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View Full Version : Off to Aulani, Firstimer to the Islands


MyLove4Disney
10-23-2011, 09:52 PM
I haven't put much out on the Boards in the DVC section usually in the DCL section. They are a world of information, I'm hoping you dis'ers are a world of information also.

Since this is my first time to Hawaii, it will all be new, but at least I'll be going to Disney and that will be my familar/safe place.

Anyway I was going for some ideas for things to do while there. I know everyone will enjoy each area differently but I would love to hear all your sugestions and thoughts.

Introduction.

Me dvc owner, celebrating my 50th birthday but still a kid at heart, can't wait for the water slides and lazy river...
DD co owner 27
DD Boyfriend 30
2 of my BFF 45 and 60 she is the only one that has been to Oahu before.
So 5 in all at this point, there my be 2 more my DB and his wife. It will be a full adult group that are kids at heart. We love the parks and do all the rides all 5 of us. DD is a former cast member of DLand and is a current CM of the Disney Store. Keeping the magic going.

I have reserved a dedicated standard 2 bed room for a full week of sun, fun and relaxation. So we should have lots of space and really no one will have to share a bed unless the extra two come but that won't be bad. I also have a rental minivan for the week.

Ok, I know this is going to sound weird, but 3 of the 5 do not eat any kind of sea food, nor are any of us foodies so we are not there for the food. I read a few of the foods reviews that are not so good. Anyway we are doing this some what on a budget when it comes to food, we would rather go do things than spend money in a resturant. No one is heavey into snokling or divers. So that is not what we will be into.

So here goes the questions, in no particular order.

1. We want to do the traditional dinner luau/show for my birthday celebration. What are your suggestions and what is the average costs? If you have the contact information that would be helpful as well.

2. We want to visit Pearl Harbor and see the memorial. What is the best tour group that you were happy with?

3. What other tours did you go on while you were there that you would suggest for an all adult group? Island tours, etc.

4. We plan on doing many of our meals in the room. I have stayed in DVC resorts in Florida before but not had as many people to feed. What it the pots and pans situation? one fry pan, one pot in a 2 bed room or is there more to cook with. We especially are going to do big breakfast's/brunch, skipping lunch, I'm just wondering if I need to pick up a cheap fry pan and pot at Costco with all our other food pickup items? Or will the resort provide more if you ask?

5. We are going to do a 1st day costco run, it there a regular larger grocery store near there area as well? and Walmart/target?

6. I know at the airport we have to schedule lei's and purchase them. What does the resort offer and what are the costs.

7. What types of events and activities are on property, the web site seems a bit lacking of what you can actually do and book at the resort.

8. Any ideas or suggestions for other things to do are welcomed.

Thanks everyone.

MyLove4Disney
10-26-2011, 06:42 PM
I guess not enough Dis'er have been to Aulani yet. did find more information on the Dis site.

But others have comments please share.

thank you

dianeschlicht
10-27-2011, 07:57 AM
I haven't put much out on the Boards in the DVC section usually in the DCL section. They are a world of information, I'm hoping you dis'ers are a world of information also.

Since this is my first time to Hawaii, it will all be new, but at least I'll be going to Disney and that will be my familar/safe place.

Anyway I was going for some ideas for things to do while there. I know everyone will enjoy each area differently but I would love to hear all your sugestions and thoughts.

Introduction.

Me dvc owner, celebrating my 50th birthday but still a kid at heart, can't wait for the water slides and lazy river...
DD co owner 27
DD Boyfriend 30
2 of my BFF 45 and 60 she is the only one that has been to Oahu before.
So 5 in all at this point, there my be 2 more my DB and his wife. It will be a full adult group that are kids at heart. We love the parks and do all the rides all 5 of us. DD is a former cast member of DLand and is a current CM of the Disney Store. Keeping the magic going.

I have reserved a dedicated standard 2 bed room for a full week of sun, fun and relaxation. So we should have lots of space and really no one will have to share a bed unless the extra two come but that won't be bad. I also have a rental minivan for the week.

Ok, I know this is going to sound weird, but 3 of the 5 do not eat any kind of sea food, nor are any of us foodies so we are not there for the food. I read a few of the foods reviews that are not so good. Anyway we are doing this some what on a budget when it comes to food, we would rather go do things than spend money in a resturant. No one is heavey into snokling or divers. So that is not what we will be into.

So here goes the questions, in no particular order.

1. We want to do the traditional dinner luau/show for my birthday celebration. What are your suggestions and what is the average costs? If you have the contact information that would be helpful as well. I Can't remember the name, but there is a very popular one not too far from Aulani. I suspect if you contact the resort, they will have suggestions.

2. We want to visit Pearl Harbor and see the memorial. What is the best tour group that you were happy with?Not sure I understand your question. The Memorial is a National site, and you arrange the boat trip through them when you arrive. The Pearl Harbor site also has a HUGE museum that is also free. There are other side tours included, like a submarine and a battle ship. You just go to the visitor's center and enjoy. The schedule will be there and you sign up for the tours there.

3. What other tours did you go on while you were there that you would suggest for an all adult group? Island tours, etc. With a rental car, you are best to strike out on your own. We like the tour of the Palace and also Bishop Museum. The Polynesian Cultural Center is a good "one time" thing to do to get acquainted with the culture of the area. We also enjoyed hiking Diamond Head. Since your group is adventurous, I think they would love that one! That too is a National Park, so you just park in the lot and hike! Be sure to bring a flashlight, because parts of the hike are inside the mountain and very dark. There is one place where you need to go up a spiral stair inside the mountain in the dark. This used to be a WWII look out and gunner's site, so not big on amenities.

4. We plan on doing many of our meals in the room. I have stayed in DVC resorts in Florida before but not had as many people to feed. What it the pots and pans situation? one fry pan, one pot in a 2 bed room or is there more to cook with. We especially are going to do big breakfast's/brunch, skipping lunch, I'm just wondering if I need to pick up a cheap fry pan and pot at Costco with all our other food pickup items? Or will the resort provide more if you ask?
No first hand experience with Aulani, but every DVC resort I've stayed at had always been good at bringing anything extra needed. There should be a full compliment of utensils.
5. We are going to do a 1st day costco run, it there a regular larger grocery store near there area as well? and Walmart/target?

6. I know at the airport we have to schedule lei's and purchase them. What does the resort offer and what are the costs. I think they give them to you free.

7. What types of events and activities are on property, the web site seems a bit lacking of what you can actually do and book at the resort.

8. Any ideas or suggestions for other things to do are welcomed.

Thanks everyone.
I'll answer what I can in the body of your quote.

dvc_john
10-27-2011, 08:13 AM
I think the luau that Diane is thinking of is Paradise Cove. It's just the other side of the J.W.Marriott Illiani hotel, which is right next to Aulani.
There is another one that is pretty close I think, Germaine's Luau (sic?).
I have been to Paradise Cove, but not Germaine's.

dianeschlicht
10-27-2011, 01:21 PM
I think the luau that Diane is thinking of is Paradise Cove. It's just the other side of the J.W.Marriott Illiani hotel, which is right next to Aulani.
There is another one that is pretty close I think, Germaine's Luau (sic?).
I have been to Paradise Cove, but not Germaine's.

You're right, John...Paradise Cove is the one I was thinking of. We have actually only been to luaus on the other islands....never Oahu.

MyLove4Disney
10-28-2011, 09:09 PM
Thanks John and Diane, your information will be helpful. I've been waiting for all this type of planning until now. Getting excited to here all the things we can do.

Keep the comments coming. Love it.

rbuzzotta
10-29-2011, 12:19 PM
There is a Super Walmart close to downtown Honolulu. I used to take my DD there when I went to visit her while she was a student there.

Also, the Luau at the Hilton Hawaiin village is pretty good.

A trip to the Dole Plantation is a must. Some time up on the NOrthShore is a must as well.

Are you renting a car? I found travelling the highways there (really only 3) is pretty easy. Traffic is tough heading to Waikiki but otherwise not too too bad.

If you have any specific questions, I can ask my DD and she may know. She went to HPU for 2 years and travelled the island alot. Just PM me and I will ask her.

Have fun.....I watched it being built and would love to go back and stay there.

DenLo
10-29-2011, 12:47 PM
Here's a trip report by Leitadala about her Aulani vacation. They did a lot of side trips. She doesn't like the food at the resort but her DH does. http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2819494

And here's another thread that has links to reviews and other information for Aulani and Hawaii. http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2789797

I would definitely do Dole Plantation there are multiple things to do there. http://www.dole-plantation.com/

The Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor http://www.nps.gov/valr/index.htm

And drive around Oahu especially to see the north shore and watch some surfers. Or you can take The Bus (which is the local bus system). But it travels on island time and isn't always on time.

I would do a luau at Aulani if offered. There are others on the island, but some are pretty touristy including the Polynesian Cultural Center.

I hope you have a fabulous birthday celebration at Aulani! Aloha!

ccigliano
10-29-2011, 06:35 PM
The last time I was in Ko Olina, we stayed at the Marriott Ko Olina resort as I traded my Aruba Marriott for Hawaii Ko Olina, I booked an evening under the stars with a local astronomer with a very large expensive telescope right on the beach. If you'd like to experience star gazing you may want to go to the Ko Olina Marriott resort and inquire. I would do it again and you definitely need to make a reservation as they limit the size of the group so that everyone gets to see the stars and planets using the telescope. I also recommend driving over to Lanikai on the eastern side of the island. The drive over is beautiful and the beach is spectacular. Don't miss sunset on the North Shore either and we loved watching it from Sunset Beach as I sure that's how it got its name. Have a wonderful vacation and be sure to spend lots of time at Aulani too.

DisneyCruiser2008
10-29-2011, 07:28 PM
We've been to both Germaine's and Paradise Cove luaus and enjoyed them both. They are definitely touristy... But I'd expect that of any Luau...

Oahu has good public transportation, so we don't usually rent a car for the entire trip.... But we do usually rent one for one day and drive to the North Shore and watch the surfers... It's a nice drive and different atmosphere on that side of the island.

MyLove4Disney
10-29-2011, 11:58 PM
Thank you all so very much. Dole plantation will be on the listing. Drive to Northshore at Sunset. I had heard about that, it is a great idea also.

Thanks again.

DenLo
10-30-2011, 10:43 AM
Roberts does most of the Hawaiian tours. http://www.robertshawaii.com/oahu/ We've traveled to Hawaii (all of the large islands) via cruise ships and have taken tours that were almost exclusively through Roberts Tours. A few were not Roberts Tours and I thought they were just so-so.

But you could rent cars and just drive yourselves to most locations and not need a tour. As DVC members you'll have free parking at Aulani.

dgaston
10-30-2011, 12:50 PM
I would also suggest buying the Hawaii Entertainment book. It had discount coupons for the luau's and other helpful savings. I also use Tripadvisor to get reviews of various places.

We did Pearl Harbor and the Missouri on our own -- all advise you to get there early!

I also recommend getting shrimp from the shrimp trucks on the North shore for those of you that like seafood. Out of this world!

MyLove4Disney
10-30-2011, 02:43 PM
Thank you, I'm going to look into the entertainment book.

I just finished reading the trip report link listed. Sounds great. Some will be must do and others we will have to skip this time. One in the group would not be able to do Diamond head trip. I would love to do, but I know it would be hard for me. I'm pooh sized but I could still do eventhough I would be slow. But the 60 year would not, only because last year she fell and broke her right leg and arm and had to have major surgery to repair, she is back walking and everything, but is not ready for anything that would be that hard. If she had not had the fall she would have been able to do it as well and would have been right up our alley.

On the Luau, I was looking more for a big stage show type one, lots of dancing lots of music, do they actually have any of those or is that more of a hype type thing that really doesn't exisit?

Thanks again. Love all your information. Down to 101 day from arrival to island.

Getting excited already doing my packing planning to fit two people stuff into one bag.

I live in California, so I don't have as long a flight as some of you. Non stop 6 hours. Now I have flown non stop from California to Florida but that was over land. I'm wondering how it will be to Hawaii. Yehaw, going to have to really pay attention to where the water flotation devices are kept. LOL.

We leave at 9:30 am and get in about 2pm. So we will have some time for shopping and such the first day.

We got very good pricing for our flight. Hawaiian airlines last week just under 350.00 round trip, but have to drive 80 miles to the airport. There is an airport only 10 min from my house but it was 150.00 more round trip, that times 5 people, it was worth driving the 80 miles and parking of 60.bucks. If I would have waited one we longer I would have had to pay 600.00 each. So in my book I got about 5 tickets for the price of 3. another Yehaw. More money to spend on fun.

Thanks everyone

vacationclub
10-30-2011, 06:01 PM
We were there in September. I created a video (travel channel style) in case it gives you any inspiration. See signature below.

MyLove4Disney
10-30-2011, 11:29 PM
thank you for the video it was wonderful.

donmil723
10-31-2011, 10:05 PM
thank you for the video it was wonderful.

Yes! It was AWESOME!
:cool1::cool1:popcorn:::thumbsup2:thumbsup2

MAGICFOR2
10-31-2011, 11:03 PM
Strange - I can't see a siggie for vacationclub :confused3

Golden Rose
11-01-2011, 12:31 PM
We used to have family in the islands, so we've been over many times. Since you've never been, I would definitely suggest several things that have already been mentioned.

1) Pearl Harbor/Arizona Memorial - drive yourself there early in the morning, the crowds get really bad. This can sometimes eat up a large chunk of your day, depending what all you choose to do in the area, and how long the wait is when you get there.

2) Polynesian Cultural Center - I would think this is a must do for a group of young at heart adults. They also do have a big show at night, with dancing from assorted pacific island groups. It isn't close to Ko Olina. This is a full day and into the night activity.

3) Honolulu - You really should plan to go to Honolulu for a day. Spend part of a day seeing Wakiki beach, visiting the Bishop's Museum, and going over to Ala Moana Mall. It's a beautiful shopping center, and has some really interesting shops. (Go by Shirokiya, the Japanese Department store, and plan on lunch there if anyone likes Japanese food.)

4) Luau - For first timers, it is probably worth it. We don't generally find them worth the money often, since you end up paying at least $80 a person, but it is certainly worth doing at least once. You're really close to Paradise Cove Luau at Aulani, which, as mentioned is one of the big, popular ones. It will be the big show and feast you've seen in shows about Hawaii that you're hoping for.

5) Build in at least one hang out at the resort day, probably two. (How long is your trip?) It is so easy to get caught up doing all the cool things that you don't spend enough time just relaxing. If you have any golfers in the group, there is good golf right there. There is, of course, the fabulous pool, and gorgeous beach. Even if your whole group doesn't snorkel, you might enjoy going into the lagoon while they're feeding the fish, and watching that. (I assume they still do that; they were doing that from the Marriott last year.)

6) Other possibilities, depending on your interests -
Waimea Falls Park - beautiful gardens lead up to a waterfall, and you can sometimes swim in the pool there. This might be a difficult walk for some of your party, but you used to be able to rent a golf cart (I assume you still can, but I don't know for a fact.) This is on the North Shore, and there are several gorgeous beaches nearby.
Kualoa Ranch - lots of outdoor activities here, if anyone in your group would be interested in horseback riding, tours of sites used in movies (like Jurassic Park) and tv (like Lost), catamaran boating tours, atvs, etc.
Dolphin or whale watching - whale watching is seasonal (November to April), dolphin watching really isn't. You can take a boat, and I think there is one that leaves from not too far from the resort, out to look for wild dolphins. Sometimes you can swim with dolphins, too.
Day tours of other islands - you can fly to another island in the morning, tour the island for the day, and return to Oahu in the evening. There are tour groups that will facilitate this for you, and depending on your interest in other islands, it can be worth doing. You could hit some of the top sights in Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island this way, for between $300 and $400 per person (including the interisland airfare.) It is pricey, but depending on your interest in seeing other sights, for example the volcanoes and black sand beaches on the Big Island, it can be worth it.

Hope some of this is useful!

MyLove4Disney
11-01-2011, 08:32 PM
Golden Rose. Oh my this is really a wealth of information. Thank you so much.

MAGICFOR2
11-01-2011, 11:41 PM
Yes, thank you! I will be joining DH on a work trip in Oahu in Feb - I will want to do everything on this list!!!:banana::banana::banana::banana:

MyLove4Disney
11-03-2011, 10:39 PM
Does anyone know if the rooms have the ipod docking unit for music?

kendo911
11-04-2011, 06:11 AM
Congrats on the trip to the islands. My wife and I went in May and loved it. Looking forward to going back in the not too distant future. Unfortunately, Aulani was not open so we stayed at Hilton Hawaiian Village in Wakiki.

Here is some insight on some of the questions:

1) Germaine's Luau was very good. It was on the beach not too far from Disney. The atmosphere was great and the show was very good. We did see the one at Hilton and it was on the top deck of the parking lot. I did not see anything about Paradise Cove

2) Pearl Harbor is a must do. We did a tour with Roberts Hawaii and had the guarenteed tickets out to the Arizona with the tour. It was very busy both worth the experience. I personally could have stayed there for several hurs and thinking aobut driving myself.

3) One of the best days we did was rent a convertible and drive the entire island. It took about 6-7 hours with stops and to eat.

4) Definitely plan a day or so at the resort to relax. That is what we did not do and I wish we did.

5) Public transportation is good if you do not want to drive. Parking is a bear in Wakiki

Thanks and have fun

Ken

michelleu
11-04-2011, 01:12 PM
Susan, I hope you will post after your trip and share your experiences with us. I've just started looking into this for my family. We have never been to Hawaii and this looks like a beautiful resort. The other information people have posted is very helpful. Best wishes for your birthday adventure.

pizzamaker
11-22-2011, 10:52 AM
Great information! Thank you!

Shuweb
11-25-2011, 02:33 AM
Does anyone know if the rooms have the ipod docking unit for music?

They do not.

Shuweb
11-25-2011, 02:36 AM
I guess not enough Dis'er have been to Aulani yet. did find more information on the Dis site.

But others have comments please share.

thank you

Please take a look at my trip report. I'll also be posting photos on Shuweb.com immediately after the Thanksgiving weekend.

As for ideas on Oahu, do take a look at Shuweb.com for ideas. We were in Oahu last year too.

spleen
11-25-2011, 03:42 AM
Does anyone know if the rooms have the ipod docking unit for music?

They do not.

I think this might be a difference between the Aulani hotel rooms and the DVC villas. dvcnews.com shows that the Aulani villas are supposed to come with iHome clock radios.

http://dvcnews.com/index.php/resorts/aulani-villas/guest-room-inventory

slowly
11-26-2011, 12:52 AM
I think this might be a difference between the Aulani hotel rooms and the DVC villas. dvcnews.com shows that the Aulani villas are supposed to come with iHome clock radios.

http://dvcnews.com/index.php/resorts/aulani-villas/guest-room-inventory

Yes they do have them in the Villas. The clock is so bright we end up facing it up against the wall. It's the square ones that have the docking station on top.

Shuweb
11-26-2011, 03:25 AM
If you are interested in seeing some photos from our trip to Aulani, please check out www.shuweb.com. I will still be adding some photos, but I hope that the narrative will give you some insight into the activities. You will also see that we also went to Oahu just a year ago, and those pictures are up on the site as well. I hope this will give you some more ideas for your trip.

MyLove4Disney
11-26-2011, 09:22 AM
More information, thanks all it's great. It's getting closer now.

Great the have and ihome clock in the villa, thats were we will be.

Twohsieh
11-26-2011, 01:30 PM
Hello Mylove4disney,

My family and I were in a 2BR dedicated OV at the Aulani Nov. 1-7th. I have to tell you that you and your party are going to have so much to do and have so much fun. They are many activities planned throughout out the day and night. As for the kitchen, I thought it was a little smaller than some other Dvc resorts, but it was fine for our family. The kitchen had a medium and tiny frypan and two smaller pots. We did not need to have larger cookware because our three young kids do not eat much. They do have a rice cooker, which we used often. The dishes and glasses were for a service of eight.

As for the luau/show, we ended up going to the Fia Fia show at the Marriott Beachclub (two resorts down from Aulani-it is really close by). We had a blast and it was very intimate (only about 300 people, instead of the 1000+ at most of the other luaus) and the food was good too. Since there are not too many people, everyone who wanted to participate in the free activites were able to. The best part of the show is the host, chief S is so funny and entertaining. I would definitely see the show again. The cost is $90 for adults and they only have the show on Tuesday nights. We booked through the Marriot Beachclub before our trip. There are no discounts for the show, but I heard if you go to their timeshare meeting, you can elect to go the the show for free.

You may want to go the the Dole Plantation, there are some fun things there to see. Also, try the shrimp trucks on your way to The North shore, and don't forget to try the shave ice at Matsumoto's in Haleiwa. Also, if you all have an extra free day, try the Polynesian Cultural Center. It is about an hour from Ko Olina, but it was a wonderful experience to learn about the culture and to participate in the activities they had.

As the welcome gift at the Aulani, the women receive a flower lei and the men receive a kukui nut necklace upon arrive at the resort front entrance. We also had flower leis' waiting for us at the airport. It was a very nice way to start our vacation. Have an awesome time!

I used our Oahu Revealed book throughout our trip. The maps are great and the book was full of activites for use to do.

Alice28
11-27-2011, 08:58 PM
There is a Target right next to Costco, about 5-10 minutes from the resort.

The Costco and Target are GREAT for souvenirs and food! We found Costco to have the best prices on stuff to bring home for our families, cheaper than the PX minimart at the military resort we stayed at.

A reasonably priced luau is at the Hale Koa hotel on Waikiki. It's a military hotel, but anyone can dine there.

Every Friday night, the Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel on Waikiki shoots off a fireworks show. It was so magical- leaning against a palm tree with my family, listening to the ocean, watching the fireworks. So great!

About 15 minutes north of Aulani is Pokai Bay- dolphin tours are run out of there. We stayed at another military cabin type place there and we could see the dolphins breaching from our cabins.

Near Matsumoto's shave ice in Halewei is this cool soap factory- I think it's called North Shore Soap Factory. It's in an old sugar cane factory- neat products, and then there was a coffee roasting place/art house next to it. We have fond memories hanging out there one afternoon.

DH and I are going for four nights in January- we got Aulani for 2 nights and will stay at Hale Koa for 2 nights. I have been to all 4 main islands, and I really like Oahu the best. However, I haven't been to Maui since I was 12, so I don't trust my judgement with that island. Oahu is so incredibly diverse- nightlife and great shopping in Honolulu, and great snorkeling/quiet places just 20-30 minutes away.

CarolynK
11-27-2011, 10:18 PM
...A reasonably priced luau is at the Hale Koa hotel on Waikiki. It's a military hotel, but anyone can dine there...

We will be at Aulani in a few weeks, and I have been trying to find a luau that isn't ridiculously expensive and/or badly reviewed! The Hale Koa luau actually sounds like a possibility, but are you sure anyone can dine there?

I'm not even sure we need to go to a luau--it sounds like Disney has some type of similar entertainment at the resort.

Alice28
11-27-2011, 11:21 PM
We will be at Aulani in a few weeks, and I have been trying to find a luau that isn't ridiculously expensive and/or badly reviewed! The Hale Koa luau actually sounds like a possibility, but are you sure anyone can dine there?

I'm not even sure we need to go to a luau--it sounds like Disney has some type of similar entertainment at the resort.

I'm almost positive anyone can go. Check out the website at www.halekoa.com and look at the shows. You could always call the hotel and ask.

spleen
11-28-2011, 02:39 AM
I'm pretty sure Hale Koa requires military sponsorship to eat there / attend their luau. At least, every time we've gone, we've had to have somebody with military connections take us to Sunday brunch or any of the restaurants.

MAGICFOR2
12-29-2011, 11:30 PM
There is a Target right next to Costco, about 5-10 minutes from the resort.

The Costco and Target are GREAT for souvenirs and food! We found Costco to have the best prices on stuff to bring home for our families, cheaper than the PX minimart at the military resort we stayed at.

A reasonably priced luau is at the Hale Koa hotel on Waikiki. It's a military hotel, but anyone can dine there.

Every Friday night, the Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel on Waikiki shoots off a fireworks show. It was so magical- leaning against a palm tree with my family, listening to the ocean, watching the fireworks. So great!

About 15 minutes north of Aulani is Pokai Bay- dolphin tours are run out of there. We stayed at another military cabin type place there and we could see the dolphins breaching from our cabins.

Near Matsumoto's shave ice in Halewei is this cool soap factory- I think it's called North Shore Soap Factory. It's in an old sugar cane factory- neat products, and then there was a coffee roasting place/art house next to it. We have fond memories hanging out there one afternoon.

DH and I are going for four nights in January- we got Aulani for 2 nights and will stay at Hale Koa for 2 nights. I have been to all 4 main islands, and I really like Oahu the best. However, I haven't been to Maui since I was 12, so I don't trust my judgement with that island. Oahu is so incredibly diverse- nightlife and great shopping in Honolulu, and great snorkeling/quiet places just 20-30 minutes away.

Thanks Alice! DH is going TDY to Hickam in March, and I'm going to join him there - so excited! These all sounds like great ideas, and I'm planning to rent a car so we can get around when we have free time. There are other wives going too, so we might entertain ourselves without the guys sometimes.

Would you suggest any fun "local" type places to shop, or just stick with Costco or Target?

stitch'sgirl
12-31-2011, 10:58 PM
Just backget from Aulani ( Dec 29) and weighing in about Paradise Cove luau. I felt we had to experience a luau at least once. But I thought it was a bit cheesy. We were packed in sitting on plastic chairs with 800 of our friends. As soon as we saw the fire dancing, we got out of there. The menu was not impressive, and buffet lines long. I did hear from someone who lives on Oahu said Fia Fia is better. That being said, we went to Aulani's Starlit Hui a few days later, and found it to be wonderful. Disney is known for its showmanship and this is no exception. It is free twice a week. There is no food and you are welcome to sit on woven grass mats. The music is moving and the dances are beautiful. My husband and Iasked each other why we spent money on a luau. At least it convinced me as far as shows, Disney does it best!:wizard: