If you’re planning a Disney Cruise to Alaska, you’re probably aware of the many options available when it comes to excursions. There’s so much to do! One of our bucket list adventures for our Alaskan Disney Cruise was dog sledding on a glacier. We’re sharing everything you need to know about the Dog Sledding Excursion on a Disney Cruise to Alaska, so you can see if it’s right for you too!
Alaska Disney Cruise Excursions
Let’s start with this and get it out of the way. The excursions in Alaska are expensive. There are a few ways you can save on these, but generally, you’ll want to make sure you budget a decent amount for excursions. There are plenty of choices, but regardless of what you choose to do, you’ll likely want to book something. The port towns in Alaska are just that. Port towns. They’re cute and easy to navigate. But you’re not going to see much of the real Alaska by just visiting those. You can see what we mean in our Disney Alaskan Cruise Itinerary post, where we break down the places we visited, the stops we made and the excursions we booked to make the most of our trip.
And while port excursions aren’t a huge priority for many cruisers in the Caribbean, where many people choose to stay on the ship, Alaska tends to be a different story. The cruise is considerably more expensive than a Caribbean Cruise, and unless you live on the West Coast or close to it, getting there can also be a bit pricey.
So, while exploring the town for a short time and returning to the ship during port days might work for some, the majority of cruisers on an Alaskan Cruise are looking to experience Alaska. And this is why you’ll want to budget for excursions. You can choose between things like whale watching, guided tours, ziplining, helicopter excursions and more! One of the fan favorites is the Helicopter Dog Sledding Adventure, which is what we did!
Booking Alaskan Excursions for your Disney Cruise
If you’re planning to book your Alaska Excursions through Disney, make sure you know when your booking date opens. This will depend on your Castaway Club Membership unless you’re sailing concierge. We recommend taking a look at what’s being offered a few days prior so you have a chance to make decisions and be ready to book right at midnight on the day your window opens. Some of these go fast! The excursions that tend to sell out the fastest are anything with the word “helicopter” “dogs” and “whales”. So if those are on your list, you’ll want to be ready!
One thing that’s great about the excursions in Alaska is that you can book directly with many of these companies for a fraction of the cost. Often people don’t like booking directly because they are worried about the quality of the experience. Or the possibility that their excursion will return too late and the ship will leave without them. While these are both valid concerns, something to consider is that you’re still in the U.S. It’s really easy to find valid reviews of whatever company you’re interested in booking with. And as long as you give yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship, you’ll be fine. We booked directly through Temsco and it went very smoothly!
Dog Sledding Excursion on a Disney Cruise to Alaska
The dog sledding excursion on a Disney Cruise to Alaska was our favorite thing we did on this trip. Though my daughter and I were initially very nervous about it being our first helicopter ride, once we got going, it was amazing! One thing I had read consistently while researching this trip was, “get up in the air”. And I have to say, now that I’ve done it, I completely agree! Seeing Alaska from that viewpoint was incredible.
When you arrive at Temsco, you’ll check in and get weighed. Yes, they have to weigh you so they know how to split people up into the helicopter. For guests over 250 lbs, there is a surcharge that you’ll need to pay and they do let you know this prior to booking. Once you’ve been checked in and weighed, they’ll call your group when ready and you have to watch a safety video. Then you are given a life jacket and boot covers. You’ll be split into groups based on which helicopter you’ll be in and they’ll go over with you how to load up into the helicopter. You’ll be given headphones once inside. Then away you go!
The helicopter ride is actually pretty quick, being about 15 minutes or so to get from the ground to the top. The views during this journey are stunning, and we suggest taking it all in! When you reach the glacier, you’ll see the little summer camp that’s been set up for the dogs and their mushers. The only way to reach this area is by helicopter, so everything is flown in at the beginning of the season. And everything is flown out at the end of it. So neat!
Mushing with the Sled Dogs
Once you’re off the helicopter, you get to meet the dogs you’ll be working with. And then you get to mush! The handler will go over how to operate the sled and they stay with you the whole time on their own sled that’s connected to the line. Depending on the size of your group, you can take turns driving or take turns sitting and just enjoying the ride. Since it was just my daughter and myself in our group, we were each able to mush and ride twice. It was a ton of fun! And we loved being able to see the dogs do what they do best- run!
These dogs are professional athletes and it’s so impressive to see them work. We got to meet a couple of Iditarod veterans and that was pretty cool! You get to spend about 30 minutes mushing with the dogs and about 30 minutes with the mushers to ask any questions you have and just learn about their summer camp.
Booking the helicopter dog sledding excursion with Disney Cruise Line
We actually booked our dog sledding excursion in Skagway directly through Temsco. Not only did the times on Disney’s site not work for us, but it was about $220 per person cheaper to book directly. Now, there is a little caveat to this. When you book directly, you have to pay to reserve your spot. This is different than when booking through Disney Cruise Line because they don’t charge you until after you board the ship. So if you plan to book directly, just be aware that you’ll need that money upfront.
Temsco is the only helicopter excursion company in Skagway. So, when you book through them, you’re booking the exact same excursion as other cruisers. You’re just saving a lot more! People also tend to worry about how to get to Temsco. But luckily, in Skagway, their office is literally right across from where the Disney Wonder docks. It’s about a 5ish minute walk and you can see it as soon as you disembark. Super simple!
How much does the Helicopter Dog Sled Excursion cost?
This will depend on your port and who you book through. At the time of this posting, booking directly with Temsco cost us $629 each. And if we had booked thru Disney, it would have cost us $849. These prices can change depending on demand. But that was the pricing on our specific itinerary.
Other Sled Dog Excursions in Alaska
If helicopters aren’t your thing, that’s ok! There are other ways to experience sled dogs in Alaska that don’t require riding in a helicopter. One of the most popular dog excursions is the summer camp that’s held a bit closer to sea level. You get to see how the dogs are trained on more solid ground. And you get to meet puppies! We didn’t experience this one but had heard great reviews from other cruisers. You can get an idea of what this excursion entails here. You won’t get the dramatic backdrop of being on a glacier. But it’s also considerably less expensive and you still get to spend time with sled dogs.
Is the Helicopter Dog Sled Excursion worth the cost?
As with all things, worth is subjective. For us, yes it was. This was a bucket list experience and one we’ve been wanting to do since we started researching this trip. That being said, the entire excursion time, including the safety video, is just about 2 hours. So it’s not very long. But that also makes it nice because then you can also do other excursions during your port day. We were able to do the White Pass Railway which was awesome, and we definitely would have missed it if we hadn’t been able to fit it into our day.
If you love dogs, can budget it in and are ok with a helicopter ride, then we absolutely think it’s worth it. It was our favorite experience on our entire trip! The Helicopter Dog Sledding Excursion through Temsco is such a unique way to experience Alaska and take in some of its natural beauty!
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .