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Old 01-01-2013, 06:48 PM   #1
jd99
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Just back from Aulani

Literally arrived home last night around 7 p.m. after a looooooong flight back to pittsburgh through LA and a four hour layover there. Arrived home to a car covered in snow and ice. What a whack in the face of reality after a wonderful 11 days on Oahu including seven nights at Aulani in a one bedroom. I plan to post a trip report or a round up of tips and thoughts on our stay with photos but just don't have the energy yet and still need to download all the pix. We had a great stay and loved aulani and I promise to collect my thoughts and post everything I can for those with upcoming stays. the only real downside for us was that we really missed begin on Maui since that is our favorite island and we've never gone to Hawaii without hitting Maui for at least part of the trip. Aulani would be perfect if transported to Maui in my opinion. Anyway, lots to love, nothing to hate, a few improvements I'd suggest and I'll get to it soon so stay tuned! In the meantime if anyone has any quick specific questions, fire away. Mahalo.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:18 PM   #2
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Fellow Maui fan here, so I feel your pain, so to speak. I always kind of wondered if, during the bankruptcy period of the Grand Wailea, if Disney would swoop in to clean it up and rebrand it "Disney's Grand Wailean Resort & Spa" or "Disney's Grand Hawaiian Resort & Spa". I'd be shocked if they didn't at least consider it. But then Hilton bought the place on the cheap, rebranded it a Waldorf-Astoria, and that was that.

I'm also sure that Disney extensively researched all the islands for the best place to build a new resort. I think they settled on Oahu due to the extensive air service there from both the mainland and Asia, whereas all the other islands are much more limited on non-stop long-haul flights. Some people would probably be put off by that extra island-hop.

So I think Disney did the best they could, actually. Ko Olina doesn't feel ANYTHING like Waikiki or other touristy parts of Oahu. It's easy to get to but feels a world away. And they likely got the land for super-cheap due to the economic mess we're in. In decades to come when the rest of that area gets built up (hopefully not too much; I'm thinking more like a mature Wailea when all is said and done) Disney will be laughing all the way to the bank.
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:37 PM   #3
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I am booking tomorrow for August and I am looking forward to your TR! I have my airline tix and we will be staying with family for part of the trip but we are really looking forward to staying at Aulani!!
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:47 PM   #4
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Looking forward to your report, we will be there March 16-23. Pls fill us in on all the do's and don'ts and all the highlights of your trip.

Warmly, Erika
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jd99 View Post
Literally arrived home last night around 7 p.m. after a looooooong flight back to pittsburgh through LA and a four hour layover there. Arrived home to a car covered in snow and ice. What a whack in the face of reality after a wonderful 11 days on Oahu including seven nights at Aulani in a one bedroom. I plan to post a trip report or a round up of tips and thoughts on our stay with photos but just don't have the energy yet and still need to download all the pix. We had a great stay and loved aulani and I promise to collect my thoughts and post everything I can for those with upcoming stays. the only real downside for us was that we really missed begin on Maui since that is our favorite island and we've never gone to Hawaii without hitting Maui for at least part of the trip. Aulani would be perfect if transported to Maui in my opinion. Anyway, lots to love, nothing to hate, a few improvements I'd suggest and I'll get to it soon so stay tuned! In the meantime if anyone has any quick specific questions, fire away. Mahalo.
Hi Jeff!! How ya doing? How's the family? Are you cruising the Med again this summer?

Nice to see you report in about Aulani - I can definitely use some of your insight!! We are planning to go to VGC @ Disneyland for a few nights before heading to Aulani in August!! I just booked the VGC portion of the trip on Monday & will be logging in to add Aulani in a few days. We are planning to stay there for 5 nights before heading over to Maui for 5 nights as we also like Maui best so we figured we'd finish up there. I am planning to book an OV studio I think and when I book it I think I might just go ahead & grab an extra night while I'm at it just because I am planning to convert Amex Reward points to Starwood points to use on Maui...but I haven't DONE that yet & so who knows about the availability on that once I get around to it. I may as well cover my bases on Oahu "just in case". Keep your fingers crossed that the availability is there for me when I go online to book!!

Look forward to your trip report as you're always so entertaining & thorough!!
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anal Annie View Post
Hi Jeff!! How ya doing? How's the family? Are you cruising the Med again this summer?

Nice to see you report in about Aulani - I can definitely use some of your insight!! We are planning to go to VGC @ Disneyland for a few nights before heading to Aulani in August!! I just booked the VGC portion of the trip on Monday & will be logging in to add Aulani in a few days. We are planning to stay there for 5 nights before heading over to Maui for 5 nights as we also like Maui best so we figured we'd finish up there. I am planning to book an OV studio I think and when I book it I think I might just go ahead & grab an extra night while I'm at it just because I am planning to convert Amex Reward points to Starwood points to use on Maui...but I haven't DONE that yet & so who knows about the availability on that once I get around to it. I may as well cover my bases on Oahu "just in case". Keep your fingers crossed that the availability is there for me when I go online to book!!

Look forward to your trip report as you're always so entertaining & thorough!!
Hi there!
Nice to hear from you. It may take me a while to get the report together as the combination of jet lag, the return to cold weather and a pile of catch up work have me a bit panicked this morning. Hopefully I'll get my brain back in the next day or two.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:41 PM   #7
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Looking foward to your report! We also looove maui. Only been once a few years ago, but I fell in love. We are thinking about Aulani this summer with our DVC points. Can't wait to read about your experience.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:17 PM   #8
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Heading for Aulani in April and staying for 4 nights in an island gardens view studio. Any suggestions on room location requests? Would prefer to look out over gardens on the grounds rather than the dry hills behind Aulani.

Also spending 4 nights at Hale Koa in Waikiki and a few nights at KMC on the Big Island via my son's military ID. Will miss a Maui visit this time but that gives me an excuse to come back in a few years.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:18 AM   #9
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Heading for Aulani in April and staying for 4 nights in an island gardens view studio. Any suggestions on room location requests? Would prefer to look out over gardens on the grounds rather than the dry hills behind Aulani.

Also spending 4 nights at Hale Koa in Waikiki and a few nights at KMC on the Big Island via my son's military ID. Will miss a Maui visit this time but that gives me an excuse to come back in a few years.
Unfortunately I can't help you with this one. We had a "standard" view one bedroom which was of a courtyard - which was very pretty and even had a waterfall in it. If you'd be okay with a view like that, we were in 453 and there was as studio next door (455 I believe). Across the hall they had a pool view....
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceman93 View Post
Fellow Maui fan here, so I feel your pain, so to speak. I always kind of wondered if, during the bankruptcy period of the Grand Wailea, if Disney would swoop in to clean it up and rebrand it "Disney's Grand Wailean Resort & Spa" or "Disney's Grand Hawaiian Resort & Spa". I'd be shocked if they didn't at least consider it. But then Hilton bought the place on the cheap, rebranded it a Waldorf-Astoria, and that was that.

I'm also sure that Disney extensively researched all the islands for the best place to build a new resort. I think they settled on Oahu due to the extensive air service there from both the mainland and Asia, whereas all the other islands are much more limited on non-stop long-haul flights. Some people would probably be put off by that extra island-hop.

So I think Disney did the best they could, actually. Ko Olina doesn't feel ANYTHING like Waikiki or other touristy parts of Oahu. It's easy to get to but feels a world away. And they likely got the land for super-cheap due to the economic mess we're in. In decades to come when the rest of that area gets built up (hopefully not too much; I'm thinking more like a mature Wailea when all is said and done) Disney will be laughing all the way to the bank.
We're Maui lovers, too, and specifically of Grand Wailea. But I agree with you that Ko Olina feels a world away from Waikiki. We've stayed at the JW and enjoyed the area. Looking forward to more options in the area now for dining and shopping.

Loved your report, jd99. I asked these questions in another report but hope it's ok to repeat them here:
Do the refrigerators have ice makers?

Were any points refunded?

Is there storage in the living room of the one BR other than the shelves by the TV?

Did anyone sleep on the bed that folds down from the TV armoire? Comfy?
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:14 PM   #11
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We're Maui lovers, too, and specifically of Grand Wailea. But I agree with you that Ko Olina feels a world away from Waikiki. We've stayed at the JW and enjoyed the area. Looking forward to more options in the area now for dining and shopping.

Loved your report, jd99. I asked these questions in another report but hope it's ok to repeat them here:
Do the refrigerators have ice makers?

Were any points refunded?

Is there storage in the living room of the one BR other than the shelves by the TV?

Did anyone sleep on the bed that folds down from the TV armoire? Comfy?
Hmm. I haven't written a report yet! But I will. Honest. Here are some answers.
1. Refrigerators do have icemakers and they work just fine.
2. No points refunded. Apparently people there through the 22nd did have points refunded but we checked in on the 23rd.
3. No additional storage in the living room except inside the trunk/coffee table.
4. My 8 year old slept on the bed that folds down and she thought it was great -until on the last day when she bopped her head on the "roof" of it. Ouch.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jd99 View Post
Hmm. I haven't written a report yet! But I will. Honest. Here are some answers.
1. Refrigerators do have icemakers and they work just fine.
2. No points refunded. Apparently people there through the 22nd did have points refunded but we checked in on the 23rd.
3. No additional storage in the living room except inside the trunk/coffee table.
4. My 8 year old slept on the bed that folds down and she thought it was great -until on the last day when she bopped her head on the "roof" of it. Ouch.
LOL but I consider what you wrote a short and sweet report. Not a trip report which until recently I almost never read. Still read but a few as I just don't need that much detail.

At any rate, thanks for your answers. Really too bad about the storage. I hate luggage strewn about the villa. Maybe I'll take a set of hanging shelves which collapse??? Is there room in the closet for that do you think?

Ouch to your little one.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:51 PM   #13
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LOL but I consider what you wrote a short and sweet report. Not a trip report which until recently I almost never read. Still read but a few as I just don't need that much detail.

At any rate, thanks for your answers. Really too bad about the storage. I hate luggage strewn about the villa. Maybe I'll take a set of hanging shelves which collapse??? Is there room in the closet for that do you think?

Ouch to your little one.
Yes the closets are big so you can definitely fit the hanging shelves in there. And that's a great idea that I wish we would have thought of. Two of us unpacked completely and two hung up hanging clothes and lived out of suitcase. It wasn't that bad but definitely would have rather had everything put away.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:57 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by BCV23 View Post
LOL but I consider what you wrote a short and sweet report. Not a trip report which until recently I almost never read. Still read but a few as I just don't need that much detail.

At any rate, thanks for your answers. Really too bad about the storage. I hate luggage strewn about the villa. Maybe I'll take a set of hanging shelves which collapse??? Is there room in the closet for that do you think?

Ouch to your little one.
I missed if it was mentioned but the 1BR's have a closet in the living area and one in the tub area of the bathroom. Had we chose to we could have had luggage stowed away. I didn't think to see if any bags would fit under the master bed.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:42 PM   #15
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I missed if it was mentioned but the 1BR's have a closet in the living area and one in the tub area of the bathroom. Had we chose to we could have had luggage stowed away. I didn't think to see if any bags would fit under the master bed.
Suitcases did NOT fit under the bed. In fact there was no space under the bed at all!
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