Trip Log Day 7: 9-Night Alaskan Cruise on Disney Wonder – Skagway

Trip log, day seven. Skagway – the final port of call, but not the end of the cruise!
9-Night Alaskan Cruise from Vancouver
July 30, 2017
Personal Navigator – Day 7

Wonder Stateroom Map Day 7 Skagway 20170730

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.

Frozen Wonder Atrium

Wonder Gym Skagway

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.

Wonder Bow Skagway Pier

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 Featuring Exclusive Disney Character Experience (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.

Liarsville Gold Rush

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.

Liarsville Gold Rush Liarsville Gold Rush Liarsville Gold Rush Liarsville Gold Rush Liarsville Gold Rush

Liarsville Gold Rush Scavenger Hunt

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.

Liarsville Gold Rush

Liarsville Gold Rush 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.

Liarsville Gold Rush Scavenger Hunt Liarsville Gold Rush Scavenger Hunt

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.

Liarsville Gold Rush Scavenger Hunt Liarsville Gold Rush Scavenger Hunt Liarsville Gold Rush Scavenger Hunt

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.

Liarsville Gold Rush Gold Panning Liarsville Gold Rush Gold Panning

While we were panning, Chip and Dale appeared and did their best to help find the gold in the pans.

Liarsville Gold Rush Gold Panning Dale Liarsville Gold Rush Gold Panning Dale

Pro tip, Chip is the one with the his teeth in the center and a dark nose. The easy way to remember is chocolate chip, Chip.Liarsville Gold Rush

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.

Liarsville Gold Rush Donald Family Photo Liarsville Gold Rush Donald Isabelle

Liarsville Gold Rush

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.

Liarsville Gold Rush Salmon Bake Liarsville Gold Rush Salmon Bake Liarsville Gold Rush Salmon Bake Liarsville Gold Rush Salmon Bake Liarsville Gold Rush Salmon Bake

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.

Liarsville Gold Rush Salmon Bake

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.

White Pass Train Station Skagway

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).

White Pass Train Station Skagway

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.

White Pass Snow Plow

Just feet away from the snow plow you will find the Skagway Centennial Statue.

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.

White Pass Locomotive 195

Earlier in the cruise when I tweeted about Alaskan beers, it was suggested to us that we check out the Skagway Brewing Company.

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.Skagway Brewing Company Habanero Margarita

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.

Skagway Brewing Company Taps Skagway Brewing Company Beer Flight

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.

Red Onion Saloon Skagway

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.

Skagway ACE Hardware Seattle Superonics Backpack

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…….

Welcome To Skagway Sign

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.

Disney Wonder Skagway Harbor

Disney Wonder Regent Seven Seas Mariner Port Of Skagway

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.

Wonder Skagway Family Photo

Disney Wonder Isabelle Emily Skagway

Disney Wonder Skagway Sunny Afternoon

Disney Wonder Skagway Haines State Forest Disney Wonder Steamboat Willie Bow Skagway

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…

Skagway Maiden Call WallDCL’s is the best because I’m a bit biased in this case.

Skagway Maiden Call Wall Disney Wonder 2011

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.

Spider Man Family Photo

Black Widow Isabelle

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.

Marvel Super Hero Academy Signed 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.

Tiana's Place Sign Tiana's Place Scott Isabelle Louis

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.

Tiana's Place Mama Odie's Creamy Tomato Soup Tiana's Place Iceberg Wedge Tiana's Place 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.

Tiana's Place Cajun Spiced Sea Bass Tiana's Place Cajun Spiced Sea Bass SHELFISH FREE

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.

Tiana's Place Eudora's Artichoke Ravioli

Emily ordered the artichoke ravioli, which she said was delightful.

Tiana's Place Buttermilk Beignets

BEIGNETS TIME!!! It was so tempting to order seconds, but we successfully resisted. Emily ordered the bread pudding which was almost equally delicious.

Tiana's Place Mama Odie's Which Chocolate Bread Pudding Buttermi

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.

Tiana's Place Lighting Crawfish Crooners

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.

At the end of dinner, Ryan created some head pieces out of napkins.

Tiana's Place Napkin Rapunzel Hair

Isabelle was transformed into Rapunzel and Emily became Maleficent.

Tiana's Place Towel 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.

Wonder Freezing The Night Away Skagway

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.

Complete Trip Log Index

26 Replies to “Trip Log Day 7: 9-Night Alaskan Cruise on Disney Wonder – Skagway”

  1. Fernanda

    Your trip report is so enjoyable it has given me the final push to take the Alaska cruise. I was hesitant about taking my 3 under-12 kids on a cruise with no pool/beach time, but I see Isabelle seems to be having a great time. Our Eastern Caribbean cruise is coming up in a few days, and I think I will take advantage of the oportunity to book on board! Thank you for sharing your trip.

  2. BEn Leszczynski

    I believe on days the cruise ships are in, you have to book the train through the cruise line. I think general sales can be done on non-ship days and when not from a cruise. I did recall seeing it on the White Pass Train website. That probably explains the price difference.

    1. Todd H

      You are able to book directly through White Pass Railroad regardless of whether cruise ships are in. The two main differences are in the location you board the train, and whether you want to do something other than a direct round-trip. By booking through the cruise line, you will be able to take advantage of the dockside service and board the train on the pier alongside your ship. There are typically also options offered by the cruise line for returning via bike ride, adding on canoeing, etc. By booking direct, you board the train at the depot (between a quarter and a half mile from the ship), and come back directly from the summit.
      Fortunately, the price difference between the two options hasn’t been that much over the years–until you look at the children’s pricing most of the cruise ships try to charge.

    2. Scott Sanders Post author

      Ben, there were general visitors in Skagway buying train tickets in the station. I was just able to add tickets for 8/10 (when the Wonder is in port) to the cart on the White Pass website. It did mention there is limited seating available which suggests they do not block out all inventory to the cruise lines.

  3. Dave W.

    Don’t leave us hanging, what was wrong with the mac n cheese?

    The worst of DCL’s attraction blocking has to be the Sunnmøre museum at Alesund. They block it completely & try to charge you a fortune to meet Anna & Elsa there. Some of us just wanted to see some viking history, we had enough of Frozen long ago. It’s not small either.

  4. Daniel B

    We did an 8-day DCL Alaskan Cruise in May 2014. Prior to sailing, I did some research and cost comparison on booking shore excursions through DCL versus booking the very same excursion directly through the excursion company. I saved about $700 over the cruise avoiding DCL and booking directly. Many times were on the very same excursion as those who did book via DCL, but were not restricted by time limits. I would definitely recommend doing your homework and research prior.

  5. Sarah T

    Another great update. If we go back to Alaska while my daughter is still young, I think we might do liarsville. We did a full day nature and sled dog tour. It was amazing but I think she’d enjoy something a little different next time.

    Those napkin hats are quite impressive!

  6. James

    So – i have to ask a nieve question – are you able to swim on board? The weather looks quite cool, so we are wondering if you are able to enjoy the pools? Thanks

  7. Keith

    Awesome update. And having watched Gold Rush I am confidant your daughter was able to recover more gold than the Hauffman’s usual haul!

    I agree with Fernanda – I had hesitated on taking the kids on an Alaska cruise but seeing how much fun your daughter is having is changing my mind!

    What was the sea state while you guys were out there? From the pictures it looks pretty calm — not exactly “Deadliest Catch” style waves!

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      The seas were calm. Keep in mind, the Alaskan voyages are sailing the inside passage protected from the Pacific Ocean whereas the crabbers are out in the open Bearing Sea. Additionally, it was June, not the Fall/Winter crabbing season.

  8. Jenny Trahan

    The best trip reports are those that leave you just wishing you could go and experience it. This has had me seriously looking at Alaskan itineraries even though I’ve been hesitant in the past because we don’t do cold well coming from South Texas. It’s been a great journey with you, thanks for taking the time out of your vacation to keep us entertained. 🙂

    1. Deann Fleming

      We’re from San Antonio and have been on the Alaska cruise twice both times in May. We did ok 70s in Vancouver swam embarcation day just put your suit in carry on and enjoy while waiting to get into room.. had cold weather 50s in Skagway but just layer up, t-shirt long sleeve shirt water proof jacket with hood or cap. Lots

  9. JP

    Another option in this port . . . you can easily rent a car in town here and drive the Klondike highway. Its similar to the train route. You can take your time + its MUCH less expensive. We turned around at Emerald Lake but had plenty of time to go further if we wanted. Murray’s Guide is great as it points out what you can see along the way.

  10. Angela

    Loving your updates!!! We are on the August 28th Alaskan cruise (just over 3 weeks to go!!!) and Liarsville is the excursion we have booked for Skagway so I appreciate the info – and the tip to stay away from the mac n cheese! Our girls are 6 and 9 (she turns 9 a week before the cruise) so I think they will enjoy this. Can’t wait for the final installments!

    1. Deann Fleming

      You can also do free walking tours through the national park headquarters at 4th and Broadway. We did all 3 on are trip in May. But tickets are first come first serve but tous repeatedly throughout day and you don’t need a park pass to get them. Families with kids were in our groups

  11. Yuckster

    Your blog is the BEST Scott, the BEST! We did a short 4-day Nassau-less cruise on the Wonder in February and we are getting ready for an (only <;( 7 day) Alaska cruise later this month. Our plans in Skagway are a bit different (Non-DCL bus trip up to the Yukon with doggies not ducks and chipmunks), but will allow plenty of time to walk around the tourist-traps that the Inner Passage ports have become. So. Much. Fun!

  12. Laura Weber

    kudos to you for indulging your child’s fantasies. The highlight of our family trips is always when you see your child really engage with the new and unfamiliar site they can only see there. And with kids this age (mine are the same age as isabelle), it is that connection when they get to experience with their own eyes and hands something they have seen on tv or read about in a book. When we go on our southern caribbean trip in january, we’re going to take the ferry to Nevis from St. Kitts, just to see where Hamilton was born. good times!

  13. Megan

    Based on the picture of the stage – were you the only people in the restaurant? The other angle of you and your daughter shows other people in the background, but it looks like a rather light crowd!

  14. Mike Jensen

    Skagway Brewing Company was a great lunch after our white pass railroad expedition.. we were a bit late getting there for lunch but enjoyed it! The whole 9-day trip was amazing!

    We ended up doing a different gold panning event just north of the town paired with a sled dog exhibition and chance to see the new 5-week old puppies. One of the highlights of the trip for our 10 year old.

  15. Laura

    I have a general question about the Wonder. I’ve heard that the ceilings are lower on the 5th floor because that is where the kids’ clubs are and they want to make the little ones comfortable. That’s a great idea, but I booked my room on the 5th floor, thinking it would be convenient for the kids to go to the club whenever they wanted. Does that mean my stateroom has lower ceilings too? I’m only five feet tall so I don’t really care, but I’m thinking that would be a bit close when you drop down the bunk bed. Or is it just the ceiling in the hallways that is lower? thanks!


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