Disney Cruise Alaska 2023 & 2024 Guide: ESSENTIAL Tips For Your Cruise

The Alaska Disney Cruise is a once in a lifetime experience. The below cruise review and tips are based on our recent seven day Disney Cruise Line Alaska itinerary that sails from Vancouver to Alaska. This guide will continue to be updated to provide advice for the 2024 and 2023 Disney Cruise Alaska seasons.

Onboard our cruise we had family ranging in age from 20 to 80+. On the last night of our trip I got everyone together and we talked through all the Disney Cruise tips we should pass on. This guide is based on those insights.

With the below tips I hope to prepare you for your future Disney Alaska cruise and give you everything you need to know to plan. We’ll cover what month to book your cruise, an overview of the Disney Wonder ship, onboard activities, premium dining, what to pack for your cruise, Alaska Disney Cruise Line excursions, and more.

When to Take a Disney Cruise to Alaska

disney cruise vancouver to alaska

The Disney Cruise Line Alaskan sailings on the Disney Wonder occur throughout the summer “warm” months. The first 2023 Alaskan sailing begins on the May 15, 2023 and the last sailing ends on September 19, 2023. The first 2024 Alaska sailing begins on May 13, 2024 and the last sailing ends on September 23, 2024 (the Disney Cruise Line 2024 dates were announced here). The sailing stretch throughout the summer months in Alaska.

These are the key factors to consider for picking your Alaskan Disney Cruise dates:

  • When are kids in school? The May and September sailings will be less expensive and may even not be fully booked because kids will still be in school. Some of the same school discounting effects can be felt for the very beginning of June and very end of September as well. If you are not confined to summer school schedules, you may want to consider a sailing at the beginning or end of the Alaskan cruising season.
  • Weather? The later in the season you plan your cruise the higher the potential for rain during your trip. You can see on this Juneau, Alaska monthly climate averages that the average rainfall by month is double in September what it is in May. Even with that said, during our August trip we only had one real day of rain during our trip when we were in Ketchikan, Alaska. This port is actually one of the rainiest cities in the U.S. and receives nearly 235 days of percipitation per year. A weather note – most think of Alaska as cold. Throughout the summer months the temperatures do not get too low and during our sailing were about 60 degrees. Pretty comfortable when in pants. Some days we saw lots of sun and others we had light rain and wind. More in our packing list section.

You can view the currently available dates for Summer 2023 and Summer 2024 on the Disney Cruise Line website (Summer 2024 dates just released). After viewing the dates be sure to come back and request a FREE quote from our travel partner for your cruise. For a limited time Mickey Visit readers get up to a $400 onboard credit.

As you’ll see in the listings of available sailings, there are a range of length options for your trip…

Best Disney Cruise to Alaska – Which Length to Pick

disney fab five characters in alaskan outfits

Disney Cruise Line offers multiple Alaska itineraries that range from five to nine nights. Our recent Disney Cruise to Alaska was a seven night itinerary. The seven night Disney Alaska cruise is offered the most of any of the lengths of sailings.

The seven night cruise includes stops at Dawes Glacier; Juneau, Alaska; Skagway, Alaska; and Ketchikan, Alaska.

Here’s some more context on each of the destinations listed for the various lengths of cruise:

  • Juneau, Alaska is the state’s capital and the largest town that the ship stops in during the Alaskan cruise. The town has some noteworthy food options (see below for excursions) and was the closest that we got to any glacier.
  • Skagway, Alaska was the access point for the last gold rush. This old gold rush town is the jumping off point for excursions into the Yukon. Excursion options include a historic railway line with stunning vista views, helicopter tours, and tours of the old town.
  • Ketchikan, Alaska is the rainiest place in the world and features an old town built on stilts above a creek, salmon runs, Native American totem polls, and a lumberjack show. This port is the closest to Vancouver in Alaska and all Disney Alaskan Cruises stop here.
  • Dawes Glacier, Alaska is not a port but is a location that the boat pulls into for one day of all Alaska sailings. The boat enters the cove near the glacier and then rotates slow so that all sides of the boat get an angle of the glacier. There is an option for an excursion here to go out on a smaller boat that goes closer to the glacier. Though Dawes was scheduled as part of our itinerary, we actually didn’t stop here. Scroll down and read what happened in our Disney Cruise to Alaska tips section.
  • Sitka, Alaska was not a port that we visited during our seven night Disney Cruise sailing to Alaska but we heard the highlights revolve around the Russian history of the city (this was the capital of the territory when Alaska belonged to Russia) and the outdoor excursions which are similar to the excursions offered in the other ports.

Choosing Your Alaska Stateroom – Do you need a Verandah room for your Alaskan cruise?

verandah room view disney cruise line alaska

While we do outline each of the various stateroom options for all of the Disney Cruise Line ships in our general guide to the Disney Wonder, there is special reason to consider your room option carefully for the Disney Cruise to Alaska.

For many cruises you could take the same approach that we take for hotels near Disneyland – why pay for the room if you are going to be out of the room the entire trip exploring and having fun? You may want to reconsider this for an Alaskan cruise as the itineraries are longer and the outdoor spaces are colder due to the Alaskan weather. With our group’s age range for this trip (from 20 years old to 80+ years old), there was almost always someone in the room who wasn’t keen to be out exploring. We were very happy to have a Verandah room during our Alaskan Disney Cruise and enjoyed waking up to views and having the option to check out the view without having to get warmer clothes on and go up on deck.

There is plenty to do throughout the ship and plenty of spaces for lounging outside of your room but the Verandah was truly a highlight for our days at sea. Even for the days when we were coming into port, it was delightful to watch our approach from the comfort of our own balcony.

The room shown in the photos here is a Deluxe Verandah room. There is a queen bed and the couch the converts into twin sleeper.

How much does a 2024 and 2023 Alaskan Disney Cruise Cost?

The prices for the cruise vary dramatically by room type and date of sailing. We asked our travel partner to pull some sample pricing for 2023 cruises so that we could include them here for your reference.

For the seven night sailing that leaves May 22, 2023 for two people an interior room costs $3,574.94 and an exterior deluxe verandah 5C category room with an unobstructed view and regular balcony size costs $8,012.94.

Compare this to the seven night sailing that leaves on July 17, 2023 in the heart of the summer. For two people an interior room costs $4,708.94 while an exterior Deluxe Verandah 5C category room with an unobstructed view and regular balcony size $11,148.94.

The seven-night sailing that leaves on May 13, 2024 for two people in an interior room starts at $3,490 and an exterior verandah room starts at $6,347. The exact prices are not available yet as booking details are not yet open.

Again, 2024 follows the same trend as 2023 that the mid-summer period is more expensive with kids out of school and potentially better weather. On the seven night sailing starting on July 29, and inside room for two people starts at $4,623 and a verandah room starts at $8,851.

Again, as you are considering your Disney Cruise to Alaska, be sure to request a FREE Disney Cruise line vacation quote from our travel partner. When you book with our partner you’ll receive up to a $400 onboard credit.

Onboard Disney Cruise Line Programming

There are a variety of onboard Disney Cruise Line offerings to fill your days at sea and evenings. From lavish entertainment (see Disney Cruise Line entertainment section below) to educational programs to fitness offerings, there really are tons of ways to stay busy during the days at sea. Your Disney Cruise Line Personal Navigator app has information on all times for all activities onboard the ship. Make sure everyone in your party has downloaded the app before your departure.

Though we were onboard a unique Alaskan Disney Cruise (our trip was part of the Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise) we did still experience quite a bit of the normal programming that is offered by the Disney Cruise Line on a standard Alaskan cruise.

One of the highlights on the onboard programming was the educational nature presentations. All of the adults in our group attended all three of the talks given by the naturalist that was onboard. His three presentations were on the fjords and waterways, whales and water ways, and Alaskan bears and salmon. Each of the presentations was educational and added to our excursion experience by providing context on our trip on land. The programming was well put together and could be interesting to all ages. If you have a nature curious preteen and up, I would recommend bringing them along to the presentation. Other topics sometimes presented by the naturalist include information on the Klondike Gold Rush and Vancouver Life.

Some of the other offerings on the Alaska Disney Cruise on the Disney Wonder include:

  • The Art of the Theme Tour is a tour of the ship that focuses on the details and history built into the ship. You’ll find fun features in the carpet and hear stories on design details. I also always like to take the opportunity to connect with another Cast Member.
  • There is trivia with varying themes offered throughout the trip. Some themes include movie quotes trivia, Disney theme park trivia, sports trivia, and PIXAR trivia.
  • In the Buena Vista Theater (the smaller of the two theaters onboard the ship) there are a variety of the latest movies from Disney playing. During our 2022 sailing we saw Togo (story about an Alaskan sled dog), Thor: Love and Thunder, and Encanto. The list is always updated with the latest Disney movies that were released but there is usually a film that ties into the Alaskan cruise theme like Togo or Brother Bear that is always offered.
  • There is evening live music and entertainment available in the lounges. These offerings vary by cruise but we saw a lounge singer during our sailing. The songs are ones that you’ll know and performances have specific themes.
  • For an additional charge, you can join an alcohol tasting class or mixology class. These experiences do fill up so you should book them when they open for booking. See dates the varying dates that excursions and activities open to guests below.
  • Throughout your stay you’ll get to experience super fun folded towels and napkins. Each night when you return to your stateroom you’ll find a folded towel animal on the bed waiting for you. There is a class where you can learn how to fold your own napkin and towel animal.
  • For the musically excited, a night time karaoke and silent disco are offered.
  • Throughout the trip you’ll have lots of opportunity to join in playing BINGO. Be sure to check when there is presale of BINGO cards so that you don’t end up waiting in the queue when you arrive to play.
  • There is a very popular Match Your Mate game show where you and your significant other are challenged to see how well you know each other with trivia questions. This is a fan favorite!
  • There are activities for every interest onboard the Disney Cruise to Alaska – you’ll also find a cooking class demonstration and animation class.

The dates that guests can book onboard experiences (tastings, spa, nursery, Royal Court Tea), Alaskan excursions, and adult dining at Palo (details below) vary by sailing history with Disney Cruise Line. Once you have paid for your cruise in full, first time Disney Cruise Line guests can book 75 days before sail date, Silver Castaway Club members can book 90 days before sail date, Gold Castaway Club Members can book 105 days before, and Concierge Guests and Platinum Castaway Club Members can book 120 days before your sail date.

Alaska Disney Cruise Character Meet and Greets

disney character meet and greets

Throughout our Disney Cruise there were characters everywhere. The Disney meet and greet limitations for the Disney Cruise Line had been recently lifted and we experienced a completely normal character meet and greet experience onboard our cruise. Many times throughout our trip I would be walking from one activity to the next and bump into a character just wandering. Multiple times I saw Thor wandering the hallways looking for someone to engage with.

thor on disney wonder


All character meeting times are listed in the app. Our favorite character meet and greets were with the Disney fab five in their Alaskan outfits. For anyone excited about rare Disney meet and greets, these photos are super exciting. The best opportunity to take these photos comes on the Dawes Glacier day. On this day the characters will be up on the top deck outdoors so you can get an iconic Alaskan view in the background. I recommend arriving about fifteen minutes before the scheduled photo time to meet Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse up here. We started with Mickey Mouse and then jumped over to the line for Minnie Mouse. There were other times we saw opportunities to wait in line for characters (on the formal night the fab five is out in tuxedos) but were happy just to have these outdoor photos.

Don’t be afraid of a short line for a memorable photo with your favorite character.

Fitness Offerings Onboard the Disney Wonder

The fitness center and spa offers a number of scheduled workout classes. During our sailing there were complimentary offerings that included a mile walk around the ship and a morning yoga class. I opted to try one of the premium experiences and purchased the personal training experience. You could opt for a two pack or four pack of classes. There was a discount if you went with the four pack. I decided just do purchase the two pack as I wanted to workout some on my own during the trip as well. The cruise really flies by. I was glad that I only purchased the two day experience.

The gym is at the very front of the Disney Wonder and has a wide array of fitness machines. I typically like to start my workout with a run. I did this everyday except for one when the boat was moving a little too much for the treadmill and I opted for the stationary bicycle instead. The fitness center also has a nice locker room. I actually ended up showering in the locker everyday of our trip after our workout instead of using the shower in our stateroom.

In Skagway I went for a run off the ship. When facing the town from the port I ran to the left and found a foot bridge. Over the bridge there was a dirt trail with work out stations (pull up bars, sit up bench, etc) all along it. This was a great way to get off the ship and get a workout in outside before our excursion for the day. I ran about 3.5 miles here.

Disney Cruise Line Sense Spa and Salon Offerings

The Disney Wonder has a full spa offering onboard with a suite of services. The spa rooms have massive windows with sweeping views from the top of the ship.

Some of the offerings at the spa include a Rainforest aromatherapy room, steam room, and sauna. There are also comfortable locker rooms for changing before and after the treatment. As I mentioned above, I used the locker rooms throughout our cruise after the weight room even when not getting a treatment.

The spa is available for guests 18 and older and reservations can be made online or after 1 pm in person at the spa on the first day of your cruise. An 18% gratuity will be applied to all spa and fitness services.

If you are interested in a manicure or a pedicure, consider booking your time slot for the first day of your trip for stunning views of Vancouver as you sail away. There is also a rainforest room which features a steam room and relaxation area. You can pay for a day pass or pass for your entire trip.

Disney Wonder Cruise Kids Activities

There are kids clubs and activities for kids of all ages. There are five different areas on the ship designed to service kids from toddlers to teens.

There are five different lounge options: the “it’s a Small World” nursery, Disney’s Oceaneer Club, Oceaneer Lab, Edge, and Vibe. You can view all the various kid activities in the Disney Cruise Line app.

All of the kids clubs except the “it’s a Small World” nursery are included with the price of the cruise. The nursery is an additional fee and requires reservations.

On embarkation you and your child can tour the kids clubs together to calm any nerves. This is also when you’ll register your child for the club. You can also pre-register your child before the cruise here.

Keep in mind that kids are not fed by the kids clubs so even though your child will likely want to stay in the club all day you will have to grab them for meals. This is also something to keep in mind when booking any Palo reservation that may conflict with your child’s eating timing.

Disney Wonder Entertainment Available On Alaskan Cruise

During the cruise to Alaska there are a number of Broadway-caliber shows that are performed in the Walt Disney Theatre. The shows vary by sailing length. On nights when one of the Disney shows are not taking place in the theater, there will be some sort of variety show act performed.

The shows on the Disney Wonder are:

  • “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” is a full retelling of the Frozen story with huge musical acts that runs just over an hour. The production value is incredible, the musicians are very impressive, and Olaf was hilarious.
  • “The Golden Mickeys” is a musical medley show that features songs from Disney films of past and present. A story is also woven in between the musical acts that a stage manager is suddenly pushed into the spotlight when she has to host the show at the last minute. By the end of the show, the host realizes that anything is possible.
  • “Disney Dreams – An Enchanted Classic” is a musical medley show that pulls in classic Disney musical numbers when a young girl who is losing her belief in magic is visited in her dreams by characters from Disney classics and is helped along the way by Peter Pan and Tinker Bell.

Shows are typically performed twice nightly so that they are opposite your dinner seating. If you have a late dinner you’ll watch the earlier show and if you have an early dinner seating you’ll watch the later show.

deck party disney cruise line alaska frozen

There are also two deck shows that occur during the cruise:

  • The “Mickey’s Sail-A-Wave” party is a send off deck party with all of your favorite Disney characters that occurs right as the ship is pulling out of Vancouver. This show takes place in the mid-afternoon.
  • The “Freeze the Night Away” deck party is a Frozen themed deck party with your favorite songs and characters from Frozen. Snow comes down at the end of this show. The night of our deck party is truly was freezing and we were bundled up enjoying the entertainment on deck. This show takes place after both dinner seatings have been completed.

Choosing Your Disney Cruise Line Alaskan Excursions

ketchikan excursion creek street

There are a wide array of excursions for Disney Cruises to Alaska. Guests can opt for the most extravagant helicopter ride to dog sledding or just enjoy a leisurely walk around town. CAUTION – You will likely have sticker shock. Some excursions are hundreds of dollars per person. Remember that you are in Alaska for a once in a lifetime Disney Cruise. Be sure to budget for these excursions as you plan for your trip.

Disney Cruise Line sells excursions directly. For research sake I compared prices between the offering from Disney Cruise Line and booking some experiences on our own. The pricing was often the same or only slightly more when purchasing from Disney when I could find it. For many of the more upscale experiences, there was no clear way to find the offering directly online to comparison shop as the experience was curated specifically for the cruise line. There are always vendors just off the ship selling other excursion offerings but be warned that if you take a third party excursion and do not get back to the ship before the official departure time the ship will leave you behind. This warning and a very real story of passengers being left behind in Juneau, Alaska after their seaplane couldn’t fly back from the glacier due to lack of visibility scared us enough not to consider outside excursions.

When you purchase an excursion from Disney you’ll check in for the excursion in D-Lounge and then be escorted to the correct transportation by a Cast Member.

Here were our trip reports for each Alaskan port we experienced:

Skagway – The White Pass and Yukon Route Railway was about a three hour train loop up the trail to the Yukon gold rush. The experience was well put together though after about 2 hrs we wished that we were back at the base. You’ll follow the same route up and then back down. The train picks up directly at the ship.

railway yukon

We heard others who opted for a long hike, to rent a car and drive up into the Yukon (Skagway is the only port that we visited that is actually connected to the rest of the country by road), and taking an old town shuttle tour around the town itself. I would have loved to go on a long hike but due to others in our group with less mobility we opted to spend time together on the railway experience. This was a great way to see the sights and spend time together.

fried dough skagway must stop disney cruise vancouver to alaska

After our railway tour we still had a chance to walk around the town. We stopped at a Christmas shop and enjoyed chatting with the owners who turned out to spend winter in San Diego, California. We also enjoyed fried dough from the Klondike Doughboy. This is a must stop for your day in Skagway that you’ll find on one of the side streets. Finally, we watched a National Parks historical film on the “last gold rush” that lead to the original establishment of Skagway as the gateway for gold seekers to sail to before a treacherous journey over the mountain to the site where gold was discovered. I enjoyed the context that the film provided. The film can be found in the National Parks building at the end of the street closest to the cruise ship slips.

whale watching juneau

This is a screenshot of the video I captured of the whales coming right up near our boat. The photo doesn’t do the experience justice.

Juneau – At Juneau we participated in a whale watching and trip to the Mendenhall glacier. We were picked up by bus from the ship and then taken to a boat for the whale watching tour. We had whales get very close up to the ship and flip their tale. Just like the Pacific Life commercials! This was an excellent experience getting into nature.

disney cruise to alaska mendenhall glacier waterfall

After our long morning on the boat we got back on the bus and headed to the Mendenhall Glacier. All along the ride we had very fun narration from our bus driver who shared a look into what it is like living in Alaska. She was witty and provided a look into the actual life rather than just giving facts and figures. A real highlight! At the Mendenhall Glacier we walked out to the waterfall. They claim this walk is an hour roundtrip but it only took us 45 minutes and that includes at least 10 minutes talking photos at the waterfall. Our bus then dropped us off in the heart of Juneau and we walked through some of the shops and found lunch.

We opted to enjoy the fish tacos at Deckhand Dave’s. We debated going to Tracy’s Crab Shack but decided we didn’t want another large sit down meal for lunch. We were very happy with our pick to enjoy the tacos. After lunch we also found GREAT fudge from the Alaskan Fudge Company. Both great options!

Ketchikan – As I shared above, Ketchikan is one of the rainiest cities in the United States so it was raining during our day here. It rained on and off throughout the day and the sky was gray all day. The ship docks right in town. In the morning we walked through the various shops in town and I took a longer walk up the river beyond Creek Street. The amount of salmon floating peacefully in the river was astounding. There were hundreds just hanging out in the shallows. In the afternoon we enjoyed the Lumberjack Show. This is an activity you could easily purchase tickets directly from the venue if you wanted to.

lumberjack show alaska

There isn’t much of a savings for the headache of booking through an outside payment system but the option is there. The show was lots of fun. In the format of a US vs Canada competition, professional lumberjacks completed impressive stunts with their saws. The show also pulls in audience participation. We saw kids of the friends also on the trip get pulled in and have a great time participating. This experience is tons of fun for the entire family.

Fun Disneyland Fact – Did you know that in the summers of 1987 and 1988 there was a “State Fair” event that included a Log Rolling and Lumberjack Show? The show was found along the Rivers of America area.

alaska disney cruise hot chocolate excursion return

When you get back on the ship there’s always a Cast Member with hot chocolate and cookies ready to greet you.

For 2 of the 3 days in port we opted to return to the ship for lunch rather than sitting down at any of the restaurant in town. We enjoyed eating at Triton’s restaurant on the ship and appreciated the sit down service. After lunch we easily returned back into town for more exploring and some of our group opted to stay on the ship.

WiFi During Your Disney Cruise Line Alaska Trip

I can’t say this more overtly. The WiFi onboard the ship worked well for messaging and looking things but do not rely on it for downloads. Save any digital material that you want to have available. If you need a book downloaded for your Kindle or podcast downloaded for the gym, do everything you can to download these before leaving for your trip.

While there is WiFi onboard the Disney Wonder, it is expensive and runs out quickly. Even when you are on the WiFi there were certain apps that did not work at all.

In our experience iMessages came through over the WiFi even when we didn’t have our WiFi package turned on. For messaging between people in your party onboard, there is a messaging option within the Disney Cruise Line app. This worked fine.

In each port I was able to get on my normal Verizon phone plan with no difficulties. I even used it as a hotspot from my computer to send email. Be sure to check on your phone plan for use in Canada for your days coming into Vancouver.

Disney Cruise Line App Review

disney cruise alaska

At first the Disney Cruise Line app was difficult to use. The interface is not intuitive to begin with but once you figure out how to locate activities it works well.

When you first get onboard, go through the activities listed and select the various onboard activities that sound interesting to you. To get the activities, click on the “Explore” section and click the day you want to view. There is also an option to filter by activity type – filtering by movie for instance. This schedule that you create will then cause the app to send you push notifications. The “Add Plans” button in the app doesn’t work as expected and just suggests paid activities to you. Make sure to click the “Explore” section for details on everything happening onboard.

Disney Wonder Pools

The pools and water slide are open throughout the cruise to Alaska. We opted to quickly ride the waterslide the first day that we were onboard to check that box as we knew that our departure day from Vancouver would be the warmest day to enjoy the pools on the cruise. I recommend getting on the slide that first day to enjoy it while it is still sunnier outside. There were plenty of people enjoying the waterslide throughout the voyage but we were glad to have ridden it the first day.

Entering the pool area could be jarring at times. I would walk out on to the deck and be greeted with icy winds in the morning but also the upbeat tunes of “La Bamba”.

I actually used the pool almost everyday of the trip. In the early evening before our show I would try and get up to the adult pool area and hot tub. This area was a little more peaceful than the others and it was nice to meet other guests in the hot tub to swap stories on their experience.

How Food Works Onboard Disney Cruise to Alaska

rotational dining disney wonder

For Dinner:

Onboard the Disney Wonder there are three different restaurants that you will rotate through for dinners during your voyage. Each night you’ll go to your assigned restaurant and your same waiter and assistant waiter will be there ready for you. Throughout your trip you’ll get to know the wait staff and they’ll get to know your preferences. In our group one member took her water without ice and by the second night she was already receiving her water with no ice without asking.

dinner on disney wonder

The menus shift each night of the cruise and are somewhat reflective of the theme of the restaurant.

Our waiters encouraged us to order anything on the menu that looked interesting. Each night I started with one of the soups of the day and some other appetizer before my main course. We sometimes also ordered an additional main course if we all wanted to try it.

Some of the food highlights that stuck with us – the Beef Wellington, the Banoffee pie (a chocolate, banana, whipped cream dessert), and the carmel ice cream that we enjoyed one evening (we ordered that ice cream every night afterwards too!). Another lesson. Always ask for the food that you want even if it isn’t on the menu. My grandmother wanted a blue cheese wedge salad because the other salads on the menu were not something she was interested in. Amazingly our server had a wedge salad based on her specifications at the table 5 minutes later. My aunt was craving asparagus and they also delivered. Overall we were very impressed with the kitchen’s ability to accommodate requests.

animators palate show

These were some of our drawings during the fun Animator’s Palate show.

The three main restaurants are: Triton’s, Tiana’s Place, and Animator’s Palate. Be sure not to miss the second night at Animator’s Palate as there is a very cute show where everyone in the group draws a character and then that character comes to life on screens around the restaurant.

There are two dinner seatings – an early seating at 5:45 pm and a later seating at 8:15 pm. We had the later dinner seating which meant that we would be eating much later than we were used to at home. This also led us to snack much more going into the evening because we weren’t going to eat until so much later. You have the opportunity to switch seating times in the app if you have a preference.

Palo For Upscale Dinner and Brunch:

palo brunch

There is an upscale adults only restaurant onboard called Palo that is an additional charge. We opted to enjoy both brunch and dinner here. The restaurant does book up so be sure to book your Palo experience when it becomes available for your Disney Cruise. Though I have a full review coming soon, I will share that we far preferred the variety that came with brunch at the restaurant.

For Breakfast and Lunch:

breakfast buffet disney wonder

Throughout the day there are a variety of food options constantly available. The Cabanas restaurant is open with a buffet for breakfast and lunch. For a sit down breakfast or lunch, the central sit down restaurant, Triton’s, is also available. We started the cruise having our breakfast at Cabanas and then shifted over to eating breakfast at Triton’s after we realized that our evening waiter was often there and we could have the same great table service as we did at dinner. The quality of breakfast food was also better at Triton’s. I had very similar omelette orders at both locations and the Triton’s omelette was far superior.

There are also quick service restaurants on the upper deck that serve sandwiches, hamburgers, chicken tenders (super good!), pizza, Asian style bowls, and of course soft serve. There is never a bad time to order soft serve on the cruise! Make sure you get in the habit of grabbing one otherwise the cruise will slip by. It is never too cold for Disney Cruise Line soft serve ice cream!

Additional Charge Food

There are a couple of food locations that are an additional charge. There are concession stands outside the theaters selling popcorn, soda, and candy. There are also a number of lounges with additional cost alcoholic beverages. On the top deck there is also a bar / coffee place that is for adults only. This Cove Bar feels a lot like a comfortable Starbucks.

The regular dinner restaurants also have extra charge alcohol as an option.

On Your First Day Onboard:

disney wonder food options

When you first board the Disney Wonder in Vancouver each restaurant will be open for you to enjoy lunch. On our first day we had lunch at Tiana’s Place and enjoyed the sit down service. We could also have opted for the quick service options or buffet at Cabanas.

In addition to the above there is included 24/7 room service onboard. Let’s just say, you really aren’t going to go hungry. It is much more important to think about what you aren’t going to eat than to worry about what you are.

There is also a water and soda station on the Deck 9 pool deck. We brought reusable water bottles and popped up here to refill them throughout the trip. There are a couple of water bottle fill stations on the upper deck by the pool and in the gym.

water and soda free disney cruise line

Disney Cruise Line Vancouver, Canada Boarding Process

To board the Disney Wonder in Canada we went through a number of different checks including US customs and a check to make sure that we had completed the COVID ArriveCan procedures.

Updated early 2023 – Canada has dropped their COVID testing requirements as stated on this page on the immigration website. Cruise Line passengers departing from Canada no longer have to take a pre-boarding test. You can always read the Canada requirements listed on the Disney Cruise Line website, but we do not anticipate any COVID testing returning for Canada Disney Cruise Line sailings.

For your arrival, you’ll want to pack a carry on bag with anything you need throughout your first afternoon. You’ll keep this bag with you and your other baggage will be sent to your room.

If anyone in your group has trouble walking long distances you may want to get a wheelchair for the walk through the check in process. There is lots of winding back and forth through the Disney Cruise Line security, customs, passport control, and then boarding the ship.

After you check in, you’ll be directed to the ship where your room key will be waiting for you outside your door.

Disney Cruise Line Vancouver to Alaska COVID Testing

disney wonder ship alaska

For our COVID test we used OnPoint testing. This was a virtual service where a proctor would watch you take your own approved at home COVID test and then sign off on the result.

For only $14.99 per person we were able to easily test from our own home. Three of us tested during the same 10 minute Zoom call. This was much simpler, less expensive, and easier than attempting to test when we got to Vancouver or using the official Disney Cruise Line vendor.

What to See in Vancouver Before Your Disney Cruise

vancouver near disney cruise

I definitely recommend arriving to Vancouver at least one day before your Disney Cruise. Our flight arrived around 3 pm into Vancouver which gave us some time to enjoy the city before leaving to check in with Disney for our cruise the next morning. You’ll also want to arrive the night before so that you aren’t anxious about any flight delay that might cause you to miss the departure. The city feels far larger than it’s official population (650,000 people) with innovative architecture and stunning views that blend the ocean, mountains, and city to one. In Vancouver, the spirit of adventure only grows as you lean into your anticipation for your Disney Cruise to Alaska – “the final frontier”.

Here were our highlights of Vancouver, Canada before the cruise:

First, we enjoyed Granville Island. This market place of food and artisans is absolutely a tourist trap but is one for good reason. On our clear skies day the market was crowded with locals and tourists enjoying the sun, food and entertainment. The market has the same feeling of active marketplace as Pike’s Place Market in Seattle and Redding Terminal Market in Philadelphia but seems to have more food stalls. During the summer months when you’ll be here before your Disney Alaska Cruise, expect a very warm afternoon.

At the market we had great fish and chips from Celine’s Fish and Chips, pad thai, and a german sausage plate. The fish and chips were the absolute highlight and we returned for another order.

To get to Granville Island you’ll want to use Uber or Lyft from Downtown Vancouver (read my guide to Uber and Lyft at Walt Disney World for discount codes if you’ve never used the rideshare services before). If you are all mobile, be careful not to call your rideshare directly to Granville Island as your car will end up in a massive lineup while trying to drop you off and the price for the ride will be more expensive. Instead, put in “Blue Hat Bistro” for your drop off location. Return here after your time at the market to avoid headache as well.

After Granville Island we walked around in Gastown which is right near the cruise terminal that our ship was leaving from the following day. We enjoyed seeing the cobblestone streets here and then walked out along the seawall near the cruise terminal. We ogled the massive cruise ships thinking about the Disney Wonder that we would board the following day. It was a lot of fun to walk along the sea wall from here. We watched as sea plane after sea plane followed the same landing pattern swooping in from the clear blue sky that was just turning to dusk.

vancouver morning city to alaska

The next morning I went out for a run along the seawall and through Downtown Vancouver. The views along the seawall were stunning. I made a quick stop for a last minute electronics need at an Apple Store and then it was time to get onboard the Disney Wonder for our cruise.

Packing for Disney Alaskan Cruise

I have a separate article coming on a complete packing list for your Alaska Disney Cruise.

A couple packing list notes:

  • There is a formal night onboard the ship but you do not have to participate if you don’t want to. During our sailing about 40% of the passengers we saw were dressed up, but plenty did not.
  • There are slippers and a robe in your stateroom for your use throughout the trip.
  • For those using a cane, walking sticks were a nice option that my grandmother utilized instead of a cane during this trip.
  • We did not plan on doing any laundry during our Alaska cruise but we ended up using the laundry machine after our rainy day in Ketchikan to dry out our clothes. The machines can be operated by tapping your room key and charging the laundry to your room.
  • Make sure to bring your binoculars and consider getting a camera extension for your iPhone to increase your zoom strength.
  • Each guest 21 years and older may bring a maximum of 2 bottles of unopened champagne or wine or 6 beers on to the ship at the beginning of the voyage and at each port. The beverages must be carried onboard in your carry-on luggage.

alaska disney cruise laundry

General Disney Cruise to Alaska Tips

  1. The stars in the carpet design in the main hallways all point towards the front of the ship.
  2. Watch the morning show with the cruise director. We really enjoyed the witty humor from our cruise director, Stephen. We bought in and had a lot of fun watching the show.
  3. Be ready for anything! During our sailing there was a tugboat strike in Vancouver that was completely outside of Disney’s control. The strike led us to leave Vancouver eight hours late which meant that we had to skip Dawes Glacier to make up for lost travel time. This was obviously disappointing (Disney added a state room credit for all guests even though the situation was beyond their control), but we still had a great day weather wise and all the characters were still out with the same celebration.
  4. There are free charms and a free charm bracelet that are available for guests everyday at a specific time. My aunt and grandmother enjoyed picking up a charm each day. By the end of the trip they had a complete bracelet. The charms are meant to get you in to the store looking at jewelry but they are still a cute keepsake.
  5. You can tip the Cast Members that work on the cruise at the beginning or end of your sailing. There’s a good tip calculator here to think about amounts.
  6. As with anything Disney, mention if you are celebrating a special occasion while onboard. There are always magic makers looking to help!
  7. Get outside! The views throughout your cruise are just incredible. Bring enough layers so you are always comfortable stepping out to your own verandah or the general decks so you can take in the majesty of the inside passage.

Take a look at a nice promo video from Disney here that captures many of these views:

disney cruise to alaska

We were hosted on this cruise to Alaska by Disney Vacation Club so that we could provide coverage of the Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise and witness some of the highlights from Disney Plus day. All opinions expressed here are our own.

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About Gavin Doyle

Gavin Doyle is a best-selling author and founder of Mickey Visit. He is an expert on helping families save money and experience more at Disney, Universal, and beyond. He has been featured in Forbes, ABC7, Travel+Leisure, the OC Register, Orange County Register, LA Times, Yahoo! News, and more.

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