CA Trip Part 6 (A little Disney magic + Mission San Juan Capistrano, La Jolla, San Diego, Coronado, Imperial Beach)

Are you ever laying in bed and remember something SUPER important? That you can do nothing about in the middle of the night?

Yeah, that happened our last night staying at Paradise Pier.

We bought 3 day park hopper passes, not knowing if we were going to enter the park on Sunday but knowing we could add a day easily (for around $20/person).

Since we did use a day on Sunday, I knew we’d have to visit a ticket booth at some point and upgrade them. In the back of my mind, I knew that had to be done before we used the 3rd day on the ticket but after almost a week in CA… I had forgotten about it.

Until 1am that Tuesday night.

The rule is actually that we had to have upgraded the tickets on Sunday or Monday. Now, the tickets had all been used and our park hopper was, essentially, expired. I tossed and turned all night, anxious to hit the concierge the next day and beg.

The next morning, before we went to breakfast and get a rental car, we stopped at the concierge counter where they told me they couldn’t even talk to me about upgrading tickets because I bought my tickets online. Since we were going to breakfast at Steakhouse 55, located at the Disneyland Hotel, I decided I’d try there, too, after we ate.


At breakfast, I realized we had probably missed our chance and I wasn’t going to get to come back on Friday (1 day tickets would be ~$300 for us!). I was so disappointed I started to tear up at the table.

After a fantastic breakfast, we wandered the hotel and stopped at the front desk. I gave it another shot – just to see if we could add another day. She explained that it had to be done before the tickets were completely used, I told her I was afraid of that, but she offered to make a call. A few minutes later, we were issued a new 1 day park hopper for the “4th day” price (so less than $50 for us both!). If there hadn’t been a counter between us, I would have jumped into her arms!

Of course, I would never recommend forgetting to upgrade mid-trip and expecting them to break their own rules but we were touched with a little pixie dust and I was so incredibly grateful.

Soon, we were off to San Diego! On the way, we stopped at Mission San Juan Capistrano, a mission founded in 1776. It’s inexpensive to tour and literally on the way to San Diego from Anaheim. It was very hot outside but it was a gorgeous place to visit!







Next stop on the road to San Diego was La Jolla, a small, ridiculously beautiful, super exclusive beach community. We stopped at the tide pools, though the tide was high so there wasn’t much to see 😦


The waves were incredible – I’ve never seen anything that high!


I really wanted to see the sea lions so we drove to the children’s pool (originally built for children but soon overtaken by sea lions) but it was so darn hot, they just bobbed in the water. You can’t really tell they are in the picture 😦


After grabbing tacos for a late lunch, we found a spot to watch the sunset.



Finally, we arrived in Imperial Beach. When we were researching hotels in San Diego, my only criteria was that it was beachfront. I gotta be on the beach. Jason’s criteria was that it had a living area to relax in. So, we landed on a beachfront condo.

It was very inexpensive, which should have told us something. The location was great but the condo was pretty old and run down. By far the biggest issue was that it had no air conditioning. And it was 95 the day we arrived. We opened the door for the first time and the heat hit us in the face – it was like a sauna.

So while we rented a unit with a living space so we can relax some, we found it was too hot to stay there once the sun was up and we certainly weren’t relaxing!

I sure did miss that JW Marriott.

The next morning, Jason had a tee time at the Coronado Golf Course on Coronado. We drove through Coronado to get to our condo so it wasn’t far at all.


While he played, I explored the island. First stop was the famous Hotel del Coronado.


Small shopping area:


They were setting up for an event in the courtyard:


The beach is huge and lovely


Proof I was there!


I inquired when I could move in. Kidding. Though I sure did check the nightly rates from the beach since air conditioning is my jam.

I didn’t book a room 😉

After exploring the hotel, I drove around the island, stopping at a couple of other beaches (like the dog beach!) and found a small park/overlook between houses that looked out at downtown San Diego.


So lovely.

I stopped for lunch at what was once the Hotel del Coronado boathouse, which is now a seafood restaurant.


While hot, Jason seemed to have a great time golfing – it was a beautiful course!

Back home at Imperial Beach, we spent some time on the beach before walking the pier near our condo. At the end was a tasty seafood shack so we grabbed a bite!



And I made him wait for the sun to go down before heading back.



1 post to go – and it includes our day trip to Disneyland for the Christmas festivities!


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