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View Full Version : At Aulani Right Now!


izzy
05-10-2012, 02:34 AM
I checked into my pool view studio yesterday. They are extemely friendly here and the place is beautiful! I got here at 1:30, and my room was ready. I had asked for a higher lever floor, and I got the 2nd floor. I asked if they had anything higher, and she said because I'm staying so long (11 nights), that this presents a problem. Not sure why, but whatever. Anyway, the lady who checked me in then took me to my room. I'm in room 204 on the non-Ewa side. (Sorry, I can't remember the name of the side I'm on.)

I was very unhappy with the location at first. My room overlooks the children's water play area, and the kids were screaming like banshees and the fountains were LOUD. Nothing is louder than the squeal of a 3 year old girl - LOL!! I tried making a phone call on my balcony and couldn't because of the noise. She said that they would move me today because of the noise. All I kept thinking about is the pool view room I had at AKV where the kids were screaming until midnight.

Anyway, my worrying was for naught. They closed that particular pool area at 6 p.m. and I don't think it opened until around 8 this morning. I ended up staying in this room since it was quiet at night.

I went for groceries today, and ended up at Target, Costco, and Safeway. I wasn't too impressed with Target's selections, but I noticed that they've cleared out a huge area and said that a grocery section is coming soon. I got a gallon of POG at Costco for $3.99 which I thought was a bargain! Also got a pineapple that ended up becoming an adventure later. Finally to Safeway for the things I couldn't find at Target. Be sure to get their Safeway card so that you can take advantage of things on sale. A few blocks from Safeway there is also a WalMart that apparently just opened a month or so ago. I didn't go to it, but I was told at the concierge desk that this is a regular WalMart, not a SuperWalMart with real groceries.

Back to the pineapple. I asked the concierge yesterday if I would be able to get a sharp knife to cut it up since studios don't have real cutlery. She checked with housekeeping and they said that it would be no problem. So I call housekeeping today, and they said they didn't have any sharp knives, and then sent to me the private dining line. Private dining said that all they could give me was a butter knife. So, back to housekeeping again and they said they would check again. They finally came by with a flimsy steak knife, but the guy said that he would have to come back to pick it up in a few minutes. I asked him if a steak knife is all they have in the 1 and 2 BR units, and he said yes. I hacked away at the pineapple, and finally got it cut up, but it was a real mess. Two hours later, and the guy still hasn't come by to get the knife from me - LOL!!

So, the moral of the story is - if you're in a studio and need a real knife for any reason, be prepared for a hassle. Either pack one in your checked luggage or just buy one at Target.

Other than the knife issue, they have bent over backwards here to be accommodating. The level of service here is by far and away higher than anything I've experienced at WDW, and I can't say that I've ever had too many complaints there!

Some of my plans include: snorkeling at Haunama Bay, going to the Big Island to see the volcanoes, going on dolphin and snorkeling catamaran excursion, and going to the Polynesian Culture Center. I also want to spend plenty of time at the resort and enjoy everything it has to offer. I have a spa treatment scheduled for next week, and I'll probably need it with everything I have planned!

If anyone has questions, feel free to ask away!

wdrl
05-10-2012, 10:59 AM
Its nice to know that they turn off the water at the kids' play area in the early evening. We have a Pool View studio booked for September and we've wondered how loud the noise might be from the water features.

By the way, if you get a chance, could you post a photo of the view from your room to the thread on Aulani's Villas and Views (click here (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2907389)). I would appreciate it!

StormalongKay
05-10-2012, 01:16 PM
Enjoy your time at Aulani!

We are scheduled there for the end of July. I will be interested to hear your impressions of Hanauma Bay.

ennisb
05-10-2012, 01:23 PM
Down to 10 days and we will be winging our way. Sounds great so far

ays114
05-10-2012, 01:34 PM
Have you noticed anything special for Mother's Day at Ama Ama or any special activities. We will be they for Father's Day and were just curious.

padisneyfan
05-10-2012, 01:38 PM
My son and DIL are there now on their honeymoon. Arrived 5/7/12 for 10 days.

Brancaneve
05-10-2012, 03:09 PM
I will be at Aulani in three weeks and am really looking forward to it. Do you know if there is a BBQ area anywhere on site?

Your knife story was pretty hilarious! I kept imagining you in the little studio kitchen hacking away at the pineapple and juice squirting everywhere! I hope it was a yummy pineapple! :rotfl2:

ChiSoxKeith
05-10-2012, 05:21 PM
I will be at Aulani in three weeks and am really looking forward to it. Do you know if there is a BBQ area anywhere on site?

Your knife story was pretty hilarious! I kept imagining you in the little studio kitchen hacking away at the pineapple and juice squirting everywhere! I hope it was a yummy pineapple! :rotfl2:

I don't recall seeing any BBQ areas around the resort grounds. But I could have missed it.

donmil723
05-10-2012, 07:04 PM
We'll be there the first of June. Is the new quick service at the pool finished yet? Have they started serving the al a carte menu at Makihiki in addition to the buffet? I saw it on the Disney Parks blog a few weeks ago but the menu hasn't changed on Disney's website.

Will look forward to your reviews on the Polynesian Cultural Center and the spa. Both of those are on our "to do" list too.

izzy
05-11-2012, 02:52 AM
Because I don't know how to do multi-quotes, I'll do my best to answer everyone's questions.

wdrl: I'll do my best to get a picture. Being able to post it will probably be another thing as I'm technically challenged! :rotfl2: I do have a peek-a-boo view of the ocean from this room.

StormalongKay: I really enjoyed Hanauma Bay. I left the resort this morning at 5:15 because I wanted to avoid the horrible traffic going towards Honolulu. I was somewhat successful, but I still had some stop and go traffic up to the airport. After that it was smooth sailing through Honolulu and Waikiki. I got to the Bay at 6:05 - it opens at 6. There was no one at the parking booth ($1 to park) nor at the admission booth ($7.50 per person, I think). I found out later that these aren't manned until 7. I had fun snorkeling and saw some really neat fish. Be sure to watch for jellyfish depending on what time of the month it is. Apparently the jellyfish come out in full force 8 - 10 days after a full moon.

ays114: I've not heard about anything special for Mother's Day at Ama Ama, but I'll try to remember to ask tomorrow. I do think I heard something on the radio this morning about a special Mother's Day brunch at the JW Marriott, which is right next door, so maybe they'll also do something for Father's Day.

Brancaneve: I haven't seen a BBQ area, but I'll look around some more. And your description of cutting up that pineapple was very accurate. Of course it was the juiciest pineapple I've ever tried to cut up, which only made it worse!

donmil723: The new QS restaurant by the pool is not finished yet. According to my daily Iwa, the ala carte option is now available at the Makahiki Buffet.

Joey7295
05-11-2012, 05:11 AM
I am at Aulani now as well. Checked into my ocean view studio on May 7th. Any idea on what the stage they set up on the beach is for. They closed off a large section of the beach for a private event. I wonder what it is.

saintstickets
05-11-2012, 08:56 PM
I am at Aulani now as well. Checked into my ocean view studio on May 7th. Any idea on what the stage they set up on the beach is for. They closed off a large section of the beach for a private event. I wonder what it is.

Sunday (5/13) night's America's Funniest Video is from Aulani. Not sure if it is a live show or not.

Silly Little Pixie
05-11-2012, 09:59 PM
Thanks for posting!

We are planning to go in December, and I was wondering if the resort might be challenging for someone on a mobility scooter. We are bringing my inlaws as their 40th anniversary. My FIL would use a scooter and I am a little concerned about him feeling crowded on walkways, etc. Does the resort seems disabled- friendly? I will post a general thread about this as well, now that I'm thinking about it.

Thanks!

Joey7295
05-12-2012, 03:07 AM
I am at Aulani now as well. Checked into my ocean view studio on May 7th. Any idea on what the stage they set up on the beach is for. They closed off a large section of the beach for a private event. I wonder what it is.

It was Gavin Degraw and Lifehouse. We were able to watch the entire thing from just beyond the barriers which closed off that section of the beach. It was followed by fireworks which we watched from our balcony. It was so cool.

izzy
05-13-2012, 12:12 AM
It was Gavin Degraw and Lifehouse. We were able to watch the entire thing from just beyond the barriers which closed off that section of the beach. It was followed by fireworks which we watched from our balcony. It was so cool.

That was pretty neat, wasn't it?! I kept wondering how much money that company spent putting that event together, not to mention all of their employees' airfare, hotel rooms, food, and those other events. One lady told me that not only were a lot of their employees staying at Aulani but that the company had also bought out all of the rooms at the JW Marriott next door and closed their restaurants to the public for the duration. One of this company's employees told me that their company takes all of their employees and their families on a vacation like this every year - wowza!

OK, I checked on a few more of those questions. The CM I spoke with yesterday was unaware of any special events at Ama Ama for Mother's Day. As far as a grill area, he said that there is not one, now, but that they are talking of putting one in sometime in the future. He said a lot of guests have asked about it.

Yesterday was a fabulous day! I took an early morning excursion out of the Ko Olina marina to snorkel with dolphins and whales. Someone on the DIS had mentioned that it was a Travelzoo special a few months ago, and I quickly grabbed one of the vouchers. This was one of my favorite excursions ever! Swimming with wild dolphins is an experience that I will never forget. After that I worked on my sunburn out on the beach and by the pool.

Today I was a real slacker. I got up early and did laundry, and by 8 I was out snorkeling in the lagoon. It seemed to be better early in the morning, as the water wasn't quite as murky. If you swim straight out in the middle there are some large rocks and coral formations where a few colorful fish were swimming around. The rest of the day I hung out by the pool. Fortunately I found a chair under and umbrella, so hopefully I kept my burn from getting worse.

Tomorrow will be busy as I'm taking a day excursion to the Big Island to see the volcanoes. Hope I'll be able to see some lava or something exciting - but not too exciting, if you know what I mean! :rotfl2:

izzy
05-14-2012, 01:58 PM
Yesterday was my excursion to the Big Island. I did end up booking through Aulani. I had read some negative comments on the tour company they use - Roberts - but I have to say I was pretty happy with my experience. I had to meet their rep at the airport by 8:15, and our flight left at 10. There were only two other ladies on the excursion with me, so it was almost like a private tour. We saw the black sand beaches, Rainbow Falls, a macadamia nut factory, and of course what I really went there for - the volcano! The weather was good until just before we got to Volcano NP, when it got kind of foggy and rainy. Not good for viewing the volcano, but our tour guide said that he would take us back in the evening, when we should be able to see the "glow" from the crater. We also saw lava fields and walked through a lava tube. We went back to the crater around 6:30, and the fog was actually worse. :worried: But, after about 5 minutes the fog started to lift, and sure enough, you could see a really big orange glow! We didn't get to actually see any lava going up in the air or even flowing anywhere, but it was still pretty neat. My understanding is if you want to see actual lava flowing that you need to take a helicopter tour.

We got back the Hilo airport at 8:15 for our 9 p.m. flight. (We already had our boarding passes, so we only had to go through a short security line.) Simple flight back to Oahu, paid $15 for parking at the airport, and I was "home" by 10:30. It was a fairly long day, but I really enjoyed it.

My plans are to just relax today. Nothing exciting on the schedule, although I may drive to a nearby town to find the Leonard's malasada stand so that I can try these malasadas that everyone keeps raving about.

Neraj
05-14-2012, 03:48 PM
Sounds like you are having a great time! If you do head out to Leonard's it's in the Waikele shopping area. They have some great premium outlets there if you are interested in getting some shopping in. Leonard's is down by KMart while the outlets are across the street.

Keep enjoying your time!

izzy
05-15-2012, 12:15 AM
Sounds like you are having a great time! If you do head out to Leonard's it's in the Waikele shopping area. They have some great premium outlets there if you are interested in getting some shopping in. Leonard's is down by KMart while the outlets are across the street.

Keep enjoying your time!

I did find the malasada stand, and OMG are those things good! :lovestruc I got a plain one, and one each of the filled ones. So far the coconut custard filled one is my favorite.

I ended up being a little busier today that I had planned. I got a bit of a late start and didn't get out of here until about 9:00 or so. My goal was to go to the Punchbowl Cemetary. I came to Oahu with my parents 25 years ago, and my dad and still say that one of the biggest fights we've ever had was trying to get to Punchbowl. We kept traveling in circles for over an hour before we finally gave up. So I was on a mission today. I got directions from Mapquest, and with the exception of one badly marked turn, I finally got to Punchbowl. It was so beautiful and peaceful there. I probably spent 1.5 hours just walking around soaking in the atmosphere. There are also some fabulous views of the island from there, too.

After Punchbowl, I drove to the Ala Moana Center, but nothing caught my fancy. I had a horrible piece of pizza at Sbarro's (yeah, yeah, I know) at the VERY busy food court there. I made a quick stop for the malasadas, and then went to Costco for some things to take back to family, friends, and the office - Kona coffee and various macadamia nut products.

If you want Kona coffee and have a Costco membership, I would highly recommend that you get your coffee there. I got a 1 lb bag for about $22. When I was at the airport yesterday, a 7 oz bag of Kona coffee was $32! Now I realize that you're going to pay more at the airport, but that's ridiculous!

When I got back to th resort, I made a bracelet at the craft class, and then just relaxed in the room. I want to see the Starlit Hui tonight as I missed it last week.

Tomorrow is going to be a pool and resort day. I need a day of relaxation after all of this running around!

ejw
05-17-2012, 05:03 PM
Yesterday was a fabulous day! I took an early morning excursion out of the Ko Olina marina to snorkel with dolphins and whales. Someone on the DIS had mentioned that it was a Travelzoo special a few months ago, and I quickly grabbed one of the vouchers. This was one of my favorite excursions ever! Swimming with wild dolphins is an experience that I will never forget. After that I worked on my sunburn out on the beach and by the pool.

Hi Izzy, which tour company did you use and would you recommend them? this is an excursion I would also like to do.

thanks, ellen

ChiSoxKeith
05-17-2012, 05:16 PM
Thanks for your trip report...

Are the founding member tiles out on the Pouhakas (down by the beach) up yet?

They weren't out yet when we were down there in September.

izzy
05-20-2012, 07:51 PM
Hi Izzy, which tour company did you use and would you recommend them? this is an excursion I would also like to do.

thanks, ellen

It was Ko Olina Ocean Adventures. I would HIGHLY recommend them. I did the dolphin adventure. This excursion turned out to be the highlight of my trip! I did some research on this particular excursion, and it consistently got high marks. I went on the 7 a.m. one, and they told me to be there by 6:15. There is a Ko Olina resort shuttle that starts running at 6 a.m., so I just hopped on that and went to the marina. You can walk there in probably 15 minutes or so, too.

izzy
05-20-2012, 07:52 PM
Thanks for your trip report...

Are the founding member tiles out on the Pouhakas (down by the beach) up yet?

They weren't out yet when we were down there in September.

I don't remember seeing them, but I might have just missed them.

ejw
05-21-2012, 04:29 PM
thanks Izzy. i'll check them out.

ellen

izzy
05-21-2012, 10:21 PM
Sorry, I got woefully behind on my trip report. I am home now, so I'll finish it up.

On Wednesday I did the Polynesian Culture Center. I booked this through Aulani, and went with the ambassador package. I was really glad I did this, because the transportation was included, and we didn't get back until 10:30 that night. It made for a very long day. It was also very hot this day with no trade winds blowing, and it was quite humid. I almost felt like I was in Florida! I enjoyed the PCC, but probably not as much as I did the first time I went there 25years ago. The show had changed, and I didn't think it was quite as good. I will say that the food was excellent, though!

The next morning I had made reservations for 8 a.m. at Pearl Harbor. I was so tired from the night before that I decided not to go and sleep in instead. This ended up being a good decision. I spent a lot of the day by the pool. I did snorkel in the lagoon some, and I saw a HUGE fish out there. It was at least 4 or 5 feet long, kind of skinny, and had a long snout. The guy at the beach rental place looked it up, and we think it may have been some sort of trumpet fish. (Personally, I think it might have been a barracuda and he just didn't want to scare me! :lmao:)

This afternoon I had my spa treatment - the Kilikili. Wow, was that nice! My skin felt so nice and smooth afterwards. I got there an hour early for my 1 p.m. treatment so that I could utilize some of the facilities. I particularly enjoyed the different showerheads in the garden area. I would suggest that if you get this particular treatment that you schedule it early in your trip - i.e. before you get sunburned - LOL!! I was lucky in that the sunburn I got on the 2nd and 3rd days of my trip had already turned to tan by the time I had this treatment on day 9. Had I scheduled this treatment on days 3 through 7, though, I don't think I could have done it because the scrub would have been too painful on my back.

I went to the Outback in Kapolei for dinner that evening as I didn't want to eat at the resort. I did laundry that evening, in between doing the menehune trail adventure (like Kim Possible at Epcot) and going to the beach to take sunset photos. All in all, a relaxing day!

When I woke up on Friday morning, it was kind of early and I decided that I'd see if I could go see Pearl Harbor this day. I left the resort around 7:30 and got to PH by 8:00. I got a 9:00 ticket, so I was pretty happy. I got to go into some of the museums and take lots of pictures until it was time to go see the film. One really neat thing happened there. The USS Carl Vinson was in port. I remembered that I had heard that name, but couldn't remember why until someone reminded me that this was the ship that they took Osama Bin Laden's body to and then did the burial at sea. As luck would have it, I was on the Arizona Memorial when it started pulling out of port. What an impressive vessel! I think I took more pictures of that than of the Arizona Memorial. (In my defense, I had been to the AM before.) Even the workers at PH were stopping what they were doing so that they could see it pull out of port.

After PH I stopped off for a coconut and chocolate malasada - yum! and then went to Walmart in Kapolei to see what their prices were on souvenirs. I scored a nice Hawaii calendar for 97 cents that I had seen at the ABC store near Aulani for almost $5! I also bought a few cd's of Hawaiian music. My plan was to then hit Costco to fill up with gas, and I thought as long as I was there that I'd go ahead and grab a bite to eat. I couldn't believe the lines at the food counter! They had four registers, three of which were open, and all of those had about 10 people in each line! Apparently Costco's food court is very popular with the locals! I got my food bargain of the trip - $1.50 for a hotdog and drink. I spent the rest of the day by the pool and even sprung for a drink at the bar. Which was awful, by the way. No flavor whatsoever, and with tip I think it was close to $12. I'll be honest, though, that was about the only real negative comment I had about Aulani overall, which when you get right down to it isn't bad! I started packing that evening, and knew I was going to be close to the 50 pound limit.

Sure enough, next morning I went to bell services because I knew they had a scale there - 50.5 pounds. Eeek! He said if I was flying United that I'd probably be OK as they'll ususally allow one extra pound.

Even though my flight wasn't until 12:45, I was ready to leave at 8:30, so I went ahead and left the resort, knowing that I needed to return my rental car - a Mitsubishi Galant that I got for the entire 11 days through Alamo for just under $212 using my Costco discount - score! The shuttle bus was right there at Alamo and took me over to the airport. I did curbside checkin, and I gave the guy weighing my suitcase $3. He kind of winked at me and put the "heavy" tag on it and only charged me the $25 fee for 1st checked bag. Whew! I was through security by 9:30 and then had a longish wait. I still say that I'd rather wait at the airport than cutting it close trying to get there and thru security.

My flight left on time, and about 5 hours later I was in San Francisco. I had about a 2 hour layover, so I grabbed dinner, and then got on my flight to Dulles. We landed the next morning at 7:15, and I got maybe a total of 30 minute of sleep. I hate red eyes! Thankfully my nieces live about 20 minutes from Dulles, so I went to their place and crashed for a few hours.

Final Impressions: I can't begin to tell everyone how great this resort is!! Disney really hit it out of the park on this one. From the fresh lei greeting when you get there, to all of the very helpful CM's who work there, to the rooms, the pool, the beach -well, I think you get the picture that I really enjoyed myself! I didn't eat much at the resort, but I understand from other people who I talked to that food was quite expensive. Spending the $70 on groceries really saved me a lot of money in the long run. The only meal I ate there was the character breakfast that first morning, and other than a few shave ices and ice cream treats and that one horrible drink at the bar, I didn't buy any other food there.

I really thought that I wasn't going to like not being in the middle of the action in Waikiki, but I have to say that I preferred the Ko Olina area. Not near as much traffic and it was fairly quiet there. On my trips out and about, I talked with numerous people who were staying in Waikiki, and they kept saying how loud and commercial it was in that area. I thought the beach at Aulani was much nicer than Waikiki Beach, too.

If you can afford the points and some of the other higher costs (airfare and food), I would highly recommend that you try Aulani at least once. I am planning on trying to go there at least once every 5 years if there is availability. This time I had a pool view room, but next time I think I would go with the standard view and use the saved points to stay even longer. I really didn't use my balcony that much, so the view didn't mean as much to me as I thought it might.

Thanks for letting me live (and relive!) my vacation through the DIS. Also thanks to anyone and everyone who answered my endless questions while I was planning this vacation. Your help was invaluable!

tbay
05-21-2012, 11:04 PM
Thanks for the wonderful trip report
Going in July and have found your information
very helpful Thanks again

donmil723
05-22-2012, 03:50 PM
Thanks for the wonderful trip report! We leave in 9 days!

podsnel
05-22-2012, 07:44 PM
What a great report- you are so helpful!! Especially about the malasadas! :goodvibes Really, I am in the final stages of my planning (we go to Kuaui August 17th & Aulani Aug 21st) and you definitely answered some questions I had.

Thank-you!
Ellen

mdsd8700
05-22-2012, 09:49 PM
Thanks so much for sharing! Your trip report was great :goodvibes We are finishing up our plans and headed to Aulani in June. Everyone here has been invaluable and helped out so much. If you have any pics you would like to share, please post them!

bluemoon1070
05-29-2012, 11:07 AM
Awesome trip report. Thanks so much!!!

Hunnypaw
06-03-2012, 03:11 PM
We will be there in 30 days! Thanks for the report! :thumbsup2