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Disk groups for use in cluster are Cluster Disk Groups, once configured as resource in a cluster (SFW HA and MSCS) then the cluster will should be used to online and offline the disk group. If the relevant cluster is not running you should be able to online and offline the disk group. You may find too that this works in the later versions of the SFW even if the cluster is running, but volume mount information will happen via the cluster.
Destroying the cluster to get access back to the disks is unnecessary, you should have been able to use vxtool to access the disks (if the disks are present and there is no reservation issues) if the VEA gui and cli are not working. Generally though the gui and cli will still respond with disk information of some sort. I expect the steps you took in updating the drivers etc from what is posted here is the most likely solution in that the disks are appearing as expected and operated as expected.
Going to one path for disk operations is also unnecessary in instances where the multipathing solution in use is working correctly.
Hope this makes sense,