“Wonder”ful times on Alaska Cruises with the Mouse

Graphic by Amilia Skyeby Kevin Bentley

My family and I have taken two Alaskan Cruises with Mickey. Both were end of May sailings, over Memorial Day. The first one was in 2011, which was also the first year that Disney sailed to Alaska. The second was in 2013. Both left from Vancouver, British Colombia. (Disney sailed from Seattle in 2012). The 2011 sailing was also our first Disney cruise. We live north of Seattle, so it was a natural choice for us as transportation to and from Vancouver was easy.

Our first stop was Vancouver. In 2011 we took AMTRAK up from Everett, WA, as the station is only a little ways from our house. We stayed two nights before the cruise in Vancouver at the Fairmont Waterfront. The first night we got in a little late, as we had taken the afternoon train up. The border crossing was easy, as we stopped at the border and Customs came on the train and walked down the aisle and looked at everyone’s papers. We went to the hotel and got settled and had dinner. The next day we explored the waterfront and Gastown area where we did some shopping and had dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory. One of the places we went was Canada Place, where the ship docks, and saw the Olympic Torch from the Calgary Winter Olympics. The next morning, my son and I went down to Canada Place and watched the Wonder arrive and dock. Then we walked back and got the rest of the family and boarded to start our cruise. In 2013, we drove up the night before and stayed at the Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites. We were able to park at the hotel for the duration of the cruise and the hotel provided a limo to the Wonder. We walked around the shopping center that was attached to the hotel and had dinner at a lovely restaurant.

Both times, after we were aboard, we ate lunch at Parrot Cay. Then we enjoyed the Sail Away Party and the first night’s show – “All Aboard! Let the Music Began!” Attire for the night was Cruise Casual, and the menu in the main dining rooms was Standard Rotational. That means that each restaurant had its own unique menu: Animator’s Palate-Show dinner, Parrot Cay-Island Dinner and Triton’s-French Dinner. At 2:30 p.m. there was a guided walking ship tour and at 10:30 p.m. there was Family Superstar Karaoke. There were also movies playing in the Buena Vista Theatre thoughout the week.

The next day was a Sea Day, as we sailed up the Inside Passage. One of the unique things about an Alaska cruise is that you have land on both sides of the ship for the most part as you sail along.

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Drink along with Beercast II

TresPistolesAfter the first Beercast was released back in early July, we had some requests to release the sampling list in advance before the release of next Beercast. We thought that was a great idea, so here’s the list for Beercast II, which will be released this coming Sunday, August 31, 2014.
1. Chimay Blue
2. Unibroue Trois Pistoles
3. Bear Republic Racer 5

Heads up – we discovered that the drought in California appears to be impacting Bear Republic’s production. Racer 5 has all-of-a-sudden gotten very difficult to find, at least in the Midwest. With this list, you can sample over the holiday weekend, or wait to taste along with the show on Sunday!

The DAD Show #72 – A Harbeson Disneyland Surprise

10616567_10203471275400574_7121022311766276860_nThis week on the DAD Show, Mark Harbeson talks about his family’s trip to the American Southwest, capped with a surprise day at Disneyland. After a brief overview of the Las Vegas / Grand Canyon / Phoenix portion of the vacation, Mark discusses California Adventure, Disneyland, Downtown Disney, the Castle Inn & Suites Good Neighbor hotel, and the Grand Californian Hotel.

The DAD Show is your humpday vacation fix. Our intro and outro music was created and performed by Mitch Furman.

The DAD Show is sponsored by Kingdom Strollers, Orlando’s Premium Stroller and Crib Rental source.

Do you have any questions or comments about Mark’s trip? Want to share your vacation story with us? Email us at podcast@DisDads.com; tweet us at DisDadsPodcast on Twitter; and join in the online discussion of the podcasts on our DISDads Discussion Boards; and check out our new DISDads Podcast Facebook page.

If you enjoyed the podcast, we’d really appreciate it if you took a moment to leave us a review on iTunes.

What’s in Your Camera Bag? LIVE – Episode 218

camerabagHost: Aaron Rittmaster
Panel: Kevin Bentley, Matt Birchfield, Jeff Swearingen

Tonight’s live show began with a discussion of the update to the My Disney Experience app, which now allows you to make ADRs as little as 20 minutes in advance. But the bulk of the show was devoted to a discussion of camera bags, their contents, and a few tips and tricks for capturing hard-to-get photos.

Here’s the protective rain sleeve Jeff was talking about on the show:

What’s in YOUR camera bag? Have a favorite photo tip or trick? Email us at podcast@DisDads.com; tweet us at DisDadsPodcast on Twitter; join in the online discussion of the podcasts on our DISDads Discussion Boards; and check out our DISDads Podcast Facebook page.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes.

DISDads Podcast is also available on Stitcher Smart Radio.

The DAD Show #71 – A Masters Summer Trip to WDW

10477549_10201800332441651_2611895756517349414_oSorry for the late upload folks – thank you for your patience. On this week’s DAD Show, I’m joined by my daughter Mikaela as we talk with Joe Masters and his daughter Ariel about their summer vacation to Walt Disney World.

The DAD Show is your humpday vacation fix. Our intro and outro music was created and performed by Mitch Furman.

The DAD Show is sponsored by Kingdom Strollers, Orlando’s Premium Stroller and Crib Rental source.

Do you have any questions or comments about Joe’s trip? Want to share your vacation story with us? Email us at podcast@DisDads.com; tweet us at DisDadsPodcast on Twitter; and join in the online discussion of the podcasts on our DISDads Discussion Boards; and check out our new DISDads Podcast Facebook page.

If you enjoyed the podcast, we’d really appreciate it if you took a moment to leave us a review on iTunes.

One Week Only – Dri-Fit Polo DISDads Shirt Sale!

JoeMLogoPolo2We managed to find a great deal on dri-fit polo shirts that we can have embroidered with the DISDads.com circle logo. The photograph at right (thanks Joe) is of the embroidered polo we had done for the DISDads Convention a couple of years ago, just to give you an idea of the scale and look of the embroidered logo. Those shirts were cotton, while the new ones we’re having done are a dri-fit polyester material, similar to the running t-shirts we’ve done for the last couple of rounds of shirts. We’re making the shirts available this time in four different colors (sample photos below), and we can get them in sizes from Adult Small through 5XL. (Please note, 4XL and 5XL are available in red and grey only). The important thing is that, to ensure that our production run gets in before this discount expires, all orders must be submitted to us by one week from today, August 25, 2014. Shirts cost $35 each, and shipping is $7.50 for up to three shirts. All of the ordering details and the order form are on the Dri-Fit Polo Shirt Pre-Orders page.

We need to get to 24 shirts ordered by next Monday in order to meet the minimum production run requirements. As I type this, we are at 17 pre-orders received.

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