Plan the perfect Disney Alaska Cruise with this travel guide.
If an Alaskan Cruise is something that’s been on your travel bucket list, look no further than Disney Cruise Line for the perfect trip. Our 7 day adventure onboard the Disney Wonder to Alaska’s Inner Passage, was undeniably the trip of a lifetime. Onboard a wide range of activities for the whole family, swimming pools along with the famous Aquaduck, amazing dining and some incredible ports of call await for the trip you’ll never forget. This comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know about taking a Disney Alaska Cruise with tips, tricks to help you plan your own Alaskan adventure.
I was hosted as a guest of Disney Cruise Line onboard the Disney Wonder to Alaska. All opinions of this magical trip are my own.
This was my third Disney Cruise and my first Disney Alaska Cruise. I fall in love with cruising more and more each time we go. This was also my first cruise that lasted longer than three days, in fact I have to say 7 days is the perfect length cruise. With the 3 day cruises, I was just getting used to the ship and it was time to disembark. I felt like I had to cram all the shows and entertainment into those three days where on this cruise, I felt more relaxed. I had time to really enjoy the days without feeling rushed. I could savor things more. The kids had more time to get comfortable and make some friends. My next cruise will be minimum of 5-7 days for sure.
Typically, when I think of a cruise I think of sailing off in the Caribbean to some far away island. Truthfully, I never thought much about cruising to Alaska prior to this year. While Alaska has always been on my bucket list, when I found out that Disney Cruise Line cruised to Alaska, I just knew that one day I needed my family to experience this trip, this way. In fact, I knew I wanted it to happen within the next two years. So I added it to my vision board earlier this year and went about my merry way. When the invitation to sail with the Disney Wonder on a Disney Alaska Cruise came through, I knew it was a trip we had to make happen. After some frantic shuffling with my husband’s work schedule we worked it out and I immediately said yes. If I’m being honest, I said yes before I really knew that he would get the time off from work but who could say no to a Disney Alaska Cruise?! Thankfully it all worked out and he was easily able to switch some of his days off.
That gave me about two weeks to prepare for the trip of a lifetime. I read everything on the Disney Cruise Line website that I could. I joined several Facebook groups specifically for a Disney Alaska Cruise to figure out what to pack, what to wear, etc. The weather here in New Jersey was still in the 90s when I left so we were all rocking shorts. Trying to find jackets, gloves and all that gear proved a little hard since no stores had anything out yet. After cruising there were some things we definitely didn’t need and others I’m so glad I packed. You can read all about our packing must haves in a coming post.
There’s no shortage of Port Adventures on a Disney Alaska Cruise. In fact, there are 13 pages full of adventures you can book in the Disney Cruise Line Port Adventures guide I picked up onboard the cruise and you can view them all online too to make your planning easy.
Since we were traveling with a toddler, all our excursions were picked to be something the entire family could enjoy together.
Every excursion we went on was not only entertaining for my 4 year old but my teenage son had the time of his life. These were just a sampling of some of the amazing excursions you can book when you visit Alaska.
One thing I do recommend is booking them through Disney. Our seaplane excursion to the Taku Lodge ran into a little snafu on the way back. The winds picked up while we were enjoying the day at the lodge and we had to divert to the airport in Juneau versus the flight plane back through the mountains to the ship. Not too big of a deal especially since we got to fly by the Mendenhall Glacier on the way back. The only problem with all of this? We were going to well miss our all aboard time!
Que the panic. I wasn’t nervous about the winds and the turbulent ride back on this little 8 seater plane I was more worried about missing our time to get back on the ship! Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending though. Disney knew we were going to be late. They were in contact with the Taku Lodge and the flight director the entire time.
They knew we were being diverted to the airport and arranged for the shuttle to be brought in to take us from the airport back to the ship. Would this have happened if we had booked outside of Disney? I don’t know and it’s not something I want to find out.
While sometimes it sounds practical to save a little money and go the non-Disney route, a situation like this is a quick reminder that sometimes things, i.e. Mother Nature, has other plans but we were well taken care of, made it back to the ship only about 40 minutes late and still had plenty of time to see Endicott Arm later that day!
PORTS OF CALL
Our 7 day Disney Alaska cruise had 5 ports of call and 2 at sea days. Each day was an adventure itself and we really did some things on this trip that pushed our comfort levels (hello seaplane!). It completely ranks up there with one of the best trips we’ve ever taken. I’ve broken down each day of our 7-day cruise below and will be completing a trip recap for each day since there is just so much information to share.
DAY 1 – PORT OF VANCOUVER
We boarded the cruise at the Port of Vancouver. We flew in a day early and stayed at the The Fairmount Hotel Vancouver. A short twenty minute drive from the Vancouver airport, the hotel is located directly across the street from the cruise terminal making it easy to get there the morning of your cruise. Literally you just walk across the street. They even transport your bags to the ship for you. There’s also a Disney Cruise Line information desk right in the lobby that can help with any questions you may have before you board.
DAY 2 – SEA DAY
This was our first full day at sea and it gave us plenty of time to enjoy the Disney Wonder before our port adventures started.
DAY 3 – ICY STRAIT POINT
We started the morning with brunch at Palo, the adults only dining experience on the Disney Wonder. After brunch, it was time to disembark. Today we had a disembark time of 12:30pm and an all aboard time of 7:45 pm. The town of Hoonah is a lively fishing community known for some of the best whale watching in the state. The former logging town is also home to the world’s largest Tlingit village.
For our port adventure, we did the Whale and Marine Mammals Cruise. The description said they guaranteed a sight of killer and humpback whales and they made good on that promise! It was incredible. While we had a great view of the whales in the distance, I never exited this last minute show right before we started to head in. Just take a look at this amazing video. My husband had a front row seat to the action and got a great video of the whales. Breathtaking.
DAY 4 – SKAGWAY
This was one of our longest port days. We could debark at 7:15 am and the all aboard time wasn’t until 8pm. For our port adventure today, we were scheduled for the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp and Salmon Bake. While each port was great in their own right, this one had a little extra Disney magic thrown in.
At the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp, a special Disney character appearance takes place and makes for such a nice surprise. After a little show, we did our best to pan for gold. As we wear searching Chip ‘n Dale and Donald made surprise appearances.
Not only did they post for photos with the families, but Dale even came over to help Evie & Ryan search for gold. It was priceless. A little while later we saw him again and he grabbed Evie by the hand and led her over to roast some marshmallows. Priceless.
DAY 5 – JUNEAU
Today we could disembark as early as 6:00 am but our all aboard time was early today, at 12:30pm since we were scheduled to visit Tracy Arm from 2:30 -8:30 pm. Our port adventure in Juneau was the Enchanted Taku Glacier Lodge Flight and 5 Glacier Seaplane Discovery.
Now this girl who’s afraid of flying was a little freaked out at first but this was a trip of firsts so I knew I had to do it. When I tell you it was a life changing experience for me, it truly was.
DAY 6 – KETCHIKAN
We had an all ashore time of 11:15 and and didn’t have to be back on the ship by 7:45pm. On this day we were scheduled Wilderness Exploration and Crab Feast. If you have a never ending appetite for some delicious crabs, then this is a perfect excursion for you!
For a little extra fun, we were treated to a special Disney Cruise Line showing of The Lumberjack Show and it was great! I wasn’t sure it was something the kids would be too interested in, but they LOVED it and we did too! It was funny and a great way to wrap up the day before we headed back to the ship.
DAY 7 – AT SEA
This day was bittersweet. It was our second full day at sea as we made our way back to the Port of Vancouver. It gave us a chance to spend some more time on the ship to enjoy all the activities onboard before we had to head home on Monday. It was also the day we used to savor every last minute of our Disney Alaska Cruise before we went home.
ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT FOR YOUNGER KIDS
There are two options on board for kids as young as 6 months old all the way up to 12 years old.
IT’S A SMALL WORLD NURSERY
The It’s a Small World Nursery takes children as younger as 6 months old up to 3 years old. Reservations are needed and it’s booked on a first come first served basis. Each child is fitted with a band. If you’re familiar with the Magic Bands, it’s one of those and it’s fastened with a clip to make sure it doesn’t fall off while the child is in the care of the nursery. Staff here will follow the parent’s instructions when it comes to feeding, changing diapers, etc. They do crafts, have character visits and more to keep the littlest Disney fans engaged.
THE OCEANEER CLUB
For the older crowd, The Oceaneer Club & Lab awaits for them. Children must be between 3 – 12 and must be potty trained to use this facility. The Oceaneer Club takes up a large area on the 5th floor giving kids plenty of space to run around, play and just be a kid all with some magical surprises.
Some fun facts about The Oceaneers Club:
- There is approximately 1 counselor per 25 children
- Once the kids club reaches capacity, reservations will stop being made for families traveling with kids so they don’t have to turn away any families that want to utilize the kids space onboard
- Counselors from the kids club can come to the dining room to collect your kids after dinner and bring them to the kids club so parents can have some quiet time. *This needs to be arraigned with the club and head server.
- Open houses are held at different times so parents can see their kids in the kids club. This is the ONLY time parents will be allowed inside so make sure you take advantage of these open houses so you can see first hand all the fun.
I can tell you first hand just how amazing The Oceaneer Club is. Even for shy kids like my daughter. She’s 3 and home with me all day, every day and hasn’t ever really been away from us in a situation like this and truthfully I was worried she wouldn’t want to stay. We went to the first open house the day we boarded the ship to walk her around and see the club for ourselves. The minute she walked in and saw the Slinky Dog Slide, she was hooked. In fact, I couldn’t get her out of the open house until it was time for dinner. I’ve never seen her have so much fun.
The day we had brunch at Palo we took her back and I had to beg her to leave for our port adventure! It’s all she talked about on the ship. We’ve been home for a few weeks now and she still asks to go back!
ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT FOR TWEENS & TEENS
Think your tween or teen might be bored on a cruise ship? Think again! Disney Cruise Line created two unique spaces just for the tweens and teens, no parents or little brothers and sisters allowed. Kids can come and go as they please and it’s a great way for them to make some new friends and learn a little independence.
For the 11-14 year olds, there’s EDGE. Parents are not required to sign their kids in or out here or at Vibe the 14 & up club. Edge is located on Deck 9 on the Disney Wonder. Decorated with a 20,000 Leaguers Under the Sea theme, it has a fun, cool vibe and I can easily see why it’s so popular with the kids. At any given time, there’s a minimum of 2 counselors onsite.
Kids visiting edge can come and go up to the sports deck as well as the club. They can even bring food in as long as they sit at the bar area while they eat.
In addition to the video games and games around the club, they hold fun events like the Descendants DJ Spin Off and family trivia events. Parents can stay in touch with their kids via the stateroom wave phones.
Have a younger kid who really wants to go to Edge? Parents can sign a waiver for 10 & 11 year olds that want to attend.
For ages 14 & up there’s Vibe. Complete with it’s own exclusive entrance on Deck 11 and private elevator (only room keys of kids 14 & up can access it). Activities are listed on the daily navigators so kids can have a daily reminder of what’s going on and what time.
Vibe has a cool, laid back atmosphere for teens to hang out, play video games and just enjoy being a kid.
My 13 year old was eager to check out both clubs. While he spent much of his time at Edge, he loved both. He made friends, kept himself busy and most days I had to beg him to come join us at dinner! *Parents can sign a waiver to allow 13 year olds in Vibe if they want to.
DINING ONBOARD A DISNEY ALASKA CRUISE
There is no shortage of dining options onboard the Disney Wonder so be prepared to eat! Love seafood? You’re covered with delicious salmon, shrimp and even lobster dinners. More of a meat eater? You’ll love the steak and chicken dishes available on each night of your cruise. From causal dining to your nightly dinner rotation at one of the signature restaurants onboard, your taste buds will thank you after this cruise.
Cabana’s – Offering a buffet for breakfast and lunch and a sit-down dinner, Cabana’s is a great choice for families to start their day or looking for a different dinner option other than your main dining assignment. With gorgeous ocean views, you can enjoy a delicious dinner with an amazing view of scenic Alaska while dining here.
For breakfast theres a wide array of traditional breakfast foods like eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, french toast, and of course Mickey waffles. Cereal and oatmeal are also available for cereal eaters.
During breakfast one morning, Boo Boo Stewart, who plays Jay in Disney’s Descendants, actually sat right next to us. Now Evie LOVES those movies and recognized him before I did. She kept starring at him smiling and he even stopped by the table and to talk to her about her cereal. He was gracious enough to even take a photo with her as we were leaving. She was so excited.
Lunch has a variety of sandwiches, salads, soups, burgers, chicken, seafood, pizza and so much more. Traditional kid ,favorite likes Mac and cheese and chicken tenders are available too.
For dessert, there’s a delicious array of desserts for you to try.
My favorite was this Citrus Cheesecake. I couldn’t get enough!
Pinocchio’s Pizza, Daisy de Lites and Pete’s Boiler Bites also offer quick meals throughout the day when you’re feeling hungry. We were so stuffed from all our other meals that we never had a chance to try them out for ourselves but the offerings look so yummy!
The main dining is broken down into two seatings – the first which begins at 5:45 pm and the second seating which begins at 8 pm. Whatever seating you are assigned will be your time throughout your cruise. Since we have a toddler, I’ve always requested, and we’ve been given, the first seating. On the chance you’re not assigned the seating you want, once you board the ship you’ll have the chance to meet with the dining room manager to see if there is availability to switch to the other time slot. This needs to be done as soon as you board the ship as there is usually a specific dine the manage is available and there will be a list of people waiting to talk to them.
Depending on the length of your cruise, you’ll rotate through the 3 main dining rooms on board, Animator’s Palate, Triton’s and Tiana’s Place. On theme nights, you dining location that day will have a themed menu.
We loved dining here. You feel like part of the magic when you get to create your own character drawing and watch it come to life on the screens around the restaurant. While you dine, the screens throughout the restaurant celebrate the art of storytelling where you can see your favorite characters come to life, then you get a chance to see your own drawing come to life right on those same screens.
When you’re seated, you’ll have a drawing sheet at your seat where you can be an animator for the night. Once completed your waitress/waiter will collect them for the show later on that evening.
Animator’s Palace is also the location of the Character Breakfast which I cannot recommend enough! Even when we’re at the parks, most of our character experiences are through character dining. It’s one of the main reasons I always book the dining plan at Walt Disney World. This way we don’t have to wait in long lines in the Florida heat to see characters. I loved having the opportunity to schedule this on our cruise and enjoy a breakfast with Mickey and the gang!
Cruise Tip: Don’t fret if you can’t get a reservation online. Once you board the ship, visit guest services and see if they have any availability. They usually have some just for instances like this.
As a huge fan of The Princess and the Frog, I absolutely love this restaurant. The theming, menu of Southern cooking, live Jazz music and Princess Tiana herself, makes this unique dining experience one of the most memorable. You’ll even have a chance to meet Princess Tiana herself as she makes her way around the dining room for photos and autographs.
Triton’s take’s you “under the sea” in this restaurant inspired by everyone’s favorite mermaid – Ariel. The menu consists of American and French fare and has a more formal feel to it. Although there is no dress code, I use this night as our “dress up” night for a chance to wear something a little fancier.
PALO -ADULTS ONLY DINING
For adults looking for a more intimate dining experience there’s Palo. This adults-only dining experience is available to book for brunch and dinner where you can dine on delicious Northern Italian cuisine in a sophisticated atmosphere.
This cruise was the first time that I experience both the brunch offerings as well as dinner and both exceeded my expectations.
While you dine in Palo, you feel like you’re in another world. No distractions, just amazing food and beautiful views of the Alaskan wilderness.
There’s always the option of room service onboard the ship too. Maybe you want to order breakfast in bed or enjoy breakfast on the verandah, room service has got you covered. Truthfully, we were always so stuffed from our regular dining to take advantage of meal from room service but it’s nice to know it’s there. Our favorite way to enjoy it was through a delivery of cookies and milk or Mickey bars before bed!
SODA / DRINK STATION
While there is no charge for sodas during dinner, room service, the bars and lounges DO charge for drinks. To avoid those charges, there is a drink station on deck 9 where you can grab a soda or coffee. There are small cups available to use or you can bring your own water bottle onboard or refillable cup for coffee.
I can easily say this was definitely the trip of a lifetime and I don’t think I would have wanted to experience Alaska any other way than on a Disney Alaska Cruise.
From top notch entertainment and shows to exceptional food, our Disney Alaska Cruise is a trip we’ll never forget.
Have you been on a Disney Cruise? If you’re thinking of taking a Disney Alaska Cruise to Alaska or have any questions, I may not have answered leave them in the comments below or send me a message! I’d be happy to answer them for you!
Want to read more about our Disney Alaska Cruise onboard the Disney Wonder? Check out this Post!