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My boyfriend and I are planning on heading up to either Seward or Denali to work the 2009 summer season. I want Denali, he wants Seward. Can you write to me if you’ve worked in either of these places and give us advice? We’re both waiters. I also work in hotels in Vegas in the Convention department so I have experience in admin and working with convention/meeting clientele. Both of us drive, both of us love to hike and take photos and love wildlife. What are the best areas to work to make money? Where is the best place to live? Who has good employee housing – who has crap employee housing? Is it better to rent an apartment for the season? Do you recommend taking a car if so do you recommend driving or taking the ferry system from Washington.
We want to make good money and as neither of us have ever been to Alaska – we have a lot of questions. What can we expect to make – money wise?
Once we’re there what will we need to bring with us? I know some employee housing and cabins don’t have showers or kitchens.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Rent an apt in Seward, buy a beater car after you have been there a few weeks, work at Rays in the harbor during the day and The Crab Pot at night. Super money makers there during summer. Expect to pay about a grand for rent per month. Alaska is expensive but it has huge revenue in the summer. Cruise ships are not so affected by high gas prices as places that are 200 miles from anchorage by car. Seward was always busy this "summer" where as the spot I was at saw a decline in business as did many other places in Alaska this year due to high gas prices. It was 5 bucks a gallon pretty much all summer long in Cooper Landing/Kenai area.

Plus Seward is a real town, not just a bunch of shops that open and close as the money warrants. So it has a community feel. It's a really beautiful town as well.

Denali is great and you can make a bunch of money, but you mostly have Corporate type places. Which I have found to all be the same. Rather stale and drab. Better to work and support a local economy than feed some Fat Cat in Seattle's wallet.

You can work these types of jobs anywhere, if you are making the commitment to come all the way here...Make the most of it, especially if its only for the summer. A seasonal gig goes by waaay faster than you think, and working for a local or pvt business is going to give you more flexibility to get out and see this great state.

Just my two cents worth. I moved here last march and decided to stay.
Hi and thanks. How funny - I was just looking at Rays online. They don't have a website do they? Any advice on how to contact them in the off season?
lemme do some looking, Im sure i can find a seward phone book around here somewhere.
You know what? I called the restaurant and got the info.
Thanks again!!!
Salmon Bake in Denali, although very disorganized, is excellent $$$. Ray's Waterfront in Seward is hard to get work at because the same people keep coming back... it is very good $$$. If you can get a job there I recommend it.
Have you considered working on the spit in homer? You can camp on the spit for 50.00 a week and they get very busy also. Lands End is a great spot and there are many others. Talkeetna and Valdez (Totem Inn) are good spots also.... Good luck
I don't know anything about Seward but I did work at Denali and enjoyed. The housing is okay but nothing great and the food could be better but it is tolerable. The one big plus about working at Denali that other parks can't claim is transportation. You are right at the train stop for the train that travels from Fairbanks to Anchorage and their is also a shuttle van that stops at the Visitor Center.
With Denali - is it good to work for Aramark (in Denali Bluffs, Doyon/Aramark Joint Adventure, Grande Denali Lodge, McKinley Chalet or McKinley Village Lodge) if so which place sees the most volume/has the most potential to make money? OR is it good to try and get outside Aramark (if there is anything else)? If you recommend any of these places - which particular restaurant do you recommend? Has anyone been a hiking guide? Can you tell me about it?
Thanks in advance.
McKinley Village is about 5 miles outside the park but McKinley Chalet is about a mile outside the park entrance and more in the center of things and probably a better chance at making good tip money if you work in a restaurant. I didn't work at either location (I was at the park hotel) but I heard that McKinley Chalets actually had good employee food. Lynx Pizza is another Aramark property I have heard good things about and another opportunity to make good tips.

Princess Lodge is another location that is not an Aramark property but I didn't work for them so I will leave that for someone else to critique.
i used to work for them in 2007 as an dishwasher then prep cook at the spruce the food was good there from what i herd about the servers that u can make good money there if u save it wisely
Lynx Pizza is actually owned by Princess, fyi. Yummy pizza.
It is? I remember some Park Hotel employees going there to work overtime so I assumed it was an Aramark property.

I learned something tonight. :)
The Denali Princess Lodge is the largest hotel in Alaska when open during the summer, FYI, if you are looking for alternatives to Aramark.

An advantage to the Denali area is that there are quite a few major resorts in that area to seek jobs from, especially if you are looking for jobs at more than 1 place in order to make more money. Most also have very affordable housing and meal plans, definitely less than $1,000 a month in Seward as stated above. I'm not sure how busy Seward will be this year in terms of cruise business, as cruise bookings are down quite a bit from 2008, which was already a down year.

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