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Report 1798: Spring Break '10: Family Trip to Disneyland and San Francisco

By Amarena from New York, Spring 2010

Trip Description: March 26-April 4, 2010 -- Family trip to Disneyland, Camarillo and San Francisco

Destinations: Countries - North America; Regions/Cities - California

Categories: Family/Friends; Hotels/B&Bs; Foodie Trip; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; Adults and Young Children

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Page 1 of 2: Southern Cali: Anaheim and Camarillo

photo by Amy Baker

View of Disney California Adventure from our hotel room.

We spent nine fun days in California this past week for our kidís spring break. We started in Anaheim to do a day at Disneyland, then a few days in Camarillo (between LA and Santa Barbara) with family, followed by five days in San Francisco.

We flew out on Delta Business Elite from JFK to LAX on a Friday night. Flight was uneventful, which is always welcomed. It was nice to land and feel warm after our cold and wet March here in New York.

Iíve broken down the trip into the southern California portion and the San Francisco leg, so feel free to skip the Disneyland section if you have no interest.

Anaheim and Camarillo

We stayed at the Sheraton Park Anaheim on Starwood points. We got one room with two double beds across the hall from the Club lounge. The club lounge has a complimentary breakfast for a few hours in the morning, and complimentary wine and snacks in the late afternoon. This was super convenient AND very appreciated. I love Starwood.

Room was tight but fine, with a view of California Adventure. The hotel is certainly nothing fancy, but itís within walking distance of Disneyland, which was what sold us on it. There is another Sheraton in Anaheim, which might be a bit nicer and it has suites which one can hope to upgrade to BUT it wasnít as close to Disneyland. Iíd say it took us about 10-15 minutes to walk to the park.

The park opens at 8am. We knew it would be a very busy day with Spring Break and all, so we got there before 8. This turned out to be a very wise thing to do. We were able to do eight rides ALL before 11am -- Pirates of the Caribbean, Matterhorn, Indiana Jones, Tarzanís Tree House, Thunder Mountain Railroad twice, and Space Mountain twice. At this point, the park was super crowded and wait times exceeded an hour, with fast pass times not available until late in the afternoon.

I have one sister who lives in Camarillo, CA and one sister in Phoenix. They both met us at the park with their families. They laughed when we told them how early we started, but they werenít laughing for long. They soon learned the error of their ways. We headed over to California Adventure around 11:30am and only got on three rides (Screaminí, Soaring, and Tower of Terror) by 4pm, allowing some time for lunch and an ice cream.

At this point, we were exhausted and walked back to the hotel for some much needed pool and relaxation time. My sisterís families stayed at the park. They only did one ride during our 2 1/2 hour break from each other. Hmm... maybe there is something to the saying about the early bird and the worm?!

We met back up with family for dinner at Brennanís Jazz Cafť in Downtown Disney. Downtown Disney was hopping! Dinner was fine Ė I donít think any of the restaurants are spectacular and with 11 people, itís hard to find something to please everyone. Jazz Cafť is a New Orleanís themed restaurant, and we had a pleasant outside table right next to a large fountain, in a faux French Quarter courtyard. My roast chicken was actually cooked very well. My mojito tasted like lemonade with mint, and I couldnít finish it. But the waitress recommended a very nice California Cab and life was good again.

We headed back to California Adventure to do Screaminí again since this was a big hit with all of us. I was very proud of myself for doing it and actually enjoying it since I was terrified of roller coasters as a kid. Now I find them really, really fun! This one is very smooth, but scary at the beginning because it basically catapults you up the first hill. There is also one upside-down loop. My six year was about one inch too short, so he was really bummed not to be allowed on Screamin. Instead, I took him on Mulholland Madness, which is a really fun smaller coaster with lots of curves and a few dips. And itís not too far from Screamin. Just a thought, if you are traveling here with younger and/or height-challenged kids.

After our Disney adventure, we headed up north to Camarillo to stay with my sister, Becky. We had a couple of lazy days of walks, pool-time, a trip to Ventura Harbor and the In and Out Burger near there (oh yeah!!). This is a must-do restaurant if you have never been to one. And a short trip to the Camarillo outlet stores Ė not a must-do, despite being told otherwise from a friend, at least in my opinion.

This was my first time to Camarillo since my sister moved there from Oxnard, and I thought it was a lovely place Ė very green hills from all the rain theyíve received, and lots of citrus groves. We also had a great birthday dinner for my sister at P.F. Changs in Thousand Oaks. She was recently diagnosed with Celiacís Disease and P.F. Changs has an extensive gluten-free menu with, most importantly, a delicious gluten-free chocolate cake.

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Southern Cali: Anaheim and Camarillo

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