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, Vancouver Part 1 (Arrival, Stanley Park, Sea to Sky Tour), Vancouver Part 2 (Capilano, Grouse Mountain and Vancouver Whale Watch), Boarding the Disney Wonder to Alaska, Sea Day to Alaska , Tracy Arm, Dog Sledding in Skagway, Rainy Day in Juneau and Sunny Skies in Ketchikan.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Today was our last full day on board the Disney Wonder, sniff sniff. It also happened to be Father’s Day! Our normal chocolates were replaced by these Father’s Day chocolate coins:
There was also a Father’s Day dance in the lounge that evening, but we did not make it. (See the full navigator here).
After a quick breakfast at Cabanas, my family split up. The boys went to the clubs, my husband went to spin class and my daughter and I headed to meet the princesses.
Before the cruise, I could pick the day and time for the Princess Meet and Greet and the Frozen Meet and Greet. I love that we can now reserve these in advance so that we don’t have to wait in a long line. I chose the last sea day of our cruise because I didn’t want it to interfere with the hustle and bustle of activities that we normally do on our first few days on the ship.
At 9:00, we had a reservation with the Frozen characters in Animator’s Palate restaurant. We were the third family in line, so we didn’t wait very long.
Next, at 9:30, my daughter met Ariel, Tiana, Belle and Cinderella. I will be sad when she is too old to want to hang with the princesses!
The meet and greets went by so quickly, and my daughter wasn’t ready to get out of her fancy dress. So I did a photo shoot with her in various spots on deck.
Bears and Cars
I took my daughter back to the room to change and dropped her off at the Oceaneer Club so that I could attend another naturalist presentation. Doug Jones was going to speaking about Bears.
I’m so glad I went to his presentation! I learned a lot about bears, and he shared stories about his encounters with bears over many years living in Alaska. If Doug is speaking on your cruise, go!
After lunch, we picked up the kids and headed to the big theater to see Cars 3. I liked it so much better than Cars 2. Our oldest son stayed at the Edge since he saw it late on the premiere night.
After the movie, we walked around the deck. We were very close to land on all sides. The ship passed by lighthouses, and we were solidly in Canadian waters.
On the two classic ships, the Magic and the Wonder, the kids’ club performs the Friendship Rocks show on the last day. The show includes the kids (participation is voluntary), some counselors and Mickey and Minnie. This show is not available on the Dream and the Fantasy, but my kids have participated twice before on the Magic.
I desperately wanted my 9-year-old to participate in this show because I knew it would be his last opportunity. He will most definitely be in the Edge on our next cruise. However, I couldn’t persuade him. He just wanted to hang with his dudes.
Well, at least my daughter participated. The counselors break up the kids into ages, with the older kids being in the “lab” group and the younger ones being in the “club” group. The lab group went on stage first and sang a song, followed by the club group and the characters.
After the club group sang, we watched a photo slideshow of the kids having fun in the clubs all week. Sniff sniff. Then, both groups sang a final song with the characters. I don’t know why, but it was such an emotional, sentimental show for me.
Animation Show and Final Night
Our dinner rotation had us in Animator’s Palate for our final dinner. We would be in our favorite restaurant for our final meal.
Tonight was the animation show where the guests create the animation! We each got a placemat with guidelines on how to draw our character:
Then, toward the end of dinner, our drawings come to life on the screens! This was our third time doing this, but it never gets old.
After dinner, we dropped the kids at the clubs while my husband and I spent a few minutes packing. Oh, how I hate packing on the last night!
The last big evening show was Dreams. I’ve seen it twice before, but it’s so good that I was looking forward to seeing it again. The show has many classic Disney songs and characters in it, plus it’s a little sappy about a child growing up. Cue the tears.
I stopped by the Oceaneer Club to pick up my daughter because she said wanted to see the show with us. When I arrived, Pluto’s PJ Party was still going on. Pluto was there, and the cast member running the party was doing a really great job of getting all of the kids involved. I waited a few minutes, then tried to get my daughter to come with me to see the show.
She asked for just a few more minutes. I waited 5-10 more minutes, but she just couldn’t pull herself away. She was having was too much fun. That’s ok, I left here there, and my husband and I saw the show by ourselves.
After the Dreams show, we picked up the kids and headed to the Eye Scream station for ice cream cones one last time.
Debarkation and Vancouver Airport
I couldn’t believe that it was time to leave the Disney Wonder. What a week it had been!
Since we were in the early dinner group, we were supposed to meet our servers for an early breakfast at Animator’s Palate. But, on our last few cruises we learned that we really don’t have to get up that early for breakfast (6:45 or 7:00 a.m. scheduled time). The breakfast buffet in Cabanas is open on the last morning, although it’s not advertised.
We were able to sleep in for an extra hour, and we went to Cabanas at 8:00 a.m. You can see the tired and depressed look on everyone’s faces:
Normally, when we sail out of Port Canaveral, we can just walk off the ship after breakfast, claim our luggage and walk through customs. However, the cruise terminal in Vancouver was not quite the same. After breakfast, we had to wait for our Daisy group to be called. It was a much slower process. I believe we left the ship around 9:30 a.m.
When we got off the ship, I understand why it took so long. The area where luggage was picked up was much smaller than in Port Canaveral. Only one or two groups could fit in the area.
Once we debarked, we made it through customs in a short amount of time. We piled in two taxis and headed straight for the airport since we had a 1:00 p.m. flight. From the time we got off the ship until the time we were waiting at our gate, it was only one hour. Not bad!
I was thankful that the Vancouver airport had a great playground for kids! Many airports have little play areas for toddlers, but this one was geared for a wider age range.
Home Sweet Home
Our direct flight home was an uneventful 4-hour flight. Only one of our kids slept:
Since we didn’t book MileSAAver awards on AA but instead booked the AAnytime awards, we were in Main Cabin Extra seats at the front of the plane with more leg room. Our kids didn’t care, but my tall husband appreciated the extra room.
We landed around 7:00 p.m., and we were hungry for dinner. Since we had gone 12 days without Mexican food, a stop at Chuy’s was in order!
Final Thoughts, and our Future with DCL
Alaska was amazing! The scenery and the excursions are unbeatable. This cruise was so different from the Caribbean cruises we have taken in the past.
I’m really glad we splurged on Disney Cruise Line for this Alaska itinerary. The service and entertainment on DCL is unparalleled. Our kids were so happy and entertained the entire time. Happy kids = happy parents.It was worth every penny.
Before this cruise, I had been toying with the idea of booking a cruise on Royal Caribbean. But after this cruise, I can’t bring myself to do that for a while. Even though DCL is more expensive, I would rather cruise less often and save for it.
My youngest was only one year old when we went on our first Disney Cruise. I’ve watched my oldest transition from the Oceaneer Club to the Lab and then to the tween Edge. DCL truly caters to every age group.
We hope to cruise on Disney Cruise Line again in early to mid 2019. I guess we better start saving!
If you have any questions about our Alaska cruise, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thanks for following our trip!
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.