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 06-10-2011, 10:45 AM   #1
MVAN
Disney Cruise Fan
 
MVAN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Washington Metro Area
Posts: 36

June Alaskan Cruise with ABD Add On

I have never started a thread - but since there doesn't appear to be any Trip Reports on the Wonder's Alaskan Cruise with the ABD Add On - I thought I would start one for all of those planning it later in the summer. This will be my 6th Disney Cruise and 2nd ABD trip - althugh I have never done a combination one before. I am traveling with my friend, her daughter, and her daughter's friend (2 adults and 2 teenagers, age 14). My friend and her daughter have been to Alaska several times, once before on a cruise, and when we found out that Disney was starting to cruise Alaska we signed up the very first day the reservations opened.

We fly to Vancouver on Monday morning (very early) to make it across the country in time to see a bit of Vancouver Monday afternoon. I don't have any idea of what to expect. I do know we purchased Disney Transfers - so they will pick us up at the airport - and we also signed up with Disney to stay at one of the Fairmonts the night before the cruise. On Tuesday, since the hotel is so close to the cruise terminal, Disney cancelled and refunded the money for that purchased transfer and told us we could walk (although they will take our luggage as I understand it). When we find out next week, I will let you know.

None of us have started packing - but we have been trying to figure out how cool it will be (as we sit in 100 degree weather on the East Coast). Since it is also near June 21 (Spring Equinox) - we expect a lot of daylight hours.

My plan is to update the trip report as I can during the cruise (depending upon free time and internet connectivity).

MVAN
MVAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2011, 11:25 AM   #2
sayhello
Have Camera, Will Travel
 
sayhello's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,290
DISboards Moderator

Very cool! I'm really looking forward to reading what you think of the ABD add-on. It was really fabulous on the Med cruise, and it sounds like they have some great excursions planned for you guys!

Sayhello
__________________
Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)
sayhello is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 06-11-2011, 01:55 PM   #3
kgsmith
DIS Veteran
 
kgsmith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Maryland
Posts: 640

This is great! I look forward to reading about your trip with the ABD add-on. We are doing the add-on on the August 16 cruise.

Have a great trip next week!
__________________
Karen DH DS(12)



kgsmith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2011, 09:23 PM   #4
disneymath
DIS Veteran
 
disneymath's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Northern Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,413

I too can't wait to hear about your trip ... especially the ABD portion!
(I also booked my cruise the first day it became available to DCL newbies! Added the ABD pretty much the day it became available too.)

I'm booked on the Aug. 16th cruise as well. (Hi Karen!)

PS Congrats on your first thread start ... I'm sure it's the start of many more to come!
__________________
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 online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 09:44 AM   #5
MVAN
Disney Cruise Fan
 
MVAN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Washington Metro Area
Posts: 36

Day 1 - Going to Vancouver

We left the East Coast very very early in the morning to fly to Vancouver via Chicago. We arrived in Vancouver a bit after Noon Pacific time. The Vancouver Airport was very nice with these Pacific Northwest scenes as you made your way from the gate to immigration. The lines were relatively short - about 4 - 5 people lines and we made our way through immigration to baggage claim. Our bags came fast and we made our way out of baggage claim to find the Disney representative. We had purchased transfers through Disney as well as booked the Fairmont Waterfront for one night through Disney. It was slow going from the airport to the hotel - although the bus driver provided continuous interesting narrative along the way. It was well over an hour from the airport to the hotel - but that was because the 6th game of the Stanley Cup playoffs were being played that night and all of Vancouver had come out in their hockey shirts to watch the game on the large screen televisions set up throughout downtown. In other words, it appeared that the entire city had come downtown to watch the game.

The Fairmont Waterfront was very nice - the rooms were large; the beds were really comfortable; and everything was clean and everyone was nice. I would note that the restaurant was very expensive. We were so hungry after we arrived (we were on East Coast time) that we went for a late lunch of hamburgers. Although the food was excellent, the bill was over $150 in Canadian dollars which means it was a bit more in American dollars. We had the same experience the next day at breakfast. The food was excellent but the prices were a shock. I would also note that there is a mall immediately downstairs from the hotel with an extensive food court as well as a lot of restaurants within easy walking distance of the hotel. We went for convenience of the hotel because we were all so tired after the long trip across the country.

For all of those staying at the Fairmont Waterfront - I would suggest visiting the 3rd floor. It has beautiful gardens, a swimming pool, and great views of the city. They also harvest honey on the 3rd floor. It is worth a visit.
MVAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 10:17 AM   #6
MVAN
Disney Cruise Fan
 
MVAN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Washington Metro Area
Posts: 36

Day 2 Boarding the Wonder

I am having a bit of trouble with posting these reports as the internet is slow and keeps bouncing me off as I have written something. So, I can going to try shorter posts to see if that works.

The Disney representative at the hotel had recommended that we start to board the ship around Noon. She explained that the security opened up around 10:30 - 11:00 but there was a mad dash and if you waited to Noon - the lines had disappeared - so we opted for that advice.

The weather that morning was cold and rainy. Many of the people we had talked to the previous day noted how they were still waiting for Spring in Vancouver and it had been cold throughout the past months. It was probably a bit colder where we were because the hotel is right on the water.

At 11:45, we check out of the hotel and walked literally across the street to the Wonder. The Disney representatives had pulled our bags from our hotel rooms at 10 AM that morning - so all we had to do was walk across the street - down a ramp - and we were in the cruise terminal. It couldn't have been easier.

Up to this time, we had no contact with the ABD representatives. That portion of the trip doesn't start until after you have checked in - so don't expect anything.

The Disney representative was right - we went through security, customs, and check in less than 30 minutes. Although the line for Castaway check in was longer than the first timers line - it went very quickly. So, by 12:30 we were through all of the processes - but we had been given the number 19 as our boarding group - and they had just boarded the number 12 group - so we had to wait another 40 minutes to actually board the ship.
MVAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 10:28 AM   #7
MVAN
Disney Cruise Fan
 
MVAN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Washington Metro Area
Posts: 36

Boarding the Wonder - Part II

While we were waiting to board, we did find the ABD representative and had a quick chat about the plans. After we boarded, we headed to Diversions to meet the other ABD representative who kindly watched our carry on bags while we made our way to the top of the ship for lunch. We were given little cards explaining the ABD activities. Apparently, this is how it works - you get a little card each day explaining what the ABD activities are planned. We were told that a case of water was being delivered to our staterooms courtesy of ABD and that there was a private reception after the Welcome Party on Deck 9.

At the ABD reception (very nice food as well as wine and the drink of the day) we met everyone else. There are 27 people in the ABD group - which includes about 9 kids (including the two with us). Again, we talked about our plans and the ABD folks noted that they downplay their presence while we are on ship - and take over when we are on land, although they are around should we need anything. They also told us that they would purchase the CD of any of the pictures that Disney took of us on board - another surprise and very nice perk.

After the reception we unpacked as we had the late dinner seating. We had requested a table for just our group of 4 - which we got - but found our table was next to the tables of the other ABDers in the dining room (we were in Animators Palate). It was nice and our two ABD representatives were actually right next to us - and we chit chatted across the table that evening.

Somehow we missed all of the shows that evening - the Welcome Party on top of the deck; the Welcome show in the Walt Disney Theatre - but three out of four of our group had seen them several times and we decided to low key it and just have a very relaxing evening. After dinner, we were quite tired an went back to our staterooms. Tomorrow - (or today) - a Day at Sea.
MVAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 12:10 PM   #8
sayhello
Have Camera, Will Travel
 
sayhello's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,290
DISboards Moderator

Yay! You're on your way to Alaska!!! Looking forward to more reports!

I was on one of the first ABD add-ons ever, and they told us to set up our own dining, as we wouldn't all be dining together. By the time I got to the cruise, they'd changed their minds, and seated everyone together. Except for me. I'd already linked my reservation for dining with a group of (fabulous!) folks from my DIS Meet thread. I think they finally settled on "make your own arrangements, but we'll seat you all in the same area". I think that's probably the best way to handle it.

I can't believe that you just walked across the street to the terminal! How cool is that. That has to make for the most stress-free embarkation ever!

Looking forward to more of your report. Is Robyn one of your Adventure Guides? She was one of our guides for the Med add-on. If so, say "Hi!" to her from Sayhello. She knows who I am (I *hope* she still remembers me!)

Sayhello
__________________
Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)
sayhello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 06:14 PM   #9
rav4lcrv
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Racine, Wisc., U.S.A.
Posts: 360

Alaska ADB

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.
__________________
disneyfix
rav4lcrv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2011, 06:46 PM   #10
CBEB
We're ready to do it again!
So far, we've managed to sprinkle lots of pixie dust
 
CBEB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Garland, TX
Posts: 372

Thanks for your report! Can't wait to hear about the ABD excursions! We're booked for the Alaska/ABD cruise 7/19
__________________
WDW 2002 Wilderness Lodge, DCL 2003 7-Day Eastern, DCL 2004 7-Day Eastern, DCL 2005 7-Day Western, DCL 2006 7-Day Western, WDW 2007 Caribbean Beach, DCL 2008 15-Day WB Repo, DCL 2009 7-Day Tortola, DCL 2011 5-Day DREAM, DCL/ABD 2011 7-Day Alaska, ABD/HKDL 2012 12-Day China, Aulani 2014
CBEB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2011, 02:40 PM   #11
MVAN
Disney Cruise Fan
 
MVAN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Washington Metro Area
Posts: 36

Day At Sea

At Sea Day
I have been having major internet issues on this entire cruise as have many other passengers. It is sporadic at best. I have been typing entire entries and then losing them before they are posted because the connection is lost. So, I have turned to writing the entries in a word document and then cutting pasting in homes that they get posted.

First, a bit about our group I think I reported we had 27 people in our groups and two guides – Landon and Kori. They alternate with two women guides through out the summer (I think 2 weeks on – and 2 weeks off). They are both very good and have had a lot of ABD experience. I understand the next group coming on board totals about 15 people. One of the best parts of ABD in my opinion on this cruise is the small group – everything we do is just our group and it is easy to get around and we have a lot of room.

But, back to the Day At Sea. A Day at Sea on the cruise with ABD is close to a regular day at sea with a few extras thrown in. The teenagers spent the day getting to know the ship and the grown ups relaxed. In the afternoon, we met up and got to spend an hour with the Park Ranger on board the Wonder during the Alaskan cruises. The ranger gives a number of talks on a variety of subjects such as bears and glaciers, but the ABD group got to spend an hour with him asking questions He was a very fascinating man who had a wealth of information on everything Alaska and it was a very worthwhile event….also there was a very nice buffet of munchies and all the smoothies you could drink.

The first day at sea is Formal Night on the Alaskan Cruise. ABD scheduled an adult dinner with wine tasting at Palos. It was sort of too bad we didn’t get to share it with the girls (who are 14 and therefore can not eat at Palos) so we got dressed up and ate at the early seating at Palos with the rest of the ABD Adults. The girls dressed up and ate at our late seating in Parrot Cay so we did get a chance to meet up with them after our dinner and have coffee and dessert with them. During the adult dinner, there is no alternative junior adventurer activity because of course there are all of the different children’s clubs.

Tomorrow – on to Tracey’s Arm.
MVAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2011, 03:02 PM   #12
MVAN
Disney Cruise Fan
 
MVAN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Washington Metro Area
Posts: 36

Tracey's Arm

Tracey Arm

The third day (and second full day) is spent cruising among the fjords making your way through the narrow channel called Tracey Arm until you reach close to the glacier. Most of the previous days have reported cold and chilly weather – but we had a beautiful sunny day. Up to this day, the weather was chilly – making seating outside in deck chairs only possible with blankets (although it didn’t seem to impact the kids in the heated swimming pools) – but Tracey Arm day – the clouds went away to reveal a wonderful sunny day. People kept telling us this was very unusual. We had heard that people camp out in the early morning in the deck chairs at the railing to “save” a spot for the Tracey Arm visit – and although a few families did that – I really didn’t notice an overwhelming number of saved spots. The weather was sweatshirt weather although there were people in short sleeves.

In the morning, there was an exclusive animation lesson for the ABD group It was great fun and everyone participated. There is a surprise at the end (which I can’t tell) but I know everyone will enjoy it. After the animation lesson, the rest of the day is free. We spent most of the time on our verandah watching the pristine beauty of Tracey’s Arm. I will warn you that you can’t get that close to actual glacier (at least we could not) because there are baby seals near it and the Captain can only go as far as the naturalist will allow them – but don’t worry – there are may more glaciers to see on the trip.

The only complaint I have – and believe me it is minor compared to the whole trip – is that I wish the ABD guides would have laid out the on ship board activities for ABD on the first day. The problem is that my friend and I scheduled several spa appointments and have had to change them and in some case cancel them because they conflicted with ABD activities. You don’t find out about the ABD activities until the night before – and it has been a bit of a nuisance. I had to cancel my long anticipated massage because it couldn’t be rescheduled and I wanted to attend the animation lesson.

All in all - another great day - beautiful weather - wonderful views - and fun activities.
MVAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2011, 06:36 PM   #13
sayhello
Have Camera, Will Travel
 
sayhello's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,290
DISboards Moderator

MVAN, thanks for the report so far! I agree, it would have been nice to know the onboard schedule ahead of time.

I'm really looking forward to hearing about your excursions!

Sayhello
__________________
Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)
sayhello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2011, 11:43 AM   #14
MVAN
Disney Cruise Fan
 
MVAN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Washington Metro Area
Posts: 36

Skagway

Skagway

Our first stop was Skagway – a small town in the middle of the mountains from the gold rush era. My friend and her daughter had been to Skagway before and they had been rock climbing, but had never gone beyond the town’s border. It is a quaint town with a population under 1,000 people which double in the summer for the tourist season. In the winter, there are only 4 stores open – including on grocery store, a gas station and a hardware store. But, in the summer, there are several blocks of tourist focus stores and several eating places.

It was an early morning - meeting at 7 AM – where we departed the ship. ABDers were picked up from the Wonder by several trolley cars driven by women in garb reminiscent of the gold rush era They drove us around the small town and gave us a history of Skagway. They then dropped us off at the Train Depot for our train up the White Pass Train to Fraiser British Columbia. Now, a number of excursions were on this same train – but ABD made it very special (as usual) by providing us with our own train car (so we had plenty of seating and ability to go outside and be on the platform as we wished); supplied coffee and hot chocolate and some delicious cranberry scones and blueberry muffins from a local bakery; and arranged our own tour guide in the ABD train car (the rest of the train cars had to share 2 additional guides). As we climbed the White Pass, the guide pointed out some very interesting sites filled with information about history and wildlife. It was a little over an hour – including crossing over the Canadian border. You could see the folks in the other train cars trying to figure out why we had both so much room as well as breakfast treats. And, we got a special souvenir hat from the train. You feel very special when you are on an ABD tour. By the top of the mountain – the snow appeared (not falling – just around) and it got a bit colder. This was one of the two places we used our scarfs and hats. The train stopped in Fraiser and set departed to get aboard our bus to the suspension bridge. The bridge is a replica of those bridges used by the gold rush to cross the dangerous mountain passes. I have a fear of heights – so did not walk across the bridge with the rapids below – which is fine – because the bridge actually leads to nowhere. There were some exhibits on the side of the bridge before you walk over it depicting various aspects of the gold rush.

After the suspension bridge, we reboarded our bus for the trip back down the White Pass (by highway) back across the US/Canada border. At the border, we stopped to take pictures of the Welcome to Alaska sign and enjoy the vista – and then we continued down the Pass to our next stop – the Jewel Gardens. The Gardens are the only certified organic show garden in the United States. The enthusiasm of the staff is catchy as they describe the flowers and vegetables they grown. We walked through the gardens enjoying the beautiful weather ….because for the second straight day we had sunny and not to cold weather. Every day they said rain and cold – and every day it was partly sunny and rather mild. As we traveled back down the mountain to the Jewel Gardens, it had gotten a bit warmer. Warmer meant a heavy sweatshirt – but that was all we needed.

After we toured the Gardens, we had lunch. It was a light lunch – salad, quiche, and soup with some rose tea – but after all of the shipboard eating – a light lunch was great. For the kids, there was mac and cheese – so they didn’t have to endured eating salad and quiche. After lunch, we were taken to an area of the gardens where they blow glass – and we were given a demonstration. There was an alternate activity for the younger kids. I found this demonstration very interesting and even though I have seen glass blowing on a variety of Caribbean Islands, I thought this demonstration was the best I had seen. At the end, another ABD surprise…….

After the gardens, we departed and went nearby to a place that was a replica of the gold panning experience. There was a talk by a person dressed up as a gold miner who talked a bit about the experience of gold mining and then we were taken to an area where we could practice a bit. Of course, everyone had a few gold flakes in their pans, which were collected in old plastic film canisters. WARNING – all of this is part of the tour of course – but when you go in to “weigh” your gold – there is a hard sell of taking the few gold flakes out of the plastic film canister and putting them in a small plastic ball to wear around your neck – of course this costs – and not a little bit We ended up buying two small plastic balls and necklaces with the gold in them for a whopping $80 dollars. Personally, I thought the whole gold panning replication more than a bit cheesy. My friend – who had done a gold panning tour in Juneau a number of years back noted that when she had done it – it was a lot more informative about the gold mining experience – and that the panning experience was drawn out more – and although there was a bit of a sell to upgrade your gold container in the end – it wasn’t like this place. In other words, she thought that this particular gold panning trip was really inferior to a previous one she had done. Having said all of this – when we were eating dinner back on the ship that night and we asked the girls what their favorite part of the day was – they talked about the panning for gold. So – go figure --- the fact they enjoyed it made it okay for us

After this very full day – we had the option of going back to the ship or spending some time in the town of Skagway – which we opted for – doing a bit of shopping. We felt like we had a chance to see quite a bit of the region. One of the advantages of ABD is that you really have about 3 shore excursions in one --- all of the time with private tour guides and special gifts. There are over 50 excursions listed for each port in Alaska and there is not way you could put together the day that ABD planned. Also, the small group – made it so much nicer to go from place to place – and really was effortless on our part. Tomorrow – Juneau.
MVAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2011, 12:00 PM   #15
pjc4925
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 62

Not being a tea drinker, we did not try any of the rose tea at Jewell Gardens. But anyone reading this must make a point to try the mint lemonade as well when you go.
pjc4925 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 05:22 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: