I thought I would do a trip report in case it is useful for other families traveling with kids.
Our original plan was to go to Disneyland for a few days, and then head to Newport beach. We booked a hotel in Anaheim close to DL. We ended up switching our plans to just one day at DL, so we were kinda stuck in our hotel in Anaheim for a few days. No biggie, just drove into Newport.
Saturday -- flew into John Wayne (I cannot tell you how much nicer John Wayne is than LAX). We had lunch at a Panini Cafe. This place is crowded, but it is reasonably priced. The hummus trio is delish and their paninis and salad portions are huge (I split with my husband). We then drove to Fashion Island, which is pretty much a fashion mecca. This is a gorgeous outdoor mall. Lots of high end stores, but also reasonable stores like Forever 21 for my teen. My little ones could spend their money in places like Claires and the candy store. The anchor stores here are Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Neiman Marcus. The Anthropologie here is amazing :) We stopped at Casey's cupcakes and the cupcakes are gorgeous and come in the cutest little boxes. I always feel like these places serve cupcakes that are prettier than they are good to eat, but my girls enjoyed them. They are comparable in price to Sprinkles, but a little fancier. We went back to the hotel in Anaheim and walked around Downtown disney.
On Sunday we went to Huntington beach. There are lots of fun shops and restaurants here. I had read about the summer crowds, and they were spot on (our last trip was in March 2012 with very light crowds). There were a few events going on and the surf shops were having huge outdoor sales. Very crowded. If you have little ones, hang on tight :) I like the laid back surf vibe of Huntington. My girls love the pier here. We ended up going to Ruby's on the pier for dinner. It is typical diner food, but the shakes really are good. We have had great service at every Ruby location we have been to. They really cater to the kids, which is nice. There was a guy with balloons outside and made an Ariel balloon and a sea turtle balloon for my younger girls. He was hilarious and then told my girls to stay in school so they wouldn't have to make balloons for a living. Gave him a nice tip and set on our way back to the hotel.
Monday was our Disneyland day. Won't bore you with the details, but will just say that we got there about 7:30 AM (park opened at 8) and we were able to go on most of the rides on our list before 10. Park got insanely crowded and hot by noon. Still a fun day.
Tuesday -- we moved to a hotel in Irvine for the rest of the week. Not my hotel choice, but my parents were paying for the hotel for my 6 siblings and I and our families for the week. So we just had to drive into Newport each day.
We went to Crystal Cove for the day. I think this is such a cute beach. Only downside is having the drop off area and then parking. It was a beautiful day with perfect weather. I bought a cute crystal cove tshirt from the little giftshop (proceeds go to restoration of the area).
We really wanted to eat at Beachcombers (really fun place right on the sand), but our party was huge. They do have counter service just a little ways away, but the kids wanted to go to the shake shack. So, basically Rubies again. But at least you get a bit of a workout going up all of those stairs :)
Wednesday -- we went to the beach in Corona del Mar. I love this area because the homes are just so gorgeous on the flower streets. I want to live there :) The beach is gorgeous too. It was overcast and windy and kinda chilly, but I was fine when I put on hoodie on. The weather didn't deter the kids from getting in the water at all. My oldest daughter was fearless and was a natural at boogie boarding. The waves were hitting pretty hard, and I started to get a little nervous. We were careful to watch the conditions.
We went to Jack's surf shop in CDM, which was the favorite with the teens/tweens. It is huge. My sisters and I went over to Sur le Table. They were having the most amazing sale, but I couldn't take that much stuff home in my luggage, unforch. We met up at Sprinkles. Fun to go just to go, but we were kinda underwhelmed with the taste. They are presented beautifully, though. A box of 4 cupcakes is $16 -- just for an idea of pricing.
We were stopped at a light in CDM and a young girl smashed into the back of my parents rental car. My brother, his wife, and their baby were all in the back. When I saw how smashed the front of the girls car was, my heart pounded because I was worried for my family. Amazingly, they were all ok and had minimal damage to the back of their rental car. I don't know if this girl was on her cell phone or what. She was freaking out because she was driving Daddy's car and seemed more concerned about the car than the people she hit. Oh well, at least everyone was ok and that's what really matters!
We went to La Serena (sp?) in Irvine for dinner. There was a huge outdoor courtyard that was perfect for our large party. Can I just say how nice these guys are?? Seriously cool, nice guys. Both at this location and in the Laguna location. We loved their guac and chips. Portions are huge and reasonably priced. We were all good about leaving nice tips wherever we went because people were so accommodating to us.
Thursday we went to Laguna. We left pretty early in the morning, but it was still super crowded. We were able to find parking in one of the parking garages. It was overcast and kinda cool again, so we mainly walked around the shops. We had lunch at BJ's. Had the pizza and pizookies this time due to Scott's rec from before. Waiters were great to take care of our big group.
The adults went to dinner at Canalettos in Fashion Island. It is a nice restaurant, owned by the same people as Il Fornaio. Excuse my spelling if it is wrong. Our waiter was excellent. My entree was nothing memorable (pasta with pesto and roasted tomatoes and parmesan). The pasta was very chewy and the pesto was pretty bland. My husband got the canelloni with organic chicken, spinach, and sundried tomatoes. His entree was far better than mine :) We ordered the almond chocolate cake with salted caramel gelato. The gelato was amazing. Unfortunately, a bus boy accidentally poured a pitcher of water down my brother's lap. I know accidents happen, but my brother was not happy. He did not make a scene, but did tell the manager about it when he stopped by to ask how things were going. I don't even think our waiter knew this had happened, because I do think he would have tried to make up for it even though it wasn't his fault. Long story short, we will not be rushing back to this place :)
Friday was our last full beach day. Tears. We went back to CDM and the weather was truly amazing. Had a fantastic last day. We always got to the beaches between 9:30-10 AM because they get crowded fast. We ended up getting takeout for our meals this day, but I can't remember were. Food was becoming a blur! ;)
We had some time Saturday before our plane left. We went to the beach by the Newport Pier. The water was such a pretty shade of blue green that day. My girls ordered a waffle cone from one of the little shops and I declined to order because I didn't need any more sweets! The shop owner gave me a free chocolate dipped banana because she said the Mama always deserved a treat. She was sweet and brought a smile to my face!
We went to Corner Bakery for lunch. Their sandwiches and salads were good. Everyone liked what they ordered. Then, back to the airport :(
We are planing a trip for next year, yay!