We won a trip to Hawaii - Waikiki and Aulani!
We had already planned our 15 wedding anniversary trip (one week in Kona and one week on Kauai) for the first two weeks of September. In June My husband won a trip on Facebook with Expedia. It was for a flight and 4 nights at the Aqua Palms in Waikiki and we had to use it by the end of December. We own points at the BCV and decided to use some of our points at Aulani to extend the trip to 9 nights. We were able to book for the week we wanted and we later upgraded our seats to economy comfort. I didn’t do much planning for this trip until after we returned from the Big Island and Kauai.
We travel to Hawaii quite frequently and we had been to Oahu once 10 years ago for a few nights just to see Pearl Harbor and to honest really didn’t like the island that much, so I never imagined that we would be ever able to see Aulani. We were looking forward to getting out of Waikiki and seeing the sights on the North Shore and just relaxing and enjoying Disney’s newest property.
My husband “met” a guy on a message board regarding scuba diving on Oahu. He is in the Navy and stationed at Pearl. They chatted and emailed quite frequently and he said he was going to plan a tour for us. I kept asking, what kind of tour, but never really got an answer from Danny, just that the tickets to the Arizona was taken care of. Finally got the date he wanted to take us a week before we were to leave so I could finalize some plans.
That is awesome! Hope you have a great time. DH and I plan on going for our 15th too (less than two years to go).
Thursday Dec 6, 2012 - DAY 1
The day started early at 3:45. Thank God we checked our flights the night before because we thought we had 8:15 flight and it was actually 7:15. Left the house a little after 4:30 and got to the airport in record time. Quick check in and no first class upgrades available for the quick flight to Atlanta. Watched some tv and time flew by. Tight layover and when we get to the gate for out next leg the door is shut, but they say “Honolulu?” Yep, they say “right this way” and us and one other couple walk down the walkway. A couple of people came after us so at least we weren’t the last.
Settle in to the economy plus seats, (which I guess were worth the money) for the long 9 ½ hour flight. Watched a couple of movies (I think I watched Brave and the Odd life of Timothy Green) and had some lunch. Hubby got the roast beef sandwich and I had a cheese plate that was quite good. A couple of drinks and a couple of walks around the plane and the slightly painful flight is over.
Landed around 4 pm and luggage comes right off and we are off to Alamo. Grab our Chrysler 200 and off to find our home for the next 4 nights. And then… traffic. Not that bad, but already wondering how this is going to go all week. Missed the entrance for the hotel – Aqua Palms the first time, but a quick U turn and we get it right the next. Take the left into the steep driveway into the tight parking lot. Lug all of our luggage through the parking lot, in the elevator and into the lobby. Didn’t realize we could have pulled up right onto the sidewalk. Check into our room, and Danny’s not impressed but I think the view is pretty cool. Diamond Head in the distance and a slice of the ocean to the right and no balcony but I kind of prepared myself for that one.
Settled in a little and had a drink and then walked over to the Hilton Hawaiian Village right across the street in search of food. Went to the bar and ordered up our first mai tai. Got an order of fried onions with a spicy dipping sauce that was very tasty and some good buffalo wings and kalua pork nachos that were kind of meh. Chatted with a couple of guys at the bar. To the right, a retired cook 30 years with the coast guard and to the left a retired Lieutenant Colonel in marines who now works for the navy. Back to the room for a night cap and off to bed around 10:30.
Friday Dec 7, 2012 – Pearl Harbor Day - DAY 2
Room faces a busy street which is really noisy at night so I turned up the ac as high as it could go and it didn’t bother us that much. Well that and the fact that we were just up 24 hours.
Up and out to breakfast at IHOP downstairs. Haven’t been to one in years. I got a crepe with bananas and strawberries and two eggs and bacon – way more than I ever have for breakfast. Carb loading for our hike later today. Hubby had two eggs, hash browns sausage and toast. It was all pretty good and the service was good. Walked over to the Village to check out Martin and MaCarther to see if they had the surfing Santa ornament he wanted but they weren’t open yet.
Grab the car and head off to Diamondhead. Couldn’t believe how close of a drive it was. Had to drive around the lot 3 or 4 times before we got a parking spot, which was kind of odd. Got pretty winded a couple of times and the tunnel kind of freaked me out a little, but we made it to the top and the view was fabulous. Took a bunch of photos and checked out the bunker and head back down. Cross that one off the list.
We were too hot and sweaty to do anything else so we head back to the hotel for a dip in the roof top pool. Surprisingly refreshing if not down-right cool! Chill for a few and then the dude with the case of beer by the pool asks Danny – hey bloke would you like a beer. Chatted with cute guy from Australia, who by the way is in the Australian Infantry. Too hot out and too much sun so we head back to the room and then off to lunch at the Wailana coffee shop.
Hubby got a cheese burger that was well done and had no cheese, sent it back and got another. I got a club that is hard not to screw up and we both had a mai tai (for only $3.50, what a bargain!)
Walk back over to McCarther’s but they don’t have the ornament we want in stock but they think that they do up at the Sheraton. I bought a new Keali’i Reichel CD and we chatted with the clerks for a while. I had wanted to walk the beach walk anyway so we head that way. Walk the beach all the way to Sheraton, find the ornament we wanted, had another nice conversation with a clerk, (the people that work at these stores are always so nice and we always have awesome conversations with them) and then walk the street way back to the hotel to put on sneakers and head back out for the Pearl Harbor parade.
Pulled up on the grassy knoll and waited for the parade to start. It was pretty cool with actual Pearl survivors riding in antique cars, hula dancing and fire dancing, bands and even bouncing cars.
Walking home we saw the cute Aussie crossing the street looking a little bit buzzed.
We stopped at Tony Roma’s for ribs which were decent, I had baby back and he had St Louis. Had a nightcap in the room and off to bed.
Saturday, December 8, 2012 - DAY 3
Up for breakfast at the coffee shop downstairs. Line to get in was out the door but we are seated in minutes. Hubby got the Irish omelet and I got the delicious French toast and perfectly cooked bacon but my egg was runny but with all the toast I really didn’t need it. Kind of slow service at the diner but we were in no rush. Back at the room we kept checking to see if the surfing was on or not to see if we would venture out to the North shore. Relax in the room for a few watching some of the surfers online before heading out to the east coast.
Saw Sam the Aussie trying to open a Carona at the pool so went down to offer Danny’s flip flop bottle opener. He got drunk last night and got a tattoo that says “Hawaii is Awesome” in Hawaiian on his thigh! What a riot.
Off to see the coast. Waves looked pretty high at Hanauma Bay so we were glad we decided not to snorkel it today. First stop was Lanai lookout which the blue book says technically you are looking at Molokai. Then we stooped at Holona beach and Halona Blowhole. Beach was cool but looked pretty dangerous to me. Lots of local kids jumping off the rocks.
Then to Makupu scenic lookout and then off to Lanaki Beach. We had been here 10 years ago and was the one thing we wanted to make sure we did again. What pretty beach. Jumped in the warm water and just floated around for a few taking a bunch of photos. Beautiful local family taking Christmas card photos in Hawaiian shirts and Santa hats.
Chilled for a few and then head off further North to Laie Point before turning back around and heading home. Ended up taking the Pali Highway back but it was dark by the time we got to the lookout so we didn’t stop. We should have started back earlier as now it was dark and I am trying to read maps in the dark and we miss a street getting back to the hotel but figure it out in the end. We were going to go to eat but ended up with just some cheese and crackers instead, watched a little bit of tv and off to bed.
Hi! May I follow along?:surfweb: we are not DVC owners but were just talking the other day about a trip to Hawaii! Very nice pics so far!:goodvibes
Hey Jenny - yes please follow along, Hawaii is amazing and Aulani was spectacular!
Sunday December 9, 2012 - Day 4
Up way to early with the marathon fireworks going off just before my alarm clock went off. We decided to go down and actually watch the runners and see if we could find Steve (we could have watched it from our lanai.) Just clapped and cheered with a bunch of people as thousands of people (31,000) ran by. Kind of cool to see.
Felt kind of crappy so tried to go back to bed but only slept for like 15 minutes and then up and take showers.
Off to IHOP for breakfast again. Danny gets steak and eggs. Bad choice – steak overdone. So they have to make him another plate. That one wasn’t that red either but by the time his comes I was done so he ate it – he said it tasted good. I had Blueberry pancakes, eggs, bacon and hash browns. I ate about half of everything and Danny shared my pancakes while waiting for his second meal. Then Danny has coffee grounds in his cup. New coffee brought. They ended up crediting us $5.00. We also get a discount for staying at the hotel.
Back to the room for a few and Danny talks to Steve who finished up the marathon and we decide to walk up to the Waikiki Shell to meet in person finally. So many people out, most of them marathoners, walking back to their car. Take a bus already! Took about a half hour to get there and we meet Steve and his wife.
Chat for a few then head back stopping in a couple of stores and buying an oven mitt and pot holder for me and for mom. Got back to the room to rest at 2:00. I think we just chilled for a while and then walked back to the Sheraton beach to catch the Mai Tai catamaran sunset cruise.
It was pretty wavy but it was fun and it was nice to see Waikiki from the ocean as the lights came on. Got some great photos.
Called Steve and his wife and he can barely walk so they are not up for joining us for dinner. Head over to Dukes and it is a madhouse but all of a sudden it starts turning from a bar to a restaurant and everyone starts either heading out or sitting down to eat. Cute waitress Trish tells us to grab this table beach side and she will take care of us. Got maitais and some spicy wings that were good and sandwiches. Danny won with a Cajun chicken ranch sandwich and I had an ok fish sandwich.
I think I should just stop ordering these as they are never that good! Mai tais were good though! Waitress was great and when we asked if she had any wet naps she came back with hot towels from the steak house upstairs! Left a nice tip for that one. Long slow stroll back to the room and off to bed.
Monday December 10 - Day 5
Pack up most of the bags and walk over to the Outrigger as I had read in Hawaii magazine that Santa was to come to the beach in an outrigger canoe. Get all the way there and find out it was on Saturday. Ooops.
Walk back and get coffee and tea and bagels at the Hilton and take them back to the room to eat while we finish packing and then off we go to Aulani. I was so excited.
Not too much traffic and we get there in about 40 minutes or so. So pretty and very impressive check in. I had checked in online a few days ago so they greet you at the door, welcome you home and we finally got our leis. Loved the lemon water with hidden mickey in the water jug.
A brief tour by a lovely girl and we are handed our keys to an awesome studio room on the 14th floor. Perfect view and the room is so pretty.
Gorgeous bathroom and loved the Mickey surfer lamp.
We were supposed to head to the North shore but I was just so excited to be there so we went off to look around instead. Great pool and slides and kids play area. I was surprised at how un-crowded it was. Walked over to the community hall type of room and got pictures taken with Stitch!
Stopped for a drink and some chicken tenders to share that were yummy. Hit the slides and swam around some before donning our Patriots gear and heading to the bar to watch the game. Only us and a few others and I thought we were going to have to go back to the room as Danny was being loud. Wasn’t bothering anyone other than the Texan fans. We kicked their butt 42-14.
In between the swimming and the game I did some free laundry (they give us free tokens to use if you are in a studio.) Came back to the room to shower and finish watching the game and headed over to the Starlit Hui. They left a little surprise for us in the room.
Grabbed some mats and waited for the show. Danny thought it was corny but it was quite cute. They had arts and crafts and games for the kids and some hula lessons and then some hula dancers. Awesome ukulele duo – Heart and Soul. Then some characters came out and danced with the kids and we took off in search of some food.
Went back to off the hook for a drink and some appetizers. Got some hot wings and BBQ ribs that were both pretty tasty and that hit the spot. They really need some other nighttime food options around here. Back to the room and off to bed.
Very fun to read! And i am extremely envious you go to Hawaii so often- especially in 2012, I guess! :goodvibes
Tuesday December 11, 2012 - Day 6
Today we got up and met Steve at the marina just past the Arizona Memorial. Traffic sucked getting here. Jumped in his beat up Jeep and he saw someone he knew so he went to say hi. The guy – Dave – says “are you giving a tour?” and he says yes, and Dave says – here, take my truck. A brand new Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab. So we jump in that and we are off to breakfast at Kona Pancake.
Danny and Steve got eggs benedict and I got blueberry pancakes (darn - didn’t see mac nut pancakes until it was too late). Off for a tour through Hickham field, Ford Island, the Pacific Air Museum, The Missouri, and the Bowfin and museum, lots of history to take in and it was cool having a personal guide.
As we are walking over for our tour of the Arizona we are met by a woman who tells us it was cancelled because of high winds. Oh well, we head back over and finish off the rest of the sub tour. It was quite interesting but a lot of stuff was over my head. But Danny really enjoyed.
Back to the room to freshen up and Steve and his wife Miki came to the hotel to check it out and then we walked over to Roy’s, the one meal I was really looking forward to.
Got a nice seat outside and got a signature pineapple martini that was really good but awfully small. Ordered up the Roy’s Style Dim Sum Canoe for Two (Spicy Tuna Maki, Shrimp Tempura, Blackened Island Ahi, Baby Back Ribs, Chicken Spring Rolls) and they got the Yamaguchi “Hurricane” Ahi Poke and we all shared.
Had some great and funny conversations and we laughed a lot. Service was kind of slow (our server was doing double duty as the bartender?) but it was ok. We all ordered something different and everyone enjoyed their meal, well Danny had an issue of course. He thought he ordered something and when they brought it he didn’t think that was what he ordered, so they took that and brought him something else. But when that came, surf and turf, he’s like this isn’t what I ordered.
He actually did order the first thing but ended up eating the second meal. Which was overdone of course. It was all pretty funny and the manager Ty was laughing and trying to make it up to us. To “apologize” they sent over a delicious chocolate soufflé and pineapple upside down cake to share. And then they bring over both an anniversary and birthday dessert.
We ended up paying for their meal to thank them for the tour. Walk back to the room and they head off and we go back to the room for a night cap before lights out.
Wednesday December 12, 2012 - Day 7
Spent some time swimming today.
Head to the North Shore, not too bad of a drive, closer than I expected. Drove all the way to Giovanni’s shrimp truck for lunch. Ordered one spicy and one garlic. I didn’t like the spicy one as it was too hot, the garlic was good but not as tasty as the Shrimp Shack on Kauai.
Checked out the Turtle Bay resort and stopped at a couple of beaches on the way back. Stopped at Sunset to check out the surfers and took some cool photos.
Stopped at the turtle spot but didn’t see any (and think this is where I lost my camera lense cover.)
Stopped for shave ice over ice cream at Matsumoto’s (what is the actual bean stuff?) – yummy but Danny ate it too fast and got brain freeze.
We drove all the way home to make our dinner reservations at Ama Ama but we weren’t really hungry so we didn’t go to dinner and ordered a pizza instead from Papa Gino’s!
Thursday December 13 - Day 8
Breakfast with Mickey! Originally I wasn’t going to do this as I read mixed reviews but I am glad we did. Right away you get in line for pictures with Mickey – too cute (they won’t let you add to your photo pass, they try to sell them to you at the end.)
We were brought to a table in the back but the characters came around pretty quickly. Minnie first and then Goofy.
He was a riot. He came while I was in the bathroom so he came back but then Danny had gone to the bathroom – I told him that’s where he was and he made funny face like he was smelling something bad. Then he sat down and pretended to eat Danny’s breakfast and then he was holding my hands like he was my boyfriend. It was really cute and made my day.
They brought me a little birthday cake and Auntie made me dance the birthday hula which Danny took a ton of photos of! The buffet was plentiful, the pog delicious and we left with full bellies.
We did one menehune adventure - It was adorable, I wish we had time to do more, maybe I will do some on my own tomorrow. We signed up to do the ukulele lesson, we were put on a wait list but someone cancelled. Danny said he didn’t want to do it but we ended up having fun. We played “you are my sunshine” and then he sang a Train song as well. Danny was really good at it. Maybe he should buy one.
I think this is the day we did our shopping at the Aulani store. We both got t-shirts and water bottles and I got a cute Mickey and Minnie surfing statue and the print of the hotel done on koa wood. And the other day we bought the blanket on sale for only $17!
I forget what we had for dinner tonight but I remember the beautiful sunset!
Friday December 14 - Day 9
Wake to the heartbreaking news of the school shooting in Connecticut where 20 children were killed. Watched the news for a few while waiting for Steve to call so they guys can finally hook up to go for a dive. Danny was hungry so he got a buffalo chicken sandwich which was pretty lame and then he went to hook up with Steve.
I had a nice relaxing day just hanging out by the pool and reading my book – Molokai - which is really interesting so far. I had the standard chicken fingers with fries and a bloody Mary for lunch. Watched the adorable pool party.
Danny came down to the pool and we swam around and did the slides and hottub before getting ready for dinner.
We decided to go back to go back to Roy’s again for sushi. We ordered a Spicy Garlic Tuna roll and a Sunset Dragon Roll along with an order of Roy’s Original Blackened Island Ahi with Spicy Soy Mustard (which for some reason wasn’t as good as the appetizer version we had the other night.) Danny was still hungry so he ordered another roll, I think it was the Spider Ahi Maki. Everything was really good and we strolled back to the hotel taking pictures along the way.
Saturday December 15 - Happy Birthday - Last Day
Can’t believe I am freakin 45.
Up to pack and miss our breakfast reservations at Ama Ama for 9:00 but they were able to seat us when we get there at 10ish. I had two eggs over easy with Portuguese sausage and potatoes but by the time she brought me ketchup the potatoes were cold. Danny got loco moco with a side of bacon that he enjoyed – looked gross to me! They brought me another birthday cake.
Take some final pictures around the resort and head back to the room to check out at about 11:20 and they had already turned off our key! Luckily there was a bell man in the hallway and he let us in and called for someone to come get our bags.
Have them store the luggage and we head back North to spend some time shopping up in Haleiwa. Stopped into a bunch of shops and bought some t-shirts and then found an awesome home goods type of store with a ton of locally made stuff and bought a bunch of things.
I got a cd of ukulele Christmas songs, a couple of ornaments, and a honu wood sculpture. Then we stopped back into an art gallery and I got a spun glass honu with a Santa hat ornament. There are a ton of shops and restaurants around here and it was pretty busy while we were there.
We stopped at the ABC store near the hotel to buy a bunch of candy to take home for people at work. Shove it all into the lockers back at the resort and head to the bar one last time for some early supper.
Have a yummy blue drink and yup, I get chicken fingers again and Danny gets a burger. They bring me another birthday cake! Just chill for a while before heading back to take showers. Watch the ending of Beauty and the Beast and head to get our luggage so we can repack because of all of the candy!
Off to the airport and just settle in for our 10:05 pm flight. Slept a little and watched a movie or two (I watched Rock of Ages and People Like Us, both stunk) for the first leg, short layover in Salt Lake and then a short flight home. Got home to the snow and stayed up as long as we could before falling asleep, happy to be back in our own bed!
Loved all of your pictures! Hawaii looks amazing.:goodvibes
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