Some transports in Garda Lake area
First of all one VT suggest: you have your own free VT mail box (take a look on right upper side; link "Email"). Sometimes I use it to have "perfect info" searching and contacting by VT mail Virtual Tourist members living in places I plan to visit. I tell you this also about Sirmione because I'm trying to do my best to help you but, not living there, sometimes I could give you good info but not the best.
Anyway let's now take a look to some questions.
About BOAT TRIP. Unproperly I wrote "boat trip". I mean there are boat services and with them you can plan your trip on Garda Lake. About that, I have this useful link!
Searching in same web site I also found prices and some interesting things! One example: http://www.navigazionelaghi.it/eng/gar/tar_2009/nlg_tar_lb.html
TRAIN TICKETS: Remember to OBLITERATE. Welcome in my "crazy" Country... I think obliteration is not necessary buying your train ticket on web because date, time and train you use are indicated. Instead it's USUALLY different when you buy tickets in a train station. This is because in train station they sell you tickets (single way or round trip) you can use only one time but when you prefer: today, tomorrow or next week; if I'm not wrong they expire in a month. WHEN to obliterate? Before get in the train. WHERE to obliterate? There are automatic machines in train stations (usually near platforms). These machines are small and "egg yellow" coloured. You insert your ticket into black slot and machine prints actual date and time. Be careful because you are in Italy so it can happen: 1) machine is out of order; 2) date and time are not so correct (I mean more than one day wrong). In these case, try to reach an other automatic machine or search the conductor on your train and indicate him that print is not correct (tell him: "machine problem" indicating with your finger the wrong or missing print); it's sufficient to avoid nasty fines: welcome in Italy...
GARDALAND has many different rides but it's not a theme park. It is the most important in Italy so I suggest to visit it being not so far from Sirmione.
I'm very glad you'd "love to eat in a family run café where all the locales go and watch life go" because it is the way of tourism I always search to live. About that I'm very sorry I'm actually blocked at home (left metatarsus bone broken during vacations in Alicante during this June). I live less than 100 km eastern from Sirmione so it could be great to guide and make you live a weekend with locales (spritz in square, pizza or restaurant, go to dance or walk in a town with pubs, café, meeting local people, enjoying!).
If you plan to come back in Veneto Region (Venice, Dolomiti Alpes and so on; you can not miss them!) we can organize ourself or, why not, organize a mini VT-meeting!
Letty, I continue to answer you about Chester by VT mail because this area has to be used to post proper info about Sirmione! Remember, link "Email" on right upper side of your web browser.