Departing from Ballantyne Pier in Vancouver | Alaska Cruise Trip Report Update

May 24, 2014

Chapter 4
Almost There

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We slept in a little on Saturday morning and laid in bed for a while after the alarm. It was still several hours until we could board the ship, but we finally forced ourselves to get up. After getting ready, we dressed Duffy in his finest sailing clothes so that he would be prepared for the cruise.

Duffy the Disney Bear in Sailor Outfit

We felt a little bad because it turned out that our AirBNB hostess had set the table to have breakfast with us (cereal and toast), but we’d slept in so long that she was out walking the dog when we actually got up.

Luckily, she came in about halfway through our meal and we made it up to her by chatting for a while. This is our friend Bailey, who kept wandering into our room and jumping into our laps during our short stay with his owner.

While we were eating, the gal got a notice from AirBNB that someone else had just booked our room at the last minute for that night, so we got out of the way while she turned over the bed and bathroom. She must do extremely steady business renting out her place!

After heading across the street to Quiznos for lunch, we decided it was about time for us to start going toward the cruise terminal. Our hostess actually offered to drive us to the terminal, which would save us from another mile of walking with our heavy suitcases, and we quickly took her up on that offer! Even Bailey came along for the ride.

As we pulled up to the main Canada Place terminal, we thanked the gal for all her hospitality—she certainly went above and beyond what we would normally expect from an AirBNB host—and we bade her farewell. Now we were on our own again, but unfortunately, the Disney Wonder was nowhere in sight.

Canada Place had two cruise ships docked, but neither of them was ours. I suddenly recalled seeing in our cruise documents that our sailing alone would depart from a different dock (though I’d just assumed it would be at the same port). Actually, however, we would be leaving from Ballantyne Pier, which was about a mile away.

After confirming where we were going with one of the people at a tourist information booth, we began to try to search for a taxi. We were right in front of the ritzy Pan Pacific Hotel (which we knew would have a taxi line), and we just happened to luck out when one of the valets at the hotel asked if we were trying to find the Disney Wonder. He must have seen our bag tags and looks of consternation because he could easily pick us out of the crowd.

Rather than shelling out money for a taxi, he told us that there was a free shuttle leaving from the hotel to the correct pier, and he gave us directions to figure out how to find the bus. As we made our way through the Pan Pacific and downstairs, we saw how fancy it was—a bit of a step up from our humble lodging.

Pan Pacific Hotel Lobby | Vancouver

Vancouver Convention Centre

The valet’s directions took us right where we needed to go, and we soon found a truck that would take our luggage to the ship for us. After handing over our bags (and hoping we’d given them to the right people), we walked through the underground bus garage and soon found the bus with our ship’s name on it.

It felt like it took an eternity for the bus to start its route. After all, we were feeling SO close to the ship and yet SO far. We sat for about 15 minutes before we finally hit the road, and we arrived at Ballantyne in almost no time flat. Before we could see anything else, the ship’s funnels with their Mickey emblems came into view and we were SO EXCITED.

Disney Wonder at Ballantyne Pier | Vancouver

Pulling up to the pier, we got our first real look at our home for the next nine nights!

Disney Wonder at Ballantyne Pier | Vancouver

Here was Tracy’s face.

And here was mine.

We pulled up to Ballantyne and got off the bus.

Ballantyne Pier | Vancouver

From out here, it seemed like there was almost no one else around, and we hoped against hope that we could somehow board the ship quickly without having to wait for too long.

Before we went into the terminal, though, I had to get a few pictures now that we could really see the Wonder properly.

Disney Wonder at Ballantyne Pier | Vancouver

Disney Wonder at Ballantyne Pier | Vancouver

Disney Wonder at Ballantyne Pier | Vancouver

Finally, we stepped inside.

Ballantyne Pier | Vancouver

Ballantyne Pier | Vancouver

Now, I imagine that Disney does a really good job with theming their private terminal at Port Canaveral. Here, we obviously got a bit of a makeshift attempt, but it still was pretty well-themed.

Disney Cruise Line | Ballantyne Pier, Vancouver

We got in line for guest check-in, and we were once again hopeful because there appeared to be no one in sight.

Disney Cruise Line Terminal | Ballantyne Pier, Vancouver

What little line there was moved VERY quickly.

Disney Cruise Line Terminal | Ballantyne Pier, Vancouver

Soon, we got to the front and were given our Key to the World cards. We knew that we could glean a little information from the cards if we read them right, and we were able to see that our dining rotation for the cruise was PTA (Parrot Cay, Triton’s, Animator’s Palate). It also confirmed our stateroom assignment—which we had only gotten two days earlier: Room 8502. But much more on that later!

For now, we followed the directions from the makeshift cast members (the folks milling around the terminal were obviously not Disney employees, but they were still as helpful as possible) and made our way toward the escalators that would take us to our next destination.

We stopped first, though, at this nice sign and asked someone to take our picture.

Disney Cruise Line Terminal | Ballantyne Pier, Vancouver

As we went up the escalator and looked down on the terminal, it clearly resembled a warehouse rather than a Disney port.

Ballantyne Pier | Port Metro, Vancouver

We followed this sign, sure that it was almost time to cross the gangplank!

Disney Cruise Line Terminal

And then we turned the corner and saw this crowd…

Disney Cruise Line Terminal | Ballantyne Pier, Vancouver

Apparently it would be a while until we’d get to board after all… Luckily, they gave us our first Personal Navigator as we entered this waiting room, and we perused it front-to-back several times while we sat and waited.

After the boarding groups before us seemed to take FOREVER, it was finally our turn. We got in line and made it to the front relatively quickly. Customs was a breeze, and before we knew it we were actually walking toward the ship!

Disney Wonder | Ballantyne Pier, Vancouver

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About Wandering Mouseketeers

We are Taylor and Tracy — husband and wife from Boulder, CO — and we love all things Disney, as well as general travel. This website was originally created to showcase our Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line trip reports, but we've also got an entire series of blog posts about what it was like to live for a year and a half in Orange County, CA. Hopefully you'll enjoy reading about our various adventures. All of our Disney trip reports have lots of pictures and details that you can use to plan your next vacation!

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