Our first Alaskan port was the town of Skagway, known as the Gateway to the Klondike, for it’s roll in the Gold Rush of 1898. We had an early meet time for our excursion, so we were up before the ship docked. It was very foggy, but luckily not raining!
Trip tip #9: If you have an early excursion meet time, or just want to leave the ship as early as possible on a port day, I highly recommend ordering room service to be delivered first thing in the morning. The options are more on the continental breakfast side and include things like cold cereal, bagels, muffins, etc. You should have door hangers in your stateroom desk drawer that you can fill out and hang on your door by 3am the night before and in the morning, you’ll have everything delivered to you. Quick and easy!
Our excursion in Skagway was the White Pass railway and Trail Camp combination. We met up with our group in the Walt Disney Theater and were led off the ship and onto a bus that took us the 5 minutes it took to get to the train.
We boarded one of the passenger cars and prepared for our ride from Skagway, AK to Fraser, British Columbia. Because we were going over the Canadian border, we all had to have our passports with us. Along the way, we had narration about the history of the area and the railway. The current set of tracks roughly follows the White Pass trail, which was used as part of the Gold Rush of 1898. It was pretty amazing to think that men seeking their fortunes traversed the narrow path almost 500 miles – from Skagway to Dawson City in Canada. At the time, Canadian authorities were requiring EVERY person who came into Canada to carry 2 tons of supplies with them in order to survive the brutal winters. So, not only were these men traveling long distances, but they had to carry a LOT of supplies. Quite a trip to take for what ended up being not a big reward – very few people found their fame and fortune. Our train ride was much less dangerous and the scenery was pretty awesome.
After making our way through White Pass, the highest point of our trip, we arrived at Fraser, BC, population 10. Here, the border patrol boarded the train to check our passports and then we got of the train to board the buses that would take us to the Liarsville Trail Camp and then back into Skagway.
Liarsville is a re-creation of what Skagway looked like back in the late 1800s, with a few old buildings and tents set up to show people how it probably looked back then. They provide hot cider and cookies and then you watch a short show. After the show, anyone who wants to can pan for REAL gold. Ooo, aaahh! They’ve basically seeded everyone’s pan with a few flakes of gold so that everyone “finds” some. Colorado Dad and Colorado Boy panned for gold, while Colorado Princess and I sat near the campfire and had some more cider.
We were there for about an hour, so with the show and gold panning, we had about 15 – 20 minutes to look through the gift shop and then we boarded the bus to head back into town. The lack of pictures from Liarsville kind of says it all – the train was definitely worth it, but Liarsville, although it was cute, was probably something we could have skipped.
Once we got back to town, we went over to the Skagway Brewing Company for lunch and to try a local beer made from spruce tree tips. It was pretty good!
The town of Skagway is pretty small – only 800 or so full-time residents, but there are lots of shops to look through and many of the buildings are historical landmarks – dating back to the 1800s – so we enjoyed walking around town before heading back to the ship.
Dinner that night was in Animator’s Palate and was the normal dinner menu (see the menu here - http://disneycruiser.info/menus_w2011/animator.htm). I had the baked potato soup, chicken and chocolate cake. Everything was good, although the soup was definitely my favorite.
Colorado Dad had the risotto, the beef tenderloin and the apple crumble. For some reason I only got a picture of his dessert.
After dinner, the kids went to the kids’ club and we headed down to WaveBands for one of our favorite adult-only “game shows” – Match Your Mate. Similiar to The Newlywed Game, Match Your Mate is always fun to watch and usually pretty hilarious. Our tablemates had mentioned they were going to try to be picked as one of the couples to participate and they were! She was sneaky though and told the host who was picking the couples that we wanted to play, so instead of watching, we joined in on the fun too.
After answering all the questions right in the first round right (yep, I know my hubby well!) and only missing one of the questions in the 2nd round, we ended up winning. Woohoo! The prize was a free day pass to the Rainforest Room at Vista Spa (awesome!!) and a bottle of champagne. A great way to cap off a great day!
Next up: Whale watching and glacier viewing in Juneau
Did you miss any of our previous destinations? You can get to all of the Cruisin’ North to Alaska posts right here!