Alaska June 11-18, 2012 - Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by ehagerty, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. iloverags2

    iloverags2 DIS Veteran

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    Your glacier pictures are AMAZING! So incredibly beautiful - nature is just incredible. Wow!
     
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  3. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Ice

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    Seal, splashing
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    Eagle, evaluating seal

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    More ice

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    Sense of place

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    Even the iceberg "calves" are calving (breaking in pieces)

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    Eagle, making off with his "prize" - a seal placenta (protein is protein!)

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    Calving splash

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  4. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Final view, as we are departing - the sun finally breaks through

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    Sense of place

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    Departing, looking back

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  5. jenf22

    jenf22 DIS Veteran

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    So beautiful!! Keep the pictures coming...

    I can't wait! :cool1::cool1:
     
  6. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    We had about 6 hours to enjoy Seattle between disembarking the Wonder, and all-aboard on our Amtrak ride to Essex Montana. What to do? Check it out!

    Seattle Library - I am a very big fan of libraries, not so much modern buildings - BUT we stayed across the street last year and wanted to share it with the family - after it, there was much to see, and it was FREE!

    We took the elevator to the top floor, then started walking down the ramps. Each floor corresponded to it Dewey Decimal system number, and had side rooms for specialty topics, like maps, genealogy, etc.


    View from the top floor

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    DN taking picture of Grandpa reading his newspaper

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    Planning out next move from the library coffee shop

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    Departing - the sculpture-fountain out front

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    Back at Iver's for lunch - we stick with what grandpa likes!

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    Followed by a beer flight (and one shared shot of Talisker) at Pike's Brewery

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    Dad and youngest brother (of 6), between beer and coffee

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    ... this was almost certainly my dad's first and last cup of Starbucks, ss he really doesn't like to spend that much on a cup, nor support large corporations, but he participated, this once!


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    ... concluding our day in Seattle at the Amtrak station.....

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    Up next - Essex Montana
    - The Issac Walton Inn
    - Glacier National Park - Going to the Sun Road



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  7. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Both my parents and my brother (and his wife) have stayed here in the 90's. This led my brother to suggest that maybe we could get off the train for a couple of days to enjoy a "Going to the Sun" tour, which neither of them was able to enjoy in before (weather limitations).....

    You have your choice of staying at the Inn (next post) or one of a growing train car options, mostly cabooses.



    Getting off the train - the "station" is a whistle stop, where the Inn picks you up with a van
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    Our caboose - Montana Rail

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    The main bed - decorated in railroad demin and lithographs

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    DN6 looking out from the "upper bedroom" of the caboose

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    Vew from the upper "bedroom" - and my favorite, all-around family-photo

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    ...crossing the overpass (over the rails) - looking down at passing trains

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    ... view toward the Inn, from our caboose

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    You also have other "train car" choices - engines, honeymoon cabooses.


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  8. bellebud

    bellebud DIS Veteran

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    what a fantastic report! thank you for sharing!!

    Can you tell me more about your Amtrak trip? Dh and I were just discussing what we'll do next summer (I wanted to book and Adventures by Disney European trip, but he wants Alaska), then I stumbled on your report.

    He's not a fan of flying (he does it, he just hates it), and was very intrigued about the train. We once took Amtrak to Disney (from NY), and enjoyed it.

    We also have dd12 and ds11. I think they'd love Alaska.

    A cross-country train trip sounds really cool... was it???

    So you trained from NY to Washington, then got on the ship, correct? DH's eyes lit up when I said that's what I thought you did.

    thanks for any more details/info you can provide!
     
  9. tink too

    tink too DIS Veteran

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    Loved your photos - thanks for sharing.

    We're really looking forward to our Alaskan adventure next July now. :)
     
  10. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    We took the train - the "Lakeshore Limited" from Buffalo NY (sounds you are NY, NY) to Chicago, then changed trains to the "Empire Builder" from Chicago to Seattle, arriving the day before the cruise. Got a room on priceline overnight (details, in prior posts), then departed for cruise the following day. Once back from the cruise, we spent the day in Seattle, before reboarding the Empire Builder from Seattle (you don't need the overnight in Seattle going east - the cruise / train times line up well). Rather than go straight through home, we elected to get off in Essex Montana, and spend 2 nights at the Isaac Walton. I will let you judge from the pictures and remaining trip report whether this aligns with your interests, but we were very happy we did - weather happened to be perfect, too!

    If you have already done Amtrak, you pretty much know what to expect, in the way of accommodations, food, etc. If you enjoyed it, I don't see how you can go wrong with this basic outline of a plan. If you progress to seriously considering this type of trip, I could send you a sample of my worksheet - PM me!
     
  11. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Icon for the Great Northern Railway, and stained glass window in the restaurant.....

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    DN9 flexing her photo skills (she took this picture)

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    Waiting in the lobby during check-in

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    Recreation area in the basement

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    ..including a bar with a rail for a footrest

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    .. little bit of everything - the porch rail with the GNR icon, train going by, our "blue caboose" up on the hill...

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    .... and, because this is the disboards, my DB thought we should post a picture of these "Hidden Mickeys".....


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    Stay tuned - only about 500 more pictures to choose and post from!

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  12. Dixielady908

    Dixielady908 Grandma's Little Princess

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    your pictures are beautiful.....
    thanks for sharing and posting
     
  13. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Restaurant contained collection of train and Native American pictures...

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    Doors painted with local flowers

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    A model train, running around the perimeter

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    ... all, while watching real trains go by ... - here you can see a table inside the restaurant, the porch, the rails & train, and once again, up on the hill, our Blue Caboose!

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    We were also pleasantly surprised at the quality of food in the restaurant (apparently the new owners hired a chef from the Marriott chain in Arizona - of course, this can change at any time...)

    Heavenly Peak - dessert names after one of the peaks in Glacier National Park - chocolate crumb crust, huckleberry ice cream, meringue


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    Local Sausage plate appetizer

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    Halls are filled with old prints

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    ... and memorabilia


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  14. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    We walked the perimeter of the grounds - until they posted a notice that a grizzly had been spotted in the center of those grounds (we were leaving the next day anyway)


    The view, while walking

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    Watching the trains go by

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    More train cars being refurbished, located on the same side of the tracks as the Inn


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    My brother says this one has granite countertops...

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    The rail yards

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    DB - ever the (mechanical) engineer, explaining the elements of the machine


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    Lesson over, we practice our beam...

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    The railyard, in context

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    Working the line

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  15. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    ... as opposed to "The Boxcar Children" (anyone else remember that book?)


    The nieces and nephews....

    DS6 (Son of Home Alone) immediately saw the possibilities for entertainment - fortunately, cabooses are made of strong stuff, so, climb and hang all you want..


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    ..after a brief test of Auntie's authority ("Kevin, don't cross that line or we're going back to the caboose")

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    ... we went back to the caboose and took pictures, made popcorn, etc.


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    DN11 - well, I sent this picture to her dad with this caption

    "Future Bride of the Luckiest Man on Earth"

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    ... and I do believe that is true - however, in full disclosure, this is what you get when a sibling asks for a funny face

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    She thanked her dad many times for bringing her to the caboose, and was literally singing its praises (a song she made up) as we were departing...

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    DN9 - and my namesake - (Her mother said "Yes, she's a Hagerty" - not like it was a bad thing, just a fact) - was cheerful wherever we went. She was mostly waiting for the next card game (her degree of proficiency after just a couple of days was startling - haven't seen that since my mother taught my second-youngest brother to play pinochle (well) at age 4)

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    I would say that, she is "The Future Bride of the Luckiest Man on Earth who likes to be challenged" - yes, she's a Hagerty!


    Posting this picture of her from 5 years ago - one of my favorites!! - because, "a thing of beauty is a joy forever...."


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    In her hand-written thank you note to me (via USPS no less), she said "The trip would not have been as much fun without you." Ahhhhh!



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  16. cheryllarsen

    cheryllarsen Mouseketeer

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    omg thats beautiful! About a month until our Alaskan cruise!
     
  17. cheryllarsen

    cheryllarsen Mouseketeer

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    Reading these trip reports makes my wait almost unbearable!!
     
  18. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    We planned this layover and tour based on the recommendation of my co-planner, DB42. How to select 30-40, out of 315 (all excellent) that will represent the experience so that you can assess whether this is for you? Tough one!


    We selected a jammer tour (vintage 1930's touring car, offered by Glacier Park International - GPI), which picked us up at the Issac Walton, and whisked us off to Lake McDonald


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    Here, Gary, our tour guide, explains the geology of what we are looking at - terminal moraine (ground, small stone left by glaciers - basically, glacial debris), lateral moraine, etc.

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    Sidebar: Gary is a chemical engineer who retired from BP 5 years ago. He spends the off season teaching SCUBA in Aruba (like how that rhymes) and is an ongoing student of all things GNP. Besides being an excellent source of information, he was also extremely pleasant and helpful. At one of the stops, he pointed out some college students being trained to do what he does for the summer. All I could think was - how could they possibly compare to this guy!?! So, should you decide to take this tour, make sure you ask for Gary (car #91)!!​





    Of course, there are more physically challenging ways to see GNP - like bicycle...


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    ... however, being a multi-generational, multi-week moving family of fun, we chose jammers - here is a marker explaining jammers - you can't read it here (per se), but you can Google it for more information

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    Here is a side view of a jammer. It holds 14 passengers, with a roof that rolls back, weather permitting. Gary polishes car #91 while we are inside eating lunch (see him in the passenger window) .....

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    Inside the lodge at Lake McDonald​


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    Lobby decorations - Mountain Goat

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    Native American lampshade, stuffed animals

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    Behind the lodge

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    Lunch at the bar

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    My chicken crostini (not bad for $8)

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    Leaving Lake McDonald after lunch, Gary has rolled back the roof!

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  19. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Next stop, rapids

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    Now that the roof is rolled back, I can take pictures while moving

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    ... and already, we are trained to respond to a cue by Gary to re-board our jammer

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    ... Gary explains the origins of this unusual formation

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    ... as well as pointing out the various fires that have occurred

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    ... and so much spectacular scenary, that it was hard to retain it all - without a camera....
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  20. Disney owl

    Disney owl DIS Veteran

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    brilliant photos thanks for sharing them
     
  21. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Gary explained that it is OK to stand on these seats when the cars is parked - that they are "self-cleaning" - leaving us to deduce just how that occurs....

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    Glacier Bowl

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    This gives you some sense of the steepness of the grade that the ribbon of road follows. The fact that water is flowing in, through and around the rocks has destabilized the road somewhat, resulting in minor delays for work....

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    Rams - taken from moving car

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    As we start approaching higher elevations, we see residual snow...

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    The most challenging engineering feat...

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    Now we begin to see why this road was only opened June 18th for the first time this season - the snow you see has been carefully "bobcat-d" for safe passage...

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