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Trip Reports & Member Reviews Discuss California 2012 Trip Report in the Vacation Planning forums; Hi all! Well I’ve been back from Disneyland for about three weeks now, so I guess I better get this trip report going. We had a GREAT time…hope you all ...
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    California 2012 Trip Report

    Hi all! Well I’ve been back from Disneyland for about three weeks now, so I guess I better get this trip report going. We had a GREAT time…hope you all enjoy hearing about it!

    Just some quick background info before I start, if you haven’t read my pre-trip report. We were gone March 9-18.
    And here’s the cast-
    Me (Amanda)- 22
    Nate (my boyfriend)- 23
    My sister- 20
    And my parents
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Friday, March 9- Sunday, March 11

    The plan was to hit the road at 4pm in our good ol’ Ford Explorer and drive straight through to CA. MapQuest & GPS had estimated about a 32 hour trip, and since CA is two hours behind us, we hoped to get there sometime in the middle of the night Saturday, but of course that didn’t happen. We didn’t start driving until about 6:30 pm- dad got held up at work for quite a while. We were finally on the road though, and all very excited to be headed west for the first time, despite the very long drive ahead of us. Trip went pretty fast through Illinois and Iowa, but once we hit Nebraska it definitely started dragging. We all thought we’d never get out of it. Finally hit Wyoming, where the scenery got much nicer and next up was supposed to be Utah. Nate was driving at this point and somehow missed an exit on the road, so we ended up in Colorado instead. Luckily we weren’t far out of the way at all, and were able to get back on track pretty quickly. Once we finally got into Utah, the drive became much more enjoyable, besides our cramped and achy bodies from being squished and unable to move for so long. Utah was so gorgeous; all of the mountains were amazing. Had fun driving through it, especially Park City and Salt Lake City…the views were just incredible. Unfortunately my pictures definitely don’t show how breathtaking it all was, but it really is something everyone should see at some point. Nevada was after Utah and then finally California. By the time we saw the “Welcome to California” sign, it was about 4 am (yes, we had hoped to be at our final destination by this point), we were all so ready to get out of the car, but unfortunately we still had another 4 hours to go (we also forgot to account for Daylight Saving Time, which happened while we were in the car and sprung us ahead an hour). We drove through Lake Tahoe in the middle of a blizzard in the pitch black of the very early morning, which definitely wasn’t fun. We had just left Indiana to ditch the cold & snow, but I’m sure the views there would have been great there if it had been daylight out.

    Wyoming


    Utah


    More Utah- this was taken near Park City.
    Last edited by Thumper10; 04-09-2012 at 08:26 PM.
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    At 8 am we FINALLY made it to my aunt’s house where we would be staying for the next few days. Her neighborhood was so pretty. I really, really loved all of the California scenery and architecture. I didn’t realize it was so beautiful there…never really thought about how hilly and mountain-y it is. She showed us around her house and had a big, delicious breakfast waiting for us (yay!) and we all got showered (I cannot describe how anxious we all were for showers at that point!). After that, my aunt, uncle, 3 cousins, and my whole family loaded up and headed out to San Francisco for the day. We started off at the Walt Disney Family Museum, ‘cause it is something my sister and I really wanted to do. We had a great time, but I have to say, you really, really have to be a Walt Disney fan to thoroughly enjoy it. I felt bad because my cousins seemed downright bored with it, my aunt seemed indifferent, and my uncle seemed somewhat interested…but not really their thing to do. It basically tells the story of Walt’s whole life and they just aren’t “Disney” people like my family. They finished going through the museum quite a bit quicker than my family, and then had to wait for us at the end. Again, I felt bad, but didn’t want to waste the small amount of time that we had to spend there.

    This is my aunt's street.


    The museum had some really great stuff inside, but unfortunately pictures are only allowed in the lobby. The lobby showcased all of his Oscars, among some other awards, and a few pieces of furniture from his Firehouse apartment in Disneyland…which I thought was just too cool. Inside the actual exhibits were other great things, personal belongings of Walt & his family (I specifically remember some of his childhood toys, a button from his mother’s wedding dress, and his father’s fiddle). They had the first “known” drawings of Mickey Mouse, & actual original sketches from Steamboat Willie and Plane Crazy, along with tons of other drawings. Lots from Snow White also. There were some pretty cool interactive exhibits inside also. My very, very, very, very, very, favorite thing inside though was the Carolwood Pacific. My sister and I must have stared at it and checked it out for 15-20 minutes. Soo cool. They also had a really neat scale model of Disneyland as it appeared when it opened in 1955. And there was a recreation of the multi-plane camera, cool to see just how big that thing was in real life. Definitely a worthwhile visit for any Walt fan, I just wish photos would have been allowed. There was a gift shop at the end (of course) which also had some pretty cool items in it. Better than all the generic stuff you see in every single store at the parks now. I have wanted an original plush Mickey (the ones that came out right after Mickey was created) forever, but I know they are extremely hard to come by and way too ridiculously expensive for me to buy. Well, in the gift shop they had recreations of the original Mickey & Minnie dolls, so my mom picked them up for me for Christmas or my birthday (yay!) and now I am supposed to “forget” that she got them, lol.

    Walt's Oscar for Snow White


    The furniture from Walt's DL apartment
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    *A quick side note- While in the museum I was reading some information about Walt’s wife Lily and her father. Turns out Lily’s father had worked as a cowboy, as an Indian Scout for General George Crook. Crook was a Union general in the Civil War, and actually an ancestor of mine. I had the opportunity to visit his home & museum a few years back on a trip to Nebraska…so to learn that Lillian Bound’s father worked for him was a very cool piece of information that I didn’t know before.

    After the museum, we had a quick snack in their café and then we were all going to go see the Golden Gate Bridge together. You can see it from the museum, but my aunt was going to drive us to its “designated” photo location. So after a bit of confusion as to how to actually get on the bridge, we finally found the right way and drove over it. Got out of the car and got some photos with each other and then loaded back in. We also saw Alcatraz, which was cool. I didn’t imagine it so near the hustle and bustle of San Francisco, but it actually isn’t located that far out to sea. Guess it is far enough though that the prisoners had a slim chance of surviving the swim back to land in the cold and wild waters.

    Drivin' over the bridge


    View of the bridge from the museum
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Next up was Pier 39, a long, boardwalk type pier that extends out into the bay with lots of shopping and restaurants on it. My aunt took Lombard Street to get there. Oh my gosh, it was one of the most stressful and scary things I have ever done! I told my family it was like the non-theme park version of Tower of Terror for me! If you’ve never heard of Lombard Street, it is famous for being the most crooked street in the country, with 8 hair-pin turns on the way down, because driving straight down it was too steep to be safe for cars. However, the way down was not at all the scary part—it was going up that terrified me…and most everybody else in the car. The street has a 27 degree incline and a 5mph speed limit. The problem with going up it was that there was so much traffic that it took forever. So we would have to climb a few feet, then brake and wait in traffic. Every time that it was time to accelerate up again, you have to do it really fast or your car was going to roll backwards into the long line of traffic behind it…and you can feel the car really fighting as you try to accelerate up the hill. There was actually an accident where a car did roll backwards into another one just a few cars behind us. Of course when you are actually making the drive, and sitting in the traffic, you feel like your car is literally straight up and down at a 90 degree angle. Definitely makes you sweat. Google image it if you never seen/heard of it before.

    So after the Lombard Street ordeal, which took a fairly long time, we made it to Pier 39. Shopped around a bit and then had dinner at a nice (very tasty!) Italian restaurant. When we walked to the end of the pier, there is again a nice view of Alcatraz, and lots and lots of sea lions beached out below you! They were fun to watch and listen to for a while.

    It was getting late at that point so we headed back to my aunt’s house, but not before stopping at Krispy Kreme on the way home to get breakfast for the next day (I have been craving donuts ever since—so yummy). We chatted and visited for a bit once we got back and then headed to bed.
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    I did have more photos of us with the Golden Gate and of Alcatraz, but unfortunately they are on my camera that did not end up making it back home with us. Darn.
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Monday, March 12

    I was the first one up this day since I had a PI interview to do with Disney early in the morning. Found a quiet place where I had good cell phone service to do it. Still waiting to hear back (wish me luck!), but I felt pretty good about how it went. After I finished with that, my mom, aunt, and sister got up because my aunt was going to take us to climb a mountain behind her house, called El Toro (the bull). The guys slept in and my cousins stayed back because my aunt knew that their little legs would tire out before we were able to reach the top. My aunt climbs the mountain often, but this was the first time for the rest of us climbing a mountain. It was 1,420 feet tall and took us about 1 ½ hours to climb…and that was without really pushing ourselves with our pace. It was so much fun and the views were spectacular! The first ¾ of the mountain was fairly easy to get through; the trail was windy and curvy instead of straight up, so not too tough to climb. The last ¼, however, was a different story! It was so steep that we had to use ropes to pull ourselves up and still slipped down quite a few times. We were laughing so hard and struggling so badly at the same time that we were totally out of breath. Unfortunately my photos don’t capture the steepness of that last quarter AT ALL, but it was incredibly steep. In fact, trying to get down it was more of a constant slide. Once we got to the top, it was still pretty early in the morning so there was a fog covering the city below. Looked like we were actually above the clouds- pretty cool. The fog cleared up shortly and we got to see such a wide view of everything below us. Definitely worth the climb. I would love to do it again.

    Walking up the mountain


    Trying to pull ourselves up the steep part with the rope


    Mom fallin' from the steepness!


    Looking back down as we climbed higher
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Above the clouds!


    Views from the top




    More pics from the way down


    Sister and I with Aunt Denise


    Us with mom




    This photo was taken from looking out my aunt's bedroom window. The mountain you see behind the roof top is what we climbed.
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Once we got back everyone else got up & ready for the day. My aunt & two of my cousins were going to take my family to Monterey for the day. It was about an hour drive south of her house. We had so much fun…started out by renting two surrey bikes (a six-seater and a three-seater) that we drove down Cannery Row on the coast of the Pacific. Again saw more sea lions out (we enjoyed seeing the sea lions since our Lake Michigan beaches are lacking in them, lol). Monterey is just gorgeous. The scenery and views of the Pacific are amazing. We chained up our bikes for a bit and explored the beach. It was really windy so the waves were enormous and mesmerizing to watch. We were on a very rocky part of the coast so we climbed lots of very tall rocks and sat and watched the waves crashing into them far below us. Then we walked in the sand and got our feet wet a bit. Collected some shells (they are much prettier than shells that I have collected from the Atlantic) and saw some crabs scurrying by. We really, really, really enjoyed our time on the beach, it was so relaxing and the ocean is just so easy to look at & not get tired of it. Finally we hopped back on our bikes and returned them to the rental shop.







    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    More photos from Monterey









    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report











    Me bein' silly
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Thumper10 View Post
    Next up was Pier 39, a long, boardwalk type pier that extends out into the bay with lots of shopping and restaurants on it. My aunt took Lombard Street to get there. Oh my gosh, it was one of the most stressful and scary things I have ever done! I told my family it was like the non-theme park version of Tower of Terror for me! If you’ve never heard of Lombard Street, it is famous for being the most crooked street in the country, with 8 hair-pin turns on the way down, because driving straight down it was too steep to be safe for cars. However, the way down was not at all the scary part—it was going up that terrified me…and most everybody else in the car. The street has a 27 degree incline and a 5mph speed limit. The problem with going up it was that there was so much traffic that it took forever. So we would have to climb a few feet, then brake and wait in traffic. Every time that it was time to accelerate up again, you have to do it really fast or your car was going to roll backwards into the long line of traffic behind it…and you can feel the car really fighting as you try to accelerate up the hill. There was actually an accident where a car did roll backwards into another one just a few cars behind us. Of course when you are actually making the drive, and sitting in the traffic, you feel like your car is literally straight up and down at a 90 degree angle. Definitely makes you sweat. Google image it if you never seen/heard of it before.

    So after the Lombard Street ordeal, which took a fairly long time, we made it to Pier 39. Shopped around a bit and then had dinner at a nice (very tasty!) Italian restaurant. When we walked to the end of the pier, there is again a nice view of Alcatraz, and lots and lots of sea lions beached out below you! They were fun to watch and listen to for a while.

    It was getting late at that point so we headed back to my aunt’s house, but not before stopping at Krispy Kreme on the way home to get breakfast for the next day (I have been craving donuts ever since—so yummy). We chatted and visited for a bit once we got back and then headed to bed.

    I have photos, somewhere, of Lombard Street. It is quite unique.

    The Pier area is pretty awesome.
    P.U.S.H.-A mantra MOST will not understand.

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Awsome, really an awesome trip report.

    Monterey is gorgeous and you have a model fabulous family-I thought your mom was your sister! Looks like you all had a great start to the holiday.
    P.U.S.H.-A mantra MOST will not understand.

    Disney rocks, Walt was a genius.

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Keasmom View Post
    Awsome, really an awesome trip report.

    Monterey is gorgeous and you have a model fabulous family-I thought your mom was your sister! Looks like you all had a great start to the holiday.
    Thanks!! Glad you are enjoying, and I'm sure my mom would appreciate that comment, lol.
    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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    Re: California 2012 Trip Report

    Everyone was hungry at this point so we stopped in at Bubba Gump’s, which ended up being very tasty. We had a table on the back wall, which was just one long sheet of glass that looked over the water. Very pretty. Once we were done, we drove the 17-mile drive, a famous drive in CA for its gorgeous views. Also where Pebble Beach Golf Course is located, something that Nate was dying to see. We parked at the entrance Pebble Beach and had to say goodbye to my aunt and cousins so they could start their drive back home. Sad. We had so much fun with them in the short time that we had. Then we were looking for a sign that said Pebble Beach Golf Course on it for Nate to take a picture with, but couldn’t find one, so we drove in a bit further. We ended up at the clubhouse, which surprised us because we didn’t think we would be allowed so far in, even though it is a public course. Nate asked some valets if there was a good spot where we would be allowed to take a photo and they told us to park, and go through clubhouse right onto the 18th hole! Nate was in total heaven…he never thought he’d have a pic by the 18th hole on Pebble Beach! Wow, the golf course was so pretty. We could’ve just sat out on the patio at the clubhouse and watched the golfers & ocean all day (and I’m not even a golf fan!).

    Forrest Gump's shoes and box of chocolates outside Bubba Gump's!




    Pebble Beach Golf Course


    -Amanda


    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.
    -Walt Disney

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