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View Full Version : Aulani Tips and Hawaii Thoughts


bomei
04-03-2012, 08:28 PM
Hawaii and Disney team up to form a formidable cash extraction machine. :-( There are a few ways to save some money but be prepared for sticker shock.


Get yourself a Disney refillable mug for each traveler. The cost is about $19 but you can make the investment worthwhile with a couple days worth of use.

Bring your own snorkelling gear. You can buy good quality equipment on Amazon for less than a day's rental. There is a great snorkelling spot just up the coast past the next hotel (Marriott's Ihilani). Several sea turtles hang out there and there are several different kinds of fish.

Shark's Cove on the North Shore has great snorkelling. Although you can snorkel in the man made lagoons at the hotel there are very few fish to see.

Traffic on the major highways near Honolulu back up during rush hour - avoid if you can. Lost two hours yesterday wasted in horrible traffic and there are no alternate routes - I tried them all.

Check out the lobby of the Ihilani hotel next door as they have several fish ponds that have many stingrays, hammerhead sharks and other fish.

The DVC member lounge for late check out/early arrival is great! Although you can leave your bags with the concierge the free lockers can hold a full size carry on bag.

The Hawaiian Grille across the street has decent take out. There is also an ice cream shop and an ABC store which are good options to the resort prices.


Buy food and prepare it in the room - standard suggestion. If you rent a car then hit the nearby Target which has a full grocery section. Target is about 3 miles away.

Add your thoughts, questions, comments.

musical2
04-04-2012, 12:31 PM
Sounds like good advice. Thanks.

We also like Shark's Cove for snorkeling. Lots of fish the last time we were there.

bwvBound
04-04-2012, 01:47 PM
Hit the swap meet at the Aloha Stadium for great souvenir shopping.

We also visited nearby Electric Beach for snorkeling. (Yes, we had our own gear.)

The nearby Costco had good gas prices (relatively speaking, of course).

bomei
04-04-2012, 02:01 PM
I can't convince family members to come with me to electric beach so I think I'm going solo - I've heard its a good spot from a couple of people.

I starved myself yesterday in an effort to make the Makahiki buffet worthwhile at $43. I loaded up on shrimp and salmon but I'm not sure it was an economical success although the food wasn't bad.

I'll have to look into the Aloha stadium swap meet - sounds like a good tip. Costco is a great option for food of course but don't you have to be a member? I don't know anything about Costco as there isn't one near my home.

taaren
04-04-2012, 02:31 PM
Btw, a lot of tourists can and do buy their snorkeling gear when they get to this islands so they don't have to deal with the hassle of shipping or renting. Walmart, Target, and Costco all have sets for about $30ish of quality as good as what one would rent. (And its cheaper than $20 per bag each way ... now somebody just needs to start an Owner's Locker in Hawaii so people that come regularly could store it and not throw them away. I seriously considered starting one on Maui but with my real job, I just didn't have the spare time and energy.)

DVCismyhappyplace
04-04-2012, 02:46 PM
Btw, a lot of tourists can and do buy their snorkeling gear when they get to this islands so they don't have to deal with the hassle of shipping or renting. Walmart, Target, and Costco all have sets for about $30ish of quality as good as what one would rent. (And its cheaper than $20 per bag each way ... now somebody just needs to start an Owner's Locker in Hawaii so people that come regularly could store it and not throw them away. I seriously considered starting one on Maui but with my real job, I just didn't have the spare time and energy.)

DH and I usually stop at Boss Frogs or Snorkel Bob's when we're in the isalnds. There are always coupons in the "THIS WEEK" publications at the airport. We were in Maui for 2 weeks in September and paid $30 each for 13 days to rent great snorkel gear.

bwvBound
04-04-2012, 03:10 PM
I can't convince family members to come with me to electric beach so I think I'm going solo - I've heard its a good spot from a couple of people.Oh, don't go alone! Please snorkel with a buddy. :)

Costco is a great option for food of course but don't you have to be a member? I don't know anything about Costco as there isn't one near my home.Yes, must be a member to access either to warehouse or gasoline. However ... if you are nearby, starving and wishing to fill your own tank will little change ... you may buy pizza, hotdogs, frozen yogurt and similar with cash from the walk up counter service. But ... why fight parking for pizza??

Ggatorgirl
04-04-2012, 06:37 PM
Don't forget the $4 Happy Hour Mai Tai at Chuck's in the Marriott Ko Olina resort...walking distance, I hear, from Aulani!!

Carrie in AZ
04-04-2012, 11:52 PM
There is a great snorkelling spot just up the coast past the next hotel (Marriott's Ihilani). Several sea turtles hang out there and there are several different kinds of fish.


Could you please be more specific on where this is located? For example, would we need to drive there or could we walk? If car is necessary, please post if we should turn right or left when leaving the resort, etc. Is this location on a map? Thanks so much!

bomei
04-05-2012, 02:18 AM
Could you please be more specific on where this is located?

The snorkel spot I mentioned that is near the hotel is a short walk along the coast - no car necessary. Walk from Aulani towards the Ihilani next door along the path that runs around the lagoon and follow the path across the lawn until it ends. There's a sign telling you about to leave the hotel's property and that you are on your own. The path from that point is sand and leads to a small cove that tends to be a bit rough and not really good for swimming or snorkelling but I've seen people try both and I did see a turtle there yesterday. Walk around that cove and follow the stones and the wall which will lead to another larger lagoon. This spot has a beach and isn't bad for snorkelling. However, if you follow along the wall it will lead to a connected cove which has a beach and is where the turtles hang out. This beach can also be accessed via the sidewalk that runs along the main resort drive but what is the fun in that? The beach walk is about 15 minutes.

bomei
04-05-2012, 02:27 AM
Went to the Aloha Stadium swap meet today - good suggestion! I've never seen so many t-shirts :-) Lots of bargains on clothes, gifts, snorkel gear, jewelry, crafts, and touristy stuff. Comparatively speaking the prices were less than half of what the ABC Store sells the exact same items for.

We went to the USS Arizona Memorial today. It is free but you need to get a ticket to get on a scheduled boat over to the memorial - or do you? I noticed that we dutifully waited our turn which turned out to be a 2:45 time slot which was the best we could get when we arrived at 11:00 AM. We killed the time at the aforementioned Aloha Stadium swap meet. What I noticed was that many (as in 30 - 35 people) waited in line without tickets in a "stand-by" line and all of them got in - no long wait, no tickets. So, if you go and they say the tickets are all gone you might try this tactic as it seemed to work pretty well. I'm not sure if it would work earlier in the day but maybe someone else here can chime in with their experience.

Another tip which is really a reminder for visiting any Disney resort: If you have a Disney credit card don't forget you can use the accumulated points as cash by transferring them to a debit card. These points have paid for a couple of meals here which as I've mentioned are very expensive. You can use the points for any merchandise or service.

bwvBound
04-05-2012, 08:24 AM
Went to the Aloha Stadium swap meet today - good suggestion! I've never seen so many t-shirts :-) Lots of bargains on clothes, gifts, snorkel gear, jewelry, crafts, and touristy stuff. Comparatively speaking the prices were less than half of what the ABC Store sells the exact same items for.Glad it worked out! FWIW, we shipped our stash of T-shirts and gift items home using USPS flat rate boxes. It beat packing them. We used the post office on Nimitz at the airport.

We went to the USS Arizona Memorial today. It is free but you need to get a ticket to get on a scheduled boat over to the memorial - or do you? I noticed that we dutifully waited our turn which turned out to be a 2:45 time slot which was the best we could get when we arrived at 11:00 AM. We killed the time at the aforementioned Aloha Stadium swap meet. What I noticed was that many (as in 30 - 35 people) waited in line without tickets in a "stand-by" line and all of them got in - no long wait, no tickets. So, if you go and they say the tickets are all gone you might try this tactic as it seemed to work pretty well. I'm not sure if it would work earlier in the day but maybe someone else here can chime in with their experience.We did the walk-up/stand-by thing and it worked fine for us. Once we had our tickets we moseyed through the free museum displays.

musical2
04-05-2012, 12:12 PM
We also visited nearby Electric Beach for snorkeling. (Yes, we had our own gear.)



How good is the snorkeling at Electric Beach? What good things are there to see there, and how calm or rough is the water? Any information is appreciated.

Thanks.