The third and final stop of my birthday trip was San Francisco, California. There are a few particular places that I had on my bucket list that are located in this city, so my Mom and I met there and spent two wonderful days cramming in as much as we possibly could!
Thursday, May 12th, 2016
I flew in from Seattle this morning and met Mom at the hotel! We took a bus down to the Fisherman’s Wharf and went to Boudin Bakery! I couldn’t come to San Francisco and not get a bread bowl on the pier!
We didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do for the day, but we ended up stumbling on a Red and White Boat Tour that would take us to see the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge!
One of my bucket list items was to get a picture with the Golden Gate bridge and it finally happened! It was terribly windy that didn’t stop me!
Another unexpected part of this boat tour was that we got to see seals an whales in the water! That was unbelievable. We also got pretty close to Alcatraz, which is a famous prison located on an island right near the wharf.
I really wanted to tour Alcatraz, however the tours were completely booked for the entire time we were there. So if you’re going to San Francisco and that’s something you’re interested in doing, make sure you book your tour in advance!
The boat tour was about an hour and a half, so afterwards we needed a little something sweet. Ghirardelli Square was calling our name! This whole area was adorable and it was so fun to go a familiar Disney spot at it’s original location.
We caught a cab back to the hotel, quite randomly too because we were going to take an Uber. However, Joe pulled up and honestly, he was a God sent. He was a retired San Francisco tour guide and he told us so many fun facts about the city! He took us on the ever-famous crooked road on the way home. Apparently this incline was so steep that back in the day when horses were the main mode of transportation, they were not able to make it up the hill. So the crooked road was built to make it a little easier for them.
Joe dropped us off at our hotel and we asked him to pick us up tomorrow for more adventures! He happily obliged and we would see him at 9:45 am!
Friday, May 13th, 2016
This morning, Joe picked us up and took us to the Walt Disney Family Museum. Ever since I learned about the museum on my first trip to Disneyland in 2013, it has been one of the most important items on my bucket list. I will tell you right now – it was 100% worth the trip to San Francisco!
The museum went in chronological order of Walt Disney’s life, starting with teaching about his family, through the early animation days, when he met Lilly, to the premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the development of Disneyland, and then the dream of the Florida project.
It is very difficult to encapsulate in writing how many emotions I felt and all of the things I learned during my time at the museum. I was so overwhelmed I was with the beauty of it all.
The part that really got me was the huge model of Disneyland. It was brightly colored, animated, had lights and effects, and was one of the most magical things I have ever seen. I looked at it for such a long time. I still cannot believe that I actually had the honor of contributing to even a small sliver of Walt’s legacy – especially at Jungle Cruise, one of the opening day attractions. There is just something that is so special about Disneyland that no other park has. Maybe some day I will get back to working there, but for now I am so grateful I had the chance!
There was also an audio-animatronic display with a tiki bird, a Carousel of Progress display, and a gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge. (just to name a few highlights!)
I would give yourself anywhere from 2-4 hours to go through the entire museum. You could most definitely spend more time there though, depending on how deeply you read into each exhibit.
There is a little café right in the museum, which is where we got lunch. They had sandwiches, soups, and salads and they were delicious!
Then I did a bit of damage at the gift shop. They had such unique items there, such as magazines about different attractions (I had to get the Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean ones!) as well as a tiki room charm bracelet!! (Considering I also worked there in Disneyland, that was a must buy) It was so fun being able to take a little piece of the magic home!
Our cashier was so kind, and he actually told us that the museum only featured about 5% of Walt’s things, which is completely mind-blowing considering the size of it.
Ultimately, our experience at the Walt Disney Family Museum was absolutely phenomenal. I would recommend it to anyone who has an appreciation for Walt’s story and how the company came to be. I am so thankful I finally had the chance to see it in person!
After the museum, Joe took us to my other biggest San Francisco must-see: the Full House house!! It is located at 1709 Broderick Street in San Francisco. Sadly, it is not painted white with the red door anymore, however it was still surreal to finally be there and see it in person!
We also drove to see the Painted Ladies, which is the strip of houses featured in the theme song when the Tanners are eating a picnic in the park!
Then we went to California Academy of Sciences, which was a really cool stop. They had some incredible displays in there with a lot of unique fish and reptiles, an albino alligator, a rain forest section with birds and butterflies, and also some penguins! It was absolutely gorgeous inside and I’m really glad we got to check it out!
Then our last stop was the Aquarium of the Bay, which was a lot of fun! It was pretty small and a quick walk-through, but they did have river otters at the end, which I was excited to see.
Then we got dinner at the Boudin Bakery again, but this time we ate in the full service dining area! They gave us some delicious sour dough bread for an appetizer, we split calamari, then I got beef stew and Mom got fish. It was delicious!
After that, we headed back to the room. I had a pretty bad sore throat all of the sudden so I needed to get some extra rest. However, I hit every single place on my San Francisco bucket list and was so thrilled with how this trip turned out. I am so grateful I was able to squeeze it in, and couldn’t have planned it any better!
Next stop: Studying Abroad in EUROPE! Stay tuned for lots of updates all summer, I cannot even wait to see what journey lies ahead!