Trip Report: Skagway Excursion from the Disney Wonder
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The fourth day of the cruise was finally a land day! Time to step off the cruise ship and onto solid ground at Skagway!
As much as I loved being on the cruise ship, I was very excited to check out one of the inside package towns and all of the activities involved.
Credit Card Issues
Earlier this year, the credit card that I used to purchase the cruise was compromised, and I had to update the credit card on file. We received a voicemail from the finance department informing me that we needed to update the card.
Of course, there is nothing more embarrassing than a declined card, so I ran downstairs with my cell phone and new credit card to get things settled. I’m not sure if there was some confusion at the front desk, but my replacement card was still declined. After calling the bank and figuring a couple of things out, I was able to transfer everything to a better card (3X the points in travel!) and squared everything away.
While working with Guest Services, I was able to watch the crew add the gangway to the cruise ship. This morning was the only day I was able to watch this, and it was exciting! It was quite chilly outside, so everyone at Guest Services had their down jackets on while technically inside.
Best of Skagway SW29
After an overwhelming number of possibilities, my family decided we would book the Best of Skagway (SW29) to see the most we could.
Our day started with us boarding a motor coach and traveling to the Canadian border to stop at Fraser, British Columbia.
On the way to Fraser, our tour guide gave us an excellent narrative of everything that we could see easily from the street and what we would see from the train. While driving on the Klondike Highway, we learned that there are no stations on the actual Canadian/United States border due to the harsh winters and elevation. Both countries decided to move their Border Inspection Stations about 7 miles from the border to allow for easier life in the elements.
Once crossing the border was one of the most comfortable Canadian Crossings I have ever partaken in. When the Canadian guard came on the bus to ask us questions, he asked us if we were scared of the train. Of course, we said – no, why would we be? And he just told us to have fun.
Once everyone got off of the bus, we were assigned different rail cars to head back to the United States. Mom, Ally and I immediately ran to the right side of the train so we could get the best views.
We sat towards the back of the train car. I liked this option because it was closer to the bathroom, the heater and the coupling. The reason why I liked being so close to the coupling was that this was the best place to stand to get photos and to go outside for some fresh air. Towards the middle of the trip, the railcar was very warm, so if you go on this excursion or train, make sure to wear layers. By the end of the ride, I was all the way down to my t-shirt!
The beauty and history that goes behind the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad are quite breathtaking. This 20-mile ride has many breathtaking turns, drops, and bridges. A couple of times, Mom and I spotted a couple of rail cars that took a plunging drop.
After snapping a couple of photos of the landscape, mom and me relaxed and just enjoyed the rest of the train ride. When in Alaska – you need to put the camera down and just enjoy the fresh air and scenery.
After our train trip was over, we boarded the bus again. Luckily mom had handicap seating, but it only reserved the spot for her. We were initially sitting right behind her, but a couple took our place. What I learned from these bus trips, is if you want to sit in the same spot (due to accessibility reasons) you want to leave a sweater or water bottle behind to ensure you can be close to your companions. This was more irritating than anything – why can’t people stay in the same seats?
Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp and Salmon Bake
I am not going to lie, this part of the excursion was strange. We had about two hours to enjoy Liarsville. Liarsville is a camp where journalists who were dispatched to cover the Klondike Gold Rush hung out. Originally, the Journalists were supposed to hike the White Pass, but once they discovered how treacherous the path was, they stayed at the base of the mountain.
After not producing genuine stories, the journalists then created tall-tales and fabricated first-hand stories of the success of the Gold Rush. These tall tales are why this area is known as Liarsville.
First, we had a buffet style lunch, and then walked over and took a couple of photos of the area. We walked around the cute bookshop to see if there were any Alaskan souvenirs we wanted to purchase. While we were browsing, these actors in complete costume gathered everyone for a show. Not really knowing what to do, we followed the crowd and watched the show.
Now – this is my bad for not reading the description carefully. I should have realized that when Disney stated “Gather at the Liarsville Hippodrome, where a cast of sourdoughs and dance hall girls will entertain you with a hilarious melodrama and a poem by the “Bard of the North,” Robert Service,” that this was not my style of entertainment.
Many of the guests enjoyed the corny-ness of the show, our family, however, only survived about halfway through the high school musical production of bad poetry and Comin’ Around the Mountain. Once the family decided we no longer needed to watch the corniness, we continued with exploring the camp. There was an area to pan for gold, a fireplace and snacks to enjoy, and a waterfall.
While sitting at the campfire, a TV crew and a young family came and set up shop to film. I cannot remember the name of the show, but I think it was something like Vacation Creation.
After the tour had been done with Liarsville, we all got on the bus again to our final destination, the Red Onion Saloon.
Red Onion Saloon
This was the only part of the tour that wasn’t accessible (which we were informed of before I booked the tickets) and so I quickly came up with a game plan for mom. Across the street There is a Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Visitor Center, and as my readers know I adore a good Visitor Center presented by the National Park Service. Luckily, there was a movie playing, so I left mom there to enjoy some historical facts about Skagway, while my sister and I ventured through the Red Onion Saloon to discover the best brothel Skagway had to offer.
The tour was considered a “Quickie” 20-minute tour, and there were tons of sexual innuendos and naughty jokes that made you think twice.
The tour was very entertaining, and all of the ladies kept in character. It started off with your choice of beverage, and the guests walked through the different rooms of the brothel. One area that my sister and I found hilarious was that each of the ladies had a corresponding doll, so the men knew who was available for service. We learned all about the economy of Skagway and the reasoning why a woman would want to work here as opposed to another field of work.
The museum was entirely upstairs, hence why mom couldn’t come, and downstairs there is a full bar with many different drinks and snacks to taste. Once we finished up with the tour, Ally and I went across the street to get mom from the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Visitor Center and to get a stamp in my Passport to the National Parks book.
Since this was our first port, we sought out two necessities: booze and coffee! First, we found a coffee shop that Proudly Serves Starbucks Coffee. Some may say that this is the only Starbucks in Skagway, but I feel that this is just a shop that sells Starbucks coffee and products. While her, we purchased some Via Packets to help with the low-quality coffee that Disney served on the Cruise.
We then went to Alaska Liquor Store to stock up on the wines we could bring on board. Each time we were in port we could bring an additional six bottles on board, two bottles per person. We took this time to stock up our cabin because our next port was going to be busy.
We walked around downtown to enjoy some of the shops and different areas in town. I didn’t find anything I wanted to purchase, per say, but we did make a special trip down to Skagway Brewery to have a beer flight.
The beer flight included a couple of different beers: Boom Town Brown, Spruce Tip Ale, Prospector Pale, Chilkoot Trail IPA, and Blue Top Porter. We took this particular trip to taste the Spruce Tip Ale, and it was well worth the walk! Unfortunately, they didn’t bottle the beer as six pack – one of the options we could have brought onto the ship, and we couldn’t find any six packs at our other two ports!
Our tour took almost all the time in port, and we had a 5:45 dinner reservation, so we mostly stayed to the shops on Broadway.
What would I do differently?
If I had to pick another excursion or if I were to visit again, I would want to ride the train both ways. The scenery from the highway is nice, but on the bus, you cannot stop and take photos. Riding on the train was thrilling and a unique experience. I know a lot of people rent cars and drive themselves, but I highly recommend the train.
I wish we could have skipped Liarsville. It was juvenile and seemed to be a waste of money for both entertainment and food. The Red Onion Saloon was entertaining, and I would possibly want to do a walking tour of the city instead of the tour of the museum.
Back on the Cruise Ship
That evening we went to dinner at Triton’s and a Whiskey tasting at 10 pm. Due to the Whiskey tasting, we decided to skip Freezing the Night Away, and the Disney Wonder Premiere of Pirates of the Carribean.
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