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Leitadala
10-18-2011, 06:36 PM
Aloha! Mahalo for stopping by!

I always get cold feet when it comes to doing trip reports, but I know when I was trying to plan my vacation I loved reading everything I could about Aulani so I'm going to buck up and put this out there for the chance that there may be even one person who benefits from it! So I hope you (or all of you) enjoy my words and pictures. Instead of posting a lot of text in the running Aulani TR thread I will be posting here (I hope that's ok) as each day we experienced a little of Disney and a little of the Island.

Introductions and PTR (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42987385&postcount=5)

Day One: Flights and Check-in (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42988269&postcount=7)

Day Two, Part One: Yoga and Exploring Aulani (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42999228&postcount=27)

Day Two, Part Two: Aunty's Breakfast Celebration and North Shore (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42999362&postcount=29)

Day Three: Diamond Head, Koko Crater, and Manoa Falls (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43010369&postcount=40)

Day Four: Laniwai Spa and Paradise Cove Luau
(http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43018530&postcount=48)
Day Five: Adventures by Disney Hawaiian Fire Surf School and More Exploring and Relaxing at Aulani
(http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43048017&postcount=60)
Day Six, Part One: Kualoa Ranch Adventures by Disney Excursion (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43069043&postcount=70)

Day Six, Part Two: Kualoa Ranch Horseback Riding and Aulani's Starlight Hui
(http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43080014&postcount=75)
Day Seven: Aloha 'Oe, till we meet again (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=45278004&postcount=101)

Conclusion (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=45278267&postcount=102)

wendy774
10-18-2011, 06:40 PM
Can't wait to read about your adventure. I am especially looking forward to the pics!!

Leitadala
10-18-2011, 06:46 PM
Can't wait to read about your adventure. I am especially looking forward to the pics!!

Thanks! I'm glad someone will read it!

Cindy Girl
10-18-2011, 06:52 PM
I will read too!! Can't wait!!

Leitadala
10-18-2011, 06:52 PM
Welcome to my Aulani Trip Report!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/DHS09.jpg

DH and I have both never been to Hawaii, and never traveled over the ocean to a far off destination for that matter. I've always wanted to go to Hawaii, so when DVC presented us this opportunity right around our 5 year anniversary my DH sure couldn't refuse! Our trip is in October, two months after the resort opened.

Now, I'm a meticulous planner, so all the mystery around Aulani was a bit of a nail biter for me. I did appreciate though how instead of worrying about plans I was able to just sit back and wait for the vacation to arrive. That isn't to say that I didn't get some planning in! I started by looking at the excursions listed for Aulani at MouseSavers (http://www.mousesavers.com/hawaii.html) and they all sounded so great! We also looked at HawaiiWeb (http://www.hawaiiweb.com/), Discover-Oahu (http://www.discover-oahu.com/), Oahu.us (http://www.oahu.us/), and turtles.org (http://www.turtles.org/laniakea.htm) as well, so we could really see what the island had to offer and narrow down what we really wanted to do. This list included: see sea turtles up close, surf, hike a crater, see a rainforest, see a waterfall, eat from a shrimp truck (that was DH's), do Yoga on the beach, have a couple's massage, learn to Hula, make a lei... okay, the list was pretty long! We knew we wouldn't get everything in, but it was a start. Plus we figured once we got there we'd narrow down based on how we felt each day.

By the time we left, our itinerary looked something like this:

Saturday: Flight at 8:09am, landing in Honolulu at 5:40pm. Pick up Rental car, grab some dinner, and visit Target for Groceries

Sunday: Try to get in at the Character Breakfast (ADRs were all taken). Drive to North shore to visit the Laniakea Turtles and eat at a Shrimp Truck. Stop by the Dole Plantation on the way home for a Dole Whip!

Monday: Hike Diamond Head, Koko Crater Botanical Gardens, and the Manoa Falls Trail. Pack a Picnic lunch.

Tuesday: HoniHoni Massages (call to get an appointment) then hang around the spa. Paradise Cove Luau that night.

Wednesday: Hawaii Fire Surf School (Adventures by Disney Excursion) 8-11am. Afterwards: Downtown sightseeing and shopping.

Thursday: Kualoa Ranch Experience (11am-6:30pm)

Friday: Check out. Lounge around the resort or do any last shopping / sightseeing. Leave for the airport around 4. Flight home at 8:15pm.

Next up: Flights and Check-In (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42988269&postcount=7)

Leitadala
10-18-2011, 07:00 PM
I will read too!! Can't wait!!

Awesome, welcome!

Leitadala
10-18-2011, 08:27 PM
I got up at 5am to shower, and then our cab came at 5:45. We had a pretty normal flight out of Winnipeg, and then were greeted by rain/ice/snow slush in Denver (and coming from Winnipeg, I was not thrilled to see my first bit of snow for the year... Ill get enough of that later this year!).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0005.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0005.jpg.html)
Denver Weather

The flight from Denver was normal as well, but I now have to warn anyone that hasnt been to the Phoenix airport to be prepared. We were in a different terminal when we landed, and it turned out we had to take a shuttle to the other terminal, but to get on that shuttle (a bus) you have to leave security, and go to the shuttle area (one comes every 7 minutes they said), get taken to your terminal, go through the baggage check area to find security, go back through security, and then still have a ways to go to get to your gate. We had almost an hour between our Denver plane landing and our Phoenix plane leaving, and we were the last people to make it on the Phoenix plane (greeted with we didnt think you were going to make it!).

For anyone who has not had long flights before (normally I fly two 2-hour flights from Winnipeg to Orlando) my best advice would be to pack snacks (unless you like the sandwiches the plane serves, I don't) and if you get any sort of motion sickness take your Dramamine and pass out in the corner. I didn't bring snacks, which lead to me eating some chips and cookies from the plane offerings and then being super hungry (in addition to super tired) when we landed. It was nice that I was able to take my motion sickness medicine and pass out on our second plane, but the last one I was in the middle and didn't get to sleep off my Dramamine, which left me just feeling funky later.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0019.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0019.jpg.html)

Honolulu Airport

We landed in Honolulu to clouds and light rain, but it was still so beautiful (especially since I love warm rain). We had to get our bags and get our rental car (the shuttle system wasnt very clear we didnt see anything that indicated where each shuttle stopped, so we stood by the Rental Car Shuttle sign and we had to hail down the National shuttle for them to stop where we were). We had pre-ordered the rental car so getting it was painless, and then getting on the H1 was painless as well. I was a little surprised by the traffic (we were later told that they say almost one million people live on Oahu and you can see 80% of them in rush hour, lol) and also by the dark. It got dark around 6pm (so not a whole lot of pics today)! It was pretty easy to get to Ko Olina off the H1 though (everything is well marked).

As soon as we pulled up to the gate of Ko Olina to tell them who we were, we knew we were at Disney the cast member at the gate was high energy, enthusiastic, friendly, and helpful. We felt exactly like we had pulled up to a Disney Resort! When we pulled in saw a Lot Full sign at the self park parkade, so we went to Valet and I told him I was a member. He said they could valet my car for 10-15 mins while we check in, or that I could go ahead and park into the lot because they keep spots open for members even though it says full. We opted to park and roll our bags up because I was pretty tired and didnt want to deal with going back to the car. We found an elevator in the parkade that takes you to the lobby level, and then took a nice (albeit dark) path to the resort. Because it was around midnight our time (and we had been up since 5am our time) I was pretty tired and just ready to get to the room, so we beelined it past all the valet and bell services and into the lobby to check in, but then I heard someone calling out. We turned around and a cast member (RJ) had been waiting for us! He gave us our lei and kukui nut necklace, then walked us into the lobby and out the back to look at the Waikolohe Valley (pool/lazy river).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0025.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0025.jpg.html)
Forgive the blurry pic of Waikolohe Valley

Then he surprised us with our room keys since we had done online check-in (he was my hero at this point)! Then he walked us to our elevator (and he told us "Welcome Home," although I felt more like I was intruding on the home of those that are actually lucky enough to be able to own Aulani) that would take us to the 9th floor to our ocean view studio.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0029.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0029.jpg.html)
Our Balcony View

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0030.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0030.jpg.html)
View of the main building

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0033.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0033.jpg.html)
Studio Bed - we found out that the quilt is available for purchase through the Kalepa store. They don't stock it, but they'll ship it!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0035.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0035.jpg.html)
Pull-out Couch

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0037.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0037.jpg.html)
Mickey Lamp (also available to order through the Kalepa Gift Shop)!

Since we had skipped going to get groceries and I was too tired to go too far, we ended up getting hot pockets from the resort store, eating one, and then passing out!

Up Next: Day 2, Part 1 - Yoga and Exploring Aulani (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42999228&postcount=27)

DenLo
10-18-2011, 08:32 PM
Thank you for the TR and photos. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Leitadala
10-18-2011, 08:39 PM
Thank you for the TR and photos. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Welcome! Most of my TR is already written, so it's just taking the time to edit and then weed out and upload the photos! Hopefully I'll get at least one up a day and have it done this week!

AKLFan3
10-18-2011, 08:50 PM
Great TR so far! I am looking forward to seeing your pictures of the ocean from your oceanview studio. I hope to travel to Aulani within the next year or two and book an oceanview room.

Leitadala
10-18-2011, 09:02 PM
Great TR so far! I am looking forward to seeing your pictures of the ocean from your oceanview studio. I hope to travel to Aulani within the next year or two and book an oceanview room.

Thanks! I have lots of pics of the view, it was so perfect. I was so surprised the next day when it started to get light and there was ocean right there where there was blackness before!

palaemon
10-18-2011, 09:43 PM
Thanks for the TR!

You mentioned that the quilt and lamp.

How much? That's the most important part. :goodvibes

thewelts
10-18-2011, 10:18 PM
Excited to hear more...
Thank you for sharing this!

Leitadala
10-18-2011, 10:19 PM
Double Post

Leitadala
10-18-2011, 10:19 PM
Thanks for the TR!

You mentioned that the quilt and lamp.

How much? That's the most important part. :goodvibes

Thank you for reading!

I didn't ask the price >.<

I was actually in there inquring about the Dooney and Bourke Purses (they were sold out of all but one model while I was there) and the cast members got on the topic of it. I didn't even think to ask the price!

Excited to hear more...
Thank you for sharing this!

Thanks for joining!

rentayenta
10-18-2011, 10:24 PM
I'm in too! :thumbsup2 Thank you for including your non-Disney Hawaii planning links. I too, am a meticulous planner. :goodvibes

wdrl
10-18-2011, 10:30 PM
Looking forward to reading more about your trip! Thanks for posting your photos!!!

momof3poohlovers
10-19-2011, 12:16 AM
Thanks for posting! I can't wait to hear more!

mouseaider
10-19-2011, 09:16 AM
I've subscribed. :thumbsup2

We are going to Aulani in April so I am enjoying this so far. :cloud9:

Thanks for doing this. :worship:

TagsMissy
10-19-2011, 11:13 AM
OK I am waiting for more! :)

bbn1122
10-19-2011, 11:30 AM
Thank you so much for doing this trip report....

I am contemplating Aulani for next summer. I turn 50 in June and 2 sons have graduations, so I am thinking what a great celebration.

We have never been to Hawaii, so I am interested in hearing your prospective and only doing one island....

Waiting anxiously for more....thanks again for sharing.

:thumbsup2:thumbsup2

Thumper4me
10-19-2011, 01:25 PM
More, more!!! :)

We leave this Friday on our honeymoon. I can't wait!! :)
I am hoping to read more of your trip report before I actually have to leave.

Thanks!!

Kelly

Scraper
10-19-2011, 01:48 PM
YEA! Very happy to be reading this report. Can't wait for more.:hippie:

MinnieFan4ever
10-19-2011, 05:03 PM
:yay: Can't wait to read more. We are heading there in 6 short months!!!

podsnel
10-19-2011, 05:51 PM
So happy! An Aulani TR!!! :banana: I just booked our air yesterday- we had enough FF miles to fly r/t, and on the way back 1st class. :woohoo: Well, at least for part of it. :goodvibes I figured I should book that while I can- and the kauai portion of our trip....while I wait and pray for something to be available at 7 months at Aulani...:eek:

I'm looking forward to all of your pics and hearing about all of your fun!

Leitadala
10-19-2011, 07:37 PM
I'm in too! :thumbsup2 Thank you for including your non-Disney Hawaii planning links. I too, am a meticulous planner. :goodvibes

Looking forward to reading more about your trip! Thanks for posting your photos!!!

Thanks for posting! I can't wait to hear more!

I've subscribed. :thumbsup2

We are going to Aulani in April so I am enjoying this so far. :cloud9:

Thanks for doing this. :worship:

OK I am waiting for more! :)


More, more!!! :)

We leave this Friday on our honeymoon. I can't wait!! :)
I am hoping to read more of your trip report before I actually have to leave.

Thanks!!

Kelly

YEA! Very happy to be reading this report. Can't wait for more.:hippie:

:yay: Can't wait to read more. We are heading there in 6 short months!!!

So happy! An Aulani TR!!! :banana: I just booked our air yesterday- we had enough FF miles to fly r/t, and on the way back 1st class. :woohoo: Well, at least for part of it. :goodvibes I figured I should book that while I can- and the kauai portion of our trip....while I wait and pray for something to be available at 7 months at Aulani...:eek:

I'm looking forward to all of your pics and hearing about all of your fun!

Thanks everyone for joining in and for your encouragement - now I really feel motivated to post! :goodvibes

For all of you that are looking forward to upcoming vacations - I'm so jealous! It was definitely a vacation well worth the wait and any and all savings put towards it! :yay:

Thank you so much for doing this trip report....

I am contemplating Aulani for next summer. I turn 50 in June and 2 sons have graduations, so I am thinking what a great celebration.

We have never been to Hawaii, so I am interested in hearing your prospective and only doing one island....

Waiting anxiously for more....thanks again for sharing.

:thumbsup2:thumbsup2

There was more than enough to do on the one Island - there was lots we didn't even get to in the 7 days we were there! In addition to what we did there was also snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, and Pearl Harbor!

Leitadala
10-19-2011, 07:54 PM
http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0044.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0044.jpg.html)
A less blurry picture of Waikolohe Valley

I woke up at 5am (10am our time), but DH was up too, so we went out to the porch to find it still pitch black outside. I decided to start on my Trip Report for both myself (so I can remember all the details of this awesome vacation) and for the DIS, because I was hanging on every typed word about Aulani before I came here! I also enjoyed the free wi-fi! DH went and got the IWA (newsletter) for the day so we could see what was going on at the resort that we might be interested in. Turned out there was Sunrise Yoga at 7am, one of the things I especially wanted to try! So we headed out a little after 6am to wander the Waikolohe Valley to sightsee while the resort was quiet before we met for yoga. Before we left though we got to see the resort start lighting up and we felt like the ocean got a big reveal as it went from pitch blackness to beautiful ocean view!


http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0050.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0050.jpg.html)
There's an ocean out there!


We head to the beach around 6:15am, walking through the Waikolohe Valley and seeing lots that we didn't explore yesterday.


http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0065.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0065.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0066.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0066.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0067.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0067.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0069.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0069.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0070.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0070.jpg.html)
Pool by "Off the Hook"


http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0073.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0073.jpg.html)
Hot Tub

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0071.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0071.jpg.html)



http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0074.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0074.jpg.html)
You can see the rental chairs with top up here (no cushions though)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0076.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0076.jpg.html)
Entry Gate (requires room key)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0078.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0078.jpg.html)
Makiki Joes' Beach Rentals


Then we go to Makiki Joes Beach Rentals. The beach had a few people either sitting in the sand, swimming laps in the cove, or walking/jogging the trail. At around quarter to 7 the yoga instructor and a few other people showed up and around 6:50 we start heading to a "more private location." On our way down the path she told us information about the area (the resorts, the cove, etc). She was very knowledgeable, friendly, and answered all of our questions - a perfect Disney Cast Member (which tickled me, because I never had a Disney Yoga instructor before!) The yoga wasn't actually on the sand part of the beach, but it was over (past the chapel) in a beautiful grassy area with palm trees.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0081.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0081.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0117.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0117.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0119.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0119.jpg.html)



It wasn't a particularly intense yoga session (there was one first-timer out of the five of us) but it was really nice, just what we needed after a day of travel. I'd never practiced outside before, so it was really nice to hear the water, see the birds and the trees, feel the grass, and let the sun warm us up. The instructor said they have 2 people teaching classes right now, and they will have 5 by Christmas. She said right now they have 3 classes a day right now (alternating between yoga, stretching, walking, different level of pool workouts, and muscle fitness). She also said they are working on programs for teen fitness, which I found interesting.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0125.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0125.jpg.html)
View of Aulani as we walked back from Yoga

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0130.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0130.jpg.html)
Cabanas

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0134.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0134.jpg.html)
Restrooms in the Waikolohe Valley (there are key card inserts by the doors, but DH said he got in without it so maybe it's just for nighttime?)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0135.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0135.jpg.html)
Signs pointing to the Lava Shack, and Papalua Shaved Ice stand behind it

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0137.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0137.jpg.html)
Lava Shack

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0138.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0138.jpg.html)
Looking at fish in Rainbow Reef

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0143.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0143.jpg.html)
Fish in Rainbow Reef!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0152.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0152.jpg.html)
Oh! Water! Dont mind if I do!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0154.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0154.jpg.html)
Lazy River

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0155.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0155.jpg.html)
Kukui nut torches


Up Next: Day 2, Part 2 - Aunty's Breakfast Celebration and North Shore Adventure
(http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42999362&postcount=29)

ciao_gina
10-19-2011, 08:05 PM
Thanks, keep it coming. I would love to see more photos, read about the food and hear about how diificult it was to get free beach chairs.

Leitadala
10-19-2011, 08:08 PM
http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0164.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0164.jpg.html)
Our Room Number

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0202.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0202.jpg.html)
A more well-lit view

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0204.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0204.jpg.html)

After yoga we went back to the room to change and then headed down to the Makahiki restaurant to see if we could get a table at the character breakfast. We could, with a half-hour wait (at about 9am). While we waited we read the stories on the walls in the Makahiki room. When we entered we got our picture with Mickey (which we could purchase for $30 and then get put on our photopass - although they did offer to take a picture with our camera), and across the way we saw Stitch taking pictures (too bad he couldn't come to the breakfast - I love the Ohana Breakfast with Stitch at the Polynesian).


http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0183.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0183.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0189.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0189.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0192.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0192.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0193.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0193.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0191.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0191.jpg.html)
Mickey Waffles!

This breakfast only had Mickey (when you enter), Minnie, and Goofy (plus Aunty, who provides some really upbeat and cheerful entertainment with lots of participation opportunities for kids). Comparing it to the other character breakfasts it doesn't come close (I think my favorite interactions are at 1900 Park Fair, although here they each had a handler to take pics for us) and comparing it food-wise I think Chef Mickey's and Tuskar House have a much better selection of food. DH really liked the food though, he was so happy he got rice and Dim Sum for breakfast. The worst part was the bill, considering we always get the dining plan and never get a bill at WDW!!!

Back to the room to shower and prepare for our drive to North Shore! The drive up there was about 45mph, sometimes 35mph, so it was hard keep the foot off the gas!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0221.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0221.jpg.html)
Lots of time to enjoy the view!



At some point after the North Shore sign traffic gets really backed up, and I'm unsure why (although it could be all the people darting across the road, cutting through traffic). We had a ways to go past that first North Shore sign to get to the shrimp trucks though. We (and by we, I mean DH) ate at Romy's (it was actually a building though, not a truck).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0225.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0225.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0228.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0228.jpg.html)
Menu

He got the (mild) spicy shrimp and it came with a drink and two scoops of white rice. I got a salad of mixed greens and croutons and a side of Italian dressing. DH liked his shrimp (but it seemed a lot of effort to de-head, shell and sometimes de-vein them). This place also served huge prawns, so don't take any sea-life loving children there! DH actually said that the shrimp at the Polynesian was better (and less effort).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0241.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0241.jpg.html)

Next we had to find the turtles. I found online that they go to Lanikai beach, but my google map directions weren't that great. We finally looked at my print-out from the site and were able to find exactly where the beach was (we had passed it twice - but it's a little beach off right by the road and there were 3 tents pitched that we had seen and wondered about when we drove past it), and were amazed that there really were 5 giant sea turtles just sitting there in this tiny little area!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0253.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0253.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0265.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0265.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0274.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0274.jpg.html)

They were breathtaking to see, but that's coming from a turtle lover. We could have stayed there forever gawking, but when a bus unloaded and it got super crowded (there was already a nice little crowd) we left.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0279.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0279.jpg.html)
On the way back from North Shore

On the way back it was time for dole whips (and time for me to get food in my belly). At the Dole Whip plantation I got my dole whip (no swirl though, which was sad because I love the vanilla and pineapple flavours together) and a hotdog (which I can't properly review because by then I was just so hungry!) and DH got a dole whip float in a plastic pineapple souvenir cup. We got there pretty late (4:30 and it closes at 5:30) so doing everything wasn't an option (besides, I was only there for the Dole Whip, lol) but once you get there and see the pineapples you start thinking you'd like to know how those pineapples grow, so if we had more time we probably would have done one of the tours, but instead we decided to do the maze (dole whip in my hand, dole whip float in DHs).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0287.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0287.jpg.html)

There are about 6 stations that you are supposed to find and then stencil the proof onto your card. We found 2, but we also weren't trying (actually, I was trying to get us lost to see how long it would take us to find our way out lol). At one part we rounded a corner and almost walked right into a peacock! We were pretty startled lol.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0307.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0307.jpg.html)
Maze guard

We found another way around her and then heard the next couple encounter the peacock (well, we heard them shriek). No idea if that peacock lives in the maze or was just lost herself. Was the maze worth the $13? I guess, it was fun for a 1-time thing, but we'd only do it again if we had kids to take through it too.

Back in the car - this time to Target for groceries.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0320.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0320.jpg.html)
Hawaiian Target

We found the prices just a bit more than our normal prices at home in Winnipeg. We got all the essentials, plus the things that I should have brought but overlooked (swim shoes, goggles).

Back at the hotel we quickly put away the groceries and changed into our swim suits for a lap around the lazy river before it closed (we got in it at 7:40 and it closes at 8!).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0325.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0325.jpg.html)

Then we hoped in the beautiful hot tub to look out at the dark beach and relax. After that we went and laid in chairs to rest and enjoy the night - clear sky, big almost-full moon.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0344.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0344.jpg.html)

DH went to get towels and was told he needs a wristband every day (whoops! We forgot about that before we got in the river!) and even though we were done swimming she still give him his daily wristband. We laid by the pool (which was open till 11) for a bit, until I realized if I stayed any longer I wouldn't be able to get up (I was falling asleep, it was so peaceful).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0350.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0350.jpg.html)

We were in bed by 9pm (2am our time)!


Up Next: Diamond Head, Koko Crater Botanical Garden, and Manoa Trail (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43010369&postcount=40)

*A word on jet lag: I did a little research on jet lag before we left. I knew we would feel off and have weird sleep patterns. We didnt try to adjust our sleep/wake patterns before we left, but we did make sure to stay hydrated on our travel day. We also normally avoid caffeine and didnt partake in alcoholic beverages, so Id like to say the only problem we had was waking up early and going to bed early. They say it takes one day for every hour off, and it seemed to be true because by the end we were sleeping in more and staying up later!

Leitadala
10-19-2011, 08:15 PM
Thanks, keep it coming. I would love to see more photos, read about the food and hear about how diificult it was to get free beach chairs.

Just in case I don't address those topics later I can tell you now that food was so-so. DH LOVED everything, but he loves food in general and especially asian food. I found it hard to find food I liked (from the 2 stores, quick service, and buffet) but there was grilled chicken on the Private Dining (room service) menu that was REALLY good. I had the kids meal chicken and fries one day and a grilled chicken salad another and they were both superb. Then I tried to get the grilled chicken and fries kids meal from Poolside dining and it was NOT the same. I don't know if this is a Phase 1 thing, or if it will always be like that (probably from different kitchens serving the food). Picky eaters (like me) might not be very happy with the food, but adventurous eaters will probably be in love with it.

As far as the free chairs, there were PLENTY the whole time we were there. There were always chairs available around the pool, we always could get an umbrella table to eat lunch at by the pool if we wanted, and there were always beach chairs available (either set up and empty, or folded up for anyone to take out and use by the grass) by the cove. Of course, "always" for us was Sunday-Friday, so I would guess weekends would be busier.

TreesyB
10-19-2011, 08:49 PM
what's the sunset time? I notice that it's quite dark by 7:30pm!

Love the report! Can't wait to be there in 3 weeks.

wendy774
10-19-2011, 09:10 PM
loving every word!

Leitadala
10-19-2011, 09:52 PM
what's the sunset time? I notice that it's quite dark by 7:30pm!

Love the report! Can't wait to be there in 3 weeks.

Thanks! You will have a great time! The sunset was between 6 & 6:20 every day, which was good since we were adjusting to the time change and liked going to bed pretty early every day. The resort got really quiet after 7 - there was almost no one to be seen by 9pm!

loving every word!

Thanks! I'm so glad you are enjoying it!

MinnieFan4ever
10-19-2011, 10:47 PM
:cheer2: loving your TR. Keep it coming....

ACDSNY
10-20-2011, 12:18 AM
Looking forward to the rest of your report!

glennbo123
10-20-2011, 08:39 AM
I am loving your trip report! It's really informative -- thank you!

We're planning to go to Aulani in 2014 for an anniversary trip.

Scraper
10-20-2011, 12:22 PM
Looking forward to more. Deciding on either a cruise or Hawaii next year with Disney of course.

d-r
10-20-2011, 04:46 PM
That looks like a lot of fun. OK, you sold me, we're going next year. Thanks!

Leitadala
10-20-2011, 09:14 PM
:cheer2: loving your TR. Keep it coming....

Looking forward to the rest of your report!

Thanks! I appreciate the encouragement! Otherwise I might have just decided to go to bed early tonight to try to catch up on my zzzz's that Aulani stole :)

I am loving your trip report! It's really informative -- thank you!

We're planning to go to Aulani in 2014 for an anniversary trip.

You'll have so much fun! It's a really great place to spend your anniversary - it seemed like the majority of couples there were celebrating an anniversary!

Looking forward to more. Deciding on either a cruise or Hawaii next year with Disney of course.

That is a hard choice! Our first couple days at Aulani I sort of wished we'd done the cruise (because the cruise has much more Disney/Mickey feel to it than Aulani does) but I think it was just the jet lag talking! Aulani and Hawaii were amazing! We will still plan a cruise in the next few years (hopefully) but if we had to choose between the two I think the deciding factors would be (for us) if we want to drive around and do a lot of nature stuff, or if we'd rather relax on a boat with fancy (prepaid) meals and a bit more down time. Honestly, I think either choice will make for happy people!

That looks like a lot of fun. OK, you sold me, we're going next year. Thanks!

Yay! It was tons of fun!

Leitadala
10-20-2011, 09:26 PM
I woke up on Monday at 4:15 am, because I remembered I forgot to charge the camera! (I did bring a second camera, just in case the first one broke or ran out of battery, but my main one is ruggedized and waterproof so I really didnt want to have to take the second one! Luckily it got fully charged in the 2 hours before we left that morning). We drank coffee and tea on the porch, while listening to the sounds all around us (the water and wind) and seeing Aulani get brighter with the colors light up (green grass, tan beaches, blue ocean). Its just so relaxing to enjoy the mornings slowly but we did want to get to Diamond Head (as what we read recommended you get there as close to the 6am opening as possible).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0362.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0362.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0366.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0366.jpg.html)

We got to Diamond Head and paid to park (they are cash only, $1.00 per person to get in or $5.00 per car to park and get in). They actually had a line waiting to park, but we werent waiting very long as car #4 in line (there were many people parking well before the gate and walking through the tunnel, but we chose to just wait to park). In my reading I learned that this hike is considered easy to moderate. I would say that it was moderate going up, easy going down (soooo much easier going down!) The path starts off pretty smooth, and then gets a bit rockier.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0375.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0375.jpg.html)

We were getting a bit of rain too which made us a little weary at the prospect of slipping (or rocks coming loose and falling on our head).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0386.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0386.jpg.html)

There were handrails in some places, but there was traffic going up and down the small paths at the same time (and only handrails on one side or the other at a time). Before you get to the stairs portion of the trail there is a pretty nice lookout.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0395.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0395.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0396.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0396.jpg.html)
The little ledge you can stand on to look out further!

Then you hit the fun part 99 stairs, followed by a dark tunnel, followed by 76 more stairs (these ones seemed even steeper than the first set), followed by entrance into the bunker area and a trip up a metal creepy spiral staircase (again, with traffic going both ways).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0404.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0404.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0411.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0411.jpg.html)
I dont know this person, but I wanted to show you how you have to exit the bunker

Then you crawl out of the bunker (theres no door, you have to bend over to get out) and you step into the most beautiful view! You can climb some more stairs to get higher and different views. It was definitely worth all those stairs!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0423.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0423.jpg.html)
The bowl of the crater

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0431.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0431.jpg.html)
Looking over the ocean and Waikiki

After Diamond Head (we were there for about 2 hours) we headed east to Koko Crater. On the way we passed Halona Blowhole and parked to watch (the Halona Blowhole is spouting water from waves crashing and moving through the natural lava tubes). It was awesome to see, and fun when everyone cheered for the eruption!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0479.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0479.jpg.html)

We traveled along the cost a bit more to sightsee (or because we passed our turn, who knows...) and got out to turn around and take pictures of the Seabird Sanctuaries (if you look on a map, youll see we went well past KoKo Botanical Gardens, lol).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0507.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0507.jpg.html)
Me and DH with sanctuaries in the background

By the time we finally found Koko Crater (it was pretty hard to find as there werent very many signs to guide you there) we were both edging on hungry and tired, and needing a reapplication of sunscreen (at least we brought water so we werent thirsty, although we did have to be wary that Koko Crater has no restrooms). As long as we were there we decided to go ahead and just stop somewhere for food as soon as we were done (as there didnt seem to be anything close by). The crater was pretty cool to tour! There were lots of pretty flowers (tons of Plumeria), and then some other interesting plants, cacti, and trees.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0612.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0612.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0665.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0665.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0670.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0670.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0681.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0681.jpg.html)

Cacti, and you can see the crater bowl circling us

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0742.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0742.jpg.html)
Plumeria

It was also fun (and hot) to be in the crater (you could look in all directions and see that you were in a bowl). I dont know how Koko would rate compared to other botanical gardens, but we enjoyed it.

Next up (after food... which was McDonalds... I know... we should have eaten something healthier or at least more Hawaiian, but we were both desperate for something fast!) was the Manoa Trail. I LOVED the rainforest hike! It was otherworldly to see such huge trees and all the foliage.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0769.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0769.jpg.html)
Huge Trees

The trail was pretty rugged though, even though my research said it was easy. I guess the hike was pretty easy, but the path was sometimes very thin (washed away), often waterlogged (we wondered when we started why people kept coming off the path with their shoes and legs covered in mud), and also a little precarious (steep steps that required a little jumping from my short stature, or rocks that required some careful attention before you used them as steps).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0804.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0804.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0815.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0815.jpg.html)

The entire trail was worth it though (if you are into plants, bamboo, and trees) and pretty fulfilling at the end when you finally reached the waterfall.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0841.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0841.jpg.html)

Unlike Diamond Head though, where going down was easier than going up, Mano seemed more difficult to go down to me (as, like I said, some steps I would have to jump down, and some rocks Id have to jump down). It was still fun though. I was glad we saved it until the end of our day though, as we did end up covered in mud from the knees down!

We went right back to Aulani to shower and then we headed to the pool to relax.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0860.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0860.jpg.html)
Wailana Quiet Pool

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0858.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0858.jpg.html)
Makai Preserve (Manta Rays)

Then we went to the tiered hot tub to watch the sunset (after we got our wristbands, of course). There were a decent amount of people around watching the sunset, but I wouldnt call it crowded (it was just more people than I had seen in once place at one time at Aulani). The sunset really was beautiful to watch, and the view in the hot tub was great!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0897.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0897.jpg.html)
Aulani Sunset

We finished our night by taking a spin on the water slide, floating the lazy river, and checking out the fire before we headed off to bed.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0909.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0909.jpg.html)
Whoo waterslide photos didnt come out so well!


Up Next: Laniwai Spa and Paradise Cove Luau (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43018530&postcount=48)

*DH realized that our studio was different than what was pictured in the floor plan wed seen online. The floor plan showed the balcony at an angle off the room, but the first two buildings of the resort actually have their balcony facing straight on. It wasnt a big deal, we just found it interesting. One explanation (besides the simple fact that there are 2 versions of the studio and they didnt release both in the publications) is that our room did have an indoor door on it that would have lead to the next room over (making it a 2-bedroom lock off).

ACDSNY
10-21-2011, 01:20 AM
Beautiful pictures, the sunset one is amazing!

Brancaneve
10-21-2011, 11:24 AM
Loving your TR!

joelnkelly
10-21-2011, 12:29 PM
My wife and I are planning a trip in 2014, on dvc it mentions something about an additional fee per day for the trip. Do you have any idea what this is and how much the fee is? Love the trip report so far.

bobbiwoz
10-21-2011, 12:50 PM
I have only read your first page so far,but you are making me want to go there!:goodvibes

momof3poohlovers
10-21-2011, 01:28 PM
I have only read your first page so far,but you are making me want to go there!:goodvibes

Me too!:goodvibes

snwwht
10-21-2011, 04:58 PM
Thank You so much for taking the time to do this trip report -it is very interesting and informative and I'm really appreciating it!

Leitadala
10-21-2011, 05:33 PM
Beautiful pictures, the sunset one is amazing!

Thank you!

Loving your TR!

I'm so glad!

My wife and I are planning a trip in 2014, on dvc it mentions something about an additional fee per day for the trip. Do you have any idea what this is and how much the fee is? Love the trip report so far.

There was a day tax, and I don't remember the specifics on it but it ended up being like $30 for all the days we were there. It has something to do with a tax having to be paid to the state of Hawaii for every point you are using to stay in the timeshare. We just prepared to have that fee and had it set aside when we made our reservations (the DVC staff that booked us told us how much to expect to pay).

I have only read your first page so far,but you are making me want to go there!:goodvibes

Me too!:goodvibes

I'm glad, because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do justice to how awesome it was there!

Thank You so much for taking the time to do this trip report -it is very interesting and informative and I'm really appreciating it!

You're welcome! I'm glad it's useful to people, that was my hope!

Leitadala
10-21-2011, 05:44 PM
We were woken up shortly after falling asleep last night by the smoke alarm going off! No sooner had I convinced DH that it was the smoke alarm and opened the door to the hall (where I heard other smoke alarms going off) than it stopped. DH called the front desk and they didn't know anything about it. I thought I might have smelled burning from the next room over (when we went on the porch it smelled like burned toast and they had their porch door open we could hear them inside) so we convinced ourselves that it was just a small kitchen mishap and went back to bed.

We slept in till 6:30 today! We were going to go to the morning stretch class, but decided we'd rather take our time and wake up slow with our coffee and tea (and cereal) on the balcony. At 8:45 we headed to the spa and were seated to wait for our spa guide. When she arrived she presented us with the basket of stones that have an English word on one side and its Hawaiian translation on the other. We both ended up with the same word (Strength) and we were told to hold the word in our heart and return the rock to the water in the small pool in the entryway to the spa.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0934.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0934.jpg.html)

The lockers have pin pads on them for you to enter your own code to lock them! Hit C, then your 4 digits, then the key to lock it! They are the same in the Luana lounge.

Then the spa attendants took over our individual tours (men and women's change rooms, shower, wet and dry sauna). They each mixed us our own body scrub (I got the plumeria with rose petals - it smelled so good!) and let us change into our swimsuits so we could enjoy the hydrotherapy area before our massage.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0942.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0942.jpg.html)
The mixing station where they made our body scrub

I was a little surprised at how small the area was I was expecting much bigger. Of course, there was no one else using it the whole hour we were out there, so I guess the size didnt matter.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0947.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0947.jpg.html)
The walking reflexology path shorter than Id imagined, but no matter because I could do as many laps as I wanted since no one was waiting to use it! It reminded me of walking barefoot on my parent's gravel driveway, who knew I grew up with such a great reflexology tool ;)

There were two hydrotherapy pools (Green/Seaweed for detoxification) and we tried the Blue/Eucalyptus one (for relaxation) - it was heavenly. I wished that I'd brought my book to read, as it was just as relaxing as taking a bath in nice smelling salts at home!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0948.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0948.jpg.html)
Two hydrotherapy pools

Next we tried the rain showers. The motion sensors were difficult to use. We even asked if there was a trick to turning them on but we were told you have to move forward, back, side to side, up and down, to try to get the right spot to activate them. There was one that we could never get to turn on, and another only turned on once. DH was doing silly dances (he called them his rain dances) to try to activate them (it usually worked). The ones that did work were really enjoyable (some showered down, some up, some higher pressure, some soft), and we would have spent more time there if it wasn't so much effort moving from one to another.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0949.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0949.jpg.html)
DH enjoying a working rain shower

Next we did the hot tub / cold shock (good for circulation). I'd never done that before! You go from hot to cold back to hot and your body tingles - which is a good sign for your circulation.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0952.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0952.jpg.html)
Go from one temp to the other (or dont, if its not your thing)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0950.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0950.jpg.html)
Relaxing Area outside (I did not get a shot of the indoor relaxation room, as there were some people in it)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0951.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0951.jpg.html)
Outdoor massage table (ours was indoor, we werent given a choice)

Then we were given our 10 minutes notice and changed from our wet clothes for our massages. We sat in the relaxation room and were served hot tea and given hot shoulder pads and face masks. Then we were greeted by our massage therapists. They were great! The Honi Honi was definitely worth it. They gave you music to choose from (and we got some lessons on Hawaii to go along with each music choice) and a choice on what massage body butter you wanted. It was DH's first massage and now he's deffinately hooked!

After the massage DH stayed in the relaxation room and I went to get my eyebrows waxed. The esthetician was really good. After that I showered at the spa and did my hair (they have everything there for you to get ready for the day) and left DH in the green pool while I went back to the room.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0958.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0958.jpg.html)
Blow dryers, hair spray, cotton balls, Q-tips, etc (and there was shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in the showers)

I needed to check in for our Adventures by Disney Exursions and pick up our voucher tickets, so I stopped by the Holoholo Desk, which is a really formal looking room. I was a little intimidated to go in (it looked like somewhere you would sign bank loans instead of sign up for surfing). When DH returned we left to go find food. It took us forever to find One Paddle Two Paddle (the quick service food place)! It's to the left of Aunty's Beach house (before Ama Ama, it's right beside it actually, but down a dead end (for now) path).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0961.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0961.jpg.html)
One Paddle, Two Paddle

DH could hardly decide on what he wanted to eat, it all looked so good to him. I got an Angus Cheeseburger with regular fries (it was pretty plain):

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0962.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0962.jpg.html)



DH got the fish tacos of the day with Taro Chips and he LOVED them.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0963.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0963.jpg.html)

The Onions on the side are from my hamburger, not a normal part of this meal

I wasn't sure where we were supposed to eat though, there didn't seem to be specific seating for One Paddle Two Paddle, so we sat at an umbrella table at Off the Hook (where they do poolside dining) and no one asked us to move so I guess that was okay. Afterwards we went to Community Hall and watched Incredibles while we waited for the Lei making class to start.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0964.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0964.jpg.html)
Community Hall, aka Pau Hana Room

The girls doing the class were excellent. They showed all the different ways to string the flowers, and gave ideas on how to make them. DH made a quick one and then was given the idea to string the loose petals into a bracelet.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0965.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0965.jpg.html)

I can't speak highly enough for Janelle that works there, she was an extra-needed Disney magic pick-me-up (she even gave us kukui nut bracelet kits, since we were going to have to miss out on those classes).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0968.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0968.jpg.html)
Menehune were often decorated with leis. Janelle told us not to throw our leis in the garbage - that everything needed to go back to nature so once we were done with our leis we should take any man-made part off (such as the string) and then set them back to the earth or to the water.

Since we were told that the Menehune Adventure Trail was still not being handed out (as it wasnt working properly) we went back to the room then for some down time (we were still pretty exhausted from the hikes the day before, not to mention the massages in the morning, lol). We checked our e-mail (on the free wi-fi), watched the DVC channel, and read a bit before we started getting ready to go to the Paradise Cove Luau.

Paradise cove is two hotels down from Aulani, towards the entrance gates (so leave Aulani, pass the Mariott, and you'll see parking and then the Paradise Cove Box Office sign you cant miss it from the sidewalk).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0984.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0984.jpg.html)

They let you in at 5 and as you enter you get one complimentary (alcoholic or non) fruity beverage.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0997.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0997.jpg.html)

Before they seat you they take your photo with a guy and girl from the show (you can pick up your photo for $15 at the end of the show as you exit). Then they take you to your seats, where they write down your name so they are assigned to you, and then you are left to wander around.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP0998.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP0998.jpg.html)
Seating area

There are booths selling lots of cool souvenirs (one booth offered plain jewellery that he could personalize with your requested Hawaiian name) and pre-show attractions (like hula lessons, how to open a coconut, and hukilau) and games (rock rolling and spear throwing).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1001.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1001.jpg.html)
Kayaking

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1008.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1008.jpg.html)
Spear throwing

You can go up to the bar and get your drinks or you can sit at your table and there is wait staff to take your order.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1062.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1062.jpg.html)
Food

We were there at 5 and I think it was between 7 or 7:30 before they started serving the food / letting people go up for the buffet. Then there was more activity on stage while we ate, and the real show started at about 8:15. It was a lot of fun to watch - hula dancing (with the audience invited up), a comedy host and singer, fire spinning, dancing pretty much everything you'd want to see.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1090.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1090.jpg.html)
Dancing

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1095.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1095.jpg.html)
Fire Spining

It was a nice walk back to Aulani (I had gotten cold durring the show, but it was ok walking back). Getting back around 9 the lobby was empty! We got our daily IWA and headed back up for the night. This was the latest we'd been up all vacation!
http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1120.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1120.jpg.html)
The empty lobby, and beautiful collage

Up Next: Adventures By Disney Hawaiian Fire Surf School (followed by relaxation at Aulani)
(http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43048017&postcount=60)

DenLo
10-21-2011, 05:50 PM
*DH realized that our studio was different than what was pictured in the floor plan we’d seen online. The floor plan showed the balcony at an angle off the room, but the first two buildings of the resort actually have their balcony facing straight on. It wasn’t a big deal, we just found it interesting. One explanation (besides the simple fact that there are 2 versions of the studio and they didn’t release both in the publications) is that our room did have an indoor door on it that would have lead to the next room over (making it a 2-bedroom lock off).

Actually that makes sense that the balcony would be straight out for some of the rooms especially those closest to the lobby because only the wings would have slanted balconies to get an ocean view. BTW all of the Aulani studios are part of a lock off 2BR. There aren't any dedicated studios at Aulani, which is the same as at BLT.

One question for you, was the pull out couch on the same wall as the TV? That's one thing I noticed in the floorplan for Aulani. A guest sitting on the couch couldn't watch TV.

Thanks for all the great pictures and TR. The details are great. It really gives me an idea of what we should do on our trip to Aulani.

Leitadala
10-21-2011, 06:12 PM
Actually that makes sense that the balcony would be straight out for some of the rooms especially those closest to the lobby because only the wings would have slanted balconies to get an ocean view. BTW all of the Aulani studios are part of a lock off 2BR. There aren't any dedicated studios at Aulani, which is the same as at BLT.

One question for you, was the pull out couch on the same wall as the TV? That's one thing I noticed in the floorplan for Aulani. A guest sitting on the couch couldn't watch TV.

Thanks for all the great pictures and TR. The details are great. It really gives me an idea of what we should do on our trip to Aulani.

Ah, I didn't know that about the studios at Aulani! It was sort of funny because our neighbors kept trying to open the door - I had to stop DH from opening our side to greet them lol!

In our studio the TV was opposite the couch and bed so everyone could watch TV. I didn't even notice that about the floorplans!

podsnel
10-21-2011, 08:48 PM
Thank-you sooooo much for all these fantastic details- you are helping me plan our trip like you can't believe!:worship::banana: I LOVED all the spa stuff- can't wait to spend a day there....:cloud9: and I have been flip-flopping about the luau, but it sounds like something my family would enjoy- I know my boys would be excited about the games, and the entertainment looks fantastic. Did they talk about all polynesian cultures during the show, or was it strictly Hawaiian?

Thank-you-
Ellen

Leitadala
10-21-2011, 09:20 PM
Thank-you sooooo much for all these fantastic details- you are helping me plan our trip like you can't believe!:worship::banana: I LOVED all the spa stuff- can't wait to spend a day there....:cloud9: and I have been flip-flopping about the luau, but it sounds like something my family would enjoy- I know my boys would be excited about the games, and the entertainment looks fantastic. Did they talk about all polynesian cultures during the show, or was it strictly Hawaiian?

Thank-you-
Ellen

I'm glad it's helpful!!! I would have spent more time in the spa if I'd brought my book or my own iPod, but I got a little restless. DH stayed there longer - it was really so nice! The luau was lots of fun, I think it's definitely an experience families would enjoy! As far as talk about cultures, I think the luau focused more about the history and importance of activities, recreation, and dance to the Hawaiian culture. I think Aulani's Starlight Hui was more general about Hawaiian and Polynesian culture (how their people respect for the earth and nature). The best culture and history lesson we got was from our bus driver, Shannon O'Brien, on our Kualoa Ranch Excursion! Anyone that gets him as a driver is lucky!

It's cool to have you read my TR 'cause I was paying close attention to your April SSR TR in preparation for our May SSR trip!!! :goodvibes

mckryan
10-21-2011, 09:30 PM
Ellen, do not miss the spa! My SIL and I spent 6 hours there, with only 80 minutes of it being massage time. It was heavenly and sooo relaxing. You can order food in and everything, too! We were staying in Waikiki for a conference she was attending, but we went a day early just so we could go over and spend the day at Aulani.

justkeepswimmin
10-22-2011, 11:13 AM
Great report. My family was just there Sept 27-Oct 2nd. Love looking at pictures from the resort. We also ate at Romy's as that is where we were told the locals go. I thought it was good but I think my expectations were set too high after all the shrimp truck hype I read about.

1EvilQueenfan
10-23-2011, 03:51 AM
I am really enjoying your TR, especially since we will be going in January. I have never done the online check in, do you think it is better to do online check in or check in when we arrive?

Wilsonfamily4
10-23-2011, 12:02 PM
Very excite dby your trip report. We will be there in May and it's so nice to feel more in control by seeing pics and hearing things. :)

Love the review of the Luau. Going to go look into that now.

dr&momto2boys
10-23-2011, 04:44 PM
Great TR and pics! Thanks for taking the time to do it! We get to go to Disneyland then Aulani in February and I'm already getting super excited about it!

123Disney
10-23-2011, 04:58 PM
Thank you so much for your trip report. It is wonderful!!! :worship:
We are hopping for June 2012. Our 7 month mark is coming up.:banana: The information you shared is priceless. Can't wait to hear more!!

Leitadala
10-24-2011, 09:09 PM
Great report. My family was just there Sept 27-Oct 2nd. Love looking at pictures from the resort. We also ate at Romy's as that is where we were told the locals go. I thought it was good but I think my expectations were set too high after all the shrimp truck hype I read about.

I agree, it was very hyped, and DH did say it was really good... just maybe not something to go that far out of the way for if you have limited time

I am really enjoying your TR, especially since we will be going in January. I have never done the online check in, do you think it is better to do online check in or check in when we arrive?

We checked in online and they had our key waiting for us when we walked up - it was the most awesome resort arrival ever! Of course, we arrived later so I don't know if they personally greet every guest that way, but it's worth a shot!

Very excited by your trip report. We will be there in May and it's so nice to feel more in control by seeing pics and hearing things. :)

Love the review of the Luau. Going to go look into that now.

I know how you feel - I'm glad my TR is useful! I was looking everywhere for stuff before we went!

Great TR and pics! Thanks for taking the time to do it! We get to go to Disneyland then Aulani in February and I'm already getting super excited about it!

Thank you so much for your trip report. It is wonderful!!! :worship:
We are hopping for June 2012. Our 7 month mark is coming up.:banana: The information you shared is priceless. Can't wait to hear more!!

Thanks for joining and for your kind words! I'm happy to share!

Leitadala
10-24-2011, 09:25 PM
We actually had to set the alarm today for 6am to make sure we were up and ready for our excursion (since we were sleeping in later)! We woke up for another morning of breakfast on the balcony, watching the cast members prepare the resort for the day and watching the waves slowly roll into the cove. We had our cereal (multi grain cheerios for me, oatmeal for him) and coffee (for me, tea for him) as usual, then put on our bathing suits and sunscreened up.

We met the Adventures by Disney staff in the lobby at quarter to 8 and he told us we were still waiting on some people. We ended up waiting until around 8:20 (20 mins after we were scheduled to go) and the last family still hadn't shown up (they were later driven to the location by an Aulani van when they did show up). I'm not sure if this actually cut into our surf time or not, but they assured us we would get all of our water time (we ended up back at the hotel at 11:30 instead of 11, so maybe we just got it all pushed back, or maybe we were always supposed to be back at 11:30, even though the info said 11). Anyway, we were met at the resort by a Hawaii Fire van, driver, and translator. We all packed in and on the short ride (about 10 mins from the resort) our ABD guide told us Disney/Hawaii stories and the Hawaii Fire instructor / translator girl told us about the buildings we were passing (such as the old Air Force Base, which is now used by the coastguard).

We arrived at the beach, which was well off the road (through a wooded camp area) and the other Hawaii Fire guys instructed us to pick a rash guard and pair of water boots from the bags of different sizes they had lined up for us. It was at this point I found out how... unpleasant... the bathrooms were at this little secluded beach! No TP in all but one stall, and only one stall (a different one) actually locked (and I wont go any further into that)!


http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1167.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1167.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/101211a-001.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/101211a-001.jpg.html)

After changing into rash guards we sat down in beach chairs under a big tent/umbrella and our ABD guide pointed out the landmarks around us (Diamond head and Waikiki could be seen in the distance), then one instructor told us the history of the beach ("Officer's Beach" or "Long Beach" as it's one of the longest beaches in Hawaii).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1169.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1169.jpg.html)
Waikiki and Diamond Head

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1168.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1168.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1188.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1188.jpg.html)

Then another instructor came and talked safety (don't surf all the way to the sand, bail off if you're aiming towards someone, don't shuffle your feet over the corral) and then the last one came and talked technique (Positioning: making sure you stay on the back 3/4 of your board and keep your weight evenly distributed right/left; Paddling: one arm swim stroke forward, both arms swim back, "windshield wipers" to turn; paddling fast and then leaning up when you are close to white water, and then standing up on the board after the instructor gives you a push and you paddle 4 times).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/101211a-007.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/101211a-007.jpg.html)

The Hawaii Fire photographer took some pictures of the groups, then we picked/got matched to boards and practiced standing, and then they told us to strap on the ankle tie and get on out there!

The instructors all went further out on the sandbar, and one stayed behind so we knew how far to walk before getting on our board to then paddle out to the other instructors. When we got to them we turned the board around and they held us in place until a good wave came and then they'd tell us to start paddling, they'd give us a push, and they'd say "Paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, now up! All the way up! You can do it!" They were so friendly and encouraging! Then we'd get to where we were supposed to hop off (before the shore) or else fall off, and then we'd turn around, get back to them, and wait our turn to go again! It was exhilarating, but after awhile it was exhausting! DH and I ended up mostly walking back to the instructors because after so long it gets really hard on your arms to keep paddling against the waves and wind lol. The really nice part is that the waves were only 1-2 feet, so it was a great learning environment.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/101211a-161.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/101211a-161.jpg.html)
DH and I getting up on our boards

Towards the end (many of our classmates had taken it in already) the instructors told us to look on shore, and a monk seal had made his way up to the beach to sunbathe! They told us it was really rare (as they are critically endangered, with only about 1,000 left in the world) and we should probably get a picture, so we decided to take it in and grab pics of this awesome animal. DH was even lucky to catch a wave on his own (with the instructor only coaching, not pushing too) to take him to shore!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/101211a-165.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/101211a-165.jpg.html)
DH surfing in

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Cute Monk Seal

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1182.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1182.jpg.html)
He nuzzled his head in the sand to make a pillow then flipped over to sun his belly!

We went to see the seal, and then we went back and turned in our rash guard and boots and the ABD guide (Eki) gave us granola bars and cold water. Hawaii Fire had a photographer that had a slideshow going of all the photos he took (they were all pretty awesome) and they had a CD available or we could go to a website to purchase singles (DH and I got the CD, which they ship for us unless we wanted to stop in their shop in town to pick it up - although one guy had a USB stick and so he got the pics all right there and didn't have to pay for shipping). Then we all packed into the van and headed back to Aulani.

By now DH and I are exhausted, so we took showers and order Private Dining. DH got a salad and fish, which he really enjoyed (big surprise there), and I got the kids meal grilled chicken strips, which (along with the fries that came with it) was so delicious and satisfying (the kiddie Hawaiian chocoalate cake was pretty average, not much special about it, just chocolate cake). I also tried the Mac and Cheese and peas, but it was really plain (not Disney World Mac and Cheese).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1190.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1190.jpg.html)
Kid's Hawaiian Chocolate Cake, Grilled Fish (salad underneath), Mac and Peas, Grilled Chicken Strips and Fries, Side of Fruit (DH says he still can't believe how good all the fish was!)

DH went to refills our mugs so we can have soda with our lunch. We stay in the hotel room for much of the afternoon, laying and resting after so much activity. I finish "The Help" (awesome book) and we watch "Jessie" on the Disney Channel and then "Extreme Couponing" on whatever channel that comes on. Finally we headed out, and walked around the resort, taking pictures of flowers and menehune.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1196.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1196.jpg.html)
Aulani Resort Map

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1232.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1232.jpg.html)
Koi pond by the Makahiki Restaurant

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1238.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1238.jpg.html)
Waterfall/Koi Pond outside of the 'Olelo Room

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1249.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1249.jpg.html)
Koi pond and water lilies

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1276.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1276.jpg.html)
Wai'anae Tower/Lobby


http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1359.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1359.jpg.html)
And Stitch!

We visit the 'Olelo room (to learn some Hawaiian words), and then get a wonderful tour of the amazing Aunty's beach house. The workers inside are so happy and friendly and they give us a beautiful tour (they said as members and guests we were able to sign in as visitors and hand in our room keys for visitors badges at the front and walk around ourselves without an official tour). Everyone has to wash their hands when they enter to keep down the spread of germs, and we had to agree not to take pictures of any kids (so for privacy sake we didnt really get any pictures inside to share).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1370.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1370.jpg.html)
Outside play area

It is a really impressive set up they have in there, I have to say the pics I've seen don't really do it justice. There is so much Disney Magic, and the cast members there were superb. It really looked like one of the places around Aulani that I don't think they could possibly have any more improvements in store for phase 2 or 3 - it looks complete and polished and amazing. One cast member, who was playing the ukelele in the entryway, walked us down the hall and told us about all the pictures and history of Hawaii that was featured in the hall, and then showed us all of Uncle's sitting room, garage, and TV room.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1381.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1381.jpg.html)
Map in the hallway

He was really awesome, and he went out of his way to give us more suggestions on things to do around the island. On our way out we heard a girl complaining about leaving to her mom, which was so funny because the cast members had told us that often times the parents check in on the kids and the kids don't want to leave! If we had kids in our family to take with us I wouldn't hesitate to leave them in the capable hands of the staff at Aunty's, and I know they would have tons to do because there were just so many games and activities to participate in!

We went to watch the sunset by the firepit (which wasn't going at the time - we had just missed the fireside storytelling). Around 6 live music started to play (sunset was set for 6:15ish that day).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1385.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1385.jpg.html)

I got some pictures, and we saw a little mongoose (someone called them Hawaiian Squirrels).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1428.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1428.jpg.html)

We ended up eating at One Paddle, Two Paddle again, but this time we took our food to the room and we watched some TV (Phinneas and Ferb).

We closed out the night watching Up on our balcony from the big screen at the family movie night. We could barely hear the words, but it was pretty cool to see it in the distance. There was also live music playing right below us at the same time. That night we were in for a good nights sleep for sure, after all that paddle and surf action (we crashed by 8:30)!

Up Next: Day Six, Part One: Kualoa Ranch Adventures by Disney Excursion (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43069043&postcount=70)

podsnel
10-24-2011, 10:13 PM
Ellen, do not miss the spa! My SIL and I spent 6 hours there, with only 80 minutes of it being massage time. It was heavenly and sooo relaxing. You can order food in and everything, too! We were staying in Waikiki for a conference she was attending, but we went a day early just so we could go over and spend the day at Aulani.

Lucky you!! And not to worry- I plan on making sure I don't miss the spa. :cloud9: How wonderful you were able to go over for the day and enjoy. :goodvibes Thanks for the encouragement!

I'm glad it's helpful!!! I would have spent more time in the spa if I'd brought my book or my own iPod, but I got a little restless. DH stayed there longer - it was really so nice! The luau was lots of fun, I think it's definitely an experience families would enjoy! As far as talk about cultures, I think the luau focused more about the history and importance of activities, recreation, and dance to the Hawaiian culture. I think Aulani's Starlight Hui was more general about Hawaiian and Polynesian culture (how their people respect for the earth and nature). The best culture and history lesson we got was from our bus driver, Shannon O'Brien, on our Kualoa Ranch Excursion! Anyone that gets him as a driver is lucky!

It's cool to have you read my TR 'cause I was paying close attention to your April SSR TR in preparation for our May SSR trip!!! :goodvibes

That's funny that you read mine- you have COMPLETELY paid me back and then some! :rotfl: You seem to have picked the things I am interested in doing with my family- the North Shore, the luau, the Surf School, the ranch- did you go out on a canoe or paddleboard? Anyway, I am very impressed you both were able to get up when you surfed, I hope we are as fortunate (although I am not sure if we are all doing this or just the boys are). I did read that they are the best surf school, and it sounds like you agree.:goodvibes Awesome day, thanks for sharing AGAIN.:thumbsup2

ORDisneyfans
10-25-2011, 02:15 AM
Great trip report! :cool1: I am anxiously reading as I try to convince DH to go in March! We went to the Big Island last Thanksgiving and it was so relaxing! Looks like my family would love most of the activities you chose!

Did you find it was a lot of driving? I ask because I had thought to split our days between Waikki (sp )and Aulani! I prefer to stay in one place and just commute, if not too terrible. Hey I drive in LA no problem!! We would really like to Diamond Head, North Shore and maybe Pearl Harbor as well as shopping, snorkeling and swimming! We are picky eaters, isn't there a strip mall close by?

I love being able to go to Target where ever we go and get snacks and things! Funny thing in Kona we ate at (gasp) Taco Bell and Subway too! We aren't very adventurous food wise, though we did go to an authentic luau at the yacht club with all the ( weird to us and yucky!) authentic foods!

Can't wait for the rest of your TR! :cheer2:

SueTGGR
10-25-2011, 12:59 PM
Thank you for all of your info. We aren't going until August 2012 but I still can't wait. DH wants to to a couples massage and you gave me a lot of info for him. And the pictures are wonderful. We reserved an Ocean View but we were told that the Pool view is just as good. Looking at your pictures, I am not sure I want to gamble. I LOVE waking up and sitting out on the balcony when we are on vacation. It seems to be the only time in my life that I voluntarily get up at dawn. :cloud9:
Keep the info coming!
Sue:hippie:

taaren
10-25-2011, 08:10 PM
Thanks for posting this trip report ... have been trying to make up our minds as to what to do while there (we're all about the resort and Mickey), and this is helping a lot, especially the dining reviews!
The part about the wrist-bands cracks me up since as a teen we used to sneak into the extravagant resort pools, which is why its so strictly enforced now for resort guests only ... to keep the locals out!
Glad you had a great trip, and you were very fortunate to have seen both turtles and a monk seal! We see turtles once a month or so (usually hit the beach once a week), and I think I've only seen a monk seal once in the last 5 years or so. ::yes::

TreesyB
10-25-2011, 08:33 PM
Great trip report so far! Wondering if you booked your surf experience in advance or did you wait til you got there?

rparmfamily
10-26-2011, 05:09 AM
I am loving your TR so far!! We live here and have been lucky enough to stay at Aulani a few times now. It's gorgeous. I just love reading what visitors have to say about our gorgeous island home!!

Romy's is not my fav shrimp truck. I like Big Wave (they offer peeled shrimp) or Giovanni's better (no heads but you need to peel.)


Hawaiian Monk Seals are very rare to see, lucky you saw one!! Seeing a sea turtle is considered good luck here too. And Laniakea Beach is a great place.

One hint--walk the paved pathway along the beaches to the right, past the Marriot, keep going on a dirt path to another private cove. You may find sea turtles there too. That's state property (all beaches belong to the people/state of HI.)

Don't forget to get shave ice. I like Aoki's in Hale'iwa. The reason traffic was backed up in Hale'iwa was because surf was up. Always backs up traffic. Imagine in winter, when swells are 30' and bigger!!! Major traffic LOL!

franandaj
10-26-2011, 03:39 PM
I've read about half of this, I've got to run but I'll be back! GREAT details!

On Sunday I had a trip to Aulani booked for about 2 hours! :laughing:

We'll have to wait until 2013, like I had planned, but I love all the details. I'm definitely getting the ocean view room! :thumbsup2

dizney4us
10-26-2011, 07:48 PM
I am really enjoying your TR, it is fantastic! We hope to go to Aulani in a couple years and I just love seeing the pictures and reading about what you did each day-Thank you!:thumbsup2

Leitadala
10-26-2011, 08:05 PM
That's funny that you read mine- you have COMPLETELY paid me back and then some! :rotfl: You seem to have picked the things I am interested in doing with my family- the North Shore, the luau, the Surf School, the ranch- did you go out on a canoe or paddleboard? Anyway, I am very impressed you both were able to get up when you surfed, I hope we are as fortunate (although I am not sure if we are all doing this or just the boys are). I did read that they are the best surf school, and it sounds like you agree.:goodvibes Awesome day, thanks for sharing AGAIN.:thumbsup2

We didn't go out on canoe or paddleboard, but there were opportunities to (the Paradise Cove Luau offered kayaking and so did Kualoa Ranch's secret beach). The guys at surf school were so enthusiastic in cheering for you to get up on the board, and they were ready to get you back for another try if you didn't do it right away - they really work to get everyone surfing! I hope you have lots of fun when you go - and I can't wait to read your Aulani TR!

Great trip report! :cool1: I am anxiously reading as I try to convince DH to go in March! We went to the Big Island last Thanksgiving and it was so relaxing! Looks like my family would love most of the activities you chose!

Did you find it was a lot of driving? I ask because I had thought to split our days between Waikki (sp )and Aulani! I prefer to stay in one place and just commute, if not too terrible. Hey I drive in LA no problem!! We would really like to Diamond Head, North Shore and maybe Pearl Harbor as well as shopping, snorkeling and swimming! We are picky eaters, isn't there a strip mall close by?

I love being able to go to Target where ever we go and get snacks and things! Funny thing in Kona we ate at (gasp) Taco Bell and Subway too! We aren't very adventurous food wise, though we did go to an authentic luau at the yacht club with all the ( weird to us and yucky!) authentic foods!

Can't wait for the rest of your TR! :cheer2:

I hope you are able to convince your DH! I didn't mind the driving, although you did have to trek a bit to get anywhere. Wakiki area traffic was thicker, but further out it wasn't bad (but the speed limit was around 35 so that was a little annoying). By the end we were glad our last 2 days were Adventures by Disney so they could do the driving! There is a strip mall "across the street" (it's across and down a little) and they do have eating options, but we didn't eat there (one day we almost got sandwiches and salads from the ABC store in the strip mall - they looked really good but then we decided on something else). Kapolei is a little town very close to Aulani (about a 5 minute drive) and it had lots of places to eat (Outback, Chili's, Panda Express, McDonalds, etc), but even so we went for convenience and ate at Aulani mostly (either the restaurants, private dining, or our groceries). I'm glad I'm not alone in being a non-adventurous eater, I was a little nervous to admit that I didn't love all the island food!

Thank you for all of your info. We aren't going until August 2012 but I still can't wait. DH wants to to a couples massage and you gave me a lot of info for him. And the pictures are wonderful. We reserved an Ocean View but we were told that the Pool view is just as good. Looking at your pictures, I am not sure I want to gamble. I LOVE waking up and sitting out on the balcony when we are on vacation. It seems to be the only time in my life that I voluntarily get up at dawn. :cloud9:
Keep the info coming!
Sue:hippie:

The couples massage was so great, they really spoiled us! I've found myself home thinking that I could really go for another massage haha!

Ours was an ocean view, so maybe a Pool view would just be a lower level that just might not get the ocean view? No matter what it will be awesome to sit out there and listen to the sounds and watch the resort light up!

Thanks for posting this trip report ... have been trying to make up our minds as to what to do while there (we're all about the resort and Mickey), and this is helping a lot, especially the dining reviews!
The part about the wrist-bands cracks me up since as a teen we used to sneak into the extravagant resort pools, which is why its so strictly enforced now for resort guests only ... to keep the locals out!
Glad you had a great trip, and you were very fortunate to have seen both turtles and a monk seal! We see turtles once a month or so (usually hit the beach once a week), and I think I've only seen a monk seal once in the last 5 years or so. ::yes::

I'm glad you are enjoying it! I wish my dining report would have been better - each year we try to be good dining reporters but we always dig in so fast and then forget what we ate later! We didn't really run into a lot of reinforcement with the pool wrist-bands, probably because it was so quiet when we were there. I'm so jealous that you get to be in such a beautiful place... I don't understand why everyone doesn't immigrate there after visiting once lol!

Great trip report so far! Wondering if you booked your surf experience in advance or did you wait til you got there?

We did book both of our excursions over the phone a month or so before we got there. I've read in other threads that some excursions have been canceled for not getting filled up so it seems like it's no problem to wait until you get there to book. I think the greatest advantage to booking there is that you get to get more information about the excursions (the people on the phone didn't have any information, but that might just be because it's so new).

I am loving your TR so far!! We live here and have been lucky enough to stay at Aulani a few times now. It's gorgeous. I just love reading what visitors have to say about our gorgeous island home!!

Romy's is not my fav shrimp truck. I like Big Wave (they offer peeled shrimp) or Giovanni's better (no heads but you need to peel.)


Hawaiian Monk Seals are very rare to see, lucky you saw one!! Seeing a sea turtle is considered good luck here too. And Laniakea Beach is a great place.

One hint--walk the paved pathway along the beaches to the right, past the Marriot, keep going on a dirt path to another private cove. You may find sea turtles there too. That's state property (all beaches belong to the people/state of HI.)

Don't forget to get shave ice. I like Aoki's in Hale'iwa. The reason traffic was backed up in Hale'iwa was because surf was up. Always backs up traffic. Imagine in winter, when swells are 30' and bigger!!! Major traffic LOL!

Thanks for all the hints - I wish I could pin it up somewhere for everyone to see! If we are lucky enough to go again we'll try one of those shrimp trucks. DH definitely did enjoy the shrimp, but if he didn't have to work so hard he'd love them even more lol. If I would have known about the private cove we would have walked there every day in hopes of seeing turtles again! They (and the monk seal) are the most beautiful animals ever!

Honestly, the people and the beauty of the island made it a spectacular vacation. DH is military so I think I've asked him a million times since we landed in Honolulu if he's sure he can't get posted to Oahu (he's sure... although I'm thinking about asking his boss just to be really really sure). It's like being in another world! Thank you for continuing that feeling by sharing more tips here... is that what they call the Aloha spirit? :goodvibes

I've read about half of this, I've got to run but I'll be back! GREAT details!

On Sunday I had a trip to Aulani booked for about 2 hours! :laughing:

We'll have to wait until 2013, like I had planned, but I love all the details. I'm definitely getting the ocean view room! :thumbsup2

So glad you are enjoying it! I saw there was a sale on plane tickets to Honolulu this weekend and DH said "book them!" Too bad we have weddings and graduations booking up our vacation next year :rotfl:

I am really enjoying your TR, it is fantastic! We hope to go to Aulani in a couple years and I just love seeing the pictures and reading about what you did each day-Thank you!

Thank you! I hope you get to go!

Leitadala
10-26-2011, 08:18 PM
Since this is our last day of adventures Ill make this a 2-parter and post double the pics. Winding down the trip report is almost as sad as winding down the trip was!

We had quite some time today to hang out at the resort before having to meet up with our Adventures by Disney group. We had breakfast on the balcony again and just took the time to relax!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1571.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1571.jpg.html)
Resort lighting up

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1559.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1559.jpg.html)
Our View

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Mickey and Minnie as seen from our balcony (and zoomed in on)

At 10:45 we headed down to the lobby to meet our group for the excursion. We found out we would be swimming so we headed back up to grab our swim suits and reading materials (we didn't realize the excursion included beach time for swimming or bumming). While loading the bus each of us got a towel, granola bar or trail mix bag, and bottle of water. There were around 13 people on the bus (not including driver or ABD guide, Eki - our guide from the day before, yay!). Once we headed out we were almost instantly caught in traffic. They let us know the traffic was not expected, but both Shannon (our driver) and Eki kept us entertained for the whole 90+mins (when it should have been 45) we were on the bus. We all introduced ourselves (almost all of the couples on the bus were celebrating an anniversary, and there was one newlywed couple), Eki taught us a song, and Shannon told stories non-stop (explaining the history of the area, and the history of the Hawaiian people). I thought I would need my book to read, but there wasn't a dull moment!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1582.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1582.jpg.html)
Train Tracks at the entrance of Ko Olina

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The view on the trip to Kualoa Ranch

Once we got to Kualoa Ranch we were taken directly to the boat that would take us to the "secret beach" across a 500 year old fish lake.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1633.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1633.jpg.html)

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We made a pit stop at the only restrooms available: four outhouses perched on a pier! Then we walked down the path to the beach (there were changing rooms available to put on swimsuits). The staff from Kualoa Ranch had the food already ready for us (probably since we were so late in getting there) - rice, teriyake chicken and beef, corn on the cob, salad, and pineapple. DH LOVED it and said it was the best food of the trip. There was lots of other things to do on the beach after eating - swimming, taking pictures, relaxing in the hammock, playing beach volleyball, using snorkel gear, or sitting on one of the available mats or at one of the picnic tables to read (DH took a hammock, I sat at a picnic table and read). There was another group at the beach at the same time, but altogether it was pretty quiet.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1653.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1653.jpg.html)

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After awhile it was time for our catamaran ride - the boat was bigger than I expected (and staffed by a cute little long-haired dachshund-looking dog named Chibi!), but I thought it was lots of fun (especially hitting the waves and getting bumped around, but some others didn't like that so much) and the pictures once we were out there were pretty awesome.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1686.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1686.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1697.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1697.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1699.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1699.jpg.html)

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http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1733.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1733.jpg.html)

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Then we rode to another area which they called "turtle sanctuary" and we kind of saw one turtle off in the distance (which made DH and I really glad that we had already went to turtle beach to see turtles up close) and then we went back to the beach.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1745.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1745.jpg.html)
Turtle sanctuary (and a turtle in there somewhere)

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Exiting the catamaran

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1756.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1756.jpg.html)
The Captain and Chibi

We had a little more time to play on the beach before it was time to take the first boat back over the fish pond, where we boarded our bus and got taken to the Ranch area.

Next - Day 6, Part 2: Kualoa Ranch Horseback Riding and Aulani's Starlight Hui (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43080014&postcount=75)

thewelts
10-26-2011, 10:26 PM
Oh Leit... how you taunt and tease us -- making us wait!

I found a private (kayak and snorkel) excursion to Kualoa Ranch that we are exploring through Bike Hawaii for our trip in December. http://www.bikehawaii.com/kayak_adventures.html

We will need to drive and meet at Kualoa Ranch by 10 AM. It is good to know that we should allow up to 2 hours for the drive!

My son is too young for the Disney Kualoa Ranch excursion (age 7).

I really appreciate the time and energy that you put into this trip report. It is so helpful -- Thank you!

dvc at last !
10-26-2011, 10:40 PM
Just found this - subbing ...

buckbart
10-27-2011, 11:12 AM
OMG! I am so glad to have found this trip report. We are from Winnipeg too, planning a trip for end of Feb for 2 weeks to celebrate my 40th b-day and DH's retirement from the military. We are taking our 2 young children with us and would love to correspond with you to get more details. I am also a serious planner and need to know what I'm getting into before I get there. Looking forward to more posts with details.

Leitadala
10-27-2011, 09:02 PM
Oh Leit... how you taunt and tease us -- making us wait!

I found a private (kayak and snorkel) excursion to Kualoa Ranch that we are exploring through Bike Hawaii for our trip in December. http://www.bikehawaii.com/kayak_adventures.html

We will need to drive and meet at Kualoa Ranch by 10 AM. It is good to know that we should allow up to 2 hours for the drive!

My son is too young for the Disney Kualoa Ranch excursion (age 7).

I really appreciate the time and energy that you put into this trip report. It is so helpful -- Thank you!

I'm just trying to draw it out! I don't want to admit it's over yet! lol

The kayaking looks fun! We saw some people on jet skis while we were on our catamaran - they looked like they were having tons of fun too! Kualoa was really peaceful and beautiful and we had so much time to sit back and enjoy there.

I'm so glad you are enjoying the TR!

Just found this - subbing ...

Welcome!

OMG! I am so glad to have found this trip report. We are from Winnipeg too, planning a trip for end of Feb for 2 weeks to celebrate my 40th b-day and DH's retirement from the military. We are taking our 2 young children with us and would love to correspond with you to get more details. I am also a serious planner and need to know what I'm getting into before I get there. Looking forward to more posts with details.

My hubby is Military too! We'd love to help you in your planning - you can PM me and I'll give you my e-mail (or maybe we can figure out if our DHs know each other)

Leitadala
10-27-2011, 09:20 PM
We left off in the last entry of this TR with some frolicking at the Secret Beach and a Catamaran trip. We took our bus on a short jaunt over to the Kualoa Ranch Horse Facility, where we all used the better facilities (better than the pier outhouses), and then we had to then sign more wavers, get safety instructions, and get called up to hop on our horses!

The horseback riding was a 2-hour trip (which I did not realize when we signed up). After the first hour it did start to get a bit uncomfortable, but the view was pretty amazing and it was one of those once in a lifetime things. As someone who grew up on a horse ranch (although in my adult years I barely ride anymore) I had never had the opportunity to enjoy so much natural beauty on horseback before. The horses were all very well trained and traveled, and our guides were very nice and good at giving information on the Island, Kualoa Ranch, and the movies that were filmed in the area. We got to see the backdrops for movies such as George of the Jungle, Pearl Harbor, Godzilla, Jurassic Park and 50 First Dates, as well as the TV show Lost! It was pretty cool (and once we were home we re-watched some of those movies to see the backdrops we recognized)! If anyone is nervous about riding I'll mention that DH has only been on a horse once, and for barely 5 minutes and he was completely comfortable for the entire trip. I found some of the rocky and dirt paths a little unnerving when the horses had to go down or up steep slopes, and I was also a bit unsure when the ATVs were passing us, but the horses didn't even blink at any of that (unlike some of the horses I grew up training and riding lol).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1771.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1771.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1768.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1768.jpg.html)
Our horseback tour took the orange path

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1772.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1772.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1782.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1782.jpg.html)
Our horses, saddled up and ready to go

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1792.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1792.jpg.html)
Horses that had already been on a 2-hour tour for the day. We were told that they get horses from Calgary that are at least 10-year-old geldings who have plenty of trail experience. They were all very good riding horses!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1814.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1814.jpg.html)
Ocean View on the ride

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1822.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1822.jpg.html)
Our guide pointing things out for us

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1824.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1824.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1826.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1826.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1837.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1837.jpg.html)
Heading towards the "Jurrasic Park" log - "The most famous dead tree on Oahu" where a bus tour group was out taking pictures (the horse tour did not stop to allow people to hop down and take photos).

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1854.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1854.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1864.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1864.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1880.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1880.jpg.html)
Rainbow!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1898.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1898.jpg.html)
WWII bunker, also used in the Pearl Harbor movie

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1902.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1902.jpg.html)
Ocean view on the way back to the ranch.

We got a bit of time to shop in the gift shop, but the food service was closed so we were hungry on the ride home (good thing for that granola bar we got when we first got on the bus)! Luckily our great driver Shannon kept us so entertained we forgot about how hungry we were. Someone requested info about Pearl Harbor / WWII and he happily obliged.

Shannon and Eki got us back to the resort in time for the Starlight Hui. This was probably my Disney Highlight of the vacation. As I briefly glossed over before, Aulani is wonderful, and it does have some Disney Magic (in how well done the resort is, in the great cast members, in the cute menehune hidden all over, etc) but does take some getting used to if you expected Disney compared to one of their cruises (for example). Some days I found myself wanting to catch that feeling you get when you step onto the monorail in Disney World, lol! Im not saying I would actually change anything about Aulani - but I guess somewhere in me the word "Disney" has a strong association with very certain "Disney" things (like the monorail) and I just had to get used to this new experience! Anyway, my point of stating all that here (instead of in my conclusion) is that the Starlight Hui was so beautiful and well-done that it gave me that Disney fill (and I mean that even before Mickey made his appearance). It was breathtakingly beautiful, every second of it. I love shows at Disney World such as Festival of the Lion King shows that are wonderfully choreographed with great music and storytelling, and thats exactly what the Starlight Hui is.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1935.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1935.jpg.html)
Starlight Hui stage and seating area (get there early to get a mat to sit on)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1948.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1948.jpg.html)
She sang so beautifully! The bands music played around the resort, so I had the songs stuck in my head for days after I got home. I wished that I found a CD to buy of their music!

Starlight Hui pics (I cant remember exactly what was happening in each picture)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1949.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1949.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1951.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1951.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1953.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1953.jpg.html)

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1960.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1960.jpg.html)

After the beautiful singing and dancing (and some crazy ukulele playing) they bring out the Disney Friends to finish off the night with a dance party and some photo ops!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1966.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1966.jpg.html)
The gang arrived for the dance party!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1977.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1977.jpg.html)
Me, Stitch, and DH

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1978.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1978.jpg.html)
Dale, DH, me, and my man Chip

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1979.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1979.jpg.html)
Paparazzi picture of Mickey

The Starlight Hui is definitely a must-do Disney! In the future I would have made time to catch it both nights it played the week we were there!

Up Next: Check-out day! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=45278004&postcount=101)

incoo
10-27-2011, 09:39 PM
While you were at the ranch did you see the ATV tour I think it takes the same route as the horses,or did you see anything about the tour.Its supposed to take in the movie sets,we're from Ontario heading to Aulani in January?Another quick question what nights is starlite held

darby888
10-28-2011, 11:18 AM
As someone in a single digit countdown, I have looked forward to your posts and all the wonderful pixs & check in every morning :surfweb:.... thank you :flower3:

Curious about how often the Starlight Hui is offered and can you describe the weather, how's the humidity??... Have you felt the need for a light jacket in the mornings and/or evenings? :laundy:

Leitadala
10-28-2011, 04:50 PM
While you were at the ranch did you see the ATV tour I think it takes the same route as the horses,or did you see anything about the tour.Its supposed to take in the movie sets,we're from Ontario heading to Aulani in January?Another quick question what nights is starlite held

The we were passed by ATVs 3 times while out on the horses. I don't know if we were passed by the same group, but certainly they travel faster and probably got to see more in their 2 hour tour than we did (plus they probably got to stop to take photos). There is also a 1 hour ATV tour. They have some info about it at their website: http://www.kualoa.com/

Congrats on your January trip!!!

When we were there the Starlight Hui was Tuesday and Thursday, at 7pm. I'm not sure if that's permanent or if it will always switch around days.

As someone in a single digit countdown, I have looked forward to your posts and all the wonderful pixs & check in every morning :surfweb:.... thank you :flower3:

Curious about how often the Starlight Hui is offered and can you describe the weather, how's the humidity??... Have you felt the need for a light jacket in the mornings and/or evenings? :laundy:

So awesome that you will be there soon - I wish it were me lol!! I'm so glad you enjoyed my TR!

While we were there the Starlight Hui was only offered twice a week (Tues/Thurs @ 7pm). I don't know if they will start offering it more or if they will change they day or time or anything - ask as soon as you get there (when we were getting our room keys they told us right away what days it would be during our stay).

The humidity differs around the island, but at Aulani it seemed pretty low. The only time I wanted a light jacket was at the Paradise Cove Luau. I got a little chilly while sitting there and watching the show, but then on the walk home I was just fine. Have fun!!!

tcb1
12-07-2011, 05:35 PM
Can't thank you enough for taking the time to write this report! This has been one of the most enjoyable, interesting and informational reports of any report for any disney trip. My family and I leave next week and are really looking forward to it. We have two little one DD6 and DS4, so will be a very special trip. Thanks again and happy holidays!

rparmfamily
12-11-2011, 03:02 PM
Definitely bring a light jacket for nights, and even a pair of pants (for me, yoga pants or something comfortable) to sit and watch the Starlight Hui. The breezes off the ocean can be chilly!

ACDSNY
12-11-2011, 03:07 PM
I wish Aulani would offer the Starlight Hui at least one weekend night. We're only there for the weekend in January so we'll miss it.:sad1:

rparmfamily
12-11-2011, 03:31 PM
My guess is they don't offer it more because they do weddings at the same spot.

taaren
12-12-2011, 04:03 PM
I wish Aulani would offer the Starlight Hui at least one weekend night. We're only there for the weekend in January so we'll miss it.:sad1:
Ditto this ... we'll be on Oahu Fri-Mon and will miss the Starlit Hui ... oh well.

rparmfamily, thanks for the jackets hint ... its been raining here on Maui all weekend so I'm planning on bringing mine anyways (plus I lived in Manoa in the 90's so its hard for me to remember what Oahu looks like without rain clouds!) Will pack jeans and long t-shirts too and plan on spending lots of time in the infinity jacuzzis! :rolleyes1

1EvilQueenfan
12-27-2011, 01:05 AM
I was wondering if you purchased your Paradise cove luau tickets in advanced and where you purchased them. I have a 25% off coupon but not sure if it's cheaper to purchase them through a discount place online.

Thanks again

disney4bb
01-07-2012, 04:43 PM
Thanks for the great info! I've taken a page of notes for when we go. :banana:
If you think of anything else you forgot to mention, feel free to add to your thread! ;)

Leitadala
01-08-2012, 06:09 PM
Can't thank you enough for taking the time to write this report! This has been one of the most enjoyable, interesting and informational reports of any report for any disney trip. My family and I leave next week and are really looking forward to it. We have two little one DD6 and DS4, so will be a very special trip. Thanks again and happy holidays!

Oh I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I hope you had a great vacation!

Definitely bring a light jacket for nights, and even a pair of pants (for me, yoga pants or something comfortable) to sit and watch the Starlight Hui. The breezes off the ocean can be chilly!

Yes, it did get chilly, but so nice. Ah... I wish I were there now! When can I start planning my next trip? lol :love:

I wish Aulani would offer the Starlight Hui at least one weekend night. We're only there for the weekend in January so we'll miss it.:sad1:

Hopefully they will start offering it more often! It's certainly good enough!

My guess is they don't offer it more because they do weddings at the same spot.

I didn't know that! We weren't lucky enough to see weddings while I was there!

Ditto this ... we'll be on Oahu Fri-Mon and will miss the Starlit Hui ... oh well.

rparmfamily, thanks for the jackets hint ... its been raining here on Maui all weekend so I'm planning on bringing mine anyways (plus I lived in Manoa in the 90's so its hard for me to remember what Oahu looks like without rain clouds!) Will pack jeans and long t-shirts too and plan on spending lots of time in the infinity jacuzzis! :rolleyes1

We spent lots of time hopping from the jacuzzis to the beach chairs. It was so nice to sit in the chairs and feel the breeze

I was wondering if you purchased your Paradise cove luau tickets in advanced and where you purchased them. I have a 25% off coupon but not sure if it's cheaper to purchase them through a discount place online.

Thanks again

I got mine through the excursions desk (we called a few months in advance). I'm guessing you can get cheaper deals elsewhere with your coupon. Since you find your own way there (most people seemed to just walk down the road to it) I wasn't really sure what the advantage was to going through Aulani (besides convenience).

Thanks for the great info! I've taken a page of notes for when we go. :banana:
If you think of anything else you forgot to mention, feel free to add to your thread! ;)

I'm so glad that you enjoyed it! I did still need to add my last day info and pics (Nov/Dec was really busy around here!) My favorite part of the last day was the lounge - there were lockers to store everything and showers and everything so you could still enjoy the resort if you had a late flight!

franandaj
01-08-2012, 06:56 PM
I'm glad you're not done yet. I just realized that if we're thinking of going next March, I should really be finalizing some dates in the next few months. August will be here before I know it and I'll be calling in to book my stay! I'll have to revisit your TR while planning for ours, you did a lot of fun things!

SuperRob
01-09-2012, 11:01 AM
Thanks for the thorough trip report, Leit! The excitement is hitting a fever-pitch for me. My wife ... she's refusing to allow herself to get too excited until we're closer.

dianeschlicht
01-09-2012, 12:38 PM
I enjoyed reading these reports, but I must say, you are braver than I trying to do Hawaii in a week! I always think it takes too long to adjust to the time change for a trip that short. We tried that our first time to the Islands, and quickly learned it was too short. Our last trip was 3 weeks, but our next one we'll be back to 2 weeks because we can't afford more time than that.

You definitely have me looking forward to Aulani.

marko
01-10-2012, 08:54 PM
Excellent trip report, thank-you!!

living20057
01-10-2012, 10:11 PM
During your hike did you see children doing it as well? Do you think it safe for kids ages 7 and 11?

michelle1177
01-11-2012, 01:38 AM
Fantastic trip report!!!!! We are going to be in Hawaii in April so I'm really thinking of hopping a bus from Waikiki with my daughter and staying a night at Aulani. This trip report has definitely helped make my mind up! :)

saintstickets
01-11-2012, 10:50 AM
Just found your TR and I must say it is absolutely fantastic! DW and I are going to Aulani for our 30th anniversary in Sept, 2012 and you have given us plenty of ideas for activities. Thanks so much.

msbatchelor5
04-30-2012, 11:53 AM
thank you for this. we are going 10/12

anewmac
05-29-2012, 02:20 AM
OMG that resort is to die for! You guys packed a lot into your days, looks like a lot of fun. Food loked yummy and the views are just amazing. Im sad to see it end LOL

Leitadala
05-29-2012, 09:17 AM
I'm glad you're not done yet. I just realized that if we're thinking of going next March, I should really be finalizing some dates in the next few months. August will be here before I know it and I'll be calling in to book my stay! I'll have to revisit your TR while planning for ours, you did a lot of fun things!

Thanks for reminding me that I never did the summary post! I'm going to put that on my to-do list for the summer (after my Disneyland trip next week)! You're so lucky to be planning for Aulani, I wish another trip there was on my radar!

Thanks for the thorough trip report, Leit! The excitement is hitting a fever-pitch for me. My wife ... she's refusing to allow herself to get too excited until we're closer.

I'm glad you enjoyed the TR! Did you enjoy your trip? Did you do a TR?

I enjoyed reading these reports, but I must say, you are braver than I trying to do Hawaii in a week! I always think it takes too long to adjust to the time change for a trip that short. We tried that our first time to the Islands, and quickly learned it was too short. Our last trip was 3 weeks, but our next one we'll be back to 2 weeks because we can't afford more time than that.

You definitely have me looking forward to Aulani.

One week was very short! We usually do about 9 days for any vacation and figure that two days are wasted on travel, but the travel days and jet lag for Hawaii was no joke. We kind of just ran through it so fast that it all feels like a dream. I'd love to go for longer next time!

Excellent trip report, thank-you!!

You're welcome, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

During your hike did you see children doing it as well? Do you think it safe for kids ages 7 and 11?

I saw more small children on the rainforest hike (as it seemed like parents could go slower and pick their children up more). I'm not sure if Diamond Head would be good for that age with all of the stairs and ledges - I don't remember seeing many higher up (but remember some at the begining - maybe parents only go so far and then turn around).

Fantastic trip report!!!!! We are going to be in Hawaii in April so I'm really thinking of hopping a bus from Waikiki with my daughter and staying a night at Aulani. This trip report has definitely helped make my mind up! :)

Thanks! Did you end up staying at Aulani?

Just found your TR and I must say it is absolutely fantastic! DW and I are going to Aulani for our 30th anniversary in Sept, 2012 and you have given us plenty of ideas for activities. Thanks so much.

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! You will have such a great time in September!

thank you for this. we are going 10/12

You're welcome! I wish I were going again in October, you will have so much fun!

OMG that resort is to die for! You guys packed a lot into your days, looks like a lot of fun. Food loked yummy and the views are just amazing. Im sad to see it end LOL

It was so wonderful, and I'm sad it ended too! I miss it so much (I wish I could LIVE there lol)!

************************************************** *******

Thanks for all the lovely comments everyone! I'm glad this TR still lives! Is there any way a Mod can move it to the DVC Trip Reports section? I'm loving the separate Trip Report area! :goodvibes

MotoWifey185
05-31-2012, 01:48 PM
Awesome report! I loved reading every bit of it. My DF and I plan to honeymoon there so this helped me a lot! The resort and views are gorgeous and you two looked like you had a blast! I am looking forward to your last installment. :goodvibes

WestCoastMama
06-16-2012, 05:48 PM
I too enjoyed your trip report! We just decided we will be going in Oct 2012! Some really good tips! Thank you! I have an odd question, did you see anybody BBQing their own food? Do they have BBQs for DVC guests to use? TIA :)

rusafee1183
06-16-2012, 07:50 PM
Hello! I also read your report and loved it! Very well written and informative. :goodvibes

Did you feel like a lot of the activities you did could have been booked once you were on the island for maybe cheaper than through Disney?

I am trying to do just about as many things as you guys did, but we wanted to try to make this trip a little more affordable.

Thanks!!

Leitadala
06-22-2012, 09:09 AM
Awesome report! I loved reading every bit of it. My DF and I plan to honeymoon there so this helped me a lot! The resort and views are gorgeous and you two looked like you had a blast! I am looking forward to your last installment. :goodvibes

Thank you! :goodvibes Summary will be up this weekend, I swear it!

I too enjoyed your trip report! We just decided we will be going in Oct 2012! Some really good tips! Thank you! I have an odd question, did you see anybody BBQing their own food? Do they have BBQs for DVC guests to use? TIA :)

Thank you - I hope you have a great time. I wish I was going back in October! :)

I don't remember anyone BBQing or any BBQs. I'll go back through my pictures and if I find anything I'll post it up!

Hello! I also read your report and loved it! Very well written and informative. :goodvibes

Did you feel like a lot of the activities you did could have been booked once you were on the island for maybe cheaper than through Disney?

I am trying to do just about as many things as you guys did, but we wanted to try to make this trip a little more affordable.

Thanks!!

Thank you! :goodvibes

We did a bunch of stuff without Adventures by Disney, and then two with them. The two excursions that we did (Kualoa Ranch and Hawaii Fire Surf School) could have been booked cheaper outside of Disney, but what made it really nice was that we didn't have to worry about driving ourselves (or finding parking) those days, and we also got great tour guides. That being said, we did Paradise Cove Luau, North Shore, Diamond Head, and the Botanical gardens ourselves and we had a good time (it was nice to be able to turn off the road and take pictures wherever we wanted and spend as much or as little time there as we wanted). If you are looking for deals I know a lot of people recommend getting the Hawaii Entertainment book. No matter what, you're going to have a great time!

Leitadala
06-24-2012, 07:39 PM
*So it has taken me 8 months to admit that my trip is over and finally complete this TR! Luckily I had prewritten mostly everything while we were there and taken lots of pictures, otherwise I dont think I would have remembered what we did!


On our last day in Aulani we woke up at almost 7am. We ordered private dining to the room and worked on packing while we waited for breakfast to arrive.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP1981.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP1981.jpg.html)
Menu

Our food came (DH had the Chinese breakfast, I had the two egg entree with bacon and Aulani potatoes) and we enjoyed it with our tea (green, for him) and cofee (decaf with caramel creamer for me) and with our last view over the resort for this trip. We kept telling ourselves that we would be back, and it was hard to hold back from running down and buying Aulani points!

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP2001.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP2001.jpg.html)
Breakfast

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Our last morning on the balcony

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The other side

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Beautiful Ocean

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The view of the Mouse

I did our shopping in the gift shop (and got the $20 Aulani tote - it's such a nice little bag!) and we completed our packing.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP2123.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP2123.jpg.html)
Gift Shop

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Love the ceilings

While we usually feel blue when faced with vacation ending, we felt even more sad to be leaving this time. At least we knew we were just leaving the room right now and would still have the rest of the day by the pool and in the Luana Lounge.

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A last look at the room

We took our change of clothes (we were wearing our swim suits) to the Luana lounge, where they not only have TVs, power plugs, computers for airplane check-in, and showers, but they also have lockers - the same as the kind in the spa (4 digit electronic code for locking). The lockers are plenty big enough to keep your change of clothes and other things for the day.

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I was really excited about these


Then we took our luggage to bell services and just checked to make sure there was no problem with us using the pool and facilities. The front desk assured us that we were still welcome to use everything, even our room keys until midnight. So we headed off to the pool for a last trip around the lazy river, a dip in the pools, some relaxing in the tiered hot tub, and then poolside dining.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP2059.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP2059.jpg.html)
Swimming

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In the Hot Tub

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Panorama while waiting for poolside dining

Just as we were finishing up eating it started to rain so we headed to the Luana Lounge to change (which was pretty crowded, since lots of people had the same idea), and then we took a last trip to the ABC store across the street for souvenirs and airplane snacks.

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP2099.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP2099.jpg.html)
Walking back from the ABC Store

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At the front of the resort

On our way back we took a few more pictures, then relaxed in the lounge (checking e-mail, writing this TR, and watching Disney XD).

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This is it

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its really over :(

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP2128.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP2128.jpg.html)
One last look

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The parking lot / mountain view

http://i334.photobucket.com/albums/m437/leitadala/Aulani%202011/IMGP2134.jpg (http://s334.photobucket.com/user/leitadala/media/Aulani%202011/IMGP2134.jpg.html)
Crazy Traffic

It was a slow and relaxing (if not bittersweet) end to our lovely vacation.

Last Up: Conclusion (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=45278267&postcount=102)

Leitadala
06-24-2012, 08:11 PM
Looking back now, 8 months later, I think it was an amazing vacation that I would do again in a second (especially since I’m hoping the new restaurants might have food better suited for a picky eater like myself). If I had it in the budget right now, I would be buying Aulani points and planning on going there every other year. I’m trying really hard to remind myself that there are other vacations and other places to visit and enjoy… but for anyone else on the fence about going my answer to you is YES – GO! :banana:

The following are final thoughts that I had noted while writing the TR while in Hawaii:


Don't forget to bring your water stuff! Water shoes, goggles, beach mat or blanket, (this should be a "duh", but I'd never used them on other vacations so I figured they'd be a waste of space). It would have been really nice to have stuff like this while we were driving around the island.



The Aulani Cast Members were some of the best I’ve ever encountered. Our vacation would have been awesome anyway, but they definitely gave it that Disney Magic. RJ (who greeted us at the desk), Janelle (who taught us to make leis in the community hall), and Eki (our Adventures by Disney guide both days) are three who’s names I remember, and they are the ideal Disney Cast Members for their willingness to share information about the resort and the Hawaiian culture as well as their extreme friendliness. Another cast member we would group in here would be the guy who works at Aunty’s Beach House and was playing the Ukele when we came in for our tour – he was very informative and had tons of stories and tips of where to tour the island, but we unfortunately did not remember his name. Two more are the spa attendants – they were so nice! In general everyone there was nice, almost everyone we passed greeted us warmly with “Aloha,” but these people were especially great and made our vacation that much more enjoyable! If you travel there and see any of these folks be sure to say hi for me – and for yourself, as I’m sure they will continue to spread the magic!



The only “Disney Friend” we didn’t get to see was Donald. They do list him in the IWA when characters are doing meet and greets, but we didn’t stand in any lines to meet characters (we just did the breakfast and the Starlight Hui).



Disney has really done a great job of making a wonderful experience in Aulani. As it was our first trip to Hawaii I can’t really compare to other resorts on the islands, but I can compare to other hotels and condos I’ve stayed in at other vacation locations. Not only was it clean and the cast members friendly, but there was so much to look at and discover. There was so much to learn and so much out there to teach you. They really facilitate getting out and enjoying the island.



If I could add one thing it would be a “American” quick service food place – one that serves more “plain” stuff for picky eaters like myself. Even if they didn’t want to serve deep fried chicken tenders, they could serve the grilled ones that they had on the Private dining kids menu. Or even a plain sandwich place (although the ABC store offered that). If you have picky eaters in your family I would recommend a room with a full kitchen and getting groceries to prepare meals. *this original note is hopefully fulfilled with the new Mama’s Snack Shop – I’m hoping to see TRs featuring this food so I know for next time


Thank you to everyone that has commented on the trip report. If it hadn’t been for so many people telling me they enjoyed it or that it helped them plan their trip I’d probably never have been motivated to come back and finish these last two posts! If anyone has any questions feel free to ask, I’ll answer as best I can! :thanks:

Next up for me (and you too, if you decide to join me): Grand Californian 2-day Trip Report! (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=45278556#post45278556)

ACDSNY
06-24-2012, 08:27 PM
I enjoyed your report and you're being stronger than I as we've already booked our second trip to Aulani for this December. I can't wait to show it off to the couple going with us.

I'd love to have points from Aulani, but I'd have to sell our AKV points in order to buy Aulani so for now we are booking at the 7 month window.

Leitadala
06-24-2012, 08:42 PM
I enjoyed your report and you're being stronger than I as we've already booked our second trip to Aulani for this December. I can't wait to show it off to the couple going with us.

I'd love to have points from Aulani, but I'd have to sell our AKV points in order to buy Aulani so for now we are booking at the 7 month window.

You are so lucky! I really do wish I were going again, but we just did a family trip in California, and we are taking my in-laws to WDW for their first trip in December. I hope you have a great second trip - let me know all about the improvements and additions!

ACDSNY
06-24-2012, 08:59 PM
The hard part to our next trip is saying "No" when we attend the sales presentation at the Westin in Maui for an every other year. It would go so well with trips to Aulani. Give me strength! I love the Westin on Maui and Kauai, their studios have washer/dryers so you can get two weeks by using the studio one week and the one bedroom the other.

Leitadala
06-24-2012, 10:56 PM
The hard part to our next trip is saying "No" when we attend the sales presentation at the Westin in Maui for an every other year. It would go so well with trips to Aulani. Give me strength! I love the Westin on Maui and Kauai, their studios have washer/dryers so you can get two weeks by using the studio one week and the one bedroom the other.

I know exactly what you mean! Stay strong (till you win the lotto!)