Disneyland California and West Coast Trip Reports Trip Reports

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Old 12 Feb 21, 09:20 PM  
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San Francisco to Disneyland February 2020 Part 1

Iíve decided to do this trip report after looking back at last yearís photos, mostly to cheer me up, but Iím also going to include costings as this might help someone else plan their future trip. Iíve never done one before so bear with me.
This trip was originally planned for October 2020 but after losing flights with Thomas cook to Tenerife, replacement flights were coming out so expensive we decided to move California forward thank goodness we did!
We are, me 46, dh 44, ds1 13, and ds2 10 (at the time of travel) As me and dh had previously visited some of the places we were happy to be led by the boys interests...

Flights: United Airlines 8 Feb LHR to San Francisco 9.20am - 12.30pm economy (including baggage and seats)
20 Feb Los angels to LHR 5.30pm - 12 noon
Including 10 days car hire £1619 A bargain price we thought and we chose United over virgin due to arrival times in San Francisco, virgin was evening.

Coming from the North Yorkshire coast we booked the Hilton Garden inn terminal 2 with parking £192. This was seamless, we drove to the short stay car park at terminal 2 handed over the car and keys, walked to the hotel and checked in. The following morning it was a short covered walk to the terminal.
The hotel was new and I would highly recommend for convenience.

The flight was uneventful, the cabin crew were friendly, the entertainment was fine, the food was the usual stuff you get, all in all not much different to Virgin we would happily use United again. The views were great coming into San Francisco we were sat on the left hand side of the plane.

We were pretty quick through immigration and headed straight for a taxi $60 including tip to Fishermans wharf. The driver was very chatty and gave us a ton of information about what we were passing. It took about 30 minutes.
Hotel Zephyr 2 nights £278 resort fee $25 a day includes a reusable water bottle, filling stations around the hotel and use of bikes although these are only suitable for adults and no helmets. We chose this hotel primarily for location on Fishermans wharf and because we thought the boys would enjoy it. We arrived and our room wasnít quite ready so we left ours bags with reception and played the games in the courtyard.

Funky foyer

After weíd freshened up we walked along Fishermans wharf looking for food ds1 was keen to try In and Out burger.
itís definitely better than McDonaldís but a similar eating experience. We visited Musee mecanique, checked out the USS Jeremiah and had a general wonder. Absolutely exhausted we headed back to the room to crash.

SUNDAY 9th FEBRUARY San Francisco
Wide awake at 2am At 6am we headed next door to IHOP and ordered a feast!

We had early bird tickets for Alcatraz 8.45am family of four $120 booked weeks in advance. But it was windy!

And choppy!

After about an hour of trying to get the boats out on test runs they decided to cancel all trips, we were relieved as it looked terrifying out there but massively disappointed as this was ds2 number one request. They informed us that all money would be automatically refunded. The queue to rebook was massive so we decided to head back to the hotel and use the wifi there to try and sort something out. Amazingly I was able to book the next morning at the same time. This would affect the next days plans but so be it.
We were going to cycle over the bridge but it was far too windy so we decided to walk in that generally direction instead and see what we see. We picked up some animal style fries from in and out burger and set off.
Sat and watched sea swimming race brrrr.

Smashed up boats!

Continued through parks to the marina

We realised the bridge was still along way away so we cut into the city to explore some new areas. Mostly uphill
I think the boys were struggling
We made it to Lombard street
and eventually headed back to Fishermans wharf. We had a very late lunch/tea at boudins which was lovely, we ate in the quick service area rather than the cafe which was casual but quick.
the clam chowder was delicious.
We spent the rest of the afternoon/evening at the hotel chilling.

MONDAY 10th FEBRUARY San Francisco to Monterey
We packed up, checked out and left our luggage with reception to pick up later.
Breakfast at IHOP. 10 minute walk to pier 33 Alcatraz. No wind today yay!
Itís a fabulous tour and the first one is definitely worth booking for a less crowded experience. Both boys were completely enthralled a definite must do.

After the tour we needed to make our way to the Alamo car hire near union square so headed to the cable car station at Bay Street and Taylor Street about a 20 minute walk. $7 each, we were straight on to a nearly empty car.

Another must do the boys gave it 10 out 10.
We eventually got to Alamo a lot later then weíd planned, the service was exceptional, Iíd originally ordered a pickup not realising that the back was permanently open so politely asked if we could have something else the lovely lady gave us a seven seater Infiniti saying we could always stick one of the boys in the far back if they gave us any trouble
We always use Alamo, never had any issues with them and always helpful.
We went back to the hotel to pick up the luggage and dh wanted to drive down Lombard street.

And to get closer to the Golden Gate Bridge we ended up accidentally crossing it (no charge) but there is a toll to come back across you are supposed to pre pay online but we didnít. It was eventually charged to my credit car by Alamo but just the actual cost no extra charges.

The original plan was to head to Roaring camp inland from Santa Cruz which is a tourist steam train through a redwood forest but as itís winter there is only one a day and weíd missed it choosing Alcatraz instead. Fortunately I hadnít prepaid. So plan B was to head to the Mystery Spot 2hrs away.
$32 for 4. The boys were big fans of Gravity Falls (Disney XD) when they were younger so we thought theyíd enjoy a mystery shack in the woods. Ds1 wasnít too excited but actually quite enjoyed it. Our guide was very funny and weird and probably made the experience better, we just caught the last tour of the day and it was starting to get dark in those woods which added to the atmosphere. 6/10

Next stop Monterey about 1hr
Hotel Pacific £135 parking $20 a junior suite with a lounge area and gas flame fire, small kitchen area with table and a good breakfast included.
We arrived about 6pm starving, we walked to near by restaurants and decided on takeout Italian to eat back in the room in front of the fire it was just so cosy, warm and inviting.
Itís a poor photo which doesnít do the room justice but I had to crop off the animals devouring the food

TUESDAY 11th FEBRUARY Monterey, 17 mile drive, Carmel
We started the day with an excellent breakfast in the main building, a buffet of hot and cold options. The hotel is made up of lots a little buildings and courtyards so is quite pretty although the rooms are probably due a bit of an update in the next couple of years but we would happily stay here again.

Ds1ís passion is scootering (and hates walking) so we brought his scooter with us luckily it breaks down and fitted in a suitcase. After putting it back together we set off to find Monterey skatepark which is conveniently located next to Dennis the menace park 20 min walk (unfortunately closed for repairs)

He enjoyed an hour there but as it was 8am on a school morning there were no other kids about
We made our way to the Fishermans wharf area and had a lovely walk/ scoot to the Cannery enjoying the scenery.

We headed back to the room check out was 12noon so we ate left over Italian, dried out trainers :pgig and packed up. A 15 minute drive and we were at the Monarch butterfly sanctuary in Pacific Grove itís free to walk through but I think most of the butterflies had left for the season we only spotted a few.

We drove to the entrance of the 17 mile drive (5 mins away) $10.50 per vehicle includes a pamphlet with information on all the stops, beautiful and well worth doing.

We stopped at all the sights, probably took a couple of hours and there wasnít much traffic.
We carried on to Carmel by the sea our next stop.
Comfort Inn Carmel by the sea £139 free parking, breakfast included. This was a relatively cheap and cheerful option which we would probably not stay at again there was nothing wrong with it as such the breakfast was rubbish apart from the waffle iron and the rooms were tired although being refurbished while we were there so might be better now.
After checking in we headed out for food as it was 4 in the afternoon our choices were limited, we ended up at the Carmel bakery and proceeded to eat everything :pgig the sandwiches and cakes were all lovely and we took a bag of goodies for later.
We wandered through the town which is utterly charming, down to the beach where we spent a relaxing couple of hours.

WEDNESDAY 12 FEBRUARY Carmel, Big Sur, Moonstone beach
After a below average breakfast saved by the waffle iron

We set off for the Big Sur. The kids donít particularly like journeys in the car and often get sick not ideal for a road trip, so I was particularly worried about this next stretch hence why we decided to only drive for a few hours each day at the cost of days in San Francisco but this was better for our family.
The weather was sparkling not a hint of fog (another worry) and the road was quiet, no problem pulling into parking areas.

After a couple of hours we pulled into Salmon Creek trailhead for a walk to the waterfall and to give the boys a break.

And stopped to look at the elephant seals they were pretty active as it was mating season.

We finally arrived at Moonstone beach hungry but happy with an easy, stress free drive behind us. I donít mind admitting I was worried about the cliff edges but never gave them a second thought on the drive. Dh never felt pressured as there was literally no other cars on the road.
We arrived and ate at the Moonstone beach bar and grill and I canít honestly remember what we had, draw your own conclusions. We headed to our hotel.
The Fogcatcher Inn £115 including breakfast and free parking
We checked in, reception was friendly and welcoming and the rooms were fresh, clean with a cosy fireplace.

The boys were keen to get in the pool so thatís what we did it was actually quite warm but we did have it all to ourselves

We freshened up and went for a walk on the beach to look for moonstones or run around like lunatics if your a boy whoís been cooped up.

We had a drive into Cambria to freak out the boys with the nit wit house and to pick up some snacks for later. Itís a quirky little place with bit of a western movie town feel.

Edited at 09:48 AM.
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Old 13 Feb 21, 05:19 PM  
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Love this! A new trip report. Brings back some wonderful memories and you've done some fab things. Just what I needed to read and can't wait for part 2 😊
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Old 13 Feb 21, 08:43 PM  
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Aww thank you Iíve just finished part 2 I hope you enjoy it x
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Old 17 Feb 21, 05:29 PM  
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Great report so far, thanks for sharing! 😀

Edited at 06:07 PM.
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Old 20 Feb 21, 07:37 PM  
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Reading along thank you for writing the report
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Old 23 Feb 21, 04:07 PM  
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Love your photos & I love San Fran too 🇺🇸❤️
Thanks for this xx
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