20 Days of West Coast Adventures- Completed Trip Report!

Discussion in 'California & the West Trip Reports' started by Nalshersmom, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. Nalshersmom

    Nalshersmom Mouseketeer

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    Day 15- Grand Canyon

    Day 15 started out with my sunrise buddy and I waking up to walk outside of our hotel to enjoy a sunrise on the south rim. It was chilly, and we could have used a blanket. It was also gorgeous, and it was an awesome part of staying at the El Tovar! I also loved having a keurig inside our room so I could get some coffee conveniently.

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    Waking up early was very worth it for me!

    We then all got ready and ate breakfast at our hotel. It was just okay. Our server was not friendly (worst of our entire trip) which put a damper on the meal.

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    These looked much prettier than they tasted.

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    My eggs benedict were good.

    We then loaded up on their shuttle to Hermit's Rest. We made a few stops to see the sights on the way there, but I was too nervous to take the kids out on any hikes.

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    We also stopped at the visitor's center to visit Mather's Point. It was really weird that there was someone dressed in a Cookie Monster costume greeting everyone. I would expect that in Times Square, Hollywood, or Las Vegas but not the Grand Canyon :) Mather's Point was a great photo location. I love the pictures we got of the kids. I am including the one my brother took of my husband and I because it is so goofy.
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    We then made our way to Page, AZ. The scenery from our trip kept us in awe the entire time. We are from Alabama and are accustomed to a totally different kind of beauty.

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    Then the scenery got very smoky as we neared our hotel for the Hampton suite for the night. It turned out there was a fire a couple of miles away.

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    Thank goodness the next day there was no sign of the fire.




     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
  2. Nalshersmom

    Nalshersmom Mouseketeer

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    Day 16- Page, AZ
    We woke up early for the 1/2 day rafting tour of Colorado River. The pick up site was very close to our hotel. We rode in a tour bus down a 2 mile long tunnel to the bottom of Glen Canyon Dam. We then had to wear hard hats for the walk down to the motorized raft in case anyone threw anything off of the bridge.

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    The raft ride was smooth, and we ended up sitting on the edges.
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    The views were gorgeous! We stopped at a beach location to explore where there was an option to view petroglyphs. The water was so so cold, but my kids loved playing in it. My son and brother were the only ones to work up the courage to go completely under.

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    We then loaded back up and made our way to Horseshoe Bend (the bottom of.) The people at the top looked like sticks.

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    At this time, our guide pulled out some ice cold lemonades that had been floating attached to the boat. They were delicious!

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    We then go to go "boat speed" back to our starting our point.

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    Our tour took the perfect amount of time, and our bus took us back up the 2 mile tunnel to our cars.

    We then drove to our next scheduled tour of Lower Antelope Canyon. We were slightly disappointed but understood that they had cancelled all tours for the day due to extreme heat. They said it was 117. Yikes! They returned our money immediately, and we started for Monument Valley. We had rented a deluxe cabin on the front row. It was so worth it!

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    This is what we saw from our porch. It was unreal and surprisingly private for being so close to other cabins.

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    The inside of the cabin

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    This couch pulled out.

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    My kids loved the bunkbeds! There was also a double bed in the back bedroom.

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    There were so many photo opportunities!

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    We ate dinner in the restaurant and really enjoyed the fried chicken and fry bread cheeseburgers.

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    After watching the sunset, we played some cards and enjoyed our view of the stars from our cabin.

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    They sold microwave popcorn in the gift shop. We also picked up a gorgeous painting here.



     
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  4. Nalshersmom

    Nalshersmom Mouseketeer

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    Day 17-Monument Valley to Kingman

    My sunrise buddy and I woke up to see a beautiful sunrise. It was gorgeous from the porch of our cabin. The cabin had Emeril brand coffee, which made my experience so nice!

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    We then said our goodbyes to our to our cabin and went to eat at the hotel's restaurant.
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    We then went to Forrest Gump Point near Mexican Hat to recreate the end of Forrest Gump's super long run. Yes, we are that goofy :)

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    We then made our way to Kingman, AZ with a stop at Bearizona.
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    The tram ride there was the perfect way to see all of the animals. It was the only day we saw any rain, and it must have woke up all of the animals. The bears were wide awake, and some were experiencing mating season. My son was describing this as bears hanging on to each other to others. There were also a pair of siblings who they said spent all of their time together.

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    There were also many areas for petting animals.

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    Our stop for a late lunch was the Roadkill Cafe where we tried frog legs and explored the town of Seligman on Route 66.

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    We then retired for the night to our Hampton Suite in Kingman, Arizona.
     
  5. Disney Ella

    Disney Ella DIS Veteran

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    Wow, you certainly kept busy. I'm tired just reading everything you did. Sounds like a great trip!
     
  6. Nalshersmom

    Nalshersmom Mouseketeer

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    Thanks! It was a lot! Our next trips are going to be much less to try and fit in. I am super glad we did all we did, but we were tired :)
     
  7. Nalshersmom

    Nalshersmom Mouseketeer

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    Day 18- Kingman to Los Angeles

    We woke up and ate a free hotel breakfast. Then we headed for a nearby family run alpaca farm. It was interesting, and we were the only family there. We learned all about alpacas from the owner. He also had a pig.
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    We then bought some socks made from alpaca hair which are still super comfy and headed to Oatman for a shootout at noon.
    We followed Stigraves Pass to get there which was somewhat frightening to drive. We had a trip playlist which included Get Your Kicks on Route 66. This was the scariest part we encountered.

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    There were many sharp turns, and I was glad I was just a photographer passenger.

    Shootouts in Oatman, AZ are everyday at noon.

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    The town was interesting, and there were burros roaming everywhere. They seemed nice, and they sold food to feed them with for $1.

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    They made my 1 of my girls nervous, and my other daughter enjoyed petting them.

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    We then stopped at a Del Taco for lunch on our way to LA. LA traffic was our least favorite in the country. There were interesting things to look at while we were waiting everywhere.

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    We made our way to Hollywood. One of our kids favorite things from our last trip when they were small was Madame Tussaud's, so we headed back there. They were having a premiere of The House at the theater. We had planned on being there at arrival in our Elf shirts with Will Farrell's face on them, but ditched the idea since we were late. We just went to the wax museum which was giving away discounts as usual, so I am glad we did not pre buy our tickets. It is a fun place since there are so many photo ops, and they encourage being interactive.
    Of course we had to recreate a couple of pics.

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    I was pregnant in this picture.

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    She is much taller now and has actually seen Psycho.

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    We also visited the hand prints outside the theater.

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    We also had to get a picture with the El Capitan.

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    We then headed to our hotel for the next 2 nights, the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City which is one of the 2 hotels right outside of Universal Studios. Everywhere for dinner was closed, so we ordered Pizza Hut who delivered to our hotel. It was delicious!
     
  8. Nalshersmom

    Nalshersmom Mouseketeer

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    Day 19- Universal Studios Hollywood

    We got up early for our last full day in California. At first I looked into getting the VIP passes, but they were crazy expensive when we went. I am glad that I did not spend all that money, because we had a fabulous day. We got in an hour early because we bought our tickets online. It was a short walk from our hotel. We stayed onsite at Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando and got front of the line passes, but there is no deal like this in Hollywood. We chose the Hilton of the two close hotels since we had enough Hilton points to cover it.
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    We went straight to Forbidden Journey. This was the first time my two youngest have been tall enough, and everyone loved it. My husband thought it was clearer than Orlando. I am glad we missed the 3D part. We then jumped back in line and rode it again quickly followed by Flight of the Hippogriff. We then ate a super healthy breakfast of giant donuts. They are such a good deal. Our last breakfast at Universal in Orlando was Butterbeer icecream.
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    We also went to see the Water World show. We all loved it so much that we went to a second showing later! The water seats definitely get you soaked! It was awesome!

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    We also loved the Studio Tour and also went on it twice. This and Water World were the best things that set this apart from Orlando.

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    They were shooting a music video on the day we came for the rapper Logic on the War of the Worlds set.

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    Both of the studio tours were slightly different and gave us different information. I may have been slightly excited to see where they film the Good Place.

    We also visited the Walking Dead attraction. I was a total chicken and did not visit and have no regrets. I would never survive Halloween Horror Nights.

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    Everyone enjoyed it. My kids are not allowed to watch the show, but we have been to where it is filmed a couple of times and even got to watch them film an episode once. We also took Chandler Riggs' dad's tour. We called it the Carl Papa tour.

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    We then began the descent of a million or so escalators down to the lower lot after lunch at the Three Broomsticks. It was similar to the Orlando one. We rode the few rides and went back up. These pics are from our second trip down to revisit the rides at night.

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    My two youngest have never been picked at a wanding ceremony, so we visited Ollivander's and were picked in a double wanding ceremony. They were so excited!

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    They then had to practice with their wands.

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    We saw some of the night time show projected onto Hogwarts. We were not too impressed but did not really give it a chance. We closed the park down and headed to City Walk. Everyone else did also. We walked forever, and City Walk seemed to go on forever before we gave up and ordered Pizza Hut again to our room. We did pick up some Chicago style popcorn and a covered apple from Popcornopolis. I originally had high hopes of running up to get Voodoo donuts the next day, but that did not happen. We were exhausted but happy.

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    Day 20- flying home

    We slept in some the next day and made it to the LAX in plenty of time to drop our our rental car and for our flight home with a stop in
    Chicago. We took Southwest for the first time since it was cheaper for the return leg of our trip.

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    snacking on our treat left from Popcornopolis.

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    We were excited to get back home to rest and reflect on our many memories made.

    My final thoughts on our trip were that I thoroughly enjoyed it and making so many memories. I wish we could have had a slower pace and less driving time, but we had to buy plane tickets and have a limited amount of time off. There are no places I would have left off. I am not sure when or if we will ever be back to some of those places. We are planning a trip to Hawaii and Aulani in the summer of 2019, and I would love to stop by Disneyland if Galaxy's Edge is open. We just returned from a quick Christmas trip to Disney World. Wilderness Lodge was perfect for Christmas time.

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    We are also planning a Spring Break trip to Disney World and use our Starwood points to stay at the Dolphin.
    Thank you so much to reading about the biggest trip I have ever planned! I have really enjoyed reliving all of my memories!
     
  9. loveswdw

    loveswdw DIS Veteran

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    Oh my gosh! Thank you so much Nalshersmom for this awesome trip report! We did a Yosemite/Disneyland trip in 2016 and I'm currently planning a week long Southwest adventure for us in October. Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, etc. Your GC pics and Monument Valley pics are awesome! I'm going to look into renting one of those MV cabins. The ones I could find online are from The View campgrounds? Are those the ones you in which you stayed? El Tovar will be closed for renovation while we are at GC so I'm looking at some of the other in park properties.
     
  10. tzeitel

    tzeitel Toadi Acceleratio Semper Absurda

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    What a great trip! Loved all the photos :)
     
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  11. Nalshersmom

    Nalshersmom Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for reading my trip report :) They were the cabins at the View. I think the campground has RV and tent camping sites. It is right behind the "premium cabins". They are both very close to the actual hotel with a restaurant and gift ship. That is sad about the El Tovar. It was supposed to be under renovation the first few months of 2017 but I guess they had put it off. Bright Angel Lodge was literally right beside the El Tovar, and that is where we ate dinner. I did not seem the rooms, but the location was great. Your trip sounds great!
     
  12. Nalshersmom

    Nalshersmom Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for following along :)
     
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  13. Amw1064

    Amw1064 DIS Veteran

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    What a great trip report. We live in Florida and are always at Disney but are taking our first trip to Disneyland/LA/Hollywood this summer. Great tips on everything. You will love Aulani & Oahu. We have gone the past 3 summers. It is amazing.
     
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  14. Nalshersmom

    Nalshersmom Mouseketeer

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    We finally framed our pictures we drew. We really enjoyed this activity!

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  15. Zarina_Stardust

    Zarina_Stardust Savvy?

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    Love this idea!
     
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  16. melk

    melk DIS Veteran

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    Wow, what a trip! Any idea how many miles you covered?

    We’ve been to many of the places you visited but hoping to see the GC for the first time next year.
     
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  17. Nalshersmom

    Nalshersmom Mouseketeer

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