Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by estherhead, May 9, 2012.
I'm so glad you're back! You've absolutely convinced me to vacation in Yosemite!
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We have a log cabin village very near our home, they are so nice. So much better than dry history from a book.
Knitster: You just have to! Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon. Spectacular places I could spend a lot more in.
After packing up the car and checking for bear damage, we checked out of our tent officially, no line early in morning (of course) at the check in cabin, and headed to the bus stop. I had spent some time with the maps, and I had downloaded some hikes on my ipad. But I hadn't studied them very well because we don't take long hikes and we stay on the beaten path. So I put all the maps but the most basic one that would help us with bus routes in the car and we headed to breakfast.
We stood near the little bench at the bus stop. It was cold but we didn't want too much clothing as we'd have to carry anything we had on. So we just tried to stay warm. After just a few moments a little old lady came and sat down on the bench. I don't use the term "little old lady" lightly. This lady was tiny, very short. And she had a walker, was bundled up like nothing you've ever seen, and was VERY old. Like maybe 90? Maybe 100. She struggled to sit on the bench so I helped her.
I stood there trying to decide if she decided to get on our bus how I could help her as there is no possible way this woman could get on the bus. With her bag and walker, it would be a formidable task even with me helping her. After just a moment, though, a Yosemite security agent came over. This guy was SO NICE. Seriously. I cannot explain. He asked her lots of very respectful questions but you could tell he didn't really want her out in Yosemite on her own. But I credit this lady's gumption. She was there with some family and she didn't want to do what they were doing so she was off to see Yosemite. We left before her. And I'm glad. She made me nervous. I hope she had the day of her life. She deserved it.
We found the breakfast spot and had two choices. The very expensive sub-par cafeteria breakfast buffet or the very crowded coffee shop. Off to stand in line. What I wouldn't have given for just a stupid Poptart and banana. Next time....
It was also VERY expensive. Like double Disney. But we were a captive audience so we made our choices. I stood in line while the family went to the potty and evidently found a bear.
While I waited for my specialty coffee (which I ordered accidently, American coffee is not evidently just American coffee, it's some fancy thing that took FOREVER to make but was unbelievably delicious) I was standing in this corner with the other women waiting for their fancy coffee. One of the women had a phD. How do I know this? Because she talked incessantly about it. On and On and On about how smart she was. I'm not really sure I've been that annoyed often in my life. I'm a very chill person about other people's idiosyncrasies. But 6 months later as I write this I can still bring the anger up. It's 8 am and we're all standing here PRE-coffee and you are telling a bunch of strangers that you are the smartest person in the universe, and that we are all complete and utter idiots? Because you clearly aren't smart enough to know that everyone here is smart enough to know that you are the idiot.
If she teaches at a college, I hope they pay the students to take her class. Oy!!!!
I finally made it to the coffee where the girls were enjoying their cinnamon roll. They let us pick our own and for the price, I told the girls to get the biggest one. This thing was it's own planet. It was a cinnamon roll loaf!
Look at it! It's half the size of the tray. It was delicious and I drank my wonderful coffee and ate my part of the roll and calmed myself down.
Ready to go see some gorgeous rocks:
Back on the bus we went. And we hopped off at our stop for a nice, easy hike to the gorgeous Mirror Lake.
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth,
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The above words pretty much sums me up in general. It's why I research so well because if you're gonna take a path that no one is on, you better know where it goes.
I thought I knew where we were going. So when we came to these two paths I felt confident taking the less traveled. There is a bridge that connects them. So if we did decide to do a 2 mile hike, we could just do round trip and get to do both paths. I did not HAVE this map with me, mind you, as it was on my ipad. I just had looked at it long enough to be confident that I was right.
The path we DIDN'T take:
The path we DID take:
Ok, now here is some justification. If you wanted a walk through though the woods, which path would you pick? Not the broad path, the path that looks like a road, the well beaten ridiculously well traveled path. No. Of course not. You'd pick the path that looked like a path through the woods. That you KNOW connects to a bridge about a mile down to the wide path anyway.
So off we went. This was a nice path. It smelled amazing. There was no one on it. It was quiet and peaceful and just what I thought a national park should be.
After just a 1/4 mile or so, however, this took a stinky turn. We realized we were on the horse trail. And horses poop. It was a literal mindfield of poop. It was a little lesson in what following in someone's footsteps actually means as it was quite important to watch your feet and follow Mommy as she avoids the poop.
But it was nice just the same and before we knew it we were in the most spectacular clearing at mirror lake. There was absolutely no way to take a picture of this. Every corner added together to create a perfect environment. But one small square at a time does nothing for it.
Sheer cliffs on every side:
A nice picture of Donald:
We had not had enough yet and everyone decided they wanted to press on to the bridge.
Though this was an even less traveled trail it seemed traveled enough:
We walked and we walked. Breathing in, chasing ducks and other animals. It was really nice but there came a point where the trail kinda stopped. And you were just in a meadow.
See the wide path on the other side?
This is not what it's supposed to look like according to my map:
So at this point I pulled out my sad little map that shows nothing and stared at it. This is also the point that another family showed up. So they came up and also studied my map, really more like a bus route that kinda showed the rest of the valley. At least I had more people in agreement that there was a bridge. They, too, had seen a map that showed a bridge. But they turned around. We were having such a great time that we decided to press on and just climbed over the trees.
No path at all:
Donald and I discussing the plan:
The girls being helped over a tricky log:
Boo loving every minute of it:
We climbed over these logs forever and ever. And never did find a path. Nor a bridge. So Donald decided to just cross the river (it wasn't deep so no real danger) and try to find the path on the other side.
He was over there forever. He searched and searched. But no path. So he came back.
And we decided to give it up and turn around. At this point I got concerned. We'd had only sugar for breakfast and we'd already walked 2 miles easily. If you're counting, that is 1.75 more miles than I like to go with 5 year olds. But we were all in really good moods and laughing and singing and having a grand time, including Boo. And there was simply no choice. The only way back was back over those logs and through the meadow and back through the horse poop landmine field.
It was actually a pretty quick walk back for being probably 2 miles. Donald put Boo on his shoulders for about .5 of it. When we got back to the point of decision I stopped to look at the map posted there so I could see where on earth the cursed bridge was:
OOOOOhhhhhhhh..... There was an avalanche. And we went well past the avalanche, where the bridge should have been, etc. THAT would have been useful to have seen. And... we climbed all over that rock slide. With a bunch of kids. Whoopsie.
But as nice and quotable as Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La was, this morning was our favorite in either park. It was quiet and peaceful and just our family battling the elements. And it was nice to know that we have big kids now and just like us, they love the great outdoors. Sometimes I worry with the iphones and ipads and laptops that they won't like camping and hiking and picnics. But this morning is proof that if given the chance, they'd pick a walk in the woods over a video game and that is very reassuring.
Finally back to the bus, we went to get our car.
It had started to rain and the rain was picking up. We found a great parking spot and splashed through the puddles. We headed into line and all figured out what we wanted to eat. Again, it was way more expensive than Disney World. I got sweet potato fries. That I do remember though I don't remember the rest. I think it was pretty good.
We ate out here:
Despite the rain we didn't get too wet because of the umbrellas. But we didn't linger. We hopped back to our car. The morning had been wonderful, but we were tired of the food difficulties. Next time, we'll be better prepared.
So you may have noticed that when given a choice between a broad, spacious road and a cramped, dirt road I prefer the difficult way. As we headed out of Yosemite I asked Donald if he would mind if we just went cross country vs. highway. I had my ipad back now that we were in the car and so had reliable maps again so he, like the nice guy he is, agreed.
The road out of Yosemite followed the river and was just lovely. With the the river on one side and a cliff full of waterfalls on the other, it was delightful driving, or should I say riding.
And once we were out of the mountains and on the plateau, we left the main road and headed toward Fresno another way. The road not taken.
Donald really is a good guy to let me have my way.
The cows enjoying the golden fields of California:
Isn't it so pretty?
Expansive skies with amazing clouds and golden, rolling hills with cattle grazing happily.
Once we were in Fresno, we checked into our Hotwire hotel and using Yelp headed to a mexican restaurant. We really enjoyed our time here, pretty authentic. Our server was so great, she wasn't hispanic but she was about 50 and friendly and so helpful and talkative. We really loved her.
California also has good malls and going to a mall was on our list as they have better clothes in their malls than we do. I know all of you in California don't know this, but it's the truth. You all look better than us and prior to going to California I thought it was because you had a better sense of style. Then I went to California and realized that for some reason you have better stuff for sale. I cannot figure this out. Why? Why can't we have attractive skirts and dresses in Ohio JCPenney? It's no wonder half the country shops on line now. We are just trying to buy clothes from California. You probably ALSO have better style, but you didn't hear that from me.
We spent some clothes and enjoyed ourselves and then headed back to the hotel for some shuteye. It had been a really great day. Really great.
The next morning we got up leisurely (which still being on Ohio time mostly was still pretty earlier) and I found a breakfast place on Yelp again. Gotta love Yelp.
Boo LOVED this place. Absolutely loved. She wanted to call Jack-Jack (her cousin) and fly him out immediately so he could eat here with us.
It had trains everywhere. Trains moving, trains sitting, trains hanging. Trains! It was called the Train Depot.
They served the drinks in jars and every coffee cup was different. Really homey and jam packed. Mulan and I split again and got fajita eggs. Nice salsa. And others got a mixture of waffles/pancakes/omlets. I can't really remember their food, of course, since I didn't eat it. But I know we had full bellies and were happy.
Which was good because we were planning on about a 6 hour drive down to Thousand Oaks, again cross country on whatever crazy roads I could find. Today would be through wine country. And the ocean, of course.
But for a little while we were still in farm land
California really is interesting in this area, which I know I've already kind of touched when discussing the Serving Spoon in LA. The rich and poor seem to live right next to each other. So you'd have a gorgeous ranch right next to a run down shack. Where I'm from is like that too. Gorgeous house, 1970 trailer no one took care of right across the street. But generally when I travel the rich separate themselves from the poor. So that was interesting.
Driving due west towards the ocean into wine country:
The girls hadn't been attention in the back as it was pretty boring scenery for them. But once we got to 1, they started looking. Oceans are always interesting.
Be back in a bit...
So glad to see some updates!! Wow, what an amazing trip you took your family on.
I know you say your pictures don't do it justice, but the Yosemite pictures are breathtaking. I can't imagine how awesome it must be to see it in person. Can't wait to read the rest.
I also enjoyed your YouTube video of the surprise trip to DW. Great job on it!
I am currently reading your trip report when you stayed at FW. I love it!! You are a great writer. We love to camp and have had pop up campers in the past. We sold our last one 3 years ago and have been saving to get a big one. Well that hasn't happened. (2 little boys) So we are going to try to master tent camping. We have done it many times and love it, but haven't gotten all the gear for a long trip. I'd love to know exactly what kind of screen room you have. It is HUGE! And that is what we need. Does it take two people to put up? Are you happy with it? When it rains does your stuff on the table get wet? Thanks so much!!!
Sorry for posting here but I don't have enough posts to message someone yet. Thanks again!
That is the link. We looked high and low for this tent. It was under $100 when we bought it and wasn't the awkward shape that big screen houses often are. I believe you can't buy it anymore. We love it! As far as water tightness, I am methodical with my waterproofing. When we buy any new tent product I wait until the weather shows 3-4 days of sunshine in a row, put them up and waterproof them three times a day. Especially the seams. It costs a lot but is so worth it. This spring we went camping and the first night was a torrential, windy thunderstorm. Everyone we were camping with were sad. But we were snug as could be, not even any drips. Because of the wind, the screen house didn't fair as well, but the center was still dry and our bins were. We put a picnic table with a waterproof tablecloth in the middle and our plastic bins underneath. All in all, we were able to dry out within 30 minutes. Some of our friends never did recover and just went home.
And a screen house is worth the money and effort. Our can go up with just one person. But we almost never do. It takes just moments with two.
Waterproof, waterproof, waterproof. Trust me on this one.
Just getting caught up! I love reading about your adventures in "my" neck of the woods. It's fun to get a different perspective of places we've been. LOL about CA having better shopping malls/stores! I think you're right though -- when we go out of state the shopping is very different...
I hope 2013 has been great so far for the Perla and Suzy clans! Looking forward to reading some more about your CA trip when you're back.
I'm off to watch the surprise video now!
I have been reading through your trip report this afternoon, and have enjoyed every bit of it! You are a wonderful writer! I appreciate all the time and effort you've spent in sharing this here for everyone to enjoy.
Last summer, I took a very similar trip out west. We stopped at Disneyland and Yosemite, ending up in San Fransisco. I absolutely fell in love with Yosemite! We stayed in the Curry Village, too, and really enjoyed the place. I could stay a whole summer there and be very happy.
And I wanted to say also that I agree with your statement about the pictures of Yosemite. It's difficult to really explain what it is like, and the pictures don't do justice to how amazingly beautiful it all is. I want to go back.....
Hi! Sorry it took me so long to reply. I've been having guilt about this thread. It's been almost a year and I haven't even gotten to Disneyland in my Disneyland TR! I have been super busy but things are slowing down just a bit I hope. I am hoping to start a new blog (I've paid for the name enchantingbeginnings) but haven't started it either! But I have this TR, last August's TR, and our upcoming trip to wdw in 3 months time. And I don't really want to have nothing written on them online. So I'm gonna get moving. Say tuned in the next two weeks for whatever I decide to do. But I do promise that whatever form it takes. I will eventually take you all to DL with me. I promise! You will find out what happened May 2012.
And yes, Yosemite is unbelievable. We did Hawaii this March, no kids. And it was gorgeous. So, so gorgeous. But for all the amazing waterfalls there Donald and I agreed, they couldn't even begin to touch the smallest of Yosemite's waterfalls.
Hi! Glad you're back. I was hoping you'd finish this report. Ooooo, Hawaii. I wouldn't mind a bit if you threw in a few of those pictures.
Hi! I'm blushing because I keep making promises and not following through. So after much discussion with my website designing friends I decided to start a blog. That way everything I'm doing can be all lumped together and my Disboard friends won't feel neglected. It won't be like this format which makes me sad because I love Disboard TR format, but I figure something is better than nothing. I'm working on Cali right this second. I'm just quickly summing up Sequoia and Yosemite so I can do Disneyland.
I'll try to remember to post each new post here as well. But if you don't trust me (and why would you from my record???) you can just subscribe and it'll send them to your e-mail.
There is so many things, like Hawaii, I want to share. And I have August WDW 2012. And now I just made our countdown chain for August 2013!!! You can see it here:
And the first chapter of California here:
As I was writing that chapter I realized I might have the wrong people saying the wrong things as I lost my notes and didn't want to scour this for the truth. So if you see any inaccuracies in my blog vs. this TR, don't tell me! I don't want to know just how bad my memory really is.
OK, off to work at my day job. Then we have to put our pool together as the liner had holes in it and we had to rip the whole thing apart. But I'm going to write my seqouia chapter tonight. And this weekend I'm not super busy so I can see me actually arriving at a Disneyland TR by Saturday! I know, I know. Promises, promises. And don't worry, I'll be more thorough on there on DL than I am on these first chapters. Don't get concerned. It won't be every hiccup like the past because it's been a year and I have no notes, but I'll be as thorough as possible.
I know you guys have already read this on here, and in much greater detail. But I got my first Seqouia Day up and just trying to keep you apprised of the progress so you don't lose hope.
My review of Montecito Lodge:
That's it. The next post written in this blog will be NEW content. Shocking, I know. Up next: Los Angeles quick tour with a stop at the Disney ice cream shop in Hollywood.
I just visited your blog. Nice job! I'll be checking it out again.
Awww, thanks! It's both fun and challenging but I know I'll be happier to have everything all in one spot that I own. More coming soon! I'm gonna do Hollywood next and I have the pictures chosen just have to get them uploaded. I'm sure it'll be tomorrow.
Today was the day my girls would see Walts park for the first time. We were all super excited!!!! Tim and I had been once for one rainy, dreary November day and it had just whet our appetite to do it thoroughly. I had been waiting and waiting and today was the day we checked in to our hotel. Disneyland here we come!
On our way from Yosemite to Anaheim we meandered the back roads of central California and went to a mall. I know a mall isnt on most peoples Must Do in California list but I find that their products are better in California than Ohio. So the few times Ive been to the state I always put a normal shopping mall on my must do list. I buy not souvenirs but skirts and tops for home. Then we headed down Highway One, pausing for ice cream and ocean views in Santa Barbara and saying hello to the city made famous to us from Psych.
We also visited friends we have in Thousand Oaks and had a great time with them. They have a Trader Joes very close to their house and I had loaded up on snacks and goodies as once we were parked at our Disneyland hotel, we werent planning on getting in our car again. I HATE LA traffic. Let me park the car and walk, please!
Because of that, we decided to let our girls swim in the Pacific as we drove from Thousand Oaks to Disneyland. Also we wanted to do a quick Hollywood tour.
It was COLD this day. It was the end of May and I had counted on at least a 70 degree day. But it was barely pushing 60, I swear. My girls, however, felt it might be their only chance to swim in the Pacific during their childhood so they braved the temperature. I did not. I bundled up in my jacket and shawl on the beach and people watched. We chose to swim near the Santa Monica pier. There is paid parking and very nice facilities where we were and it was well worth however much the parking was. It was a machine that you put money in and got your ticket.
Eden enjoying the sand on the Pacific near Santa Monica Pier
Once they had had enough swimming and playing we went to the facilities and playground and the big girls dried off and changed. Because Eden had immersed herself in the sand it had embedded itself into every portion of her body. After attempts to clean it off in an orderly and respectable fashion I gave up and took her to an outside shower and stripped her and rinsed her off. Sometimes you just run out of options as a mom. We tried to move quickly but it is what it is.
Once everyone was relatively dry and dressed in acceptable clothes we headed off for our driving tour of Hollywood. We arent really that star struck being simple, small town people. So it was much more about saying we had been there than having any idea who lived where. We mainly just drove by stuff looking. I enjoyed seeing the Beverly Hills Hotel and the campus of UCLA. And the girls loved looking at Rodeo Drive and the fancy cars parked around. And see the names of all the streets they recognized.
Sunset Blvd street sign
Even the signs in Hollywood are interesting
We had planned on parking at Hollywood and Highland mall. But I decided I wanted to eat at Pinks and there happened to be a spot pretty close so we parked there. It was a great spot and we enjoyed walking around. Sadly, the line around Pinks was well over an hour. I know its always crazy busy. But I wasnt anticipating a forever line for a hotdog. Eden loves hotdogs. But Im not a huge fan and even the draw of the most famous hotdog in the world wasnt worth all that time.
The line for Pink's hotdogs in Hollywood
The line around Pinks was CRAZY!
Secretly I had a plan in mind for where we could eat in Hollywood. Disneys soda shop! I didnt mention it because I worried it would also have a long line but I like ice cream more than hotdogs so I probably would wait. We would just have to wait and see.
We headed to the main drag and went up into the mall to take our Hollywood sign picture. On the way in we stopped for Eden to get wet yet again. Thank goodness there was no sand around here!
Playing in the water at Hollywood and Highland
It was crazy busy this day. Throngs of people everywhere. This little spot was a bit quieter and I was happy to be temporarily out of the crowds. And the girls enjoyed seeing the famous sign from a famous vantage point.
Hollywood sign as seen from the Hollywood and Highland mall
Once I had my picture, we braved the crowds and I noticed El Capitan was promoting Brave. Disney marketing showing its mighty hand. Eden noticed too, she can be pretty oblivious to the world around her but not when a princess is involved.
We then went to the Chinese Theater. So many happy memories from Disneys Hollywood Studios in Florida for us and the fake Graumans Chinese Theater. We loved seeing the real deal and checking out all the famous hand and footprints.
It was hard to get good pictures since there were throngs of people around all of them. Fortunately, we were most interested in ones that didnt have huge crowds around them.
Donald Duck might not have as big a draw here as Tom Cruise but for Eden he was the most exciting celebrity of them all. Alex also found Wolverines legacy in cement interesting.
Once everyone had seen what or who they wanted to see I suggested we find a crosswalk. I had big plans in mind. We pushed through the crowds holding tightly onto hands so no one got lost and found some very exciting Stars. Disneyland and Snow White!
And then I suggested what every great mother should suggest on vacation:
Ice Cream for Dinner.
And way better than Pinks there was almost no line at all! Perfect. The servers were happy and seemed like a little piece of Disneyland and the atmosphere was darling. The bathrooms were spotless. We did order two entrees and share them. They have hotdogs (I know, not Pinks but still) and the grilled cheese sandwich was really quite yummy. It came very simply with a good pickle and chips. But lets get serious, we werent here to have food. They have a giant ice cream sundae that uses an entire can of whipping cream just like at Beaches and Cream on the Boardwalk in Disney World. After much debate, we finally decided that wasnt really what we wanted. What I really wanted was Mickey Mouse shaped sprinkles. Oh yeah.
Doesnt she look happy?
We also shared a banana split. We were all super full at the end and agreed that ice cream for dinner had been the perfect choice.
It was then time to head back to the car as I wanted to make absolute sure we hit the Disneyland signs in Anaheim while it was still daylight. And with LA traffic who knew? Months before I had made reservations at the Howard Johnsons and I had splurged on a theme park view so we could watch fireworks from our balcony. We checked in and found our room and unpacked. We had made it just in time and the sunset was a beautiful color over Disneyland. It had been such a fantastic trip so far and I had tears in my eyes as Eden and I snuggled up and watched the sky light up over the Matterhorn. I love family vacations
Too bad the weather wasn't better for your trip to the beach, but it looks like you made the best of it anyway. Ugh to the crowds of people everywhere. Did you visit Hollywood on a Saturday?
I can't wait to read about your visit to Disneyland. I have no desire to visit L.A., so I will just have to live vicariously through you.
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