Alaska Excursions--post your reviews here!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by ClaireinTN, May 18, 2011.

  1. RedSox68

    RedSox68 DIS Veteran

    Mar 16, 2009
    Yikes, I itch just thinking about it (I have an allergy to them) :scared1: I'm curious as to when their "season" ends. Are they still around in September?
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  3. Deb in IA

    Deb in IA Knows that KIDS are better

    Aug 18, 1999
    We were on the same cruise as staxia, June 25 - July 2, and like her, we only had problems in Skagway.

    We did the City, Suspension Bridge and White Pass Railway tour.

    We called the Suspension Bridge stop the "mosquito-feeding stop". They were all over the place, thick and persistent.

    There were also quite a few IN the railway cars.

    And they were especially deadly. DS, who normally isn't too bothered by them, had a huge bite on his left hand, which swelled up so badly, his knuckles were completely gone!
  4. Skylarr29

    Skylarr29 <font color=blue>Oh Darn it, I was 'forced' to buy

    Oct 8, 2003
    yes, you can do this. :goodvibes
  5. scrapbooker79

    scrapbooker79 Earning My Ears

    Apr 10, 2012
    We did Grizzly Falls Ziplining in Skagway. Super fun. Never done it before. No complaints. I loved our guides, Brendan and Melissa. And my BIL left his jacket at camp and they even came back to the ship terminal that day and dropped it off for us!
  6. mgmcpa

    mgmcpa Disneyland Lover

    Oct 11, 2008
    Re: City bus to hatchery

    I emailed the hatchery and asked about it and they emailed me a one page PDF map of the bus stops, etc and confirmed that the city bus does stop about a quarter mile from the hatchery.

  7. girlpenguin

    girlpenguin Mouseketeer

    Nov 5, 2008
    We were on the July 9 sailing. We had an awesome time with great weather! Here's a quick synopsis of the excursions we took.

    Skagway: Yukon Bus Excursion (with 15-minute dog cart ride) and railway:
    We booked this privately through Chilkoot tours. I highly reccomend this trip. We opted to take the bus up and the train down. Our driver met us at the pier. Our shuttle bus held approximatley 25 people. The driver headed up the highway into the moutains, making frequent stops along the way at various scenic places. We then headed into the Yukon territory of Canada, where we stopped at the world's smallest dessert in Carcross, Emerald Lake (simply stunning), and then had lunch at Caribou Crossing, a cheesy little tourst town. But this is where we did the 15-minute dog cart ride, which was awesome! My daughter then got to pet the husky puppies and see some of the various other animals they had. We headed back to the train station and then took the White Pass Railway down the mountain back to Skagway. This was beautiful. The whole thing lasted about 7 hours and we saw so many spectacular things! The kids did get a little antsy the last 45 minutes or so of the train ride, but it had been a long day so I don't blame them.

    Juneau: Whale Watching with Harv & Marv: Juneau was the only day it rained on our whole cruise. And rain it did! But, that did not stop us from whale watching! Many of the flight-based excursions were cancelled this day so I was glad we had not booked those. Our driver took us by bus (about a 30 minute ride through Juneau) and then we arrived at the pier where our boat was waiting for us. We were a family of 6 and the boat fit us comfortably. We stayed in the inside section and we headed out right away and saw a pod of Orcas right off the bat, which is apparently unusual (they said they only see orcas once every 6 or 7 days). We also found humpbacks, and saw sea lions, eagles, salmon, a porpose, etc. It was very neat. My daughter loved it (she is 6). My 20-month-old fell asleep on the boat, but when she was awake she was excited too. We were out on the water about 3 hours, then the driver took us to Mendenhall Glacier. We were there about 30 minutes, then he picked us back up and took us into town. We wanted to eat at Tracy's Crab Shack, so we got dropped off in town and walked over to Tracy's (yum!!!!) then took a ship shuttle back to the boat. It was an awesome excursion!

    Ketchikan: Rain Forest hike, wildlife and raptor center: This was a walk through the rain forest. It was sunny in Ketchikan, which was very unusual! The bus ride took about 20 minutes, then we broke up into small groups and our guide took us out into the rain forest. This was advertised on the Disney site as a stroller-friendly trail and was open to small children. Well, unfortunately, my 20-month-old decided to have a meltdown in the middle of the tour, which was mortifying....and the guide did not make it better by telling me she was going to have to ask us to leave the tour since my daughter was "disturbing the rain forest." I was so stressed out trying to calm her down that I couldn't enjoy the tour. She did calm down shortly after that and we then headed to the raptor center where we saw an owl, bald eagle, and a totem pole carver, before the bus took us back to town. We got back more like 12:45 instead of 12:30, but they told us the ship wasn't actually going to leave until 1 p.m. so all was fine.

    Victoria: Butterfly House and Butchart Gardens: The bus ride took us through town on its way to the butterfly house. Took about 45 minutes to get there. The butterfly house is nice and we spent 45 minutes there, but I wish we could have just skipped it and gone straight to the gardens. We could have seen the whole butterfly house in 20 minutes so it seemed stupid to waste so much time there when the light was fading. We had about 1:15 minutes in the garden. It was simply amazing. Tip - head to the sunken gardens first, while there is still light. It was beautiful. Light started to fade pretty fast around 9:15, and it was pitch black by 10 p.m. when we left, but the gardens were lit up and it was pretty. It was a rush to get through them and I know we didn't see everything, but what we did see was so spectacular that I felt it was worth it. I'd rather be there for 1:15 vs. not get to see it at all, ya know?
  8. pudinhd

    pudinhd DIS Veteran

    Mar 6, 2007
    Many thanks to everyone for sharing their reviews! We have gathered a lot of helpful information!

    Right now we are planning on the Ocean Raft Nature Adventure in Skagway. I am wondering if anyone has done this excursion or another similar boating trip. We weren't planning on bringing our camera due to the type of excursion, but it says they will stop for picture taking. I am just wondering if anyone has any recommendations on whether or not to take the camera and how to keep it dry. Thank you!!!
  9. CruznLexi

    CruznLexi DIS Veteran

    Mar 20, 2005
    Has anyone done the Deadliest Catch tour? Going to Alaska next year. Would love to do it.i am Abigail fan of the show.
  10. jilljill

    jilljill <font color=blue>Collects Disney men!<br><font col

    Jan 21, 2003
    Post #386 on this thread has a review.
  11. LynneyPooh

    LynneyPooh Mouseketeer

    Feb 14, 2011
    Haven't done this excursion- but maybe I can help with some advice for your camera:

    Depending on the type of camera you have you may be able to buy a waterproof case. (Google your camera type and waterproof case). I have a canon powershot and have the best waterproof/underwater case for it. It was a great investment (and I personally thought the case we bought was a tad expensive; but now I have snorkled with it, carried it on the beach, by the pool in a resort, and anywhere water is/could be)- we've already more than got our money's worth...

    Also you can now buy waterproof digital camera's for around $100 or so if that's in your budget. If not then pick up a couple of the waterproof film camera's.

    Think of it this way, if you need help justifying a purchase: you're heading to a very rainy region, you're sure to get rained on, so it'll also help with that also. Also it's not really for a one time excursion; you'll have it for future vacations, pool days, beach, river days etc. Just a thought:goodvibes
  12. TweedleDee/Dum

    TweedleDee/Dum Mouseketeer

    Feb 16, 2010
    So glad to here that your family enjoyed the helicopter/dog sledding adventure in Juneau!!! We are leaving for our cruise on the 23rd and I have been feeling guilty for spending this much money on an excursion. Thank you for your post. I have a question... What did you wear? How cold were you?
  13. staxia

    staxia Mouseketeer

    Aug 15, 2010
    We did dogsledding/glacier out of Skagway, but either way it was WONDERFUL. It was the most awesome thing I've ever done. Actually, I probably would have been content with just the helicopter to the glacier, but the dogsledding was bonus!!

    My parents had gone 5 years ago on their 40th anniversary, so my brother and I HAD to go, too.. Never for a minute questioned the cost when we saw their videos. SO SO SO glad we did. DO NOT feel guilty in the LEAST!!

    We layered our clothes. I just wore jeans and sneakers, then a long sleeve t shirt, zip up hoodie and weather proof outer layer (the outside part of a 3 in 1). Then the give you a vest to wear, similar to the floatation device you'd use in an emergency on an airplane. I also had a beanie knit hat and gloves. AND SUNGLASSES!! you MUST have sunglasses. The place we went offered them if you forgot. The glacier is completely white and the sun bounces off the snow and blinds you!! All that to say, we ended up being overdressed... BUT-- that was only because the sun was out that day... It was almost warmer at the glacier than it was down at the office b/c the sun was reflecting and making things warmer! Most of the time that's not the case, however. They say the temp can be 15-20 degrees cooler up top.. It really sort of depends on the day, I guess. I totally could have been fine in a long sleeved shirt and a jacket to cut the wind and jeans.\

    I hope you have an absolute BLAST!!
  14. preedymtnwest

    preedymtnwest Mouseketeer

    Jun 29, 2008
    I agree with LynneyPooh about the camera case, but will add this option.

    We've purchased dive-worthy cases for our last two Canon point-and-shoots and have gotten amazing pictures and videos in Hawaii and even at Great Wolf Lodge. However, they're pretty spendy and bulky to pack.

    So, for our recent Adventures by Disney trip, where we were going to be kayaking on the Potomac River, we purchased a waterproof camera bag at REI instead - it ran about $35 (I think) and was MUCH easier to pack! :thumbsup2 It worked great during the kayaking trip. The clear bag is kind of "sticky" inside, which does help the camera stay put and not slide around, but we did have to play with it to come up with the best way to open the lens (if there wasn't enough air space in front of the camera, the lens would meet resistance and not open). We were glad we had it, just to protect the camera from splashes, and there were splashes! ::yes::

    I also bought a small version for my iPhone and used it on the kayak trip; the phone touch pad works great through the plastic and I was able to take some photos and post them soon after on Facebook. Both bags came with a lanyard and/or other attachment method so you can secure the camera and not worry about it getting away (although I think the camera bag promised floating if filled with enough air).

    Just another option; it really gave us peace of mind to not worry about getting the camera (and phone) wet!
  15. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

    Jan 17, 2002
    About 5 years ago I decided I was tired of spending big bucks for cruises and then taking a disposable camera on water/rough excursions. I purchased an Olympus waterproof/shockproof camera and have been very pleased with it for it's intended purpose.

    I have a Cannon Rebel T3i digital camera that I use for my primary picture taking. I've found no acceptable substitute for the shutter speed and picture quality of a SLR camera.

    The Olympus had the slow shutter responsiveness of any point and shoot camera but you can stuff it in your back pocket and go horseback riding, attach it to your life vest and go white water rafting, or take it to the beach and swim and have pretty darned decent digital photos and not worry about your 'expensive camera'.

    Here is a link to the newer version on Amazon. BTW it's half the price I paid.

    This one while pricier has excellent reviews. This is about what I paid 5 years ago for a lot less camera:

    As an aside - we were on an Adventures by Disney trip in 2009 and my Canon (older digital rebel) died :worried: - completely died - as we were about to hike in the Grand Tetons. Thank goodness for my little Olympus (that I brought for the rafting/horseback riding parts of the adventure) that became my ONLY camera for most of the trip. I now ALWAYS travel with both cameras. I would have been sick to have only disposable camera pics of such a wonderful trip.

    Hope this helps,
  16. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

    Apr 17, 2010
    Just wanted to add that there are several companies running buses (not just the MGT blue bus company).

    We walked up to the booths and asked which bus was leaving soon (i.e., already waiting). We still waited about 20 minutes for other riders, but I did not see the MGT bus the entire time while we were waiting. We took the "Glacier Shuttle," a white bus.

    The booth people also tried to sell roundtrip tickets and kept avoiding our question, which was whether you can pay $8 to the driver on the way back. The answer is YES. They don't take cash on the way there and will redirect you to the booths, but they will take cash on the way back.

    We did not buy roundtrip since we wanted to take whichever bus was available on the way back rather than waiting around for "our" bus had we purchased roundtrip tix.

    Hope this helps. :goodvibes
  17. algae

    algae Mouseketeer

    Jan 29, 2011
    Speaking of booths, here's a picture we snapped of the line of tour booths near the tram station. I think that's a HAL ship in the background.

  18. twopeasonepod

    twopeasonepod DIS Veteran

    Oct 19, 2010
    Must say that the Inn at the Market is a WONDERFUL place to stay pre- or post-cruise! We did the townhouse suite (upstairs master bedroom with bath). Was fabulous. Only complaint is that the bathroom is upstairs, but that was fine. Staff is super nice -- let us check in very early (before noon), check out late (our airport pick-up was 1:30 -- I bet they would've even let us stay later). You MUST go to the French restaurant at Pike Place (Maximilien).

    As for tours, we did the "3-Port for Families" package:

    Skagway -- WPRR with exclusive Disney activity. Totally awesome views. On the way back, our host (Brent) refilled our champagne (or Martinelli's) multiple times (and I even fell asleep haha) as the super cute and enthusiastic kid hosts took the kids to another car. P.S. Your kids will get pretty nice binoculars to keep, plus some other stuff. Big shopping opportunities for Tanzanite, apparently. My mom went to the talk on the ship, and Whitney recommended it. My mom bought earrings, which look great but yowza I couldn't pay that much!

    Juneau -- Best of Juneau (Mendenhall Glacier, Whale Watch, Salmon Bake). Glacier is great. Do the hike if you can. We did not, because it was raining/drizzling pretty steadily. But we did go to the photo point. And the movie is excellent. Whale Watch was my fave excursion. I love orcas, and we did see them. Apparently that is rare. Lots of humpbacks. And the food at the salmon bake was great. Fish caught in their waters. Very different from what we are used to. Store is cute with some good stuff to buy as souvenirs.

    Ketchikan -- Lumberjack Show and Potlatch Totem Park. Show was super cute. My son got to be in the first part and got a free axe. The guys are very friendly and super good with the kids. Potlatch Totems was amazing. So cool to see how they carve and to hear from the guy (well...kid -- I could be his mother haha) about how he learned from his grandfather. He also showed us around the museum with mostly his grandfather's stuff inside. Super awesome. The kids go and do an activity (painting a wooden feather) and they get a free mini totem (which is really nice btw). The stores are good, too. Shopping in Ketchikan was excellent IMO. Bought stuff at Cariloha, the Christmas store, and other little shops.
  19. twopeasonepod

    twopeasonepod DIS Veteran

    Oct 19, 2010
    Oh, also, we found A&P Towncar Service and got a limo on for $129. Great price. And we tried to book DCL ground transport too late so we were happy with this alternative. They were really really nice. And even tried to pick us up early since they were tracking our flight. Unfortunately, I typed in my number wrong and they were calling someone else in Hawaii at 4am haha.
  20. Calfan

    Calfan DIS Veteran

    Aug 31, 2009
    We are staying at the Inn at the Market for 3 nights before our upcoming cruise (in one of the townhouse suites). So glad to read your positive comments.
  21. ktalina

    ktalina Earning My Ears

    Jul 28, 2012
    Than you for reviewing and providing info on so many things!! We will be traveling next summer and we are deciding which excursions to take. So far we are sold on the glacier (although I'm terrified of heights) and the whale watching :)

    Will continue reading!

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