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Old 10-18-2011, 05:36 PM   #1
Leitadala
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Leit's Aulani Trip Report

Aloha! Mahalo for stopping by!

I always get cold feet when it comes to doing trip reports, but I know when I was trying to plan my vacation I loved reading everything I could about Aulani so I'm going to buck up and put this out there for the chance that there may be even one person who benefits from it! So I hope you (or all of you) enjoy my words and pictures. Instead of posting a lot of text in the running Aulani TR thread I will be posting here (I hope that's ok) as each day we experienced a little of Disney and a little of the Island.

Introductions and PTR

Day One: Flights and Check-in

Day Two, Part One: Yoga and Exploring Aulani

Day Two, Part Two: Aunty's Breakfast Celebration and North Shore

Day Three: Diamond Head, Koko Crater, and Manoa Falls

Day Four: Laniwai Spa and Paradise Cove Luau

Day Five: Adventures by Disney Hawaiian Fire Surf School and More Exploring and Relaxing at Aulani

Day Six, Part One: Kualoa Ranch Adventures by Disney Excursion

Day Six, Part Two: Kualoa Ranch Horseback Riding and Aulani's Starlight Hui

Day Seven: Aloha 'Oe, till we meet again

Conclusion

Last edited by Leitadala; 06-24-2012 at 07:15 PM. Reason: adding links
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Old 10-18-2011, 05:40 PM   #2
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Can't wait to read about your adventure. I am especially looking forward to the pics!!
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Old 10-18-2011, 05:46 PM   #3
Leitadala
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Can't wait to read about your adventure. I am especially looking forward to the pics!!
Thanks! I'm glad someone will read it!
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Old 10-18-2011, 05:52 PM   #4
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I will read too!! Can't wait!!
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Old 10-18-2011, 05:52 PM   #5
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Introductions and PTR

Welcome to my Aulani Trip Report!


DH and I have both never been to Hawaii, and never traveled over the ocean to a far off destination for that matter. I've always wanted to go to Hawaii, so when DVC presented us this opportunity right around our 5 year anniversary my DH sure couldn't refuse! Our trip is in October, two months after the resort opened.

Now, I'm a meticulous planner, so all the mystery around Aulani was a bit of a nail biter for me. I did appreciate though how instead of worrying about plans I was able to just sit back and wait for the vacation to arrive. That isn't to say that I didn't get some planning in! I started by looking at the excursions listed for Aulani at MouseSavers and they all sounded so great! We also looked at HawaiiWeb, Discover-Oahu, Oahu.us, and turtles.org as well, so we could really see what the island had to offer and narrow down what we really wanted to do. This list included: see sea turtles up close, surf, hike a crater, see a rainforest, see a waterfall, eat from a shrimp truck (that was DH's), do Yoga on the beach, have a couple's massage, learn to Hula, make a lei... okay, the list was pretty long! We knew we wouldn't get everything in, but it was a start. Plus we figured once we got there we'd narrow down based on how we felt each day.

By the time we left, our itinerary looked something like this:

Saturday: Flight at 8:09am, landing in Honolulu at 5:40pm. Pick up Rental car, grab some dinner, and visit Target for Groceries

Sunday: Try to get in at the Character Breakfast (ADRs were all taken). Drive to North shore to visit the Laniakea Turtles and eat at a Shrimp Truck. Stop by the Dole Plantation on the way home for a Dole Whip!

Monday: Hike Diamond Head, Koko Crater Botanical Gardens, and the Manoa Falls Trail. Pack a Picnic lunch.

Tuesday: HoniHoni Massages (call to get an appointment) then hang around the spa. Paradise Cove Luau that night.

Wednesday: Hawaii Fire Surf School (Adventures by Disney Excursion) 8-11am. Afterwards: Downtown sightseeing and shopping.

Thursday: Kualoa Ranch Experience (11am-6:30pm)

Friday: Check out. Lounge around the resort or do any last shopping / sightseeing. Leave for the airport around 4. Flight home at 8:15pm.

Next up: Flights and Check-In

Last edited by Leitadala; 10-18-2011 at 08:06 PM. Reason: adding link
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:00 PM   #6
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I will read too!! Can't wait!!
Awesome, welcome!
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:27 PM   #7
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Day One: Flights and Check-in

I got up at 5am to shower, and then our cab came at 5:45. We had a pretty normal flight out of Winnipeg, and then were greeted by rain/ice/snow slush in Denver (and coming from Winnipeg, I was not thrilled to see my first bit of snow for the year... Ill get enough of that later this year!).


Denver Weather

The flight from Denver was normal as well, but I now have to warn anyone that hasnt been to the Phoenix airport to be prepared. We were in a different terminal when we landed, and it turned out we had to take a shuttle to the other terminal, but to get on that shuttle (a bus) you have to leave security, and go to the shuttle area (one comes every 7 minutes they said), get taken to your terminal, go through the baggage check area to find security, go back through security, and then still have a ways to go to get to your gate. We had almost an hour between our Denver plane landing and our Phoenix plane leaving, and we were the last people to make it on the Phoenix plane (greeted with we didnt think you were going to make it!).

For anyone who has not had long flights before (normally I fly two 2-hour flights from Winnipeg to Orlando) my best advice would be to pack snacks (unless you like the sandwiches the plane serves, I don't) and if you get any sort of motion sickness take your Dramamine and pass out in the corner. I didn't bring snacks, which lead to me eating some chips and cookies from the plane offerings and then being super hungry (in addition to super tired) when we landed. It was nice that I was able to take my motion sickness medicine and pass out on our second plane, but the last one I was in the middle and didn't get to sleep off my Dramamine, which left me just feeling funky later.


Honolulu Airport


We landed in Honolulu to clouds and light rain, but it was still so beautiful (especially since I love warm rain). We had to get our bags and get our rental car (the shuttle system wasnt very clear we didnt see anything that indicated where each shuttle stopped, so we stood by the Rental Car Shuttle sign and we had to hail down the National shuttle for them to stop where we were). We had pre-ordered the rental car so getting it was painless, and then getting on the H1 was painless as well. I was a little surprised by the traffic (we were later told that they say almost one million people live on Oahu and you can see 80% of them in rush hour, lol) and also by the dark. It got dark around 6pm (so not a whole lot of pics today)! It was pretty easy to get to Ko Olina off the H1 though (everything is well marked).

As soon as we pulled up to the gate of Ko Olina to tell them who we were, we knew we were at Disney the cast member at the gate was high energy, enthusiastic, friendly, and helpful. We felt exactly like we had pulled up to a Disney Resort! When we pulled in saw a Lot Full sign at the self park parkade, so we went to Valet and I told him I was a member. He said they could valet my car for 10-15 mins while we check in, or that I could go ahead and park into the lot because they keep spots open for members even though it says full. We opted to park and roll our bags up because I was pretty tired and didnt want to deal with going back to the car. We found an elevator in the parkade that takes you to the lobby level, and then took a nice (albeit dark) path to the resort. Because it was around midnight our time (and we had been up since 5am our time) I was pretty tired and just ready to get to the room, so we beelined it past all the valet and bell services and into the lobby to check in, but then I heard someone calling out. We turned around and a cast member (RJ) had been waiting for us! He gave us our lei and kukui nut necklace, then walked us into the lobby and out the back to look at the Waikolohe Valley (pool/lazy river).


Forgive the blurry pic of Waikolohe Valley

Then he surprised us with our room keys since we had done online check-in (he was my hero at this point)! Then he walked us to our elevator (and he told us "Welcome Home," although I felt more like I was intruding on the home of those that are actually lucky enough to be able to own Aulani) that would take us to the 9th floor to our ocean view studio.


Our Balcony View


View of the main building


Studio Bed - we found out that the quilt is available for purchase through the Kalepa store. They don't stock it, but they'll ship it!


Pull-out Couch


Mickey Lamp (also available to order through the Kalepa Gift Shop)!

Since we had skipped going to get groceries and I was too tired to go too far, we ended up getting hot pockets from the resort store, eating one, and then passing out!

Up Next: Day 2, Part 1 - Yoga and Exploring Aulani

Last edited by Leitadala; 07-24-2013 at 10:10 PM. Reason: adding link
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:32 PM   #8
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Thank you for the TR and photos. I'm looking forward to the next installment.
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:39 PM   #9
Leitadala
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Thank you for the TR and photos. I'm looking forward to the next installment.
Welcome! Most of my TR is already written, so it's just taking the time to edit and then weed out and upload the photos! Hopefully I'll get at least one up a day and have it done this week!
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:50 PM   #10
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Great TR so far! I am looking forward to seeing your pictures of the ocean from your oceanview studio. I hope to travel to Aulani within the next year or two and book an oceanview room.
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:02 PM   #11
Leitadala
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Great TR so far! I am looking forward to seeing your pictures of the ocean from your oceanview studio. I hope to travel to Aulani within the next year or two and book an oceanview room.
Thanks! I have lots of pics of the view, it was so perfect. I was so surprised the next day when it started to get light and there was ocean right there where there was blackness before!
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:43 PM   #12
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Thanks for the TR!

You mentioned that the quilt and lamp.

How much? That's the most important part.
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:18 PM   #13
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Excited to hear more...
Thank you for sharing this!
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:19 PM   #14
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Double Post
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:19 PM   #15
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Thanks for the TR!

You mentioned that the quilt and lamp.

How much? That's the most important part.
Thank you for reading!

I didn't ask the price >.<

I was actually in there inquring about the Dooney and Bourke Purses (they were sold out of all but one model while I was there) and the cast members got on the topic of it. I didn't even think to ask the price!

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Excited to hear more...
Thank you for sharing this!
Thanks for joining!
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