This Trip Report Is Under Refurbishment For Your Future Enjoyment (UPDATED 9/13 with final bonus chapter)

happy wanderer

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 17, 2017
Following! Would love to read about the conclusion of the 50 states quest. Have read the other trip reports, and have gotten so many great ideas from your adventures. We are heading out for a northeast US trip in October (will be up to 28 states as a family).
 

Captain_Oblivious

DIS Dad #257
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
So you're saying everyone who lives in the PNW is clueless?
No, they're just not in a hurry to get anywhere.

Still following! I enjoy the 50 states trip reports. Can’t wait to hear about the ride to 49!
Thanks for sticking with me! Will start the new TR as soon as I finish up California.

Following! Would love to read about the conclusion of the 50 states quest. Have read the other trip reports, and have gotten so many great ideas from your adventures. We are heading out for a northeast US trip in October (will be up to 28 states as a family).
Glad you're still here! What will you be seeing in the northeast?
 
  • happy wanderer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 17, 2017
    Glad you're still here! What will you be seeing in the northeast?
    [/QUOTE]

    Acadia NP, with stops in Salem, MA, Burlington, VT, and heading home via the Finger Lakes region.
     

    Steppesister

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 27, 2013
    I don't know if you remember the time we visited it, but in summary: the road was all torn up, so we bumped on an unpaved road for 20 miles at low speed. We saw two Joshua trees in the park. Plus, we'd surprised the kids the day before by telling them we were on the way to Disneyland. So all of us wanted to be in Anaheim. We gave up and left the park. Then we saw tons of Joshua trees along the side of the interstate.
    Ooooooooooooh yes!! I DO remember that now. Irony at its... most annoying.
    Saguaro was a nice one. Not too many people get down that way, though.
    ... which makes it even better!
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    So you're saying they're clueless and slow.
    Okay, got it now.
    What? No, I was just--

    Ok, maybe yes.

    Acadia NP, with stops in Salem, MA, Burlington, VT, and heading home via the Finger Lakes region.
    Cool! Acadia is one of the holes on our resume. Julie and I went there a long time ago by ourselves, but never took the kids.

    Ooooooooooooh yes!! I DO remember that now. Irony at its... most annoying.
    That was not our best National Park day.

    ... which makes it even better!
    ::yes::
     
  • Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Bonus Chapter 9: People Standing On This Side of the Trail May Get Wet

    @pkondz pointed out in one of the replies that I was really selling Yosemite as a park to visit in the spring. But as I responded to him, it’s really a trade-off. You will get to see the waterfalls in their full majesty in the spring as the winter snows melt and flow down into the valley. You also won’t have to deal with the insane summer crowds, which I have read can be a huge problem. Nice weather, too.

    The downside of a spring visit: the whole park isn’t open. The road through Tolumne Meadows, up in the mountains, will be closed until at least mid-May. This road takes you through almost half the park. We missed out on that. I had also taken a calculated gamble that we might get to drive up to Glacier Point. The Park Service keeps track every year of historical data on when these roads are open after snow plowing. I figured, based on the last 7 years, that I had a little less than a 50/50 shot. With spring break being so late this year, I had hoped that by April 24 I might get lucky.

    Then California had record snowfall over the winter. So much for my luck. We missed out on Glacier Point too, which is a shame because it looks like an incredible view.

    You might have heard the three components of major projects described this way: Budget, Time, and Quality. A project manager will tell you that he/she can deliver on any two of those three. But in doing so, you’ll take a beating on the third one.

    Well, visiting Yosemite comes with three components of its own. Low crowds, open roads, and waterfalls. Pick any season to visit and you’ll get to experience two out of the three. Unless it’s late summer, in which case the waterfalls are going to be struggling.

    We got up early, because Rope Drop is how we roll. Even though it wasn’t summer, the park is still popular and there were plenty of other people on spring break. We wanted to get out and do some hiking before the rest of the crowds arrived. Again, this is an argument for paying the premium to stay inside the national park.

    We hopped on the Yosemite shuttle bus, which had a stop at our lodge. The shuttle system is primarily in place to help manage summer crowds by keeping private cars off the roads. We chose to use it, because any time I can have a day on one of our vacations where I don’t have to drive, I’m all in.

    The shuttle driver was an older lady who really loved to talk. Whether it was to herself or us, I’m not sure. She kind of reminded me of the Crazy Cat Lady from the Simpsons, since she would occasionally just randomly laugh out loud for no apparent reason. But she seemed nice and friendly enough.

    We got off at the bus stop for the Happy Isles Nature Center, which also happens to be the trailhead for the Mist Trail, one of the most popular hikes in the park. This trail links up further with the longer John Muir Trail, which we would not be taking. We had a 5-year-old with us, after all. We would be hiking to Vernal Falls. It was about a mile to an overlook on a bridge, and then another mile or so after that to get to the top of the waterfall.

    The trail started next to a bridge over the Vernal River, which was roaring, full of water.



    I’ve linked @Flossbolna 's 2015 California trip report chapter on Vernal Falls here. She did this hike in the summer of 2015, and took many photos from the same locations we did. It’s fascinating to look at the differences in the water flow between spring and summer.

    The hike was somewhat steep, as we were climbing fairly rapidly next to the river. Invariably, Drew will ask to be carried when hiking, and invariably he can convince one of us to take him for a piggyback ride. It’s a good thing he’s cute.



    We could pick out more waterfalls from the mountains wherever we looked along the way.



    We made pretty good time and got to the bridge/overlook while it was still early.



    The view of the waterfall wasn’t great from here, though. You could barely see it in a little gap between trees. It was a nice spot with the river rushing beneath us, but not great for waterfall viewing.



    You could hike further up the trail to get to the top of the falls for a close-up view. But it was a steep climb, and we didn’t think Drew would do well. So Julie decided to turn around and take him back to the nature center while I went further with the older kids.



    Apparently they had a nice walk on the way down, and took their sweet time as Drew picked up every fallen leaf and stick on the path for…reasons. Meanwhile, the big kids and I kept moving. We eventually reached a point where we were almost under the waterfall itself. The mist from the falls was carrying in the breeze to such a degree that the entire trail was wet, with puddles all over. We all started getting wet from head to toe, while pondering the reasons they named this the Mist Trail. Then we reached a series of hundreds of steps cut into the Cliffside. As we climbed, it made for one of my favorite photos of the trip.



    It wasn’t much further than this, though, that we suffered a setback. The mist was constant, and the water was melted snow, so obviously it was pretty cold. We were all shivering a bit but pressing on anyway. We rounded a corner, carefully trying to pick our way around puddles on the path. And then Scotty lost his balance, and landed directly into the middle of a deep puddle of snow melt. Both feet.

    Both shoes were completely soaked in ice water. As you may be able to imagine, that’s not the most comfortable feeling in the world.

    He tried to continue, but he was cold and painfully uncomfortable. He started to break down as we climbed the stairs. I felt terrible for him. So, even though we were just 10-15 minutes from reaching the top of the falls, I asked him if he wanted to turn around. He nodded yes. So I told him I’d walk back with him, and Sarah and Dave continued on to finish the hike.

    The two of them made it to the top of the waterfall. A little wet, perhaps, but proud that they’d finished the climb.





    Scotty’s mood seemed to improve as we made our way back down the trail. We stopped in some sunlight to warm up for a bit, and I had him remove his socks, because nothing is worse than walking around in wet socks. Except maybe lima beans. Or those times when you’re in the shower and then somebody turns on the dishwasher and suddenly all of your hot water disappears. But I digress.

    I met up with Julie and Drew, who had procured a Junior Ranger workbook at the nature center and gotten a head start on that. We decided that I would take Scotty back to our room on the shuttle so he could change shoes for some dry ones. She would continue to the visitor center with the other kids and we’d meet up there.

    Scotty and I caught the shuttle. It was amazing how many people were getting off and starting the hike now. It was probably 1.5-2 hours after we’d started, and now it was packed with people. We may or may not have said, “So long, suckers!” as we climbed aboard the now-empty bus.

    There are a lot of shuttle stops on the routes, so it can take some time. But eventually we got back to the room and were able to get Scotty into some warmer clothes and dry shoes. He seemed much happier that way.

    We met up with the rest of the family at the visitor center, just in time to scarf down some PB&J sandwiches and then catch the official park film in a theater at the back of the visitor center. It was at least as entertaining as the Hall of Presidents, by which I mean I had a nice air-conditioned nap.

    Instead of joining the growing crowds on the shuttle, we hiked our way down to the trailhead for Yosemite Falls. Along the way, we got a nice view of Half Dome:



    I really loved being there in the valley. Everywhere we looked, we were surrounded by sheer granite cliffs and towering waterfalls. Yet, in the middle, we stood in a peaceful meadow. I’ve never seen any place like it before.

    We took a side path to a viewpoint of the lower falls. As I mentioned in the last chapter, Yosemite Falls is actually 3 waterfalls in one. Here, we could see both the upper and lowest parts of it.





    While we were at this viewpoint, a family of 5 came along behind us and took over a picnic table. They starting unpacking their bags and before we knew it, the mom was making peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches for everyone. It’s not every day you find a kindred spirit who proves that perhaps you’re not the only crazy person in the world, so naturally we had to engage them in conversation. It was just another family on spring break, taking the kids to see some amazing sights and saving pennies on the budget where they could. And you guys thought nobody was as weird as us.

    A boardwalk trail led to the base of the lower falls, where, once again, we were showered with mist from the falls. You’d think we would learn.



    We walked back to the visitor center after finishing the trail. The other sight we had wanted to see was the old historic hotel in the valley, the Ahwahnee (Formerly Known As The Majestic Yosemite Hotel When The Lawsuit Was Still Pending But Formerly Known As The Ahwahnee Prior To All That Unpleasantness). However, the PB&J had satisfied exactly no one, and we were all still hungry (all of these hikes will do that to you), so we stopped first at a snack bar to get some French fries to munch on.

    This took a while. The place was getting mobbed with people, and even though it was mid-afternoon, they were all apparently eating lunch at that moment. We waited at least 20 minutes just for a couple orders of fries. At least they tasted good.

    We had planned to hop on the shuttle again to go to the Ahwahnee—it was just one stop down. But we couldn’t help but notice the large numbers of people at the shuttle stop. They’d been waiting and waiting and waiting…

    And no shuttles were arriving. Something didn’t seem right.

    We eventually made the call to walk to the Ahwahnee instead. There was a trail we could follow. It was probably about a mile, and it was starting to get hot, but it was flat, so we went for it. No shuttle buses passed us the whole time we walked.

    The Ahwahnee Hotel opened in 1927 and is now a National Historic Landmark even as it is still an active hotel. It was way too expensive for us to even think about staying here, but there was nothing saying we couldn’t wander around. As many of you know, I’m a sucker for these old-time national park lodges. It follows the same general rustic feel of log beams and stone that many of the other park lodges do, but the interior features some intricate painted borders along the wood beams by artist Jeanette Dryer Spencer.

    It was hard to get a decent shot of the exterior from the ground. There were some cascades running down the cliffs behind the building, though.



    This is the dining room. They didn’t serve our kind there.



    This is the lobby. You can see some of the art painted along the underside of the wood beams on the ceiling here. It was a very unique look. Many of the patterns were repeated in the stained glass designs in the windows.







    I’d say we were all 20% snottier in this lobby.

    Oh, who are we kidding? I would have loved to stay here. It’s such a cool building.

    At this point, we’d walked several miles throughout the day, and everyone was getting tired. We’d hoped to catch the shuttle bus back to the visitor center area, but as we left the hotel, a bus was just pulling away from the stop. Sigh.

    Well, at least they were running.

    Not wanting to risk a long wait for the next bus, we walked back to the visitor center ourselves. It was getting late in the afternoon. We decided to split up again—Julie would take Drew to the visitor center to get his junior ranger badge before they closed, and I would take the big kids to the general store to get a few souvenirs. Then we’d take the shuttle back to our room and grab dinner at the food court. Foolproof!

    When we were finished shopping, Julie was wrapping things up with Drew. The kids and I walked over to the shuttle stop where a bus was loading. We hopped on and got into some seats in the back. The bus pulled away from the stop and proceeded to move for a grand total of about 5 feet (1.524 meters).

    There was another shuttle stop on the next corner. That was stop 4. We had gotten on the bus at stop 2. Stop 3 was supposed to be the Ahwahnee, and then we would proceed to stop 4. Julie and Drew were waiting at stop 5, the visitor center. But the driver had other plans.

    The driver asked if anyone was going to the Ahwahnee Hotel. Several people raised their hands. He told them to get off and wait for the next bus, because we weren’t going there. He then directed everyone at stop 4 to pile on his bus with us.

    It got very crowded. We were crammed all the way in the back. Worse, I knew there was no way Julie was going to get on at the next stop, being that we were already full.

    It didn’t matter. We didn’t stop at the visitor center. Julie was frantically texting me this whole time, asking what she was supposed to do now, with no idea when the next bus would arrive. I told her everything I knew, which was: I had no idea. She was tired, Drew was tired, and all they wanted to do was sit down and rest.

    Our bus flew right on by their stop. The driver announced that he would be moving on to the next few stops. Apparently the shuttle service had underestimated the crowds for the day—they’d only put three buses in service for the entire park. And they’d all gotten bunched up on the route, resulting in some people waiting over 45 minutes for a shuttle only for the next one to appear right on its tail. So the driver had chosen that particular moment in time to try and space things out with the other buses.

    Not a great day for the bus company.

    By the time we got to our lodge, Julie had told me she had given up and started walking. It was about 2 miles from the visitor center to the lodge. I let the big kids in the room and then hurried down the path to meet her. I couldn’t shorten her walk, but I could at least give her some company. She was miserable. I picked up Drew and gave him a piggyback ride. He’d earned it at this point.

    The good news is, he successfully earned another junior ranger badge.



    We rested up in the room for a bit. Then we got in the van and drove back towards Tunnel View. Instead of climbing back up the mountain, we turned into the viewing area for Bridal Veil Falls. Here, once again, we could take a trail right up to the base of the falls and get soaked.

    It’s worth it, though.



    We stopped at a point just shy of the falls, where if we’d gone any further we would have had no shielding from the spray. It didn’t deter David, though. He was determined to get the full experience. Hey, you only live once.



    On the way back, we saw yet another rushing river.



    And we heard a rousing speech on conservation from the nation’s leading naturalist.



    And we got to see the sun’s magical last rays slowly leaving the canyon walls behind for the day.







    Despite the bus disaster, we were enthralled with the scenery of Yosemite for the entire day. There are very few places, events, people or things that live up to their advance hype in this world. Yosemite National Park is one of them.

    Coming Up Next: We procrastinate before we have to move on from Yosemite.

    P.S. I didn’t review our dinner at the food court because, well, it’s a national park food court. But I can say they made a surprisingly decent chicken parm sandwich.

     
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  • pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    I'm out of time so will come back to read the rest later...
    What I've read so far...

    he downside of a spring visit: the whole park isn’t open. The road through Tolumne Meadows, up in the mountains, will be closed until at least mid-May.
    I'm thinking maybe the best time might be mid June, then?
    Then California had record snowfall over the winter. So much for my luck. We missed out on Glacier Point too, which is a shame because it looks like an incredible view.
    :headache:
    Guess a return visit is in order.
    You might have heard the three components of major projects described this way: Budget, Time, and Quality. A project manager will tell you that he/she can deliver on any two of those three. But in doing so, you’ll take a beating on the third one.
    Huh. Hadn't heard that. I did all three iterations. It checks out!
    We chose to use it, because any time I can have a day on one of our vacations where I don’t have to drive, I’m all in.
    ::yes:: That's how I treat my Disney vacations.
    The shuttle driver was an older lady who really loved to talk. Whether it was to herself or us, I’m not sure.
    "If one more car cuts me off, I'm driving right off this cliff!"
    She kind of reminded me of the Crazy Cat Lady from the Simpsons, since she would occasionally just randomly laugh out loud for no apparent reason.
    :laughing:
    It was about a mile to an overlook on a bridge, and then another mile or so after that to get to the top of the waterfall.
    Doesn't sound too bad.... at first.
    I’ve linked @Flossbolna 's 2015 California trip report chapter on Vernal Falls here. She did this hike in the summer of 2015, and took many photos from the same locations we did. It’s fascinating to look at the differences in the water flow between spring and summer.
    I looked. A marked contrast!
    Invariably, Drew will ask to be carried when hiking, and invariably he can convince one of us to take him for a piggyback ride. It’s a good thing he’s cute.

    Smart move carrying the backpack. "Sorry, I can't. I have the light backpack (without dry socks in it). Ask mom."
    We made pretty good time and got to the bridge/overlook while it was still early.
    Rope drop. ::yes::
    Drew picked up every fallen leaf and stick on the path for…reasons.
    Because he's a boy. That's what we do/did. Have you forgotten already? ;)
    We all started getting wet from head to toe, while pondering the reasons they named this the Mist Trail.
    Because the first person to try to find it Mist the turn and never saw it.
    Wow! That is a great photo!
    And then Scotty lost his balance, and landed directly into the middle of a deep puddle of snow melt. Both feet.

    Both shoes were completely soaked in ice water. As you may be able to imagine, that’s not the most comfortable feeling in the world.
    Oh no!
    So, even though we were just 10-15 minutes from reaching the top of the falls, I asked him if he wanted to turn around. He nodded yes. So I told him I’d walk back with him,
    :worship: Awesome Dad move. I'm impressed. And humbled.
    Who took this photo??????
    Or those times when you’re in the shower and then somebody turns on the dishwasher and suddenly all of your hot water disappears.
    Ha! I had our plumbing designed so it doesn't do that anymore.
    We may or may not have said, “So long, suckers!” as we climbed aboard the now-empty bus.
    :laughing:
    just in time to scarf down some PB&J sandwiches
    Yes! There it is! You must be the only family of five in the US who does that.
    It was at least as entertaining as the Hall of Presidents, by which I mean I had a nice air-conditioned nap.
    😴
    Along the way, we got a nice view of Half Dome:
    Another nice shot!
    I really loved being there in the valley. Everywhere we looked, we were surrounded by sheer granite cliffs and towering waterfalls. Yet, in the middle, we stood in a peaceful meadow. I’ve never seen any place like it before.
    It sounds... magical.
    Beautiful
    While we were at this viewpoint, a family of 5 came along behind us and took over a picnic table. They starting unpacking their bags and before we knew it, the mom was making peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches for everyone.
    :lmao:
    perhaps you’re not the only crazy person in the world,
    But maybe the craziest?
    And you guys thought nobody was as weird as us.
    Oh, no. I never thought that of your family.


    Just you.

    back later for the rest.
     

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    Okay.. home. Ready to pass out, but first...

    (Formerly Known As The Majestic Yosemite Hotel When The Lawsuit Was Still Pending But Formerly Known As The Ahwahnee Prior To All That Unpleasantness)
    Interesting. I had to Google of course... and then burst out laughing. (highlighted what caught my eye)

    When the lawsuit was filed in 2015, the park service told CNN that DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite, a subsidiary of Delaware North, had demanded more than $50 million in compensation for the rights to those names. The company concessionaire ran the park's lodging, retail and food services for more than 20 years before being replaced by Yosemite Hospitality LLC, an Aramark subsidiary, in March 2016.
    get some French fries to munch on.
    Food of the Gods
    We eventually made the call to walk to the Ahwahnee instead. There was a trail we could follow. It was probably about a mile, and it was starting to get hot, but it was flat, so we went for it. No shuttle buses passed us the whole time we walked.
    Good call, then.
    It was way too expensive for us to even think about staying here
    I looked. In May 2020. Suite for 5: $1318!
    Even just a small room for 2 is $590.

    Per night.

    Beautiful!
    You can see some of the art painted along the underside of the wood beams on the ceiling here. It was a very unique look.
    Really nice.
    I’d say we were all 20% snottier in this lobby.
    :lmao:

    :snooty:
    We’d hoped to catch the shuttle bus back to the visitor center area, but as we left the hotel, a bus was just pulling away from the stop. Sigh.
    I'd lend you my pass, but I'm not sure it works outside Disney.
    I would take the big kids to the general store to get a few souvenirs.
    National Parks souvenirs... Awesome. Please tell me at least one boy got a pocket knife.
    Then we’d take the shuttle back to our room and grab dinner at the food court. Foolproof!
    um...
    The kids and I walked over to the shuttle stop where a bus was loading. We hopped on and got into some seats in the back.
    Good timing!

    Except...
    We didn’t stop at the visitor center. Julie was frantically texting me this whole time, asking what she was supposed to do now, with no idea when the next bus would arrive. I told her everything I knew, which was: I had no idea. She was tired, Drew was tired, and all they wanted to do was sit down and rest.
    Poor Julie. And you too!
    Apparently the shuttle service had underestimated the crowds for the day—they’d only put three buses in service for the entire park.
    :sad2:
    When I looked at the room rates for May? Most of the month was already sold out. So they should have an idea that it's going to be busy.
    By the time we got to our lodge, Julie had told me she had given up and started walking. It was about 2 miles from the visitor center to the lodge. I let the big kids in the room and then hurried down the path to meet her. I couldn’t shorten her walk, but I could at least give her some company. She was miserable. I picked up Drew and gave him a piggyback ride. He’d earned it at this point.
    Poor Julie. But that was really nice of you to do that. :)
    The good news is, he successfully earned another junior ranger badge.
    Yay!
    Wow!
    You even caught the rainbow.
    On the way back, we saw yet another rushing river.

    Really like that. It just looks like a sudden flood in the middle of the forest.
    And we heard a rousing speech on conservation from the nation’s leading naturalist.

    :laughing:
    But I can say they made a surprisingly decent chicken parm sandwich.
    Doesn't look great, but glad looks were deceiving in this case.
     

    rdkeim

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 23, 2006
    Loved, loved this update! There's no where like Yosemite. My DH claims it's his favorite spot we've been to if you just factor in scenery. The last time we were there was early June 2016. It was a good year for the waterfalls - just awesome! We did the same falls hike but I stopped at the stairs. I don't remember big crowds EXCEPT the day we checked out which was a Sat. I was glad our dates were weekdays. I think it made a huge difference. Sounds like you had a good day minus the unreliable shuttle and the wet shoes mishap. We like to hang at the Ahwahnee but it's not in the budget - way out! I remember we paid close to $300/night for a room at the Lodge which I thought was high but you're right - location, location. I can see the need to split up at times given the ages of your kids. Anxious to see what you did with your remaining time in Yosemite!
     

    afwdwfan

    DIS Dad #460
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2010
    You might have heard the three components of major projects described this way: Budget, Time, and Quality. A project manager will tell you that he/she can deliver on any two of those three. But in doing so, you’ll take a beating on the third one.
    Last time I worked with a project manager, he struck out on all 3. :rotfl:
    The shuttle driver was an older lady who really loved to talk. Whether it was to herself or us, I’m not sure. She kind of reminded me of the Crazy Cat Lady from the Simpsons, since she would occasionally just randomly laugh out loud for no apparent reason. But she seemed nice and friendly enough.
    :rotfl2:
    The hike was somewhat steep, as we were climbing fairly rapidly next to the river. Invariably, Drew will ask to be carried when hiking, and invariably he can convince one of us to take him for a piggyback ride. It’s a good thing he’s cute.
    Not just cute. Smart. Very smart.
    And then Scotty lost his balance, and landed directly into the middle of a deep puddle of snow melt. Both feet.
    And then Scotty happened...

    I feel for him. That is misery that nobody wants.
    Great picture! They even look like they like each other rather than want to kill each other.
    But eventually we got back to the room and were able to get Scotty into some warmer clothes and dry shoes. He seemed much happier that way.
    ::yes::
    It was at least as entertaining as the Hall of Presidents, by which I mean I had a nice air-conditioned nap.
    Sounds like a winner! :thumbsup2
    While we were at this viewpoint, a family of 5 came along behind us and took over a picnic table. They starting unpacking their bags and before we knew it, the mom was making peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches for everyone. It’s not every day you find a kindred spirit who proves that perhaps you’re not the only crazy person in the world, so naturally we had to engage them in conversation. It was just another family on spring break, taking the kids to see some amazing sights and saving pennies on the budget where they could. And you guys thought nobody was as weird as us.
    Look, all we established was that they like pb&j. That isn't quite relevant enough to make them "as weird as you."
    You’d think we would learn.
    Our expectations are lower than you might think.
    The place was getting mobbed with people, and even though it was mid-afternoon, they were all apparently eating lunch at that moment. We waited at least 20 minutes just for a couple orders of fries.
    Sounds like Disney World!
    it was just one stop down. But we couldn’t help but notice the large numbers of people at the shuttle stop. They’d been waiting and waiting and waiting…

    And no shuttles were arriving. Something didn’t seem right.
    Sounds like Disney World!
    It was way too expensive for us to even think about staying here, but there was nothing saying we couldn’t wander around.
    Sounds like... the Grand Floridian!
    Oh, who are we kidding? I would have loved to stay here. It’s such a cool building.
    It really does look incredible.
    The driver asked if anyone was going to the Ahwahnee Hotel. Several people raised their hands. He told them to get off and wait for the next bus, because we weren’t going there. He then directed everyone at stop 4 to pile on his bus with us.

    It got very crowded. We were crammed all the way in the back. Worse, I knew there was no way Julie was going to get on at the next stop, being that we were already full.
    Sounds like the bus loop at a Moderate Disney resort!
    I told her everything I knew, which was: I had no idea. She was tired, Drew was tired, and all they wanted to do was sit down and rest.
    Poor Julie
    Apparently the shuttle service had underestimated the crowds for the day—they’d only put three buses in service for the entire park. And they’d all gotten bunched up on the route, resulting in some people waiting over 45 minutes for a shuttle only for the next one to appear right on its tail. So the driver had chosen that particular moment in time to try and space things out with the other buses.
    :headache::faint::sad2:
    Despite the bus disaster, we were enthralled with the scenery of Yosemite for the entire day. There are very few places, events, people or things that live up to their advance hype in this world. Yosemite National Park is one of them.
    For all the challenges, from soaked shoes and buses, I'm glad to hear that you all were able to take away the highlights of the day. And it seems from the outside anyway, that it was a busy day with a lot accomplished. That rope drop theory always pays off!
    P.S. I didn’t review our dinner at the food court because, well, it’s a national park food court. But I can say they made a surprisingly decent chicken parm sandwich.
    Chicken Parm Taste So Good GIF - ChickenParm TasteSoGood PeytonManning GIFs
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    I'm out of time so will come back to read the rest later...
    What I've read so far...
    You caught up pretty quickly.

    I'm thinking maybe the best time might be mid June, then?
    Sure, I could see that. Or late May, as long as it wasn't Memorial Day weekend. Mid-week seems to be best.

    :headache:
    Guess a return visit is in order.
    We find ourselves saying that a lot.

    Huh. Hadn't heard that. I did all three iterations. It checks out!
    That's why I remembered it!

    ::yes:: That's how I treat my Disney vacations.
    I did like having my car to cut down on waiting for the bus.

    "If one more car cuts me off, I'm driving right off this cliff!"
    :scared:

    Doesn't sound too bad.... at first.
    Just some climbing. Not the worst trail we've hiked.

    I looked. A marked contrast!
    It's incredible how much it changes.

    Smart move carrying the backpack. "Sorry, I can't. I have the light backpack (without dry socks in it). Ask mom."
    This ain't my first rodeo. And why would I ever need dry socks? :rolleyes1

    Rope drop. ::yes::
    ::yes::

    Because he's a boy. That's what we do/did. Have you forgotten already? ;)
    I would at least look for the sticks that resembled machine guns.

    Because the first person to try to find it Mist the turn and never saw it.
    Ah, I see it now. Makes total sense.

    Wow! That is a great photo!
    Thanks! I love the rays of sun coming through the mist.

    :worship: Awesome Dad move. I'm impressed. And humbled.
    Well, thank you, sir. I didn't think I had a choice, really. Poor Scotty was having a really rough time at that moment, and I couldn't possibly make him wait/send him back alone.

    Who took this photo??????
    Some random dude on the trail. Saw them trying to take a selfie and offered to take one for them.

    Ha! I had our plumbing designed so it doesn't do that anymore.
    Sounds like a smart move!

    Yes! There it is! You must be the only family of five in the US who does that.
    Oh, I'm sure of it. No one else would be able to stand it!

    Another nice shot!
    Thanks!

    It sounds... magical.
    It really is. I think I called it a "special" place over and over again in my conversations with Julie.

    But maybe the craziest?
    :rolleyes1

    Oh, no. I never thought that of your family.


    Just you.
    Why am I not surprised?

    Interesting. I had to Google of course... and then burst out laughing. (highlighted what caught my eye)

    When the lawsuit was filed in 2015, the park service told CNN that DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite, a subsidiary of Delaware North, had demanded more than $50 million in compensation for the rights to those names. The company concessionaire ran the park's lodging, retail and food services for more than 20 years before being replaced by Yosemite Hospitality LLC, an Aramark subsidiary, in March 2016.
    Yeah, I've seen that name elsewhere in relation to the national parks. I don't know its significance. The company itself was founded in...Buffalo, NY.

    Food of the Gods
    ::yes::

    Good call, then.
    Hey, we got one right!

    I looked. In May 2020. Suite for 5: $1318!
    Even just a small room for 2 is $590.

    Per night.
    I know. Just insane. Compared to that, $300 for our clubhouse was a steal!

    I'd lend you my pass, but I'm not sure it works outside Disney.
    I wish I had something that worked even 10% as well.

    National Parks souvenirs... Awesome. Please tell me at least one boy got a pocket knife.
    Um...crappy t-shirts are a close second, right?

    Good timing!

    Except...
    :sad2:

    Poor Julie. And you too!
    It was definitely worse for her.

    :sad2:
    When I looked at the room rates for May? Most of the month was already sold out. So they should have an idea that it's going to be busy.
    Yeah, grabbing a room as soon as the window opens is the best plan. I was glad it worked out for us.

    Poor Julie. But that was really nice of you to do that. :)
    Thanks! I felt terrible for her. She was exhausted.

    Wow!
    You even caught the rainbow.
    Just happened to be there at the right time!

    Really like that. It just looks like a sudden flood in the middle of the forest.
    It pretty much is. I'm sure it's dry most of the year.

    Doesn't look great, but glad looks were deceiving in this case.
    It wasn't great. But decent is all we can hope for from the food courts.
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Loved, loved this update! There's no where like Yosemite. My DH claims it's his favorite spot we've been to if you just factor in scenery. The last time we were there was early June 2016. It was a good year for the waterfalls - just awesome! We did the same falls hike but I stopped at the stairs. I don't remember big crowds EXCEPT the day we checked out which was a Sat. I was glad our dates were weekdays. I think it made a huge difference. Sounds like you had a good day minus the unreliable shuttle and the wet shoes mishap. We like to hang at the Ahwahnee but it's not in the budget - way out! I remember we paid close to $300/night for a room at the Lodge which I thought was high but you're right - location, location. I can see the need to split up at times given the ages of your kids. Anxious to see what you did with your remaining time in Yosemite!
    Yosemite really was a special place. I'm glad we finally got to see it!

    If you don't stay in the parks, it's definitely going to take a while to get to the valley. So it was worth it to pay the premium to be right there. I think you're right that mid-week is the best time.
     

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    You caught up pretty quickly.
    Yes. I got unlucky.
    Sure, I could see that. Or late May, as long as it wasn't Memorial Day weekend. Mid-week seems to be best.
    Hoping to apply this tip at some point in my life.
    I did like having my car to cut down on waiting for the bus.
    I just use a pass for that.



    :rolleyes1
    Just some climbing. Not the worst trail we've hiked.
    What was?
    This ain't my first rodeo. And why would I ever need dry socks? :rolleyes1
    :lmao:
    I would at least look for the sticks that resembled machine guns.
    Or guns... or knives...
    Well, thank you, sir. I didn't think I had a choice, really. Poor Scotty was having a really rough time at that moment, and I couldn't possibly make him wait/send him back alone.
    Totally get it.
    It really is. I think I called it a "special" place over and over again in my conversations with Julie.
    I believe you!
    Yeah, I've seen that name elsewhere in relation to the national parks. I don't know its significance. The company itself was founded in...Buffalo, NY.
    Of course it is.
    I know. Just insane. Compared to that, $300 for our clubhouse was a steal!
    Much better bargain.
    I wonder if they have to charge that much... for overhead/maintenance/etc... or just because they can.
    Um...crappy t-shirts are a close second, right?
    No
    Thanks! I felt terrible for her. She was exhausted.
    Poor Julie. :(
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Last time I worked with a project manager, he struck out on all 3. :rotfl:
    Sounds like you need a new project manager!

    Not just cute. Smart. Very smart.
    Oh, he's definitely no dummy.

    And then Scotty happened...

    I feel for him. That is misery that nobody wants.
    Yeah...being soaked in ice water is just torture.

    Great picture! They even look like they like each other rather than want to kill each other.
    As far as anyone knows, you're right!

    Sounds like a winner! :thumbsup2
    ZZzzzzzz....huh? What?

    Look, all we established was that they like pb&j. That isn't quite relevant enough to make them "as weird as you."
    But nobody likes PB&J. Ok, that's not quite true. Nobody likes it 5 days in a row.

    Our expectations are lower than you might think.
    The Oblivious Family. Lowering expectations since 1998.

    Sounds like Disney World!
    Hey, you're right!

    Sounds like Disney World!
    :lmao: :rotfl2: :rotfl:

    Sounds like... the Grand Floridian!
    So many similarities!

    It really does look incredible.
    I'm sure it is!


    ...for the rich people.

    Sounds like the bus loop at a Moderate Disney resort!
    Now it's just getting scary! Plus, everything was overpriced.

    Poor Julie
    ::yes::

    For all the challenges, from soaked shoes and buses, I'm glad to hear that you all were able to take away the highlights of the day. And it seems from the outside anyway, that it was a busy day with a lot accomplished. That rope drop theory always pays off!
    We were able to explore the entire valley and see everything we wanted to. So from that standpoint, it was a success. And we really loved the scenery.

    :love:
     

    Steppesister

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 27, 2013
    This is the dining room. They didn’t serve our kind there.
    Fun fact:
    My grandfather was one of the patients at the Awahnee during the time it was used as a Naval hospital after his ship was torpedoed. Been there a couple of times and was blown away at the artistry. LOVE the mission style used!


    Our bus flew right on by their stop. The driver announced that he would be moving on to the next few stops. Apparently the shuttle service had underestimated the crowds for the day—they’d only put three buses in service for the entire park. And they’d all gotten bunched up on the route, resulting in some people waiting over 45 minutes for a shuttle only for the next one to appear right on its tail. So the driver had chosen that particular moment in time to try and space things out with the other buses.
    Brutal!

    Trying to get as many threads read as possible before a heavy work week coming up. The photos are lovely and I reallly enjoyed this chapter! Thanks for the great read, Mark!
     



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