The early bird gets to the gym and on our way we saw that the atrium was ‘frozen over’ in preparation of the events later in the day.
Following breakfast, we had just enough time to grab our bags and head down to the Walt Disney Theatre to for our scheduled Port Adventure. There were two main things Isabelle wanted to do while in Alaska. First, she wanted to touch snow and secondly she want to “find more gold than the Hoffman’s” – The later only makes sense if you’ve watched the show Gold Rush on the Discovery Channel.
Well, we knew that touching snow would be a stretch in late July without an excursion to an ice field or something. However, Disney marketing wins again, and Isabelle wanted to pan for gold with Donald Duck, so we booked the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp & Salmon Bake (SW36) through DCL. This specific port adventure is one of those with an exclusive Disney character experience. This was a pretty full excursion spanning two coach busses.
The bus ride from the Railroad Dock to Liarsville was scenic and short, roughly ~20 minutes.
Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the Liarsville Players who invited everyone to look around and enjoy cookies, warm cider, and roast some marshmallows around the fire.
The Liarsville Players kicked off the experience with an acapela version of Over the Rainbow then led everyone into the Liarsville Hippodrome for an informational puppet show.
This is where I learned that if you are recording 4k video on an iPhone, you will quickly run out storage. Thankfully, I was offloading video to my laptop each night – I just failed to delete the videos from my iPhone. Oh well, lesson learned and I hope it keeps you from running into the same predicament in the future.
After the puppet show, we were placed in groups to go on a scavenger hunt around the camp to search for items the gold miners would have needed during the gold rush.
A few of the adults solved the clues well before we made it to the first location. The scavenger hunt is geared towards younger kids & Isabelle enjoyed it and that’s what counts.
Once each group finished the scavenger hunt, they were directed over to the gold panning troughs. Everyone received a pan with guaranteed pay dirt and a tiny zip lock bag for your riches.
While we were panning, Chip and Dale appeared and did their best to help find the gold in the pans.
Donald made an appearance and was stationed by a tiny, cute waterfall and creek for photos. A cast member was on hand to take photos with your own camera.
It was now time to move from the camp over to the picnic area for the salmon bake. The buffet included salmon caesar salad, coleslaw, Italian pasta salad, BBQ baked beans with reindeer sausage, chicken caesar chicken, and mac & cheese.
Over by the fire, they were grilling up salmon with a sweet brown sugar sauce. They also had cornbread, blueberry cake, and various beverages. Water, lemonade, hot tea & coffee were included. Soda & beer were available for purchase.
The salmon was incredible and I could not help myself… I went back for a second helping. I was really impressed with the lunch. Well, except for the mac & cheese which was interesting in a not so good way. I saw it on all the kids’ plates, but Isabelle turned her nose at it. I took one bite and I knew why.
Overall, the excursion was enjoyable. Isabelle is 10, and she did enjoy herself, but I would say that this excursion is geared towards kids in the 4-8 range. In true DCL excursion fashion, there was a sense of urgency and we would’ve enjoyed maybe 30-45 minutes more overall, giving us more time to pan for gold and explore the area a bit more. It did feel like we were herded from one area to the next. The Liarsville Players were all so very friendly & the area was super clean.
The excursion was nearing the end and it was time to return to the port. Our one suggestion would have been to give guests a choice to be dropped off in the downtown area versus being taken back to the ship. Granted, it was a short walk, but it would have saved time. Although, Emily noticed we were the only three people to exit our bus and walk towards town; everyone else seemed to return to the ship.
This was the portion of the day where we followed some the walking tour from the Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line and hit up some of shops & area attractions. The train is definitely big draw in Skagway and it was really cool to see it rolling into the station. Emily picked up a brochure and it is $125pp and kids 6-12 are half price, which is a big savings over DCL’s price. As you are probably aware, once kids hit age 10, they are in the adult pricing category.
The train is a 3-3.5 hour round trip tour. Isabelle was not interested in sitting on a train for that long. Maybe on a return trip we will consider taking the train up and biking back (which was one of the options).
Nearby the train station there were some neat things to see – there was an old Yukon Engine #52 and a rotary snowplow from 1899. The thing was huge and was capable of clearing snow off the tracks 12 feet deep.
Just feet away from the snow plow you will find the Skagway Centennial Statue.
We made our way down Broadway to 7th Street looking for a brewery, but we got distracted by the Skagway City Hall and museum. Behind the building we spotted an old train engine on an abandoned track.
Earlier in the cruise when I tweeted about Alaskan beers, it was suggested to us that we check out the Skagway Brewing Company.
The bar/restaurant was packed, but if you just wanted to get drinks you could either sit at the bar (if you were 21+), or in our case, we ordered from bar and sat out back on the patio. Emily ordered a margarita made with their house infused habanero tequila.
I opted for the beer flight and I like them all with the exception of the Boom Town Brown. The Spruce Tip Blonde came highly recommended on Twitter and did not disappoint, the flavor was unique and enjoyable.
While we were on the back patio, we met one of our readers, Sue, who was going to go on an horseback riding excursion later in the day.
After finishing our drinks, we started to walk back towards 1st street stopping in a few stores. Emily and Isabelle went into one store that I wasn’t interested in, so I started to wander down a side street where there were some totem poles and neat antiques stores. I’m not really into decorating with antiques, but I do enjoy looking in stores like this. Sometimes you can never escape the mouse, on a lower shelf there were some older Walt Disney World glasses from McDonalds.
We stopped in the hardware store because I spotted a Seattle Supersonics backpack in the window. They had about 10 and as I am writing this, I am wondering if I should have check the eBay prices for these bags.
We meandered all the way back to the railroad station where the ladies ducked into a souvenir store because Isabelle wanted to buy a hand-carved moose slingshot that she saw earlier. I am wondering how long it will take us to regret allowing that purchase…….
I kept walking towards the Broadway and Ore Docks and the Ferry terminal, where I was able to go out on the break wall to take pictures of the Disney Wonder. I did not see any signs, but I’m not one to venture into an area without checking to make sure it is ok after I saw a restricted access sign on the ferry dock. Just to be safe, I inquired with the staff at the ferry terminal. If when you visit Skagway and dock at the Railroad Dock, take the walk over to the Broadway dock for a nice view of the ship.
I met back up with the family and we stopped into the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Visitor Center. The Unofficial Guide mentioned a free movie, and the ranger working there invited us to watch is, as it was going to start in 2 minutes. However, today Spider-Man and Black Widow were meeting and this was on Isabelle’s ‘do not miss’ list. We didn’t want to press our luck, so we made our way back to the ship stopping to take some family photos with the Disney Wonder in the background.
Along the rock wall near the Railroad Dock you could see the autograph wall where crews have left their mark commemorating their first call to Skagway. The skull is the coolest overall, but…
Back on the ship, we tossed in two loads of laundry & got ready for semi-formal night early so that we could go to two very important back-to-back meet & greets – Spider-Man and Black Widow were meeting in the same spot one after another.
They were both awesome and took the time to interact with each and every guest in line. This may make the lines longer, but it is such a wonderful experience that the kids will defiantly remember. Plus, Isabelle was able to add two more autographs to her Captain America notebook.
Being that the ship was in port until 7:45pm, the lines were short for both of these characters. We noticed the following day the lines were crazy long.
Tonight’s dinner was in Tiana’s Place with the dinner show and Mardi Gras parade. We fell in love with the entire experience in February and could not wait to see it again. We started the evening with Mama Odie’s Creamy Tomato Soup, Iceberg Wedge, and the Ahi Tuna Tartare.
Our table mates were on a late port adventure, so it was just us at dinner. I think our server Ryan is staring to feel bad for pink slipping me each night due to my shellfish allergy, although Emily and Isabelle are getting a kick out of it. Without even asking he offered to have the sea bass made up without the shrimp, which was awesome! During our first dinner in Tiana’s, I was bummed as I love sea bass, but it is served with a shrimp jambalaya. For comparison, here are the two versions of the dish.
The first was Isabelle’s with the shrimp, and mine with a second serving of the sea bass without the shrimp. Turned out to be a lot of fish, but I appreciated the substitution for the shrimp.
Emily ordered the artichoke ravioli, which she said was delightful.
BEIGNETS TIME!!! It was so tempting to order seconds, but we successfully resisted. Emily ordered the bread pudding which was almost equally delicious.
The Crawfish Crooners did not seem to have as much enthusiasm as the they did in February. This could be partly to due to a different jazz band filling the role or this could have been a change in the overall show due to guest feedback.
As I mentioned earlier, we LOVED the dinner show when we first saw it on our cruise back in February, but something was different this evening, but I cannot seem to put my finger on it. While the bulk of the performance was ‘meh,’ the Mardi Gras parade harkened back to the energetic experience from February.
— Scott Sanders (@TheDCLBlog) July 31, 2017
At the end of dinner, Ryan created some head pieces out of napkins.
Isabelle was transformed into Rapunzel and Emily became Maleficent.
It takes a lot to embarrass her — I know, I do my best every day and this was nothing. She walked proudly around the ship to everyone’s enjoyment.
After dinner, we all went different directions. Emily returned to the room, Isabelle went to the clab, and I went up to deck 10 to see Freezing the Night Away with Anna, Elsa and Friends. The carefully timed to departure from Skagway show was sent for a loop when an emergency page sounded looking for a passenger. The performers finished the segment and took it all in stride picking up where they left off making the best out of an unexpected show stop. I’ve posted the show video here.
After the show, we all went to bed. Tomorrow would be Tracy Arm Fjord/Endicott Arm with viewing starting at 5AM. That is not a typo. You read it correctly. 5AM.