Alaskan Disney Cruise: Our Family’s Experience on the Disney Wonder

August 8, 2023
Our ship (taken from the glacier explorer!)
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For a little background, we planned on taking this trip originally in August 2021, but cancelled for obvious reasons. It is a bigger (and pricier) trip than our typical summer jaunts to Amelia Island, and we started saving for it a while back in its own dedicated YNAB bucket. We planned it with our friends – the same ones we cruised with in 2019 (we’ve also traveled to the Keys with them!).

Our friends ended up having an additional baby between those two years so it was a less relaxing experience for them than they anticipated, but I think we all had fun! AND it was even more social than expected because Josh’s college BFF and his kids joined us too.

sail away party!

This was our second Disney cruise and we chose the shortest itinerary, in part because of the dates/timing and because we just weren’t sure if we were up for a 7-9 day experience. Note: we lengthened our trip by spending ~3 days in Vancouver beforehand and 2 days on Vancouver Island after.

(I have no affiliation with Disney just to be clear, but you can find their future sailings here).

Room Selection

We went with a verandah suite. Note, there is an enormous price difference between cruising as a family of 4 vs 5+ — 5 cannot fit in a traditional room, so your only choices are two rooms or a suite.

In this case, the suite was cheaper (vs 2 rooms) so we went with that. We didn’t sit out on the verandah all that much, but we did enjoy looking out though the window. The room was really well-organized and had a twin bed for each kid (2 bunk beds + 1 twin), plus the ‘adult’ room was separated from the kid area by a curtain. All of the kid beds were Murphy beds that folded up during the day!


Being a VERY short cruise, we only had two days with excursions! There was a ‘glacier day’, and we elected to go out in a Glacier Explorer vessel that got us a bit closer to the glacier. However, our cruise ship got pretty close too and in retrospect I don’t think this excursion was worth the $$$.

holding a piece of glacier
chunk of glacier back on the ship

The second was in Ketchikan, our one true Alaskan stop. We did something called Rainforest Adventure and had a fantastic time – this involved a fast inflatable boat ride and a guided hike through the rainforest. This was absolutely worth it and I would recommend it (I think there was an age limit of 5 so glad G made the cut).

perfect skipping stones!

Kids Club

AHHHHHHH the kids club. LOVE THE KIDS CLUB. A did not love the kids club, but was able to be otherwise fairly independent so that was fine (she watched movies or hung out in the room – being on the shyer side she did not join a posse of tweens but she was okay and I think still had a good time!). C spent some time in the kids club but also roamed fairly freely on his own, and G (thankfully) really enjoyed the kids club which was an awesome break for the adults.

Her time spent there meant I could work out daily (yay) and we had an adult-only dinner at Palo, the onboard “fancy” restaurant. Apparently there were 700 children on the cruise and yet the club (which is sprawling and has multiple sections) never seemed overly crowded or chaotic.


It’s . . . fine! Honestly, Josh and I just enjoyed not having to think abut preparing or procuring food — and that was half the benefit. The cuisine wasn’t earth-shattering but it also wasn’t bad — which is saying a lot since obviously they have a lot of mouths to feed. We did a combination of buffet (mostly breakfast) and sit-down (most dinners). Many times our kids slept LATE (black out curtains and a lot of activity?) so we kind of did brunch, snack, dinner.

My kids all ate a ton of sugar. I told them one sweet drink/day and one dessert/day would be reasonable but I mean – they found loopholes (chocolate chip pancakes? chocolate donut at breakfast?). I figure this is not our usual fare and we will be back to normal soon enough so I didn’t stress about it much.

We ended up with a ‘kids table’ for the sit-down dining experiences at the suggestion of our staff and this worked very well.


There was a gym on the ship with treadmills, some machines, and free weights — it wasn’t crowded and I was able to get in and run each day without an issue! One day I ran along the walking/jogging deck which has a 1/3 mile circumfrence – so I did 6 miles (20 times around). My Apple watch was amazingly accurate when I used the indoor setting which was nice and unexpected!

I had heard stories of major rocking and unstable treadmills but I didn’t experience that — there was some gentle movement (which felt like additional mild up + downhills) but it was fine.


optional add-on we did mostly for Viva’s benefit

We went to 2 of the 3 live shows AND watched 2 movies – Little Mermaid and Elemental. They were also showing Indiana Jones and Haunted Mansion, so pretty recent picks (I think that last one is still in theaters). In general – we were never bored.

Plus, the landscape was its own entertainment. It was just so beautiful, and I had never seen anything like it. The last night we skipped the show in favor of the sunset.

I also finished Peter Attia’s Outlive and most of The Unsinkable Greta James on this trip, so there was clearly time for relaxing.


I loved this trip (and it’s not quite over – we are currently on Vancouver Island in a lovely airbnb!). There are so many places I want to see, so I don’t know if I will ever repeat it but I do think it’s a unique opportunity to see this landscape. It did not escape me that carbon emissions and pollution (including from things like . . . cruise ships . . . I know . . . ) may make these vistas even more rare in the future.

Feel free to ask questions!


  • Reply carrie August 8, 2023 at 1:54 pm

    i am a huge fan of loosening food restrictions on vacation (within reason). so glad you are having a good trip.

  • Reply Grateful Kae August 8, 2023 at 3:49 pm

    Sounds really fun!! Did this make you want to go back to Alaska someday to “do” it all fully?? I’ve been on a bunch of cruises and while they are great fun, I do realize they are not really the way to actually see and experience a destination “completely”. (The brief 1 day (or several hours usually only, really..) excursions barely scratch the surface! Like we were just in Honduras but I do not really feel like I can say I’ve “been” to Honduras, lol, based on the little bit we saw! Which is totally fine! But if the goal was to really explore Honduras, I wouldn’t go there on a cruise, if that makes sense.)

    I know some people who did Alaska I think as road trips or some non-cruise method and it seemed like there are so many amazing sights! Or do you feel like you at least got a sufficient taste from the cruise and are good on Alaska? I’ve never been there! I wonder for that destination if I’d prefer a cruise, or traditional travels. Hmmm. I do love the simplicity of a cruise though!! Just hop aboard and off you go, no extensive planning needed. 😎

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 8, 2023 at 5:12 pm

      Our family is not ready to experience Alaska more completely right now … so no regrets on doing this. Agree it would be an entirely different experience to take a trip and drive around Alaska from the interior. But for us right now this was the right way.

      I would love to go back in a different way but there are also sooo many places I want to go!

      • Reply Grateful Kae August 9, 2023 at 2:19 pm

        Oh for sure! I definitely think the cruise was the right choice for you guys now, too. I also struggle always with that dilemma about wanting to go to so many new places vs wanting to go back to favorites and/or to more deeply explore a destination!

  • Reply coco August 8, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    what a great recap. few questions:
    1. what’s the difference (activities/price) between normal Alaska cruise and Disney?
    2. would you do it if it’s only your family?
    3. anything you didn’t expect and like?
    please also share your Vancouver activities.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 8, 2023 at 7:39 pm

      1) I admit I didn’t price out alternatives! From what I’ve heard Disney is on the higher end but we had such a good experience last time that we wanted to stay with the line, plus the theming is really fun for the kids (G especially).

      2) yes!

      3) hmmm … not really?! As stated I did feel like the glacier explorer boat was not worth the expense – it wasn’t bad at allll just maybe not that different than staying on the main ship! In Vancouver we went to Stanley Park, a whale watching trip (loved it), the Capilano suspension bridge park (really fun!), the Chinese gardens (cool but adjacent to an area where people were openly doing drugs in the street …), and we had an amazing meal out at Botanist.

      I wish we had more days on Vancouver island. So relaxing and chill. And I don’t want to leave this weather behind!

      • Reply Coco August 9, 2023 at 3:09 am

        thanks! Vancouver is one place that we will visit soon as my husband lived there for few days. can’t wait to run in a cool place.

  • Reply Sarah August 10, 2023 at 7:38 am

    this looks SO FUN!I keep trying to persuade my fam that this is a vacay we’d all enjoy.

  • Reply Jenny August 10, 2023 at 1:50 pm

    Must have been interesting reading the Unsinkable Greta James on a cruise to Alaska!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 10, 2023 at 4:54 pm

      That was on purpose 🙂

  • Reply SGD August 13, 2023 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks so much for this post. I am a long time listener and coincidentally we are doing the same trip next week. How was the supervision in the kids club? How can they contact you if your child needs you?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 13, 2023 at 12:52 pm

      The staff text you in the app 🙂

  • Reply Jenny August 13, 2023 at 7:03 pm

    I LOVE reading people’s cruise recaps, because I’ve never been on a cruise! I know, it’s crazy. I loved how in Kae’s recap, her kids were able to roam freely around the ship. Between that, and the kids club for you, it sounds like you had it covered. It’s always nice to have some adult time, and amazing that you were able to get your workouts in. I have to go read your vacay workout post!

  • Reply Monique Swain August 24, 2023 at 4:47 am

    My son is one of the actors on this cruise.. how extremly exciting it is to hear someone talk about their experience… glad it was great for you all…

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 24, 2023 at 8:12 am

      The shows were fantastic! You should be so proud of him 🙂

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