Recently, I was lucky enough to experience the Adventures by Disney San Francisco long weekend trip. It was an amazing experience for this type-A, professional “planner.” For the first time in a long while I was able to completely relax and “enjoy the ride”. With 2 unbelievably fun and competent adventure guides, I knew that every detail was handled and I could just have fun!
First, I arrived at the accommodations for the trip, the Omni San Francisco. This lovely hotel is right in the heart of San Francisco’s financial district and a short walk from Chinatown, Little Italy and many other points of interest (it probably took me about 45 minutes to walk to the Fisherman’s Wharf area and Ghiradelli Square – but you can of course also take public transportation). The service and rooms are top notch and I was very comfortable during my stay.
Day one of the itinerary has you meet in the lobby of the hotel at 2pm. Soon, you are off on your first adventure – a guided bike tour along the edge of San Francisco Bay! This is something that I would never do on my own – a bit out of my comfort zone – but it was my favorite part of the whole trip. We had an absolutely beautiful day for the ride and it felt so nice to be out in the fresh air, looking at the gorgeous scenery. Plus, there is no better way to break the ice with the other members of your tour group than to get everybody on a bike! Don’t be intimidated – lots of the adults were shaky on the bikes at first, but then quickly got into the swing of things.
Keep in mind that you don’t HAVE to do the bike ride. Our Disney adventure guides made sure everybody was comfortable with any activity. Those who didn’t want to go on the ride were welcome to with one guide on a bus tour of the city while the rest of us went with our other guide (plus 2 guides from the bike rental company) on the bikes. That is the beauty of having two guides with us on our trip – unusual for most tour companies.
We rode down into the Golden Gate Recreation Area and stopped to view the Palace of Fine Arts.
We continued to Fort Point and were treated to fantastic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the city of San Francisco itself.
At that halfway point, those who wanted to hop on the bus were able to do so (you could just leave your bike – I told you someone was going to take care of everything for you!) or you could ride back the way we came. I was loving the bike ride so much that I decided to go for it and do the return ride.
Back on the bus, bottles of water and snacks are offered, and then we are off to get some more food! After a bus tour of Chinatown, dinner is at M.Y. China – owned by celebrity chef Martin Yan (“Yan Can Cook”). Executive Chef Tony Wu is the recipient of many culinary honors and is the first chef to set a record for pulling 16,000 noodles in two minutes!
This meal was family style and we were treated to everything on the special menu. It was a lot of food!
Salt and Pepper Calamari
Spicy Seafood Dumplings (really spicy!)
Honey Glazed Walnut Shrimp
Sichuan Green Beans
Wild Boar Scissor Cut Noodles (so good!)
Peking Roast Duck (probably my favorite)
Seven Spice Pork Ribs
Chicken Fried Rice
Sugar Egg Puffs
So good that it deserves two pictures!
On Day 2, you enjoy breakfast on your own – there is a nice restaurant inside the hotel and also many options just a short walk away.
Then you are off to Muir Woods National Monument for a beautiful, peaceful trip that allows you to take in the splendor of the giant redwoods.
Next, there is a visit to beautiful vineyard with a tour of the working winery. This part of the adventure is really fun as you get to “stomp grapes” and compete with others in your group to see who can get the most juice! Lunch is served at the winery (included).
Dinner is on your own – which is a perfect opportunity to explore San Francisco. One popular area to go to is Fisherman’s Wharf – or choose a great restaurant in nearby Little Italy or Chinatown.
On Day 3, after a breakfast on your own, your Adventure Guides take you up to the Golden Gate Bridge and you can walk a portion of it if you like. This is a great picture-taking opportunity.
Next, you take the ferry to Angel Island State Park and enjoy a guided tour. This island was the “Ellis Island of the West” as it was a busy U.S. Immigration Station. Lunch is on your own.
One of the most exciting parts of the tour is next – a visit to the Lucasfilm campus! This is a great photo opportunity and it is wonderful for any Star Wars fan to just “breathe the same air” as the talented filmmakers who are working at this location.
Is there someone behind me??
After all of this fun, you are off to the Walt Disney Family Museum for a privately guided tour. Explore all of the exhibits and then shop for some special merchandise in the gift shop.
The farewell dinner is at One Market, which specializes in market fresh, California cuisine.
Our Adventure Guide’s favorite bread!
Farmer’s Market Salad (oh yes – and the wine is included too!)
Natural Angus New York Steak
New York Cheesecake
Overall, this was an amazing long weekend. The amount of ground Adventures by Disney covers is fantastic, and would be hard to duplicate without the expertise of our Adventure Guides. Unexpected things do happen when one is on vacation, and the Guides are there to take care of everything and let you go back to having fun – no stress at all for you – the guest!
Have you ever taken an Adventures by Disney trip? I would love to hear your experiences as well!