I have read much of the Denali Park forums regarding the shuttle vs. tour bus. But I'm still unsure what to do. I have concluded the shuttle will be the best option since it allows for the most flexibility. We are staying at Princess Lodge for 2 nights. We want to take a shuttle on 9/4/2013. I can't decide on the 7:15 am or 9:15 am. Our major goals are seeing wildlife, taking photos and seeing McKinley. Here are my questions/dilemas:
7:15 or 9:15 - My understanding is that you want to be there 20 minutes before the shuttle leaves. Therefore I need to walk to catch the 7:15 since Princess will not have their shuttle then. Sunrise is 6:48 am so it will be dark when we walk; probably need to leave around 6:00 am (slow walkers). Not sure if that is a good idea. But it seems some have suggested earlier times are better for seeing McKinley and wildlife - I have read many different opinions on this. We could also take a taxi if the earlier departure is better. I have read elsewhere that it is good to go to the Visitor Center first in which case the 9:15 might be better - take the 7:00 am shuttle from the lodge and get to the visitor center.
Food - I know I need to bring my own. Is the Subway in walking distance of Princess Lodge? They don't have coolers on the shuttles to store your lunches do they?
Wonder Lake vs. Kantishna - I think we will opt for Wonder Lake but does anyone feel that the bette bet is Kantishna. Some say there isn't much past Wonder Lake. The only thing that sounds nice is Reflection Lake.
Sorry this is so long; but I can't decide