Trip Log Day 6: 9-Night Alaskan Cruise on Disney Wonder – Juneau

Trip log, day six. Juneau – the Capital City of the Last Frontier
9-Night Alaskan Cruise from Vancouver
July 29, 2017
Personal Navigator – Day 6

Wonder Stateroom Map Day 6 Juneau 20170729

It was a foggy arrival and is another typical morning for the family with less urgency than expected for today.

Wonder Gym Juneau Captain Fog

Originally, we booked a port adventure to Mendenhall Glacier for the afternoon. However, after we had the realization the previous day that we booked an expensive taxi, we tried to cancel it. However, at this point, we could only change to a different port adventure pending manager approval. We changed from JU11 to JU12, which is the same excursion to Mendenhall Glacier with the addition of the Mount Roberts Tramway. Our JU11 had a scheduled departure of 12:15 and we planned to be off the ship to explore Juneau on our own before having to return to the ship for the excursions. With the change to JU12, our excursion’s meet time was now 8:30am.

So far, so good. We are no longer in a rush to see everything and we are now avoiding an unnecessary trip back to the ship for what would have been our original excursion.Wonder Arrival Foggy Juneau

After breakfast in Cabanas, we returned to the stateroom to get our rain coats and day bags before heading down to the Walt Disney Theatre for our excursion. The morning weather was typical with misting spray and thick fog. In fact, the fog horns were blowing as we were docking. The berth was about a mile walk from shopping area and there was a shuttle to town for those who didn’t want to walk.

Bus To Mendenhall

We left the ship with our Port Adventure group of just less than 30 people and met our bus driver and guide, Robert. Robert has been a Juneau resident for over 20 years and had some great stories to share as he drove us through town on our way to Mendenhall Glacier.

Mendenhall Glacier You Are Here Map

This excursion gave us 90 minutes at Mendenhall. Knowing that we would not have enough time to walk all the trails and causally enjoy the beauty, we quickly prioritized our agenda.

Welcome To Mendenhall Glacier

One of the big boxes unchecked on our list of things we wanted to see on this trip were bears. We checked with the Ranger and she did not hear of any bear sightings yet this morning.

Mendenhall Glacier Steep Creek Trail

However, she confirmed Doug’s suggestion to take a trip down the Steep Creek Trail where we were pretty much guaranteed to see salmon, which we did. As we turned the corner on the boardwalk we saw it… Bear #25 – NIKKI, the bear Doug told us about during his nature talks earlier in the voyage. Prime viewing spots were gone and #25 was done. Short and sweet bear sighting…..or so we thought. As we continued down the boardwalk, Nicky appeared at the perfect time giving us an awesome view. This is going to be another one of those here is a boring photo with the promise of video when we get home.

Mendenhall Glacier Steep Creek Trail Bear 25 Nikki

For almost 10 minutes, she devoured a fresh salmon. We were so close we could smell the fish. It was amazing.

Thankfully, Nicky finished her snack and walked back into the woods. I say this because I could have stood there and watched her all day. Near the end of the trail we spotted a some salmon in the stream.Mendenhall Glacier Steep Creek Trail Salmon

We spotted signs for Wild Alaska Live being filmed and airing on the BBC and PBS. My mom said she has been watching the series – I hope to catch it on demand when we get home.

Mendenhall Glacier BBC PBS Wild Alaska Live

The clock was ticking and we still needed to see the glacier. The viewing area was not as crowed as I would have expected on a Saturday so it was rather easy to take a family photo.

Mendenhall Glacier Kiss Mendenhall Glacier Family Photo

Along the path we spotted a bald eagle high up in the trees.

Mendenhall Glacier Bald Eagle

We had just enough time left to walk Nugget trail OR take Photo Point trail & explore the visitors center and see the film. Taking the trail would have cut it extremely close and frankly we would have been walking it just to walk without any time to stop and enjoy anything of interest.

Mendenhall Glacier Nugget Falls

These time crunches are my biggest pet peeve with Disney’s port adventures. There is NEVER enough time to see it all, yet if you book with a third party or a just take a taxi, you can have all the time in the world. We were in port for 12 hours and we were only given 90 minutes for the glacier. To be clear, we knew this upfront so it was not a surprise. I’m just relaying that it is important to look at the port adventure description. We have already decided that when we return to Alaska, in Juneau, we will return to Mendenhall Glacier and take our own transportation there & back.

Mount Roberts Tramway

Upon returning to the Juneau port area, we were giving card to redeem for our Mount Roberts Tramway from our driver Robert — who was not related to Roberts of the mount. The tram ride up was really cool except for the fact you are packed in like sardines which prevents you from moving around the tram to see the different views going up. Obviously, this will vary based on when you get in line. One thing to note, your ticked is good all day and you can make multiple trips up and down if desired. Also, you can hike up the mountain and take the tram down for $10.

Once at the top of the mountain, we worked our way through the gift shop and restaurant to get to the trails. We learned the hard way that the direct path is to go straight down the stairs you can see when you exit the tram. Our first stop was to see Lady Baltimore, an adult bald eagle that was found shot in 2006.

Lady Baltimore Information

She is blind in one eye and is unable to fly do to trauma to her left wrist suffered from the incident. The Juneau Raptor Center looks after Lady Baltimore along with treating and rehabilitation wild birds in Southeastern Alaska. Sadly, due to Lady Baltimore’s injuries, she is unable to be returned to the wild. It was a bittersweet moment getting to see a Bald Eagle and at the same time learning about she came to be in this situation.

Lady Baltimore

The day started out on the edge of yucky, the rain was on the edge of annoying, especially for someone like me who wears glasses and takes photos. Anyway, we opted to hike a path at the top of Mount Roberts. The hike is defiantly not wheelchair friendly and was a bit slick in the rain. It was the Alpine Trail and was about 0.5 miles round trip.

Disney Wonder Mount Roberts

At one point along the hike, I heard this strange noise like a hive of bees. As I walked further I discovered it was a drone and spotted the pilot. Not 10 seconds later, the drone clipped a pine tree and tumbled out of control down the slope of Mount Roberts. I felt bad for the guy and his wife started to poke the proverbial bear, but he never took the bait. I told him about a trail that was closed off near said tree. The staff allowed him to go into the area at his own risk, but he determined it was too risky to get even with the GPS coordinates. Good news for him is that he was able to get the footage from the drone to his phone.

After some shopping in the gift shop, we took the tram back to the bottom and promptly headed over to Tracy’s King Crab Shack, which has been recommended to us on a number of occasions, including in the Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line.

Tracy's King Crab Shack

The line was out the door and did not really slow down. The way it works is that you order at the counter, then find a place to eat and they will call your name. The menu features crab and a daily special of other Alaskan seafood.

Tracy's King Crab Shack Menu

Well, today, they were fresh out of fresh catch resulting in a menu that was 100% crab entrees. I really didn’t mind because they had a bar with local Alaskan beers.

Tracy's Crab Shack House Pinot Gris 2015 Tracy's King Crab Shack Pleasure Town IPA

Emily and Isabelle each had a king crab leg while I sampled two of the local beers. Emily also enjoyed a wine made especially for the crab shack.

Tracy's King Crab Leg Tracy's King Crab Legs

Emily commented that this was without a doubt the best crab leg that she had every had. Isabelle enjoyed watching them cook the massive crab.

Red Dog Saloon Duck Fart Shot

We walked down the street to Red Dog Saloon so we could get two Duck Fart shots and lunch for me. I ordered a Ninilchik Wrap, which was an amazing wrap. The salmon was beer battered and packed with their coleslaw loaded into a tomato basil tortilla.

Red Dog Saloon Ninilchik Wrap

While in the Red Dog Saloon, my social media manager took it upon herself to extend the brand and add to her signature to the wall.

Red Dog Saloon Social Media Manager Red Dog Saloon DCL Blog Card

The timing was also right as we met up with a crew member (name withheld because I do not know if that person wants their name mentioned), who joined our table while we both ate our lunch. The girls stepped out to buy some fudge at the Alaska Fudge Co. (suggested by the Unofficial Guide) while we finished our lunch.

As we continued our walk around town, I spotted the Alaska Liquor Cache.

Alaska Liquor Cache

Emily and Isabelle had fudge for dessert so it would only seem logical that I investigate the Alaskan beer offerings. I was looking for a beer that I’ve yet to try in a port and one that is not available on the ship.

Alaskan Brewing Selection

By the way, the Disney Wonder does have nice selection of Alaskan Brewing Co beers available in bottles and draft. DCL’s current guest alcohol policy allows you to bring 2 bottles of wine or a 6 pack of beer on at embarkation and at each port of call. I found a 12-pack sampler that would have worked with Emily accounting for half of the box, but I’ve already tried two of the varieties.

Alasakan Brewing Hop Pack

Had it been earlier in the trip (say, at Ketchikan), I might have been bought this anyways. I decided to go with the Alaskan Hopothermia double IPA and it is awesome.

Alaskan Brewing Hopothermia

If the Wonder had this available on draft, I’d be all over the beer mug deal. Just a note, for the wine drinkers out there, the prices are NOT good. At all. Keep this in mind if this is something you are interested in.

Following up the beer purchase, we made our way to the Alaskan Brewing Co store. As we walked in, we were told the next brewery tour was leaving in 5 minutes. It was only $20, which included transportation to and from the brewery, and samples. My buddy Dave will be so disappointed as he told me I had to go to the brewery, but by this time of day, I was running out of steam after the gym, walking & hiking, even though the ship was in port until 7:45pm. I did pick up a shirt in the store for my first Alaskan cruise souvenir.

Alaskan Brewing Growlers

They also were selling this hilarious book.

Goodnight Brew

We poked our head in the Alaskan Hotel & Bar which celebrated it’s centennial anniversary in 2013. The place looked really cool. Without knowing much about the place, it would be a place I’d consider staying at in the future. I’m glad Emily remembered that my Dad told us to check it out.

Alaskan Hotel & Bar

The day ashore was coming to a close and we stopped in a few touristy souvenir shops were Isabelle picked up a few trinkets. We met up with our table mates as we were leaving the last shop. They were contemplating heading up the tram so we gave them our tickets from earlier in the day since they were good until the tram closed, but they too were ready to call it a day. The shuttle bus was waiting so we hitched a ride back to the ship.

It just so happened that the Pixar character meet & greets were underway when we go back onboard. We jumped into the nearly empty line for Sully.

Sullly Meet & Greet

We stopped in the Promenade Lounge to get Isabelle an Espresso Chiller and one of those fancy ice teas for Em on our way back to the stateroom.

Espresso Chiller

Since we ate lunch late, we were not hungry for dinner, which was the Vista menu. Instead of dinner, we attended the early Michael Harrison ventriloquism show in the Walt Disney Theatre. The show was very entertaining and captivating. I am already expecting to slice a tennis ball along the seam so Isabelle can stick on two googly eyes to make her first puppet.

Michael Harrison Comedy Show

Around 7:30, the Pixar Pals Party started in the atrium. The show runs about 25 minutes with many of the Pixar characters interacting with guests on deck 3 during the dance party. I have some video and I’m sorry for sounding like a broken record, but it will not be posted until after we get home.

Towards the end of the party, Em ran up to the Cove Cafe to grab a plate of parmesan cheese, crackers, and carrot & cucumber sticks for Isabelle to eat, as she knew that she would be hungry. I split off to go get some water from the drink station only to discover an amazing view on deck 10. By the time I returned, Isabelle was already in the Oceaneer Club. Emily & I used this opportunity to visit the Cadillac Lounge.

Cadillac Lounge Menu

One of the greatest discoveries is the Sommelier Bin in the lounge. For $10 you can pick from a white, red, or sparkling and the bartender will select a bottle for the server. It is really a win win. DCL avoids having to dispose of old wine and flat sparkling while we benefit with the savings. Emily jumped at the opportunity for a sparkling. The server presented Emily with the flute and almost immediately she was grinning from ear to ear. She was confident that it was a Taittinger Prestige Rośe, normally $19 a glass, and sure enough she was spot on!

Cadillac Lounge Taittinger Rośe

Em told our server that Taittinger was our favorite Champagne. The time came to cash out or double down. Em chose to double down and when it was presented to her our server said there is a funny story about his one… Bam! Em guessed it just by the smell. The second sparking from the sommelier bin was Taittinger Brut la Française, normally $16/glass!

Cadillac Lounge Taittinger

As I mentioned, the server cannot tell you what you will get as it depends on what is available in the ‘bin.’ With luck like this, we should consider a trip to Vegas. Currently, there is only 1 sparkling on the menu that is less than $10, the rest run up to $59 a glass so your odds are pretty good at scoring a deal on sparkling which has a shorter shelf life once opened. If you get the Chandon which is $9/glass, they will charge you the $9 vs. the sommelier bin price of $10.

Cadillac Lounge Sommiler Bin DEALS

I was running on empty and I think I fell asleep by 9PM.

Sunny Juneau Evening

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13 thoughts on “Trip Log Day 6: 9-Night Alaskan Cruise on Disney Wonder – Juneau

  1. David

    I cannot tell you how much I’m enjoying this series. We loved our Alaskan cruise a couple years ago and almost all I can think about is going again. I think this days report has settled the decision to go again in ’19. Thank you for so much great detail as always!

    Reply
  2. sarahstl2014

    Great update! We loved watching Alaska Live. My daughter was super excited to realize she’d been somewhere the Kratt brothers visited. (She’s 5.) I hope I get to go back so I can explore Juneau some more. There are so many things I didn’t get to see.

    Reply
  3. Tammi

    I’m surprised that you did a DCL excursion now that Isabelle is 10. It’s crazy that they make you pay adult prices for a 10 year old. My daughter is the same age and it drives me nuts so I am looking at non-DCL port adventures for all of our upcoming cruises.
    Just finished watching the final installment of Alaska Live last night. I was wondering if you would be in any spots where they were. You’ll probably enjoy watching it even more since you were/are just in Alaska.

    Reply
  4. Hannah

    Because I lived in Alaska, an Alaska cruise doesn’t interest me. However,…..it is so much fun to see your trip log. I used to take the ferry to Juneau. I’ve been to Mendenhall Glacier several times so it is fun to see, again. I think Alaska is totally magical, in it’s own way. When the sun comes out, it’s so beautiful that it makes the rain a bit easier to handle. Take in and enjoy every moment…and it looks like you are.

    Reply
  5. Kate

    When we were in Juneau last August we opted to take a taxi from where the cruise bus to town let us off to Mendenhall glacier. He gave us his cell phone number and we called him when we were done at the park. It was so awesome being able to leave whenever we wanted, I would highly recommend it. Since it is In the US our cell service worked just fine. I believe it was about $25-30 each way from downtown Juneau to the Mendenhall glacier. Hope this helps someone! Love love love your daily logs, thank you so much for taking us with you

    Reply
    1. Deann Fleming

      How many people in taxi? We go back for a 9 night cruise in 2018 have been to Mendenhall glacier but want to go back with our national park pass next trip. 3 will be in our party
      Your advice really helps

      Reply
  6. numberr2

    We’re going on the Alaska cruise in a month so this trip report came at exactly the right time! Love reading it and hope you got some good video.
    By any chance do you know if the Wonder is still offering the “Exotic Rasul” at the spa?

    Reply
  7. beth

    Awesome report! Thanks for the info on the Bin!! Definitely will be checking that out in Feb when I’m on the Wonder to complete my Grand Slam!!

    Reply
    1. JP

      Same! This is news for me too. I assume they have this on the Magic too? Is there something similar on the Dream/Fantasy?

      Reply
  8. Vishal Ailawadhi

    Hi Scott. Great report. Thanks for taking the time to share. I think Tom Bell from The Dis may have been on your cruise as well. Anyway, not sure if it’s just me, but when click on “Day 7,” it keeps pointing me back to the Day 6 page. Maybe a problem with the HTML coding? Again, thanks for the hard work!

    Reply

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