"I need to know your weight," read the e-mail from Disney Cruise Line PR man Jason Lasecki. He explained: "We're taking float planes and helicopters during the trip, and we'll need to know everyone's weight to balance the aircraft." You see, next summer Mickey Mouse will become Mickey Moose as Disney embarks on its first-ever season of Alaska cruises. From May to September 2011, Disney Wonder will sail roundtrip from Vancouver on weeklong cruises calling on Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway -- with 1,000-plus kids in tow. So we're being whisked off for a three-night cruise -- minus the ship -- to get a taste of how Disney will put its stamp on Alaska, onshore and onboard. The challenge for the line, of course, will be creating memorable experiences -- some involving eating salmon, we hope -- in three of the region's most heavily trafficked ports. But that's the goal, and Disney has gained a reputation for creating unique experiences ashore, like an over-the-top royal ball at Catherine's Palace outside of St. Petersburg complete with just about every Disney princess. And adults need not fear being left on ice. The line tells us it's designing something special, as it has in the Caribbean and Europe.
Beyond a rough itinerary and a few hints about activities -- we'll be experiencing multiple excursions in each port, and one activity involves hiking on a glacier -- Disney has given us little info about the trip. So we hope you'll join us as we share a sneak preview of Disney's Alaska shore tour program in our three-day virtual slideshow. We'll also be posing a trivia question each day and handing out prize packages as part of the Great Alaska Swag Giveaway.
Day 1: Ketchikan
We start our shore excursion extravaganza in Ketchikan, where we try out some favorite Alaskan pastimes: fishing, timber sports and totem pole designing. How will Disney make popular Alaskan excursions more kid-friendly? Click on today's slideshow to find out. And don't forget to take a shot at today's trivia question.
Day 2: Skagway
It's all about the Gold Rush when we tour Skagway by streetcar and train. Today we follow the trail of hardy miners, re-live gun fights between outlaws, and try gold panning with the help of a favorite Disney character. And we've picked up more swag to hand out to one lucky Alaska trivia buff.
Day 3: Juneau
It's our last day in Alaska, and we've headed to the wilderness. From hiking across Mendenhall Glacier to dining on salmon in a wilderness lodge, we're experiencing Juneau's more natural side. And, of course, we've dug up more Alaskan loot for you to win.