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Our second day of the cruise was Tracy Arm Day AKA EndicottFjord day because – well no one has made it to Tracy Arm in 2017 at the time of this writing.
This morning started off with an early morning workout at the Senses Spa! I finally was able to secure a spot at Fast Abs while my sister jogged on the treadmill. So since this was my first actual class on the cruise, I showed up early (7:15 am for the 7:30 am class) so I could figure out what I needed to do. As the Sunrise Stretch class was wrapping up, I scrambled to try to figure out what I needed to do to make sure I had a spot in class.
So this is one activity that I feel like Disney could improve on. Are you telling me, that there isn’t enough room on the entire ship that they can’t have a separate room for the fitness? The classes are held behind the treadmills and in front of the leg areas, which makes it awkward when someone decides they need to work their quads while you are struggling to keep up with bicycle sit-ups.
Luckily, the class is only 30 minutes long, so I wasn’t tortured for too much – it is the vacation after all! But I did get a good workout. We did three different round of exercises which included planks, bicycle sit-ups, crunches, and other ab-focused workouts. The whole idea behind this class is to come every day (I did not) so you can hold your plank longer throughout the trip. My only other complaint is someone stepped on my pony-tail (ouch!), and some other man decided he needed to work on his quads while I was very close.
After our morning workout, we headed over to Triton’s where we had breakfast and learned from an overhead announcement that we would not be going to Tracy Arm but Endicott Fjord. I was immediately upset because I didn’t know if this means we would still be able to do our Disney Port Adventure – Glacier Explorer TC01.
Before our 12 pm excursion, we visited our favorite naturalist, Doug Jones, in the Walt Disney Theater to listen to his talk Ice fields and glaciers: Nature’s Time Machine? If you have been following along, you could guess that all three of us took a brief nap during this talk – It was an hour long, and we woke up at 630 am!
Jones continued with an excellent talk about glaciers, and we got to see more of his fabulous photos and stories. One of my favorite stories he told was when he took a helicopter to hike a glacier. After this once in a lifetime trip, Jones told his neighbor about his glacier experience, and his neighbor asked him if he would every make that trip again if the opportunity arose. Well, of course, his answer was yes – and a few weeks later he and his neighbor were able to take a helicopter trip to hike a glacier.
Of course, the two glaciers that we saw were not hike-able. Many of the glaciers in Alaska are reseeding, but Hubbard Glacier is growing!
As mentioned earlier, we purchased an excursion through Disney Port Adventure – Glacier Explorer TC01. The funny story behind this is that I stayed up all night to register us online for Palo and excursions. The second I went to register us for Tracy Arm day ( the first task of the evening) it was sold out, and I was devastated. Well, I was ok with it because not only am I the vacation planner, I am also the budget keeper, so I thought that if we didn’t go on the cruise, money could be saved for another vacation.
This Alaskan trip was going to be a trip of a lifetime (in all honesty, our bucket list is so large that we probably wouldn’t visit these same areas of Alaska but a different area) and the family opted to do whatever we could to get this excursion. A few weeks before the vacation, we were able to reserve tickets for just my sister to see the Glacier. A few weeks after that, I was able to book a spot for me, which means we were going to leave mom on the ship. Leaving mom on the ship was ok because this tour was not handicapped able, but a few days before the trip we were able to book mom a ticket also! The Disney gods decided to bless us and allow us all to get an upfront view of the glacier.
We booked the noon trip to see Endicott Fjord. If you take the noon trip, you need to make sure to eat a huge breakfast because you will be on the excursion during prime lunch time. Going at noon also means that you miss the morning activities, but let’s be real, everyone goes to Alaska to see the nature, does anyone care about trivia or napkin folding?
Right before noon, the whole family went down Azure on Deck Three; Bingo was running late, so we were all lined up in the hallway waiting for instruction for the crew. Since we were not in an actual venue, the cast couldn’t identify those with mobility needs – aka us. Mom and I hopped on the elevator to go down to Deck One so that we could get on the catamaran.
Once on the catamaran, we were ready to see Endicott Fjord. The captain and crew gave us a rundown of the area and informed us that if they saw any wildlife, they would announce it on the intercom. Right when we were traveling down the passageways, my Canon Rebel XS decided it wanted to die. I was devastated because the only way I could capture this trip was with my Go Pro and iPhone. This trip was the first time I didn’t bring my Canon Point and shoot because I felt as if I “didn’t need it.” The catamaran carried us all through the narrow passageway and pointed out beautiful cascades and waterfalls. At one point, we stopped right next to a waterfall to admire its beauty. A great tip that the crew gave us was to film the waterfall in Slow-Mo for a beautiful post.
While sailing up the Fjord, there were many times it felt like we were racing the Disney Wonder. Of course, our catamaran was much smaller and could go much faster, so we always won the race. One of my favorite things to see in the Fjord was the chunks of the glacier just floating down the waterway. It took everything in my power to not yell “Iceberg straight ahead!” After spotting a few mountain goats, bald eagles, and seabirds, we finally were able to witness Dawes Glacier.
Let me tell you, seeing a glacier for the first time it completely awe-inspiring. There are no words or photos that can describe what I witnessed when seeing Dawes. The blue-white tinge of the glacier and the calving was so exciting to see in person. Sitting by a glacier and hearing the crackling of the ice calving, was the highlight of the excursion.
Our catamaran got extremely close to the glacier, but when we looked over the shoulder we saw that the Disney Wonder was pretty close also! Later we learned that was the closest the Disney Wonder had ever gotten to the Glacier. Our Catamaran also scooped up a piece of the glacier for everyone to touch. I’ve learned that the Wonder tries to do this also, but it is a much harder process on the large ship, and you have to wait with hundreds of people to take a photo with a piece of ice instead of a handful.
Even though the excursion was 3 hours, it felt like we were out there forever! Glacier day was by far the coldest day – along with my Plaid Shirt, I wore gloves, an ear cover, and a waterproofed jacket. We did run into a little bit of rain, so I also wore a North Face Rain Coat that I purchased just for this trip.
The Catamaran went back to the Wonder to let us off, and allow the next excursion to get on. Once we got off the catamaran we had a mission – run to the room! Since we had a balcony, we knew we were going to get a good view of the glacier for at least a little bit, because the wonder does a 360 rotation, so everyone has a chance to see the glacier. Once in the room, we ordered room service and my sister, and I went to Deck ten to get mulled wine.
I am not sure if it was just so chilly outside, or if the Mulled wine was that good, but Ally and I made friend with the cast that was serving guests mulled wine. Guests were able to buy a mug (with wine!) for $10 a then refills were around $5. Of course, being thrifty, Ally and I brought our refillable tumbler so we could bring more servings back to the cabin.
When ordering, we asked the cast members if they would judge how quickly we requested a refill. Willing to please, they said that they would not judge, so we poured the wine into our tumbler and asked four our (discounted) refill. The cast members laughed and quickly obliged to our request.
Bringing the wine back to our cabin, the three of us split and tasted the wine while enjoying the glacier. We proceeded to take selfies on our balcony, and it felt like we were the only ones looking at the glaciers. We could not hear any of our neighbors below or next to us.
Once the two mulled wines were finished, I hurried up and ran to the portable station on Deck Ten for two more refills. The reason why this mulled wine is one of the best that we had is that it has a ton of garnishes! There were berries, nuts and other spices that were added to the concoction.
Beauty and the Beast
Exploring the glacier lasted until 5 pm, and we had our regular dining rotation at 5:45 PM at Tiana’s Place.
After dinner, we opted to skip the Magic & Illusion show of Kalin & Jinger (Magic isn’t our thing) and decided to see Beauty and the Beast in 3-D in the Buena Vista Theater. A good hint for those with accessibility issues – the main entrance is on Deck five, but the accessibility entrance is on Deck Four.
One of my favorite features of a Disney Cruise is being able to see newly released, or soon to be released, movies while on board. The only caveat to this is that we were in Alaska (with a crazy late sunset) and we wanted to soak in all the beauty Alaska had to offer. Beauty and the Beast were the only movies we had to time to see, but there was a good selection of movies to watch.
The movie lasted well past our bedtime, so there wasn’t much else we wanted to do besides go to be to get ready for the next day – Skagway!
Is the Excursion worth it?
My simple answer is yes – under some conditions. Our family probably won’t ever go on an Alaskan Cruise again so I felt going on the catamaran was worth every penny. If I go on this same cruise in the future, however, I will not take the excursion because I feel like what you see from the boat is sufficient enough. However, from what we could see, our side of the boat was port side, I felt that that side of the boat saw the glacier for a shorter amount of time. If you do not want to do the Excursion and have a balcony, you should try to book on the starboard side.
Other activities I would have tried if I had time
• Art of the Theme Show Tour
• Animation: Minnie Mouse
• Animation: Donald Duck
• Crafts: Origami Creations
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