Our Very Own California Adventure!! July 30th-August 11th, 2008

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by SoonerGirl, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. SoonerGirl

    SoonerGirl DIS Veteran

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    Hi :wave2: My name is Michelle, and this is my first attempt at a trip report, so be kind, please! :laughing:

    First let me introduce the family:

    There's me, I'm a 39 year old Disney lover! I've made a few trips to WDW (4 to be exact), but this was my first vacation to Walt's original park (unless you count a miserable one day trip on New Year's Eve about 5 or 6 years ago, which I don't! :thumbsup2 ).

    Then we have DH, who is the Disney Grump in the family. Everytime I bring up a Disney trip I get the same response, "it's too expensive", "I want to see other places", "we've already been there" - blah, blah, blah, blah!!! :mad: So, when I started planning this vacation, I slid Disneyland in with a bunch of other stuff I knew he would enjoy, and lo and behold - it worked! :woohoo: We get to go to Disneyland!!

    Here's a recent pic of DH & I in Colorado

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    We have two boys, ages 12 and 7, who like their mother, love all things Disney - I've worked hard to bring them up right! :rotfl:

    Here they are on the same trip to Colorado, being silly like they usually are

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    And one more of DH with the boys - I'm just including this photo because I love it so much :lovestruc

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    Here is a quick look at what we have planned for our week and a half in California:

    Day 1 & 2: San Francisco
    Day 3 & 4: Yosemite National Park
    Day 4 & 5: Sequoia National Park
    Day 5-9: Disneyland & California Adventure
    Day 9-12: San Diego
    Day 13: Home :sad1:

    Up next: Day 1: San Francisco Here we Come!!
     
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  3. jaycns

    jaycns <font color=green>I am green with envy. Vanilla Ic

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    I am really looking forward to reading all about your journey out west! This is a trip that has long been in the "pre planning" stages in our home. We often throw the idea around, we just haven't gotten around to doing it. I am eager to soak up all of the information you have to share!

    What sweet pictures! I think the one of your three men together is super sweet! I bet you have that one up on the walls (or the desk) for many years to come!

    GREAT start to your trip report! I am eagerly awaiting hearing about your time in San Fransisco!

    PS Your family wouldn't happen to be a family of Cardinals' fans, would you? :lmao:
     
  4. SoonerGirl

    SoonerGirl DIS Veteran

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    Day 1, July 30th

    First of all, I went to bed the night before we were supposed to leave wondering if this vacation was actually such a good idea. See, in just a few days we were supposed to be going to Yosemite National Park and there was a huge wildfire that had been burning for several days right outside the park entrance; then if that weren't enough to think about, there had just been an earthquake in LA! :scared1: Ummmmm, maybe God's trying to tell us something?????

    I did the best I could to stop thinking about the negatives and tried to get some sleep - our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:45 in morning! :eek:

    So, I was up at 3:30 in the morning, before any human really should be, and was getting ready to head to the airport. :banana: Everything with our travel went very smoothly, the kids were realitively good (thank goodness!) and our flight actually arrived a little early (gotta love Southwest!). We grabbed our bags, some of the first to hit the carousel, and called the shuttle service that was to take us to our hotel. They arrived in about 5 minutes and we were on our way! :yay:

    We were staying at the Hilton Fisherman's Wharf, I was afraid that at noon we wouldn't have a room yet, but we lucked out and they had one ready - could things be working out any better?! I felt that Disney magic already :wizard:

    Here's a pic of our room at the Hilton

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    After dropping our bags in the room, we headed down to the wharf.

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    First stop? Boudin's Bakery, of course, to do what any good tourist should do - eat clam chowder from a bread bowl!

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    The clam chowder and bread bowl were out of this world yummy! I'm getting hungry right now just thinking about it!

    After we finished our lunch we headed over to Pier 39, I wanted to see the Seals that hang out in the harbor and do some shopping.

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    The seals were really cool (although, they smelled quite bad! :laughing: ), we really enjoyed watching them. This guy just looked like he was posing, so I had to take a picture of him!

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    Here's one of the boys too, who knows what DS7 is looking at, he looks all over the place when I try to take his picture - just too busy, I guess!

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    After we got our fill of seal watching, we headed into the shopping the area. I have to be honest, I was pretty unimpressed with the shops, most of it was just junk. :sad2: It made me kind of sad, because I was really looking forward to shopping! I did get a pretty good view of Alcatraz from the end of the Pier though, it was a little hazy so the picture didn't turn out all that great, but here it is anyway.

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    More Day 1 to come!
     
  5. SoonerGirl

    SoonerGirl DIS Veteran

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    Wow, Jay - you're fast!! I'm so excited you're here!

    About the Cardinals gear, we were actually in Colorado for a baseball tournament for DS12, his team is the Cardinals, so that's where it all comes from!
     
  6. MrsTomMorrow

    MrsTomMorrow DIS Veteran

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    Sounds great so far, Michelle! Can't wait to hear more!!!
     
  7. reyasmommy

    reyasmommy DIS Veteran

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    Loving your trip report so far! You are such a cute family!

    I LOVE SanFrancisco, it's one of my favorite places to visit. Too bad it's so expensive ((especially the parking))

    Can't wait to read more! :surfweb:
     
  8. SoonerGirl

    SoonerGirl DIS Veteran

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    Thanks, Alicia! The rest of Day 1 is coming up!

    Thanks!

    I would have to say that San Francisco was probably the least favorite part of our trip, but we really didn't get to venture away from the wharf. I think I would have liked it more if we had had time to explore other parts of the city.
     
  9. SoonerGirl

    SoonerGirl DIS Veteran

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    Day 1, cont.

    While we were walking around the pier the boys spotted a contraption made up of a trampoline and bungee cords. They had to give it a try!

    DS12:
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    and DS7:
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    They had a blast, jumping high and doing flips! DS7 had a little bit harder time than DS12, he just had a little too much resistance on those cords I think!

    After that, we took a little walk down towards Pier 33, where we were to take a tour the next morning - I wanted to get an idea of how far it was and how long it was going to take us to get there the next day. This turned out to be a mistake. We just happened to pass by a homeless man who was trying to sell newspapers to earn money. Most people were refusing (I felt it was mostly because of his manner of asking, but that's just my opinion) or flat out ignoring him. He was very frustrated and began a tirade which included a lot of words that I would rather my kids not hear. :sad2: The bad thing was, was that we had no where to go to escape him, he was walking along in front of us just yelling at no one in particular and there were no stores around that we could duck into. We tried walking slower or faster, but that didn't seem to help. We ended up just going as quickly as we could back to Pier 39, where he found a large crowd of people to solicite and lost interest in us and the small group of people that were walking around us.

    By this point, we were tired from getting up so early, so we headed back to the hotel to rest. I think I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and I slept for 2 hours!!

    Eventually, we all woke up and got ready for dinner. First, though, we checked on the fire at Yosemite. They were making progress on the fire, and the road leading into the park was open again, but a large part of the area still had no power. We decided to give it until morning to make a final decision on whether or not Yosemite would stay on our itinerary.

    For dinner we had decided to go to Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. I absolutely LOVE this place (Forrest Gump is one of my favorite movies) and have eaten at the one in Maui, Honolulu and New Orleans. I was so excited to bring the boys here!

    But, this was another bad spot in our great first day. :sad2: When we checked in we were told that there was about a 30-40 minute wait. We kind of expected that, so it was okay. DH & I got a drink from the bar and the boys got a soda. Well, and hour and 20 minutes later we were finally shown to our table! Then, mine and DHs food came out and we thought the guy was coming back with the boys food, but he never did. We flagged our waiter down and the boys finally got their food about 10 minutes after we got ours. We never did get an explaination about what happened. Our drinks were empty several times, our waiter was nice, just not very attentive. The food was really good too, but the poor service really put a damper on the evening. To top it all off, DS7 had been complaining that his throat hurt during the day, and by the end of dinner he was near tears.

    I was scared to death that I was going to have a sick child on vacation, which is never any fun! We passed a Walgreen's on our way back to the hotel, so I stopped and got him some decongestant. I gave him some and some Motrine when we got back to the hotel, and went to bed praying that he would feel okay in the morning!

    Up next: Day 2, and a trip to The Rock!
     
  10. heatherleigh

    heatherleigh DIS Veteran

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    I recognize the rock in your first post. We lived right by there, in CO Springs in the Chapel Hill area! I miss it.:sad2: I would love to move back there one day. Do you guys ever go to the North Pole amusement park? My boys loved that place. One of these days we're taking a trip up there to take them.

    I love your report so far! The clam chowder looks so yummy. That's one of my favorite meals. I really like Iver's, the kind you can get anywhere at the Seattle airport. I'm going to try the breadbowl at DCA, but I'm sure it's nowhere near as delicious as the chowder in SF!
     
  11. Cinderumbrella

    Cinderumbrella Wench

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    More! More!! popcorn::
     
  12. pperfectmom

    pperfectmom <font color=teal>Has the sense of direction of a m

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    Yay! Thanks for sending me over here, Michelle. You should feel special because I never come to this board.:rotfl2: That said, I'm loving your report so far. I can't wait to take a California road trip some day with our kids to show them the sights.
     
  13. Spartangirl

    Spartangirl DIS Veteran

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    Yay Michelle! I'm so glad you decided to do a trip report! Reading your report reminds me of my trip last summer.........the Hilton, the wharf, and that yummy clam chowder in a bread bowl! :goodvibes You have a beautiful family and I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip! :thumbsup2 Hope things make a turn for the best......Yosemite fires, an earthquake in LA, and a possible sick child??? Yikes! :scared1:
     
  14. jaycns

    jaycns <font color=green>I am green with envy. Vanilla Ic

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    The pictures of your boys on the bungee trampoline...so good! They look so happy/handsome and the scene in the background is postcard perfect!

    I am hungry thinking about the chowder in a bread bowl! However, the thought of Bubba Gump Shrimp Company makes me even MORE hungry! We love the Bubba Gump in Chicago and I adore the movie. Sounds like your service left a lot to be desired. It rots when poor service ruins an otherwise great meal.


    That posing looking seal cracked me up!:lmao:

    I am hoping the next installment starts with everyone healthy and the fires being a non-problem for the next leg of your adventure! I am looking forward to hearing more!:thumbsup2
     
  15. Blueberry

    Blueberry Happy to be a Croc Mama

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    Loving this report and the pictures Michelle, I feel like I was there with you.

    Too bad that old homeless guy kinda ruined the walk, but at least you managed to ditch him eventually....:sad1:

    Can't wait to hear if your DS throat is better and if you do go on that drive the next day.
     
  16. mommaU4

    mommaU4 <img src=http://photopost.wdwinfo.com/data/500/hl1

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    Hi there! Love your TR so far. I also just wanted to say that I wasn't impressed with San Francisco. I'm not sure what I expected, but it was so busy, and much more crowded then I thought. Parking was a PITA and so expensive. We even had to pay $25 a day to park at our hotel.

    My kids did enjoy Alcatraz though, and the Golden Gate bridge was cool. All in all, I'm glad we went, but I prefer other parts of Northern CA better.
    Anyway, it was just interesting to see someone else who didn't care for it as much.

    Can't wait to read more!!! :surfweb:
     
  17. SoonerGirl

    SoonerGirl DIS Veteran

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    You have a good eye! That picture with the rock was taken in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. We weren't able to make it to the North Pole park, but did pass it when we went to Pike's Peak - it looked so cute! We just didn't have time to fit it in, since we were actually supposed to be there to play baseball and not to sitesee. ;) Colorado Springs was so beautiful, I'd love to go back there again some day.

    Hi Kristin! :wave2: I'll get to work on day 2 soon!

    Yay, Marna's here too! I love you guys for coming over to read my trippee! :grouphug: You will actually make an appearance in my report soon!

    Hey Lynne! Glad you found me! Your California trip report was the one that really got me excited about our trip! I hope you can enjoy mine half as much as I enjoyed yours! :flower3:

    The boys loved the trampoline!! It was pricey for the amount of time they got, but they had so much fun that it was money well spent.

    I was so disappointed in our Bubba Gump experience, I just love that place and was so looking forward to eating there! :sad2:

    Woo Hoo, Wendy's here too!! :banana:

    Oh good, so I'm not the only one that was less than impressed! I kinda felt bad saying that, but it really just didn't live up to my expectations. It was more crowded, dirtier and just more run down than I expected.


    Thanks everyone! I'll be updating soon!
     
  18. Cinderumbrella

    Cinderumbrella Wench

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    ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!! pirate: Me thinks that means there are pirates coming!!!!!!! pirate:

    :rotfl:
     
  19. MyGoofy26

    MyGoofy26 DIS Veteran

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    Woohoo! She started!!

    I can't get over how much the boys are growing! They looked like they were having fun though!

    Can't wait to read more!
     
  20. SoonerGirl

    SoonerGirl DIS Veteran

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    :lmao: No silly, I mean Marna will make an appearance in my report!

    Hey Carrie!

    I love the picture of Pippa in your siggy, she's so cute!
     
  21. SoonerGirl

    SoonerGirl DIS Veteran

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    Day 2 - Thursday, July 31st

    Today we had a scheduled tour of Alcatraz. I picked a departure time of 10am so that we wouldn't have to get up too early, but I still woke up before 7am - I guess my body was still used to Central time. :confused3 I laid in bed for a little while, but finally got up and got on the computer to check on the Yosemite fire. There hadn't been much change since the day before, so we decided to just call the hotel and ask them about it. Well, we got bad news, we could get to the hotel, but they didn't have any power and didn't know when it may be getting turned back on. So, as much as we hated to, we cancelled our hotel reservation, then called and cancelled the tour we had scheduled for Saturday morning. :sad1: I was upset about it, but realize now that it just gives me an excuse to go back! :woohoo: We had made some tentative plans in our head about what we would do if Yosemite turned out to be a no go, and had decided on Monterey, but I hadn't had time to do much research on the area and wasn't exactly sure what we were going to do. This drives me crazy because I'm a big time planner - I have to know what we are doing when! Rolling with the flow on this one was not easy for me!

    Ok, back to the day at hand. While I hopped in the shower, DH took the boys down for breakfast. We had 4 coupons for a free continental breakfast at the hotel, so the boys all ate and brought me back a plate full of fruit and a muffin. Nothing fancy, but it served it's purpose! We left the hotel around 9:00 and started our walk towards Pier 33 to board the boat to Alcatraz. The wharf was so empty that early in the morning, so I took the opportunity to take a few pictures.

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    Soon, we were at the pier and ready to board. Here's a photo of the Bay Bridge from our boat.

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    The boat ride over to Alcatraz Island is relatively short and before I knew it we were pulling up to the dock.

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    I couldn't believe how many seagulls were all over the island! (You can kind of get an idea based upon what they left behind all over this ledge :laughing: )

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    They have a great audio tour of the cellhouse and the surrounding area. It was very informative, even the boys enjoyed it which actually surprised me a little. I was afraid they would get a little bored with it, but they didn't at all.

    Can you imagine spending the biggest part of your day in this tiny cell?!

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    Here's one of the boys in a cell, they don't look too happy to be there do they? :rotfl:

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    Another picture of the boys, that's the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, it was pretty foggy though, so it's kind of hard to see. (See DS7, looking at goodness knows what again?! :rolleyes: )

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    We spent about 2 1/2 hours on the island. You can take as much time as you like, the boats run until around 6:00 in the evening and you can return on any boat that you wish. I took this picture as we were leaving the island, it struck me as funny for some reason.

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    And one more, of the Golden Gate Bridge from the boat. Again, too much fog to get a decent photo. :sad2:

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    Day 2 - to be continued
     

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