We had a guided tour by several naturalists – walking through trails and up sky bridges to learn about eagles and bears. It was an easy walk – but the sky bridges are high up (although not terribly high up) and although they are made of steel – they do creak a bit The naturalist was very knowledgeable – and they bring flares along in case there is a bear that gets too close. This was my second most favorite activity of the entire trip We didn’t see bears (again – those later in the summer will have a greater chance as the salmon are running) – but we saw a lot of eagles. We also saw a lot of evidence of bears. As we leisurely made our way through the Rainforest – we ended up at a salmon hatchery (only a few salmon in mid June) and then to some reindeer – and then to a demonstration of totem pole carving. It was all fascinating and I could have spent many more hours there. The group that runs these programs also does a zip line activity and my friend is adamant if she is ever back that is what she wants to do --- it looks so interesting and fun.

We headed back on our bus for a short trip to restaurant for dinner --- another quaint family owned place right on the water. This was the crab feast – Dungeness crabs. Now I am from the area where the blue crab rules but these crabs were so fresh and so good – well we could have eaten forever but time ran very short --- and we had only time for a few servings until we literally had to run out of the restaurant and board a boat back to the Wonder. I think the time just caught up with us – so we rushed across the bay. The staff from the restaurant came with us and passed out the dessert we never got (cheesecake) and also talked about Dungeness crabs with some live specimens which the kids loved. We actually made it back to the ship past the On Board time by about 10 minutes – and we were the last to board from Alaska. It was semi-formal night with lobster and although we had just come from a crab dinner – some of us decided to make it a night with lobster too so about half of the ABD folks went to Tritons for dinner. All in all – a wonderful day
MVAN is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 06-20-2011, 05:14 PM   #18
MVAN
Disney Cruise Fan
 
MVAN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Washington Metro Area
Posts: 36

Day at Sea - Final Thoughts

After three days of whirlwind activities, we were glad for a final day at sea to enjoy the Wonder; the sites; and relax before the end of our vacation.

It was a great cruise – and it was made great by the ABD excursions – no doubt. I am hoping one day Disney is able to do a more expansive Alaskan cruise up to Seward, Sitka, and Anchorage and the have the ABD excursions right up to Denali – that would be great – but I don’t think it is in the planning stage at this point.

ABD excursions are jam packed – but then we came to Alaska to see the sights – understand the culture – learn about the state – and we certainly felt like we were able to do that. It was expensive – considering that is was on top of a cruise fare – but I would do it again – in a second. I don’t think you can quantify the expense because it is not just the actual costs of excursions – but it is the many extras that happen each day – it is the private tour guides – and the absence of lines – and the luxury feeling of it all.

A note on the internet service on board the ship – it is sporadic. I carry my computer everywhere – but other than the first day at sea – the internet service came and went – and was very slow. Someone at Guest Services said the closer we got to Ketchikan and points south – the better the Internet – and they were right (in fact – all of the ships computers were slow from Tracey Arm through Skagway). I had bought the 500 minute package for myself and the girls onboard – but most of it will be unused due to the service inconsistency.

After this experience we were ready to sign up for another Med Cruise (we did one in 2007) with the ABD add on only to find that there is no Med Cruise for next year --- oh well – we will find another ABD trip for sure in 2012.

I am envious of all of you who still have this experience to come – and I look forward to reading your blogs about your trips
MVAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2011, 10:50 PM   #19
rav4lcrv
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Racine, Wisc., U.S.A.
Posts: 363

Pictures please

Thank you for the wonderful report-Do you have any pictures to post?
__________________
disneyfix
rav4lcrv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2011, 09:28 AM   #20
kgsmith
DIS Veteran
 
kgsmith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Maryland
Posts: 652

Thank you so much for sharing your Alaska experience! It sounds like you had a great cruise. I appreciate your information about the ABD portion. From your description, I'm very happy that we chose to go with the ABD for our August cruise.

Oh, and thank you for not telling us the surprises!
__________________
Karen DH DS(12)



kgsmith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2011, 09:53 PM   #21
sayhello
Have Camera, Will Travel
 
sayhello's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,570
DISboards Moderator

Wow! Thanks for the report. Be sure and put a link to it in the Trip Report Sticky at the top of this forum!

I'll tell you, I'm very, very happy about my vacation for this year, but you've made me wish I had enough vacation time to do this cruise with the ABD add-on, too. The excursions you did just sound fabulous! ABD really does know what they're doing!

I agree that the ABD add-on lets you do so much more at each port than you could ever organize on your own.

Sayhello
sayhello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2011, 03:26 PM   #22
jcarlstrom
Mouseketeer
 
jcarlstrom's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: CA
Posts: 82

Loved Last Weeks ABD Alaskan Adventure!

My family enjoyed last weeks DCL ABD Alaskan Adventure with MVAN. Everything she described was right on!
I will add that we had three little kids with us (9, 6, and 4) and the guides handled them really well. The days were a little long (late night shows on the boat and early morning excursions) but I agree the only way to see the most and variety of stuff was with ABD. We certainly will travel with them again!
My kids favorite parts were gold panning, dogsledding and the lumberjack show (where two of them got to bring back cut pieces of wood from the show.) My husband and I's favorite parts were the Rainforest Sanctuary and the helicopter ride up to the dogsledding.
One major disappointment was that they let the families choose their dining times, so we were split between early and late seatings aboard the ship. It would have been nice to have everyone eat together so we could get to know each other a little better, although 8:30 probably would have been too late for dinner for the little kids.
jcarlstrom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2011, 04:59 PM   #23
sayhello
Have Camera, Will Travel
 
sayhello's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,570
DISboards Moderator

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcarlstrom View Post
My family enjoyed last weeks DCL ABD Alaskan Adventure with MVAN. Everything she described was right on!
I will add that we had three little kids with us (9, 6, and 4) and the guides handled them really well. The days were a little long (late night shows on the boat and early morning excursions) but I agree the only way to see the most and variety of stuff was with ABD. We certainly will travel with them again!
My kids favorite parts were gold panning, dogsledding and the lumberjack show (where two of them got to bring back cut pieces of wood from the show.) My husband and I's favorite parts were the Rainforest Sanctuary and the helicopter ride up to the dogsledding.
One major disappointment was that they let the families choose their dining times, so we were split between early and late seatings aboard the ship. It would have been nice to have everyone eat together so we could get to know each other a little better, although 8:30 probably would have been too late for dinner for the little kids.
I'm so glad you enjoyed your cruise with the ABD add-on! I'm sure you'll love pretty much any trip they do.

I think there's a lot of issues in regards to the eat together/eat separately issue. It seems they keep changing their minds on how to handle it. Last year, when I did the Med cruise add-on (the 2nd one ever) they had told us during all the planning phase that we would not be eating together (the idea was that if some people traveling together were on the ABD, and others were not, they'd at least be together for dinner). But when I got there, everyone was scheduled to eat together at the same time. But I'd already linked my reservations to other DISer's for dining, so it didn't work. I've heard others say they also had their own tables, but that ABD had everyone on the same rotation at late dining in tables right next to each other (I don't see why they couldn't have done that for mine. Probably they didn't think of it.) Now it looks like they're back to everyone doing their own thing (and I do have to think part of that is because people complained about their kids not being able to manage late seating.) I did feel like I missed out on some of the "getting to know each other better" part, but I so loved the folks at my table that I wouldn't have changed it for anything.

Sayhello
sayhello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2011, 06:49 PM   #24
MVAN
Disney Cruise Fan
 
MVAN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Washington Metro Area
Posts: 36

Quote:
Originally Posted by rav4lcrv View Post
Thank you for the report, how is the weather and we took the Med. cruise as well-what fun. Is dress casual for dinners? I was considering just bringing Polo shirts with for dinners, Palo's etc.
The worst weather for us were the two at sea days - sailing through and past British Columbia - but I understand that the weather can be anything on any day. Basically - we were sunny and cool - sweatshirts were fine.

There was a formal and semi formal night - but the rest were very casual.
MVAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2011, 02:00 AM   #25
disneymath
DIS Veteran
 
disneymath's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Northern Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,450

MVAN ... awesome trip report! Thank you so much for posting just enough detail to let those of us on upcoming trips know what to expect without giving away any of the surprises!
__________________
Offsite - 1986, 1991, CBR Aug 1989, ASMo Aug 2003, WL Aug 2006, ASMu (FS) Dec 2007, AKL Aug 2008, CSR Aug 2009, BLT Aug 2010 DVC BLT since September 2010
DCL & ABD Alaskan Wonders Aug 2011, BLT (1st Trip Home) Dec 2011/Jan 2012, OKW Aug 2012, BLT (first MNSSHP) Oct 2013, DLH/VGC (first visit to CA) Aug 2014


disneymath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2011, 10:48 PM   #26
Stitch#1
Been there, done that, can't wait to go back!!
Class A scout
 
Stitch#1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Clifton Park NY
Posts: 2,317

I agree! Just enough without spoiling it for future cruisers.
Thanks for the report!!
__________________

Stitch#1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2011, 12:25 AM   #27
jilljill
Collects Disney men!
I had to go and write a novel didn't I?!
Come on over and join our thread
 
jilljill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: 13-14½ hours drive from WDW - depending on who is driving (lol) OR 5 minutes!
Posts: 18,143

Thanks so much for the report. My DD will be glad to know she doesn't have to walk across the suspension bridge - she's deathly afraid of heights - but then I haven't told her about that part of the trip yet. In fact, she's not to keen on the helicopter ride.

Looking forward to our ABD for 8/9.
__________________
Disneynutinlondon hit me
jilljill is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:06 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

You Rated this Thread: