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The Magic Continues... some of the things I have kept from you... is stuff you don't want to know, all the fun tidbits. You'll want to be pleasantly surprised. Oh yeah... and the friends you will make along the way. You'll find each other on Facebook, and maybe even plan your next Adventures together. There is a bonding that goes on.... and this is just a 4 day trip. Can you imagine when you go to Europe for 8 nights?? Or China for 11 nights??? Relationships that last a lifetime, because they were forged through a combined experience. It's true... I've heard it again and again.
Are you ready??? Let's Adventure Together!!!
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It's the last morning, we have a 1 pm flight, so our driver was ordered for 10:15 am. We grab a quick bite to eat. Gather all our luggage and off we head to the Main Lobby, where we will find our Adventure Guides. As they said last night, they will make sure they are available to say goodbye to everyone individually. We find them as they are escorting another family to their car. They ask us to wait a moment, they will be right back. They come back in, thank us for sharing is such a wonderful adventure with them. Then they get out our last pin. It's the Bye Bye Bay pin (below), saying goodbye for now, but hoping we will share another Adventure, in the future. Hugs and we are escorted to our car and driver. They put the luggage in the car for us, open the doors, where water is waiting. Again we had a BMW 740i extended... again it was nice.
Away we go... we are dropped off at the airport... and the rest is history! Thank you Adventures by Disney, especially our Adventure Guides - Hanneke and Eleni... Love You, Mean IT!
Adventure Day 3 (Saturday - August 15, 2015) Angel Island, Lucas Studios and Walt Disney Family Museum.
Oh my goodness, I'm only up to day 3!!! Are you seeing all the value that this Adventure has to offer? It's a Four Day Adventure, but they sure are packing a lot in, showing us the Best of the Best!!!
Day 3, here we go.... Breakfast on our own, and there is a little place on the lowest level of the Fairmont, called Caffe Cento. They offers a quick breakfast option.
Gather in the lobby again this morning... quick head count, and onto the bus. By the way, very nice and clean bus. Super friendly driver, that we are given the name of every morning, he is also part of our experience. Today is Angel and our first stop is Angel Island... or is it??
Well, we must have all looked tired, because not far into our ride, the Adventure Guides announce that they are surprising us with a trip to Starbucks!! So, we stop at a small Starbucks and 35 happy Adventurers head in for drinks or goodies. Back on the bus as we head to the Golden Gate Bridge. There is a pull off area just before the bridge, we pull off for about 15 mins, for everyone to get some good pics.
Back onto the bus… and off to Tiburon! Tiberon is where we go, to catch a ferry over to Angel Island. We listen to some history from Capt. Maggie, before casting off to Angel Island. Once there, we board a Tram, and are taken around the Island for an informative and scenic tour.
After our scenic and informative tour around the Island, we land on a picturesque picnic spot. Red Gingham table clothes and all. We walk up to two picnic tables full of food for a lunch. Food, drinks and fresh chocolate chip cookies provided.
Back to the ferry... and I should mention again, none of us had to get tickets, remember where they were, keep track of any detail, this was all done by the Adventure Guides. Again, back to the bus, on to Lucas Studios!!! For many of us, this was going to be one of the highlights of the trip. Lucas Studios, followed by Walt Disney Family Museum. They are only about 10 minutes from each other, in the prestigious area, known as The Presidio. Enter the grounds of Lucus Studios and it's almost like we are being drawn to the Yoda Statue. As we approach the Yoda statue, out runs a Jedi. It's Hanneke Solo, Jedi warrior. She is brave with her lightsaber. Here is a perfect opportunity for pics in front of the Yoda Statue, with our new favorite Jedi. We all gather as she and the Jr. Adventurers use the Force to enter Lucas Studios.
Once inside… wow, all the great collectibles!!! Plus a few of George Lucas' private vintage movie posters. It wasn't long before we were being led into George Lucas’ private screening room. The room where he does his editing on a movie, up until 48 hrs before release. We were presented a 20 min movie presentation, put together especially for the AbD Tours to San Francisco / Napa Valley. What wonderful synergy. As you can see, no pictures of this... it's his 'Private' screening room. One more reason to take this Adventures by Disney Tour, to see it for yourselves!
Now, there was one down side to this destination... No Gift Shop!!! I had planned to buy my nephew his next 5 years worth of gifts at the attached Gift Shop! But, this just proves, it is a real, working, film studio... and not a tourist attraction. As a matter of fact, the only non employees that get to enter, are the Guest of this Adventures by Disney. How cool is that?!?!
Next stop, just a short drive away... The Walt Disney Family Museum.
Even if you are not a huge Disney fan, you have to appreciate all that this man brought to our world. And, when you walk through the halls, you realize just how much you didn't know. A thorough documenting of Walt’s life.. the good, the bad, the struggles and the joys! So many artifacts that have been preserved. Highlights were items such as: The Lilly Belle train from their backyard, Oscars… including the 8 for Snow White, countless photo and hand drawn Mickey’s by Walt. The pics have labels, for more info.
It's been a wonderful day! We have time for a quick stop back at our hotel, 45 mins to freshen up and get back on the bus for our Farewell Dinner. This last night will be at One Market. There were a few surprises presented, plus our Daily Pin.... followed by a delicious meal.
Wow... it's done. It's over... We are at the end. It was so much, but now we don't want it to be over. But before we get to our hotel, our Adventure Guides have one more important message for us. They want to finish this journey with us properly. This means we need to see each other one more time, some time on Sunday. That will be the official goodbye and an opportunity for a last gift. They urged us to please make sure we did not leave without this 'in person' goodbye, because that is part of the experience.
((What I found out later, is that meant they needed to be available through all hours of the night. The first family was leaving the hotel at 3am... and the last would be closer to 7 pm. ))
Back to the Fairmont for the last night. See ya in the morning.
After our wonderful meal at Silverado Vineyard and we've received our special gift, we are now off onto the next adventure, Muir Woods. Named after John Muir, environmental philosopher and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. It's a pretty winding road to get to Muir Woods, the guides have the driver pull over for just a few minutes, so we can get some pics.
We arrive at Muir Woods. As we are getting off the bus, our Guides are there with a cooler filled with water, passing out bottles, to keep us hydrated. (The think of everything, they do all the planning!!)
We all gather around a model of Muir Woods, get a brief overview, then we are given an hour to explore on our own. It's hard to describe the beauty here, I hope these pics can do it some justice....
We were all given a place and time to meet back up... and it's that time. They count us all up and we head back to the bus. We are running low on water, so they rush off to the Gift Shop, buy a case of cold water and get it back to the bus. They pass out water and snacks for the ride back to the Fairmont Hotel. Snacks range from fresh fruit, trail mix, chips, candy bars, fruit chews, granola bars, etc...
As we ride back, it's pretty quiet, everyone is tired. There is some music playing and everyone is just enjoying the ride. After a while, we see the tops of the Golden Gate bridge coming out of the hillside. We are getting ready to go over the GG bridge for the first time on this journey.
We travel over the bridge, through the city and back to our rooms at the Fairmont Hotel. Before we make it back to the resort, we are given our daily pin... Goofy.
This is our evening on our own. They offer lots of suggestions for those who have not already reserved their dinner location. It's a Friday night, so getting a good dinner reservation time, you will have to think ahead. We starting looking for a place, as soon as we were booked on this Adventure. We choose an Italian Restaurant, in North Beach area. ((ps... all the Italian Restaurants are in North Beach, and all the light poles in North Beach are painted with a Red, White, Green flag, to mark the territory))
We go to the lobby and ask bell services to get us a taxi. We walk out to a taxi, give the destination and ask how long it will take. We had lots of time, so we ask if the driver will take us to Lombard St, aka Crooked St, so we can add this to our list of experiences. Of course there is a row of cars, all doing the same thing... but it's a fun experience, that you should try to fit in, on some of your 'time on your own'.
Now, off to ~ Il Fornaio - 1265 Battery St., San Francisco... All I can say is WOW! Though there are so very many restaurants to consider in San Francisco, we give this restaurant very high marks!
Enjoy these pics...
Back to The Fairmont, need to be in the lobby at 8 am!
Morning starts with Breakfast on your own. We needed to be ready to go, in the lobby, at 8:15 am. So we decided to have breakfast in the Main Lobby Dining Room - Laurel Court. We all chose to get the breakfast buffet, certainly the fastest option.
Today is Silverado Vineyard in Napa Valley, started by Lillian and Diane Disney Miller (Walt's wife and daughter) and Muir Woods, named for the environmental philosopher and early advocate of preservation of wilderness, John Muir. Followed by dinner on our own.
It's quite a ride to Napa Valley from San Francisco, but there was plenty of entertainment on the bus. We had singing, we had trivia.. and even played a Disney movie to the location.
As you enter the Napa Area, all of a sudden you realized that buildings have disappeared, to make room for rows and rows of grapes. So much green... and then a building would pop out of the green, and it would be gone just as fast. When you did see a home, it was beautiful. And then... we're here... Silverado Vineyard.
For more on Silverado --> http://www.silveradovineyards.com/
All the photos have individual posts, to give the specifics. Generally, here is how things went. We unloaded from the bus and gathered for a group photo, with the 3 members of the Silverado Management team. We even had the Winemaker - Jon Emmerich walk through, because today was a very important day... the First Day of Harvest!!! This is THE day... the day they work all year for, and wait for. The day the Winemaker determines the grapes are ready to be harvested, and begin the Wine Making Process. First, they take us over to two Cork Oak Trees, so we could see what a tree looks like, that provides corks for our beloved wines. They also explain the how the trees go through the corking process. Then we walk upstairs to start the journey of Silverado Vineyard. We are taken out to a terrace, where there are wide sweeping views of their property. They point out all the relevant information, including a modest home, owned and occupied by Lillian Disney, (Walt's wife) until her death. Diane Disney Miller (Walt's daughter) and her husband Ron also have a home on the property. Diane passed away in 2013. We walk through the hallways of the Vineyard and stories are told along the way. Then out to the grounds. It is so beautiful and so peaceful, you just want to stay longer. But, off to the place where it all happens... the wine tanks, the machine that separates the wine from the skins/seeds.. the machine the moves them outside, to get composted... the machine that bottles and so much more. Quite a lot of info.. see pics for more details. Then to Wine Blending.
It's time to move into the Barrel Room, for a Wine Blending experience. The room is kept at 55 degrees, so kind of chilly, when you will be sitting there for an hour. They had a rack of jackets for the men, and sweaters for the women. We all pick a place to sit, and the demonstration begins. Each place setting is the same, four glasses, a place to take notes, a pencil, etc... 3 of the 4 glasses are your blending glasses, and the fourth is your tasting glass.
Rich is the person that is leading our Wine Blending experience. He explains how the wine blending is done, shows us how to use the tools to begin. We are going to be blending Reds. We start by individually tasting each kind of Silverado Red - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, taking notes at the end of each sip. Now, we decide what we think we would like together. His suggestion is to make the first two glasses, something we think we'd like, but the third should be complete opposite of what we think we'd like. He says that people are often surprised by that third glass. It was a fun experience, wonderful for a drinker of Reds especially. And, at the end of the experience they tell us about a gift we will all be leaving with. (nope, I cannot tell, don't want to spoil the surprise.)
We've been going for quite a while now, so as we are leaving the Barrel room, into a dining hall, we are all happy to see the tables set for lunch. Another manager explains the Farm to Table belief in Napa Valley and explains where all the food we are about to enjoy came from. Wonderful meal.. and I'll let the pictures speak for me. I don't know what came over me... but I have no picture of the dessert, but rest assured, it was delicious. However, it was a fellow adventurers birthday.. and you'll see the cake they ordered for him.
Catering by Meadowood, Napa Valley.
Away we go... off to Muir Woods!
We arrived at night, so in the morning, after our Welcome Breakfast, we are getting our first good look of the building. There happened to be a Ferrari Event going on at The Fairmont.
We take a quick restroom break and head out to start our Adventure!!! A trolley ride, with both guides chiming in to different aspects of the city. After a short ride, some of the Adventurers take to Bikes and some stay on the trolley.
Exploring Fort Point - For all the History on Fort Point click this link --> http://www.nps.gov/fopo/learn/historyculture/index.htm
For those of us that went out on bikes, the bike tour was led by the company, Blazing Saddles. The staff at Blazing Saddles was amazing! Our group was checked in and given safety and operational instructions with lightening speed. The staff made sure each person was comfortable on their bicycles and ensured riders understood how their bicycle gears operated.
Each adventurer was fitted with safety helmets and all of our requests were met with smiles. When I asked for a more comfortable seat? No problem!! They met everyone's needs and concerns. They also made sure everyone had water and the bicycles were equipped with front pouches to store them in.
The bicycle tour itself was about 8 miles total and it was not too physically strenuous. The tour took us from
Fisherman's warf to the Presidio, where we visited the Palace of Fine Arts. We then rode along the bay with gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, and Alcatraz. We stopped at the end of the bay path where our adventure guides offered us refreshments including hot chocolate and coffee. After our 20-30 minute break, we rode back to Blazing Saddles along the same bay-side path.
One of the things I loved about this tour was that the guides did not rush the bikers. We were able to ride at our own comfortable pace. There was a guide in the front and one who stayed at the rear. It would be near impossible to lose the group because they ensured that everyone on our adventure had matching red helmets.
Meet up for a Quick Snack - - Both the trolley riders and the bikers meet up at The Warming Hut. The Adventure Guides take a count on Hot coffee and Hot Chocolate, go inside, order it up... and bring it out for us all to enjoy. After about 20-30 mins... back together as a group, and off to MY China.
Now, MY China is the middle of a Mall. Not what we were expecting, but it was time to stay together as a group (aka, find a moving buddy) and head up a flight of stairs and three escalators. Into MY China walks 37 people. They are prepared for us, moving us directly into a private room, where our Menu is already sitting on the table. It was a tasting menu, and we would be served Dim Sum Style.
I am the person with all those allergies we talked about early on in the blog. How was it handled in this restaurant?? Well at first, the General Manager offered to have me order anything I'd like off the regular menu. I asked if there were enough non-shellfish options on the menu that was planned, so I could do what all the other Adventurers were doing?? Yes and if I needed second portions of anything, to make up for the dishes I was not eating, there was plenty available. So, that is what I chose to do. I wanted to experience the same basic thing, that my guest would experience. Plus I learned how far they are willing to go, to accommodate. By the way... everything that I was able to eat, was delish!
Afternoon on our own! So, we were given about 4 hours to explore what ever we wanted. Lots of Adventurers went to Pier 39, lots did trolleys... we walked about 15 minutes to a nice shopping area, did a little bit of shopping, then ordered an Uber back to The Fairmont. It was a nice break, and we had lots of time to get ready for this evenings dinner at The Waterbar.
The Waterbar served us Hors d'oeuvres style, with waiters passing bite sized dishes. Plus a large offering of shrimp. After a bit, there was shish kabobs and pizza added to the buffet table. Drinks were also served.
And, at the end of the night, they get us on the bus... take a ride over the Bay Bridge, to an area known as Treasure Island, to take some pictures of the city. (see below)
Tomorrow, Day 2 - Napa Valley and Muir Woods! Good Night to all!!!
We received a letter when checking in, that tells us when to meet our fellow Adventurers and Adventure Guides in the Main Lobby. The Guides from there escort you to the Crown Room, at the top of the Fairmont Tower, to greet other Adventurers and enjoy a wonderful Welcome Breakfast Buffett.
(Eggs, bacon, potatoes, French toast, yogurts, pasteries, fruit, coffee, juices, etc.)
We enjoy a wonderful meal, then go through the introduction process. We are all given Lanyards with our name tag and hotel address and phone numbers of the Adventure Guides, in case we need them. (Guides are available to you 24 hrs a day, during your AbD) We are also given our first pin. They explain we will get a daily pin, related to our daily activity. But, this first one is a very special one, it's the pin to celebrate 10 Years of Adventures by Disney. ( The first AbD's were the Summer of 2005 to Wyoming and Hawaii.) Then, later in the day we receive our daily pin, which is the Golden Gate Galore below.
Now, the view should have been spectacular, at the top of the Fairmont Tower, but Karl decided to spoil the fun, as he locked in over the city. Oh yes... Karl, as in #KarlTheFog as known on Twitter and Instagram. Yep, the fog has a name. And today, Karl has spoiled some of the fun, by blocking some potentially amazing pictures.
Again, because we are starting our Adventure at 8 am, we arrive the night before.
We are arriving from two different airports, but coordinate our times, so we can arrive to the hotel together. As I was walking toward the baggage claim, I call the other agent, to confirm she is in the airport. We had both landed within 5 mins of each other. My driver met me at the bottom of the escalator, at baggage claim. I walk up to him, he escorts me to the baggage carousel. All I have to do is point to my luggage, and he grabs it off the belt, and escorts me to his car. The car is a BMW 740i extended, beautifully appointed and immaculate. The driver has water ready for me. I tell him about the other member of my party. I make a call to the agent, to find that she had her own driver waiting for her, however she was picked up in a Mercedes. (There was a member of our Adventure that was escorted in a Tesla.) The drive to The Fairmont San Francisco is approximately 30 minutes. Driver gets all luggage to bell hop, who directs us to front desk.
Front desk checks us in, talks about our special requests. (The Fairmont is a pet friendly hotel, however I have an allergy to dogs. No worries, our room was steam cleaned before my arrival.) The person checking us in gives us room keys and orders bell hop to bring up luggage. We are also given a letter that describes how our official Adventure will start tomorrow, and where/when to meet our Guides and fellow Adventurers.
Bellmen brings luggage and goes over the room details with us. There are multiple USB ports, and power ports at the desk. Explains the how the refreshment center works, costs, etc. There is a hot pot for tea, and a Keurig for coffee, included.
((We arrived after a long day... and in the evening, so no pics of the outside this first night.))
This Adventures by Disney for San Francisco and Napa Valley, official starts at 8 am, on Thursday Mornings. Due to us being on the East Coast, we fly in the night before. So, our Blog will start with that Pre-arrival night, until we depart from San Francisco back home.
Visit Mickey - Agents
Visit Mickey agents have been invited to participate in the Adventures by Disney, for San Francisco & Napa Valley, in August.