My family just returned from a 7-night Alaskan cruise aboard the Disney Wonder with 5 nights in Vancouver tacked on to the beginning of our vacation. The only way to keep me from being sad about our trip being over is to write about it in detail to re-live the memories. In case you missed the first installments, see Trip Video and Hyatt Regency Vancouver Review, Texans in Alaska: Vancouver Part 1 (Arrival, Stanley Park, Sea to Sky Tour), Vancouver Part 2 (Capilano, Grouse Mountain and Vancouver Whale Watch) and Boarding the Disney Wonder to Alaska.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Today was our first full sea day on board the Disney Wonder. The ship would be sailing through the waters outside British Columbia all day, entering the waters of Alaska the next morning.
We managed to sleep in until 7 a.m. We headed to the buffet breakfast in Cabanas around 8:30 a.m. Krispy Kreme donuts were on the menu for the kids every day!
We marveled at the different view outside—mountains and trees so close to the ship!
My husband left us to go to the 9:00 a.m. spin class. The spin classes on the Disney ships are very popular. You have to sign up at 5:30 p.m. the night before, and usually the class fills up within a few minutes. My husband says the spin classes on the ships are better than any he’s been to at our local gym. The spin instructor during our trip was a man named Nemo who also happened to be very popular with the ladies due to his striking good looks and charming personality.
Anna’s Chocolate Chase Scavenger Hunt
After breakfast, the kids wanted to start Anna’s Chocolate Chase Scavenger Hunt. The sheet provided clues on where to go, and then we had to find a symbol from the Frozen movie at each location. It was fairly easy and provided us with a nice jaunt around the ship.
My husband joined us after the spin class, and I actually bowed out after a few questions to do something way more exciting….laundry! Nope, not exciting at all, but it had to be done. The laundry room on the second deck was very busy. I read in our stateroom while our laundry was in the machines.
After the kids finished Anna’s Chocolate Chase Scavenger Hunt, we dropped them off at the kids’ clubs where they would eat lunch and play for a few hours. My husband and I went back to our cabin to shower and change clothes for the next event.
We had a 12:00 p.m. reservation for Palo Brunch. Palo is the adults-only restaurant on the Disney Wonder and the other Disney Cruise Line ships. We have been to Palo for a “date night” on every cruise. Most of the time we go to Palo dinner, but for this cruise we didn’t want to miss any of the regular dinner menus, so we scheduled brunch instead.
Palo costs an additional $30 per person, but the cost is well worth it! When we entered, our waiter first gave us a tour of the buffet stations. This is not like the buffet in Cabanas at all. Only a few of each dish were set out, but the food is replenished frequently.
Take a look at the spread!
This was my first plate. The hummus was my absolute favorite!
In addition to the buffet, we could also order a main entrée off the menu. My husband had chicken parmesan, and I ordered a goat cheese pizza.
We barely had room for dessert, but they were small, so why not?!?!
I highly recommend Palo brunch. This was our third time having brunch there, and we usually schedule it around lunch time so that it takes the place of our lunch. Food quality and service are excellent!
After Palo brunch, we debated what to do. The kids really wanted to go to the pools, but there was a naturalist session at 2:00 p.m. on animals in Alaska. We feared our kids would be bored during the session, so we decided to leave them in the clubs a little longer and head right to the theater to watch it by ourselves.
The speaker was Pete Griffin, who has lived in Alaska for 25 years and is an expert on fish, animals, glaciers, etc. The theater was almost full!
The lights turned off, and he began his presentation. We were so full from eating that large brunch, and with the lights turned off, we just couldn’t stay awake! It’s not Pete’s fault; he was very knowledgeable. I don’t recommend sitting through one of these after Palo brunch.
Pool and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
After the naturalist presentation, we went to the clubs to pick up our younger kids (my oldest son was in and out of the Edge all day). They begged to go to the pools! We went back to our cabin to change.
My husband and I opted to stay out of the water and just keep an eye on our kids. The water was apparently heated very nicely, and they never complained about being cold. Lots of kids were enjoying the pools!
I walked to the other end of the deck to peek in on the adults-only pool, and not a single person was in it!
Soon, I had to take my daughter back to the cabin to change into her dress and dry her hair in preparation for her 4:00 p.m. appointment at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The Disney Wonder just got a BBB last year during her reimagining. It took us a while to find the boutique since it’s hidden on the upper deck.
My daughter got the crown package, which includes a hairstyle, makeup, nail polish and face gem. I think it’s a great deal for $64.95. We brought her own dress that we ordered on etsy (instead of purchasing one in the boutique).
My daughter looks forward to this every time! Who doesn’t love a bit of pampering, right?
I recommend picking an appointment time in the late afternoon before formal dinner night or before your princess gathering ticket time. Pool water will ruin the look, so going early in the day is not good.
Now that she was all decked out as Belle, we took our photo with Goofy in his tux while we waited for the rest of our family members to arrive.
Formal Dinner at Tiana’s Place
My husband and boys arrived in their suits, and we decided to take a family photo with Chip and Dale while we waited for Tiana’s Place to open. One thing I love about the character appearances is that they wear several different outfits throughout the cruise, so each photo with the same character can have multiple looks. On this cruise, the characters wore cruise line apparel, Alaska outfits and formal outfits.
Soon, we headed to have our first dinner in Tiana’s Place. This is a new restaurant that was created during the ship’s reimagining last year. The restaurant did not disappoint! Both the food and the ambiance were outstanding.
The atmosphere is very festive. The Crawfish Crooners play music on stage while Tiana and Louis (the alligator) roam around. Tiana went to the stage to sing a few songs, and she also roamed the dining room to stop at each table to chat and take photos.
My daughter was so excited to be dressed like a princess and meet Tiana! However, when Tiana was on our side of the dining room, she skipped our table. She was kind of zig-zagging through the tables so I thought she would get back to ours, but soon she was clear on the other side of the dining room.
I told our server that Tiana skipped our table. He alerted the head server, who in turn talked to Tiana’s “handler”. He told us to wait, and Tiana would stop by our table before she left for the night.
My husband and boys left the dining room around 7:15 p.m. to head to a show, but my daughter and I waited. Our tablemates said they saw Tiana leaving and our head server chasing after her. Our waiting paid off, and she visited us for a few minutes before departing the restaurant. We were grateful for our head waiter!
My husband and boys left dinner to see a ventriloquist show. After that, my older son went to the Edge and my husband and younger son went to the Buena Vista Theater to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
My daughter and I headed to the Walt Disney Theater to see the main show, The Golden Mickeys. I had seen this a few times before, but the performances are always so good that I don’t mind seeing them again. The Golden Mickeys is like a spoof on the Academy Awards, with a variety of songs and dances from Disney movies over the years.
We got there about 30 minutes early so that we could get seats towards the front of the theater. Tip: The first 6-8 rows of the theater really get the full effects used in the shows, which may include things like bubbles, snow and streamers.
Photos and videos are not allowed, so I can’t provide any more detail than that. I will say that when Tarzan appeared on stage in his loin cloth and ripped abs to swing from the “trees”, at least one woman yelled out a joyous “Woohoo!” We chuckled.
After our show and the boys’ movie, we tried to get the kids to bed. It’s hard to get them to bed when it’s 10:00 p.m. but it still looks light outside.
Up next: Tracy Arm, Alaska
For tips on how to use credit card rewards to pay for a cruise, see this post on How to Maximize Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard Bonus on Cruises.
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Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.