Disney launches cruises in Oregon and Washington that were a '90s kid's dream

For die-hard Disney fans, vacationing at sea with a mouse is nothing new. Disney Cruise Line has been offering ocean cruises to various destinations for years. But earlier this week, Disney Cruise Line announced the addition of a new port of call, and it's not what you'd normally expect. Passengers heading to the Pacific Northwest will first experience a Disney cruise to Astoria, Oregon.

Passengers aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship sailing from Vancouver, Canada will have the opportunity to explore the hidden gems of Astoria, Oregon for the first time, according to a July 5 release on the Disney Parks Blog. This coastal city is located about one hundred miles north of Portland, between the banks of the Columbia River and Youngs Bay. It's a relatively unknown destination with countless attractions, and Disney is helping passengers visit all the best attractions.

First and foremost, Astoria is home to stunning natural beauty. While visiting Mount St. Helens National Monument, guests can admire the volcano's brutal beauty and explore the remnants of the 1980 eruption. According to a description on the Disney Cruise Line website, a guide will be with you the entire time, providing insight into the environment's salient features.

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History buffs will also be fascinated by Astoria. Known as the oldest settlement in the United States, the town is located west of the Rocky Mountains. According to the Disney Parks Blog, it's also the site of Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark are said to have camped after their fabled Pacific expedition. On the cruise's historic Astoria and Fort Clatsop Harbor Adventure, passengers will first climb the 164 steps to the top of the Astoria Column for views of Astoria, the Pacific Ocean and the Cascades panoramic view of the mountains. Passengers will then visit Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, visit Fort Clatsop, and see a replica of the explorer's winter home. Finally, passengers can serve as spectators for historical re-enactors. Finally, a tour of the Columbia River Maritime Museum offers guests the opportunity to explore an unparalleled collection of maritime artifacts.

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Finally, passengers can enjoy Astoria's more modern offerings by exploring the area's rich arts scene. Passengers who prefer to make their own plans for ports of call (instead of taking a strictly planned long-distance trip) can take part in micro-creative tours such as glassblowing. Participants will visit the Fernhill Glass Studio in Astoria and work with master glassblower Claude Kurtz to create their own one-of-a-kind keepsake. In addition to learning about ancient art, participants will have the opportunity to assist Kurtz in making a glass object and try their hand at glassblowing. Participants will choose a color and style and watch Claude complete it in the fire. As the parts need to cool, the completed projects will be shipped to participants upon completion.

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Another often-overlooked aspect of Astoria is its role in Hollywood—many studios use the town as a filming location. Movie buffs will want to take a tour filmed in Astoria, which will take you to local landmarks you can see from famous Hollywood classics. Highlights of the tour include a visit to the Flavel House and a stop at the old Clatsop County Jail, both of which were used in the filming of the 1980s classic film The Goonies. You'll also see the water scene from Free Willy.

When booking your next cruise, think outside the box. Instead, think outside the Bahamas. The West Coast is a strong contender for tropical vacation destinations. Plus, you'll have the chance to make history as a passenger on the first Disney cruise ship to sail to Astoria, Oregon.