Skip to content

Disney Wonder Alaska Cruise recap

Sharing our thoughts on our Disney cruise experience to Alaska! We took the Disney Wonder from Vancouver to Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. I’ll share our full packing list in an upcoming post if you’re planning an Alaskan cruise!

Hi friends! Happy Monday. Hope your week is off to a great start! I’m finally sitting down and taking the time to write out our thoughts on the cruise. I have so much to say! I hope you’re ok with a super long post, but the TLDR version is that we absolutely loved our Disney cruise… and already booked another one. 😉

Our Alaska cruise experience on the Disney Wonder! This was our first Disney cruise and we're sharing all the details here. fitnessista.com

When we initially booked our cruise, I have to admit that Alaska wasn’t my #1 choice. I’ve never been on a cruise before, and I figured that my first one should be somewhere tropical or European. We booked our trip with my friend Betsy and her family, and she mentioned that so many people say Alaska is breathtaking and we should give it a try. Plus, it would give us the chance to be a little cold since Tucson would likely be scorching hot. So, we went for it!

Our Alaska cruise experience on the Disney Wonder! This was our first Disney cruise and we're sharing all the details here. fitnessista.com

We traveled to Vancouver and arrived a couple of days early just in case we got stuck on the way. (I highly recommend doing this, so you don’t miss the boat!) We had a blast in Vancouver, and then Monday afternoon, we boarded the ship to spend seven incredible days sightseeing, relaxing, enjoying family activities and eating so many delicious foods. We traveled with Betsy and her family, and had the best time with them! While the boat was sailing away from the dock, they had a party on the top deck with frozen cocktails, live performers and ice cream for the kiddos. 

Frozen party

In pure Disney fashion, everything was over the top: the dining, the performances, the activities, excursions, etc. I know Disney does it right and many people have told us once they did a Disney cruise, they never wanted to cruise with any other cruise lines. After experiencing it ourselves, I can completely see how that happens.

I tried to segment this post into blocks, so it wasn’t just one rambling Disney cruise rave, so here are some of the things that stood out:

Alaska cruiseAlaskan scenery:

The scenery was absolutely stunning. On either side of the boat, we could see vast forests, glaciers, bald eagles flying (!), whales, and icebergs. Titanic taught me that icebergs are bad, but we sailed through an entire garden of them, so there ya go. We had the opportunity to see landscape and wildlife that we’d otherwise never experience. Now that I’ve been able to experience the true beauty of Alaska, I’d love to visit again some day. 

Mendenhall glacier 2

Our Alaska cruise experience on the Disney Wonder! This was our first Disney cruise and we're sharing all the details here. fitnessista.com 
One of my favorite stops was the Mendenhall Glacier. It lightly drizzled as we hiked down to a beach, and the girls played with sticks and splashed in puddles while we watched herons fly overhead.

Mendenhall glacier 
(P refused to be in this photo because she was very busy gathering rocks) 

The Disney Cruise dining experience:

For Disney cruises, here’s how the dining works: you have reservations (either first seating at 5:45 or second seating, closer to 8) at the main restaurants each night. We sailed on the Wonder, so the main restaurants are Tiana’s, Triton’s, and Animator’s Palace. They have you on a rotation, so you can experience each of the restaurants, and you have the same server the entire time. We really got to know our main server, Pipa (the girls LOVED her) and she always knew what we wanted to drink and got the kiddos’ food served extremely fast. (I could always count on her for dinner recommendations, too, so many times I asked her what I should order and she chose the best stuff for me!)

TianasAt each restaurant, they had a different theme each night (a Mardi Gras night, Frozen-inspired menu, lobster night, etc.) and you could choose from various appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, and desserts. I was blown away by the variety they offered! On our specific cruise, they served over 10,000 meals per day, and the quality was outstanding.

Smoked salmon 
(Smoked salmon in some form in every single meal. YOLO)

You also don’t have to eat at the sit-down restaurants if you don’t want to! You can dine at one of the quick spots (Daisy’s De-lites serves salads, sandwiches, build-your-own bowls, fresh chopped fruit, and soups), Boiler Bites (hot dogs, mac n’ cheese, chicken tenders, fries, etc.), and Pinocchio’s (different types of pizza!), eat at the buffet (Cabana’s is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they have EVERYTHING) or you can get room service. All of this is included. They also had a “fancy” coffee shop on board for specialty drinks, called Cove Coffee, and a quick coffee shop where you could also get super healthy smoothies. A couple of times, I ordered a smoothie with almond milk, vegan chocolate protein, kale, spinach, cinnamon, and ice. The specialty drinks and coffees are extra (so is alcohol), but I didn’t find it to be super overpriced. My smoothies were $5 when they’d usually be around $9 at Whole Foods. 

Al mil latte

(Yes they totally put a Donald Duck on my decaf almond milk latte)

Mickey bar

(Living the Mickey bar life)

For most of the days we were there, we did breakfast at Cabana’s – it was so nice to wake up and eat without having to order anything or wait for food to be cooked – lunch at Daisy’s (the girls would usually get sandwiches, or pizza from Pinocchio’s, and a giant fruit platter) and dinner at the sit-down restaurant.

Dinner w p rose

W bests

Each of the sit-down restaurants had something magical about them. At Tiana’s, Tiana herself was actually there walking around (and the girl spoke exactly like her! She was wonderful) and live music, complete with a Louis crocodile playing the saxophone. Triton’s felt like the fanciest among the three (but you could still go in leggings and a Disney tee), and Animator’s Palace had Sorcerer Mickey one of the nights. They also gave us special placemats that we could draw people on, and they took the placemats from the entire restaurant and ANIMATED our drawings and had them dancing to a song on one of the many screens in the restaurant. It was so incredibly cool!

Animators

Entertainment on board:

They have full Broadway-style shows on board, including musicals, comedians, and musicians. We saw three live Disney shows on the ship, including the Golden Mickeys (my personal fave), Frozen, and Disney Dreams.

Frozen 
They also have two movie theaters playing different movies (including new releases!) all day. The Pilot and Liv saw Captain Marvel, the Pilot saw a late show of Avengers: Endgame one evening, and we all saw the new Aladdin movie as a family. They also have a movie screen on the top deck, where you can lounge on chairs with blankets and eat soft serve ice cream while you watch a show. The ice cream machine was a HUGE hit with the girls. You can literally walk up and make yourself a cone at any point during the day.

We may or may not have played every single Bingo round on the ship. We didn’t get the 7k prize but did win a Disney cruise picnic blanket in one of the raffles. 😉

We went to the gym pretty much every day! It was such a treat to work out together since that can rarely happen at home. We waited until after breakfast, so it wasn’t crowded, dropped the kiddos off at Kids Club, and got in a workout. 

Gym

Kids’ Club:

Kids Club was a game-changing experience. The girls absolutely loved it, and many nights after dinner, Liv was begging to go back! I felt like it was a perfect balance. The Pilot and I had a couple of hours together each day, and we still spent a ton of time together as a family. The girls usually went to Kids Club after breakfast while we worked out, and again in the late afternoon for an hour or so before dinner (usually while we played Bingo haha). 

They have three Kids Clubs on the Wonder: the nursery (for babies and toddlers who aren’t potty trained), and for older kids + potty trained over 3: the Oceaneer Lab, and the Oceaneer Club (which has a play structure inside). They also have a special area for teenagers (I think it’s called Edge). The kids can go from the Lab to the Club via a hallway, and they wear GPS Disney bands the entire trip. When they scanned our card to pick them up (you use one card for everything: to get into your room, to pay, to pick kids up), they can see on their screen exactly where your kids are. “Olivia and Penelope are in the Animator’s room on my left playing with hula hoops.” It was brilliant.

Characters often visited the Kids Club to play games and do activities with the kids. The girls saw Anna, Elsa, Stitch, the GI Joe guy from Toy Story, Captain Hook, and Belle, all in Kids Club. They baked cookies, did a Friendship Rocks show with Minnie and Mickey, had a luau party, and played so many fun games. We didn’t take advantage of this, but they’ll also feed your kids if they’re there during a meal! 

Room:

We went with the Deluxe Oceanview room, but for our next cruise, we’re getting a verandah since the difference is only a couple hundred dollars. This way, we can sit on the patio and drink wine after the girls are asleep.

Deluxe oceanview room disney wonder

We thought the couch was a regular pull-out bed for the girls to share, but turns out, it’s a bunk bed! Our Stateroom Host, Anissa, would transform it from couch to bunk beds every single day. 

Extra Disney touches:

There were definitely special Disney touches during the trip. Each night, we’d come back to the room, and during turndown service, Anissa would create towel animals and leave chocolates. One night, she completely changed the girls’ bedding to princess bedding, and they were STOKED.

Towel animals

Princess bedding

The app was also fantastic. You can only connect to it when you’re on the ship’s Wifi, and it enables you to see exactly what’s going on all day, receive messages and updates (like your child can asked to be picked up from Kid’s Club and they’ll send you a message), and texting with others on the ship, complete with Disney emojis. It was extremely helpful, especially as first-timers. I always knew what shows and entertainment were available and could scope out dinner menus in advance. They also had full deck layouts and the weather in each of our stops available in the app.

One night, I lost a diamond earring. I was getting dressed and dropped it, and heard it clank around the room. I spent about 20 minutes searching but couldn’t find it. I let guest services know, just so they would make sure no one went in and vacuumed. When we went back to the room after dinner, I saw Anissa in the hallway and she said, “Your earring is on the glass tray by the closet.” She totally went in and found it for me!

One of the guest service team members chose us as their “special family” during the trip. (I’m not quite sure how this works but I think they each randomly select a family to surprise with goodies). Each afternoon, we’d come into the room from the day’s adventures or excursions and treats would be waiting for us. There were muffins, cheese boards, and cupcakes. It was amazing.

Special treats

I was blown away by how many character greetings and events they had on the ship. The girls got to see maybe 4x the characters we see at the parks, with way shorter lines.

Girls w cinderella

They also had dance parties (like the Pixar Pals party) in the atrium that were a blast.

Gratuities: 

This was something I didn’t know a lot about, so I’m posting it here in case anyone is taking a Disney cruise! While you’re on the ship, you don’t pay many gratuities. (I would just pay an extra couple bucks here and there for specialty drinks.) At the end of your trip, they charge your account around $13.50 per person per day. They split this amount between the different people who take care of you and scale it accordingly. (Like our head server got more of this amount that the assistant server who only got our drinks.) They also leave little envelopes if you want to tip extra. This way, you can be sure to tip an additional amount to the people who went above and beyond (and found earrings for you, etc.).

I’ll do another post with the excursions we chose + my packing list in case anyone is planning a similar cruise!

Peace alaska

So, tell me friends: have you been on a cruise? What’s the #1 spot on your travel list?

xoxo

Gina

*This post isn’t sponsored in any way and we paid for all travel and accommodations. We used Costco Travel and highly recommend it! <3

Post Navigation:

20 Comments

  1. Janice O'Kane on June 10, 2019 at 8:41 am

    This sounds amazingly fantastic! I’ve never been one who wanted to go cruising, except maybe to Alaska! Now, I feel like I need to book a Disney cruise ASAP!

    • Fitnessista on June 10, 2019 at 1:39 pm

      yes, you would love it!!

  2. Jessie R on June 10, 2019 at 9:30 am

    I’m so glad you had an excellent time! We did an Alaskan cruise (not Disney though) a few years ago and I loved it as well! Such a beautiful state! My sister and I kayaked to the Mendenhall Glacier and it was amazing. It was 4th of July and a bald eagle flew over us, so magical <3. Love all the Disney touches!

    • Fitnessista on June 10, 2019 at 1:36 pm

      that is incredible! i loved all of the scenery and wildlife

  3. Nicole Kump on June 10, 2019 at 10:10 am

    This is a great summary of the ship! So glad you loved Disney, as I figured you would with your kids and you loving Disney World. We loved our Alaska cruise on Celebrity Solstice, but if we had kids, I’d have done Disney all the way! We are gonna do another cruis soon because it’s such a fun, easy way to travel. Where are you cruising next?

    • Fitnessista on June 10, 2019 at 1:33 pm

      thank you! yes, it was the best! we’re doing western Caribbean next 🙂
      hope you guys are doing well!

    • Brittany on June 10, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      Sounds amazing! Never thought I would like a cruise but this would be great for my little one! Do you get a lot of time off the ship to explore? What kinds of excursions did you guys do?

  4. Mary E Carter on June 10, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    We sailed the Wonder in the Caribbean in 2007 and just got back from a Disney Dream cruise there a few weeks ago. I like Royal Caribbean a lot, too, but Castaway Cay was something we wanted to see again.

  5. Kayla on June 10, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Sounds magical, but certainly not surprising from Disney. I’d love to go on a Disney cruise some day!

  6. ErikaMC on June 10, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    We took an Alaskan cruise about 10 years ago (not Disney) and it was amazing. I never thought I wanted to do a cruise but it really was wonderful. The scenery alone is worth it. My husband did a salmon fishing excursion and caught one that we got shipped home. We also did kayaking and some tours at different stops. Now I want to go back! Maybe even Disney this time since we now have 2 kids.

  7. s on June 10, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    this sounds like it was a great trip! that almond milk latte looks amazing.

  8. Sara on June 10, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    My oldest daughter is Ps age and I can’t wait to do this kind of thing with them. My youngest in only 18 months though, which feels a little young. Do you think P was a good age?

  9. Karen on June 10, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    I’m glad you all had a great time 🙂 I don’t have kids but I think it sounds like a great cruise to go on! How were you with sea sickness? I’ve never been on a cruise as I’m not that great on boats so not sure about doing one.

  10. Stephanie Woods on June 11, 2019 at 8:42 am

    Random question: did you have to pay for the bingo? We went on a cruise a while back and it was $20 per card per game. The games only lasted 5-10 minutes so it felt like such a waste!

    I’m not a huge cruise fan (I’ve been on 3 with 3 different lines) but this sounds amazing especially with little ones. I can’t wait to hear about your excursions! We are thinking we’ll take our kids to Disney in 2021 and I’m so excited! I plan to go back through your blog for any Disney trip tips ☺️

  11. Alex on June 11, 2019 at 10:33 am

    Hi Gina, I love your blog (been reading it for at least 8 years), I don’t know how to ask that question without appearing a bit frontal (also I’m not a born anglophone), but given the latest reports regarding the state of our planet, ocean pollution, species going extinct at a fast and very worrisome rate, I wonder if you took this into consideration/thought about it when choosing to take your family on a cruise. I’m not trying to pass judgement, I’m far from perfect myself. I just wonder, because I read this article the other day and it kept me awake all night https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/travel/traveling-climate-change.html
    My family and I live in Montreal and we fly once a year to France (where I’m from) or the uk (where my husband is from) to visit our families. The impact of that flight alone makes me sick to my stomach to the point of considering moving back to Europe so we can use trains to be with our families.
    Sorry for being the downer here, I hope my comment isn’t taken the wrong way. Your trip looks amazing 🙂

    • Fitnessista on June 13, 2019 at 2:16 pm

      hi alex,
      i’m so sorry i’m just now getting back to you! i completely agree that travel is impacting the climate and all of the living species on our planet. it’s really scary if you start to think about it, and often it makes me feel overwhelmed. at the same time, my husband flies planes, which use an exorbitant amount of fuel. i hope they’re able to create more sustainable flight options in the future.
      as far as the cruise goes, i didn’t consider the environmental impact of our trip until we were on the boat. and then i was like OMG what are we doing to the earth. thankfully, one of the channels on the ship had a streaming program about all of disney’s sustainability efforts, and many of them were apparent during the week we were there. for example, i didn’t see or use single-use plastic the entire time we were on board. they use real dishes and silverware for everything, and anything you bought on-the-go was on real dishes, or if you got a paper coffee cup, it could be recycled. they use paper straws on board. each trash can had 4 compartments for compost, plastic (which i’m assuming for plastic water bottles people bought or brought on board; we just filled our water bottles), paper, and trash. the channel said that they have a team that literally goes through the trash so it can be recycled. another cool thing they do is recycle cooking oil used on the ship for fuel.
      i did a little googling and came across an article, which explains more of their sustainability efforts. it definitely made me feel a bit better about the whole thing. my computer is being super weird and not letting me paste, but if you google “disney cruise sustainability” it’s the second option
      xoxo

  12. Lesley on June 11, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Thanks for the great recap! We are thinking about doing a Disney Cruise. My kids would only be about 2 years old (twins!). My concern is safety. I assume there are high railings high to prevent kids from falling overboard, but would love to get your thoughts on safety aspects of the ship.

  13. Vicki on June 13, 2019 at 6:47 am

    Hi Gina, I know this is on a different note but speaking of vacations, we are driving from Chicago to Orlando (have an event in Disney springs & visiting Universal) next week & since you seem to have been there a bunch was wondering if you might have some advuse regarding staying healthy=restaurants & eating options, yoga studios, etc, thanks!!

  14. adrianna on June 15, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    this looks like the most amazing trip! especially with the girls. how fun for you all 🙂 loved the recap!
    my brother is the only family member who has been to alaska, and he said it was beyond gorgeous, breath-taking, all the adjectives. he loved it, too!

  15. Jennifer on June 22, 2019 at 9:50 pm

    Finally getting around to reading this! Again, so stoked for our first cruise which is with Disney in August for our 10 year anniversary. Although we’d love to do the Alaskan cruise, we chose to do the Bahamian cruise since we are from ND and need a change in climate that we typically have 3/4 of the year. Good to know about the gratuities – I’ll have to mention that to my hubby. We are stoked to just be going on a cruise to Disney but also doing a couple’s massage and going to one of their adult only fancy restaurants – Remy. My husband wanted to make sure we do this right since we don’t go on these big, expensive vacations very often and he booked the extended veranda room for us on the back of the ship. We are already planning to just do room service for breakfast every day so we can enjoy it on our veranda. 🙂 Gotta live this up as when we go back, summer vacation is over and I go back to starting another school year teaching elementary music – our cruise is right before teacher’s go back and I actually need to flex my building work day to do it earlier in August. But it’s nice they let me flex that day. Loved reading these posts about your cruise!

Leave a Comment





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest