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Disney Cruise Line sails into Alaska

Disney Cruise Line sails into Alaska

During its first-ever Alaskan itineraries in summer 2011, Disney Cruise Line invites families to explore the grandeur of America’s 49th state with a wide variety of fun and exciting Port Adventures.

In preparation for the four-month season of Alaska cruises, Disney Cruise Line worked directly with local tour operators to create a Signature Collection of family-friendly excursions that will entertain and inspire both adults and children amid Alaska’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

Departing from Vancouver, B.C., the Disney Wonder will sail a total of 18 seven-night cruises to Alaska beginning May 3, 2011, with stops in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. The last cruise of the season will depart Aug. 30.

Guests aboard the Alaska sailings will enjoy a hassle-free and fun-filled way to experience breathtaking vistas, native wildlife and the history and customs of native cultures. After each day’s adventures ashore, everyone will return to the comfort and amenities of the Disney Wonder.

Signature Collection tours are offered on every Disney Cruise Line itinerary and will be available during all seven-night Alaskan cruises in 2011. These exclusive Port Adventures are customized for families seeking deluxe experiences ashore in intimate settings. Highlights include:


The Disney Difference

In Skagway, guests will board motorcoaches for a tour through the city’s historic downtown area before arriving at the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp, which is nestled beside a waterfall at the foot of White Pass. At the camp, a cast of sourdoughs and dance hall girls will entertain guests with a hilarious puppet show inspired by the heady days of the Klondike gold rush and the tall tales told by prospectors who traveled to and from the treacherous pass. A fun scavenger hunt through the camp sets the stage for a gold-panning expedition joined by some beloved Disney characters, with everyone guaranteed to find the precious metal in every pan. Next, guests will gather around the campfire to roast marshmallows and pose for photos with the Disney characters, followed by an all-you-can-eat outdoor feast in the forest featuring wild Alaskan salmon freshly grilled over an alder wood fire.

Heritage and History

During an exclusive Ketchikan adventure, guests will learn about the flora and fauna of southeast Alaska while exploring Totem Bight State Park by nature trail. Next, guests will arrive at Potlatch Park, a re-created native settlement that features a tribal house and salmon smoke shack. Youth counselors from the ship will accompany children as they learn the art of totem carving from a native carver before painting a wooden feather that will be added to a special totem pole designed exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests. When complete, the totem pole will be raised and displayed publicly at the end of the season.

Several excursions in Ketchikan will include a visit to The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, a rollicking competition created especially for families that features some of the world’s top timber sport athletes going head-to-head for bragging rights and the title “Bull of the Woods.” Offering a historical look at the timber industry that helped shape Alaska, the one-hour show includes events such as chopping, sawing, log rolling, the death-defying speed climb and more, plus opportunities for a few Disney Cruise Line children to participate alongside the burly competitors in select events. After clapping and cheering for their teams, families can meet the lumberjacks for autographs and photos at the end of each rowdy show.

In Juneau, guests will board floatplanes for a 30-minute aerial voyage that includes breathtaking views of several glaciers before arriving at Taku Lodge, a remote outpost built in 1923 directly across from the picturesque Hole-In-The-Wall Glacier in the untouched Tongass National Forest. While at the rustic glacier lodge, guests will enjoy a meal of wild Alaska king salmon while entertained by tales of the lodge’s colorful past and characters such as Mary Joyce, a legendary adventurer who made a 1,000-mile dogsled journey from Juneau to Fairbanks in the 1930s. The experience concludes with a return flight to Juneau, past snow-capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, lush forests and deep blue crevasses of the Juneau Icefield.

Into the Wilderness

At an authentic fish camp in Ketchikan, guests will don Alaskan-style waterproof boots, bib overalls, a hooded jacket, hat and gloves before boarding open-air, 20-foot skiffs for an intimate angling experience led by a professional guide. During the exclusive derby-style competition, guests will drop a line in pursuit of rockfish, snapper, Pacific cod, halibut and the elusive salmon while enjoying occasional views of native seals, eagles, whales, birds, porpoises and possibly even bears. After three to four hours of fishing, guests will head to a cozy wilderness campsite where guides will judge the derby and award prizes for the first fish, longest fish, ugliest fish, and other fun categories. Afterward, guests will feast on a meal featuring the day’s catches, with options designed to please both kids and adults, plus rhubarb and blueberry bread pudding and steaming mugs of coffee or hot chocolate.

In Skagway, guests will board a vintage railroad car right at the ship’s pier for a narrated trip aboard the White Pass & Yukon Route, which climbs nearly 3,000 feet to the summit of White Pass over 20 miles of steep grades and cliff-hanging turns. Along the way, a tour guide will retrace the original route to the summit as the rail car passes Bridal Veil Falls, Inspiration Point and Dead Horse Gulch, and guests may catch a glimpse of the original Klondike Trail worn into the rocks by eager prospectors more than a century ago. During the return trip down the mountain, children can choose to ride in a private, kids-only car filled with sing-alongs, games, activities and stories of the gold rush. They’ll be joined by an exclusive Railroader Guide and youth counselors from the Disney Wonder. Meanwhile, the rest of the family will enjoy a toast of champagne or cider and receive a unique ornament to welcome them into the White Pass Summit Club.

From Juneau, teens will be accompanied by Disney Cruise Line youth counselors as they suit up for an exclusive glacier trek accessible only by turbine-powered helicopter. The 20-minute flight features breathtaking views of the Juneau Icefield and surrounding wilderness. After landing on the glacier, experienced guides will instruct guests in the proper use of mountaineering gear before setting off on a two-hour trek over rugged terrain filled with abundant opportunities for spectacular photos. A return trip by helicopter and a transfer to the ship brings guests back to the Disney Wonder.

A separate Juneau adventure exclusive to Disney Cruise Line, Glacier Dog Musher for a Day, takes guests by helicopter over the massive Juneau Icefield to one of the region’s awe-inspiring glaciers where they’ll meet the crew of Alaska Heli Mush and the sled dogs of the Iditarod. During the interactive experience, guests will tour the camp and explore behind-the-scenes areas including the kennel, cookhouse, living quarters and veterinary clinic before preparing a dog team for a day of mushing. Once the furry friends are fed, harnessed and cleared for the trail, mushers will take guests out on the snow-capped glacier for an unforgettable sled trip through the pristine wilderness.