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View Full Version : Aulani-help planning for Oahu


gwensgoofy
04-18-2012, 08:44 AM
We will be in Hawaii from 12/20 through 1/1 (hopefully) 8 days at Aulani, and the balance using our Marriott points. I'm hoping we start at Marriott and spend the last 8 days at Aulanai. I'm just beginning to plan, and looking to benefit from others' advice.

I've got 2 adventurous teen boys (15 and 17 at that time), they want to "try" surfing, and I know we want to spend a day at Pearl Harbor. They love any recreational activity. At this point, I'm thinking of doing most of our exploring while at whichever Marriott we get, and just relaxing at Aulani. We will rent a car, and my husband loves driving/exploring.

Which websites did you use to make plans or figure out where you wanted to explore? Any absolute must-do-this, or whatever-you-do-avoid-this advice?This is supposed to be our family's big adventure-we've been saving, and want to really enjoy Oahu. Any and all advice welcome!

mdsd8700
04-18-2012, 09:56 AM
We haven't gone yet but have planned out our June trip. I used a lot of advice from people on this site as well as a book on Oahu. I got my Pearl Habor tickets on line which is something fairly new (from the government's recreational site). Not sure how far out the tickets are available.

http://www.recreation.gov/unifSearchResults.do?topTabIndex=Search

I also signed up for the Groupon and Living Social deals for Honolulu. Your trip is a bit far out that they probably won't have anything yet that you can use but we got our snorkeling with sea turtles activity from Living Social so that worked out nicely. They generally have things like snorkeling, day spas, boat cruises, etc.

I hear the Hawaiin Fire school is great for surfing and since you will have your own car I think I read it is cheaper to book on your own then through Disney (which is true for a majority of the tours they offer). We might do this if we can squeeze it in.

Kualoa Ranch has some great tours and expeditions that seem adventurous. Although we are not really "tour" type people I had wanted to do the ATV tour, but DD is only 15 so we can't.

Although we are not purchasing it the Oahu Go Card has 36 attractions to choose from so take a look at that and see if that would be a value for your family.

If you are going to relax at Aulani, renting a cabana could be nice. There is another thread on this that states sometimes days do "sell out" and reservations are not available. Based on that we booked a cabana a few days ago without any problems.

I am sure others who have been already will chime in with their thoughts. There are quite a few other threads about Aulani that talk about resturants and activities that might be helpful to you as well.

Enjoy your trip! :goodvibes

taaren
04-18-2012, 03:40 PM
We stayed at the Marriott Waikiki Resort right before our first Aulani stay, the view pics are in the mini-TR in my signature. I'd highly recommend it, its gorgeous and in the middle of the action, spacious rooms (I have pics of those as well, just not in that TR.)

The Marriott Ihilani as well as the Koolina villas are very nice as well, but they are category 6 and 7 so require more points, and are right next to Aulani (on the side of the island that's far removed from where most attractions are), so if you want something different and closer to the attractions I'd recommend the Waikiki one. I wouldn't go for the cat 4 Courtyard its small and cramped, not very vacation-ey. I only stay there if I'm travelling for an appointment and just plan on crashing.

Haunama Bay is a snorkeling spot must-see on Oahu. A lot of people like the book Oahu Revealed, and it has some good recommendation. I like Sea-Life Park, but only because its closer than Sea-World and the dolphin shows are fun, but does pale in comparison to the big marine-life parks. The Polynesian Cultural Center has a lot of good history and culture to absorb.

Like the PP said, there's a lot of TRs on here so explore them and figure out what works for you. Aulani is fun and the two times I've been able to get there I wasn't able to do everything I wanted in 3 days, but I don't know if I'd plan on spending every day at the resort if you have 8 days ... maybe every other?