California Dreamin'-A 14 Day Odyssey to San Fran,Yosemite & DL! 8/2013 COMPLETE!1/9!!

Discussion in 'DVC Trip Reports' started by podsnel, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

    Nov 14, 2007
    Well, hello again travel peeps! :goodvibes It's time for another TR, this time chronicling our BIG trip to California from NJ! We started in San Francisco for 4 nights, then headed east for 3 nights in Yosemite, and after a brief overnight stop, finished off with 5 nights at GCV. This was our first trip to DL and Yosemite, but for DH and I a revisit to San Francisco- just, this time, with our two teenage sons, Tyler (16) and Timmy (14) along for added enjoyment (most of the time- but they ARE teenagers, so..yea...there's THAT). Our time in Disneyland was EXTRA magical, because it included a reunion with my Cali DISmom, anewmac, and DISmeets with some AWESOME DISwomen I have been wanting to meet forEVER- not to mention that these DISmeets took place in some very special venues- 1901 and Club 33! :dance3: Plus, we got to see an old dear friend from NJ who had become a Californian years ago- really, it was a fantastic trip! I'll be back soon to start reliving our adventure with you all! :yay:



    DAY 1 August 13th
    Flying in-

    9/16 updates
    Surprises, Commercials, Pier 39 & Scomas, thank you Tricia!!!

    DAY 2- August 14th

    9/20- Regency Club Brekkie, Muir Woods
    9/22- Muir Woods

    10/1- Yank Sing

    10/28- 4 hour Tour with Silver Lion Service

    10/31 Sotto Mare, Ferry Building

    DAY 3- August 15th

    11/1 Alcatraz

    11/9 In n Out Burger

    11/11 GGB Family Biking Debacle of Epic Proportions

    11/22 make mine a Double in Sausalito

    11/25 Regency Club Happy Hour and Pier 23

    DAY 4 August 16

    11/27 Giants Stadium Tour

    12/2 Golden Gate Segways Tour

    12/10 Boulevard Restaurant

    DAY 5- August 17th

    12/11 Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building
    1/14 Lands End Hike, Sutro Baths
    Heading to Yosemite
    Groveland- Hotel Charlotte, Bistro, Iron Door Saloon

    DAY 6 August 18th

    2/9 Yosemite!

    2/22 Yosemite!

    2/28 Ahwahnee Dining Room dinner

    DAY 7 AUGUST 19th

    4/22 Mist Trail

    4/30 Ahwahnee, Yosemite Village

    DAY 8 AUGUST 20th

    5/13 Room Service, Glacier Point

    5/15 Glacier Point

    6/18 Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

    6/19 Leaving Yosemite

    DAY 9 AUGUST 21st

    6/19 Checking in at VGC

    VGC 1 Bedroom Villa with a WOC view!

    6/23 1901

    6/24 Powershopping with Fran and DL!

    DAY 10 August 22

    6/26 Whitewater Snacks and CA

    6/27 Plaza Inn, DL

    7/8 Pool, Napa Rose Chef's Counter

    DAY 11 AUGUST 23RD

    7/9 & 7/10 Walk in Walt's Footsteps Tour

    7/23 I touched IT

    8/4 DL Classics

    8/5 CATAL

    DAY 12 AUGUST 24th

    8/5 Radiator Springs

    9/25 DCA & DL & Trader Sam's and Ralph Brennan's

    DAY 13 AUGUST 25th

    9/25 DCA, DL

    9/26 Club 33

    1/9 Partners in Crime

    WOC from the back-side

    DAY 14 AUGUST 26th

    Storytellers Breakfast, EoS lunch, and heading home...

    Alison's AMAZING Walt Apartment Pics!

  2. kid-at-heart

    kid-at-heart DIS Veteran

    Apr 3, 2006
    WOW! I am here and on first page. I do not believe it. :cool1:
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  4. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

    Nov 14, 2007
    So, how did we end up in california this summer? Well....I was dying to see Disneyland. It made me crazy that I had never been. But a trip JUST to DL is probably not enough for a full on vacay with the boys, so something had to be added. Pods (my DH) said, "Where's Yosemite? Could we go there?". After a bit of research, I saw that yes we absolutely could, people go to DL & Yosemite all the time! I ALSO saw, that people go to Yosemite and San Francisco all the time! So....why not do all three? It seemed to make sense. This planning, by the way, began much more than a year in advance (yes, it's true, I am one of THOSE people, the UBER planners :rolleyes:)- at one point, I was figuring out last year's Hawaii trip at the same time as this Cali trip- and at times it felt like my head was going to pop off! :eek: But, in the end, what we ended up with what an AWESOME trip, so all worth it. Although at one point we switched dates entirely because I realized D23 would be going on when we were in DL (and although I would have LOVED to attend that event, I was 100% certain I wouldn't have a prayer of getting 5 nights at GCV at the 7 month mark then), we ended up flying out to San Francisco out of Newark on United (because when you fly out of Newark, that is who you usually fly) August 13th, arriving at 12:30 pm. We were able to use miles! Awesome! Then we would stay at the Hyatt Regency for 4 nights- it is located on the Embarcadero, and I really wanted this location, because it looks at the water and you can walk along the water to get to alot of the places we wanted to see. After that, we would move on to our Yosemite adventure- one night outside the park in a little town called Groveland you may have seen on the news recently- it was where alot of the pics of the fire in Yosemite came in from. We stayed at the Hotel Charlotte, right on the 120, so we could start Sunday morning early to arrive inside Yosemite for 2 more nights, this time inside the park in the valley, at the renowned and historic Ahwahnee Hotel. Following that slice of heaven, we headed south towards Disneyland, stopping overnight in Santa Clarita at the nicest Hampton Inn. A little further from there was our 5 nights at GCV in a 1BDRM (which I had no problem getting at the 7 month mark). We ended up flying out of LAX (couldn't get Orange County on miles when we booked) on August 26th and arrived home in the wee hours on August 27th. SO......

    Our oldest son, Sean, was not coming on this trip with us- hiking in Yosemite on the edge of a cliff with a 19 year old severly autistic (and beautiful) young man just is NOT possible- so he was staying home with cousin Sheree and attending summer camp while we traveled. (We DID all go to Ft Walton Beach, Fla, the first week in September together- and Sean was SOOOOO happy there-





    It was really a great time......

    But back to Cali! We had clear skies on our flight, and it was really beautiful to look out the window to see the diversity in our country from one coast to the other-


    Although that was not the east coast- that was actually Wisconsin.




    The flight was easy- and it was so nice to have our OWN SCREENS UNITED!!! (Because we did not have them on 5 other planes we were on this summer...just sayin...).


    We would not have a car in San Francisco- public transportation is great in the city, and parking a car at the Hyatt is $60 a NIGHT! So we had Abiano limousine service pick us up- they were prompt, courteous, and reasonable. In about half an hour, we were checking in at our hotel! While the boys wrestled with our MASSIVE amounts of luggage, I was at the front desk, getting the cards to our Balcony Bayview room that included Regency Club (at $25/night- it was offered in an email a couple of days prior to our trip. Normally, this is $75/night- and at that price, I wouldn't do it- at 25 or 50, I was in!). And -oh yeah- we had something to pick up from Bell services, too. Oh look, I thought, Marilyn (our Travel Agent who is mourning my decision to become a TA myself) sent us a thank you gift. But wait! there was another box with that wine! :confused3 So we said thanks, and brought it all upstairs.

    Or up elevator, actually.

    Here we are!



    The room was larger than most other rooms I had considered in San Francisco. Which was important to us, because as you can see in that first photo, we are all adult sized now.

    I know. I HATE it.

    The room gets a lot of knocks on Trip Advisor for being somewhat dated- but say what you want about the decor, it was fine by us, the beds were comfy, there was decent water pressure in my morning shower, we had the regency Club access (Hyatt's Concierge level), and best of all, we had a HUGE balcony to enjoy the view from! Here is the rest of the room-





    But enough about the room- what about the box? What about the wine? What generous soul had sent them to us, and what was inside that big box anyway?????:idea:

    These answers, and my dazzling new career as shoe TV spokesmodel, NEXT!

  5. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

    Oct 29, 2012
    Following along. :)
  6. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

    Nov 14, 2007
    Wow- you're quick! I haven't advertised or anything yet! Thanks for finding me so fast Kate!
  7. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

    Nov 14, 2007
    You too! :goodvibes Thanks for coming along again!
  8. luvslikepi

    luvslikepi DIS Veteran

    Nov 3, 2010
    Subbed!! Of course!
  9. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

    Nov 10, 2008
    Oooh, this sounds like fun! I've never toured San Fran or Yosemite, so I'll be taking lots of notes!:thumbsup2
  10. KristiMc

    KristiMc DIS Veteran

    Jun 27, 2005
    Loved seeing your trip pictures on FB. Looking forward to reading the report.

    On a side note - only 107 days till NYE on the Fantasy! We are almost to double digits :cool1:.
  11. 15isto2

    15isto2 DIS Veteran

    May 29, 2009
    Was not expecting another report so soon but I am glad to be reading
  12. Luv2trav

    Luv2trav DIS Veteran

    Jan 24, 2003
    I love your reviews....I can't wait to hear about this trip...
  13. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

    Nov 15, 2009
    Subbing in! I can't wait to hear about the beginning of the trip, because I know about the end of the trip! :thumbsup2
  14. jedijill

    jedijill Chiefs fan living in Bronco country

    Jan 17, 2005
    I'm here! Dying to know what was in the box!

    Jill in WET CO
  15. lisaviolet

    lisaviolet Happy DVC Owner

    Jul 9, 2002
    WT H? :rotfl2:

    I just asked for a TR on the other thread.

    YEAH! :dance3:

    Now I have to go actually read it. :thumbsup2
  16. lisaviolet

    lisaviolet Happy DVC Owner

    Jul 9, 2002
    Lovely of you. :thumbsup2 That colour is gorgeous on you.

    And so happy to hear about all the time with friends, Ellen. :goodvibes

    So great of Sean, Ellen. Makes me happy to see him thrilled! :thumbsup2 Why do think he was so content and happy? I'm curious. The laid back environment?

    And the one of the boys - SIGHING - just lovely. :goodvibes Ellen, I'm emotional sitting here taking it in. It's just nice to see. :thumbsup2

    Can't wait to hear about all of it. Especially San Francisco. My niece goes to university there. I've been to California and DL but never San Francisco - CAN'T WAIT. popcorn::
  17. NMW

    NMW DIS Veteran

    Aug 8, 2004
  18. mefordis

    mefordis If you can dream it, you can do it.

    Jun 23, 2006
    Yay! Bring it on! :)
  19. rentayenta

    rentayenta <img src=

    Feb 28, 2007
    I'm here and can't wait for my cameo. ;)

    Great room, we love Hyatts. And nice view sister! :thumbsup2

    Sean does look so happy at the beach. :goodvibes
  20. RGirl

    RGirl Change Is Good

    Jan 7, 2010
    Hi Ellen!!!! I am so excited for this TR! :cool1: I mean, my old home town - San Francisco! :cheer2: Yosemite where I have never been! :scared: And DLR - maybe my favorite place on earth! :lovestruc Couldn't be better!

    Love your SF view! And I think the hotel room looks just fine and very spacious, which is obviously pretty dang important with those big boys of yours. I am looking forward to what the concierge level service will mean at this particular hotel.

    Can't wait for more!

    MAGICFOR2 Condimentessa

    Nov 29, 2005
    Hello Ellen! I'm so excited to read about your trip to the West! Too bad my plans to see you there went by the wayside, but it will be fun to read all about it !:cool1:

    Your plans look great! I love the pics of the ground throughout your flight - it is amazing how vastly different the US regions can be!

    I love the pic of all 3 boys at the beach! So fun to see Sean so happy there! Love the Regency club! I'm sure with two boys you made good use of ut!

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