Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disney Vacation Club > DVC Trip Reports
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS UpdatesDIS email updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read





Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 04-01-2013, 06:28 PM   #1
Jkpark
DIS Veteran
 
Jkpark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 682

Mini Aulani Trip Report

We just got back from 6 amazing nights at Aulani and I wanted to share my thoughts/experience. Trying to keep it brief to not bore you, but I’m happy to give more details if you have any questions

First the overall review. We LOVED it. It was me, DH, DD7 and DD5. They were the perfect age to still enjoy the characters but also try some activities. It was also a great balance of family time, and being able to have adult time knowing your kids are having a better time than you. Even knowing how much the resort offered, I was amazed at how much there was to do. We only planned one activity for Monday afternoon ahead of time and I was honestly worried we would get a little bored towards the end of the week. We could have easily stayed longer and we have a list of things to do “next time”. If you have young kids, don’t get caught up just reading the activities for kids – we loved the family activities we got to do together. Construction didn’t bother us at all. Honestly the only point where I found it annoying was using the downstairs restrooms - they must having been doing something just above me .

We stayed in a studio ocean view and requested a high floor. We were given room 1664 which is in the short wing of the Ewa tower. Gorgeous view – will try to upload some pictures.

For dining we had breakfast, lunch and dinner at Ama Ama (loved all 3 meals), we did the character breakfast (fun and good food – would rate it higher than the food at your basic WDW or DLR character breakfasts), had breakfast and a light dinner at the Olelo Room (liked them both), and we had food from One Paddle, Two Paddle and Off the Hook (basic poolside food). Across the street we tried Monkeypod (liked it) and Just Tacos (not as much). We walked the beach once and ended up at Chuck’s b/c Longboard’s was closed for the night. We drove up to the north shore one day and ate breakfast at Breaker’s and stopped at Ted’s Bakery (liked the chocolate haupia pie but LOVED the dream cake). I thought we would do the family meal one night but it just never worked out where we knew by noon what we would be doing for dinner – so never got around to that. In terms of snacks, we had plenty of Mickey ice cream bars and DH and DD7 had plenty of shaved ice. Tried to hit the yogurt bar by the teen spa but kept mis-timing that, too. Had a Roy’s reservation our last night but the kids just wanted to play more in the pool so we skipped that, too. We bought some groceries for light lunches and breakfasts (and wine). We also did the refillable mugs.

In terms of what we did, on Monday we did the Catamaran Experience booked through Aulani and we LOVED it. I would recommend this to anyone – kids of all ages, no kids, etc. We did Rainbow Reef, rented a kayak in the lagoon, spend a LOT of time on the slides and in the pool and lazy river. The kids played at Menehune Bridge (I am too tall ). We did the animation class and ukulele class through the Pau Hana room, attended the Starlit Hui, made leis and played games in the Pau Hana room. We did a couple Menehune adventure trails, too. The girls did some free play at Aunty’s (probably not as much as they wanted), Stitch’s Space Goo, Eruption Disruption and Surf’s Up with Chip and Dale. I did one load of laundry – my first in a hotel! (I usually just over-pack). It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting and helped a TON.

This was mostly a relaxed, no-plans vacation for us so it wasn’t too stressful. If I was in my normal over-planning detailed vacation mode – these are the things that would have stressed me out – so I’ll share so you can be prepared. I was told the resort was at capacity while we were there, so note that you might have a completely different experience if you are there off season.

(1) People were saving chairs by the pool pretty early in the morning (before 7 and the pool opened at 8). Walking around just after 8 – it was hard to find any open chair – regardless of shade/sun/view. Not sure where all these people were as the pools, slides, river never seemed that crowded – but if having a chair or the perfect chair is important to you, it seemed more like what I have heard of the cruise ships than what I have seen at WDW and DLR resorts. Also note the staff was doing a good job by the 2nd day or clearing chairs that went an hour without being used. I have heard this isn’t the case on the cruise ships – so if you are used to leaving your stuff for the day – know it really may be gone if you come back 2 hours later.

(2) We had rain (as expected) and I was surprised they didn’t reschedule the activities that were cancelled due to rain. There were plenty of other activities, and I’m sure it would be a logistics/staffing problem to try to – but if there are certain outdoor activities you have your heart set on – just know they may get cancelled and you may have to catch them on your next trip.

(3) Photopass photographers. They are around quite a bit – each character meet and greet, each scheduled activity at Aunty’s, the planned family activities and even randomly at the Pau Hana room, in the lazy river, in the lobby, on the beach – everywhere. This is great if you catch them, but can be a little frustrating if you always seem to just miss them. I saw them in the lobby every day at different times, but I was also in the lobby once a day with all 4 of us looking for them and the timing never worked out. We kayaked on the beach, kids built sand castles, etc. and as we were getting hot ready to head up to more shade, they show up to take pictures there. We would see them in the lazy river from Olelo room – but not while we were actually in there, etc. We did track a few down and ask them to come take certain pictures for us – and we got plenty of great ones (bought the CD). Again – just pointing this out so if you see other’s pictures/reviews, just know if may take a little more work to get them at the right place at the right time – but totally worth it. They are all so nice and help to make great memories.

(4) Aunty’s Beach House. I signed them up for Surf’s Up with Chip & Dale before we left – to time it with our Ama Ama reservation. I didn’t realize you had to sign up for daily activities, too. When I dropped off our registration paperwork, she mentioned you would need to sign up the day of for activities as noted in the daily Iwa. I didn’t get a sense of urgency. Fast forward to Tuesday morning. I am walking from the Olelo Room back to the elevator with my coffee and Iwa and I see a line down by Aunty’s (7:40 am). I head down and ask and they are in line to sign their kids up for activities that day. One woman mentioned at check in she was told lines start before 7 so get there early for activities. Another woman wasn’t told that at check in, but had tried to sign up for something at 9am the day before and it was full. I hadn’t gotten that info at check in either. Just seemed inconsistent in what information people were receiving. I also heard them turning families away from items listed that didn’t even indicate “sign-up, space limited” in the Iwa.

We cannot wait to go back! So if you have questions – let me know as I would love to keep re-living this vacation!
__________________

WDW: Dec '85 (offsite), May '01 (offsite), Nov '02 (POFQ/Swan), Jan '07 (POP), Oct '08 (offsite), May '11 (SSR), Sept '12 (offsite/BLT)
March 2012 Aulani
Plus lots of trips to Disneyland
Jkpark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2013, 06:53 PM   #2
Alice Sr.
BWV 1998 BCV 2002 SSR 2006 AKL 2008
 
Alice Sr.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Chicago (western suburbs)
Posts: 1,673

Thanks for all the info, looking forward to seeing some of your pictures. Is it a set price on the photopass?

Thanks
Alice Sr. is online now   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 04-01-2013, 09:36 PM   #3
Jkpark
DIS Veteran
 
Jkpark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 682

The CD is $99 for all your pics and their stock photos. The other thing I loved was logging my PhotoPass cards into the TV to view in my room before deciding to purchase. Do they offer that at other properties? I don't usually have the TV on and wouldn't have noticed - either way - new to me!
__________________

WDW: Dec '85 (offsite), May '01 (offsite), Nov '02 (POFQ/Swan), Jan '07 (POP), Oct '08 (offsite), May '11 (SSR), Sept '12 (offsite/BLT)
March 2012 Aulani
Plus lots of trips to Disneyland
Jkpark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 12:26 AM   #4
Allie444
Earning My Ears
 
Allie444's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Fullerton, Ca.
Posts: 8

What a great trip report, Thank you! We arrive in 5 days so this is super helpful. Just a couple of question. Did you love the Starlit Luau? And is there anything I can sign up for/or need to sign up for in advance? I am assuming from your review that I will have to go down to Auntie's first thing on the mornings I want my son to attend. Is it possible to just drop him off at Auntie's for an hour or 2 on a whim?
__________________
Allie
Allie444 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 01:21 AM   #5
Jkpark
DIS Veteran
 
Jkpark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 682

I loved the Starlit Hui because it is free (doubt our kids would have enjoyed typical luau food), the kids got to do crafts and learn a little hula before it started, it was a more reasonable length for kids, good music and dancing. I would have preferred this even without the Disney characters dancing when it was over. If you want a standard traditional luau, this might not be enough for you. DH and I did a luau the year before in another island - which was great but didn't think my kids would enjoy it enough to justify the cost. Hope that makes sense.

As for Aunty's, you can sign up for the premium activities before your trip (the ones that are an extra fee). You can find these on the website. Otherwise, you can sign up that morning. And yes - even if they aren't signed up for a particular activity, you can drop them off for free play anytime between 10 am and 9 pm. The kids enjoyed the free play as much as the organized activities. There is so much for them to do! You will have a great time!
__________________

WDW: Dec '85 (offsite), May '01 (offsite), Nov '02 (POFQ/Swan), Jan '07 (POP), Oct '08 (offsite), May '11 (SSR), Sept '12 (offsite/BLT)
March 2012 Aulani
Plus lots of trips to Disneyland
Jkpark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2013, 05:58 AM   #6
Susan2771
Mouseketeer
 
Susan2771's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Toronto
Posts: 435

Thank-you for the wonderful report. Our 2 girls will be the same ages as your daughters when we go this summer.

We are also going to sign them up for the Surf's Up with Chip and Dale. What did your little ones do during this activity? Do you know what they ate?

I have read that the photopass photographers are also at the kids events doing photos but do the kids need there own photopass cards? I'm just wondering how do they know which family the photos should go to? Do they give you a photopass card for each child when you pick them up?

Were there any dining venues off site that your girls really enjoyed and they would recommend to another 7 and 5 year old?

Thanks again!!!
__________________
Aug 2002 - All Star Sports
MAY 2004 - POLY

Sept 2008 - POFQ
June 2009 - CBR
June 2010 -Coronado Springs
October 2011 - POR
JULY 2012 - AKL
AUGUST 2013 - AULANI
JUNE 2014 - CBR
JULY 2014 - TO THE DARK SIDE WE GO! -ROYAL PACFIC
Susan2771 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2013, 10:32 AM   #7
Jkpark
DIS Veteran
 
Jkpark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 682

Surfs up - they ate dinner first. It was a buffet with pizza, chicken nuggets, fruit and maybe Mac n cheese. They did ask about allergies too. They paint/decorate wooden surfboards. Chip and Dale arrive for pictures and then finish with a dance party. They loved it.

For the group events with PhotoPass, they keep them all in their system. Ou go to the gift shop at least 30 minutes later (but it can be anytime during your trip). You tell them when and where you were and they pull up all those pictures. You give them the numbers if any photos from that group you want and they will add just those to a card for you. We did this for Chip and Dale, Stitch's Space Goo, Eruption Disruption, the pool party, Ukulele lessons and the animation class. We would just peek in the store now and then and stop in when there was nobody in line. Very easy!

As for dining, we only ate offsite a few meals and nothing really stands out for the kids. Monkey pod had a decent kids menu but they weren't with us for that one. We never made it to Roy's but I hear their kids menu is good, too. They did love both breakfast and lunch at AMA AMA and the breakfast buffet. Sorry we aren't much help on that one.

They will have a great time! My girls are already asking when we can go back.
__________________

WDW: Dec '85 (offsite), May '01 (offsite), Nov '02 (POFQ/Swan), Jan '07 (POP), Oct '08 (offsite), May '11 (SSR), Sept '12 (offsite/BLT)
March 2012 Aulani
Plus lots of trips to Disneyland
Jkpark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2013, 05:17 AM   #8
Susan2771
Mouseketeer
 
Susan2771's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Toronto
Posts: 435

Thank-you! Welcome back and I hope your family can enjoy another trip back in the future
__________________
Aug 2002 - All Star Sports
MAY 2004 - POLY

Sept 2008 - POFQ
June 2009 - CBR
June 2010 -Coronado Springs
October 2011 - POR
JULY 2012 - AKL
AUGUST 2013 - AULANI
JUNE 2014 - CBR
JULY 2014 - TO THE DARK SIDE WE GO! -ROYAL PACFIC
Susan2771 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2013, 02:33 PM   #9
winstoda
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 35

Great trip report!
winstoda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2013, 02:45 PM   #10
wiigirl
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 15,974

Wonderful TR!
__________________
For the love of Disney...
wiigirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2013, 10:56 AM   #11
2xcited2sleep
DIS Veteran
 
2xcited2sleep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 7,346

Thanks so much for your mini review. Everything sounds terrific!

Sounds like you kept fairly close to the resort other than the day you drove up the North Shore... did you have a rental car for the whole trip? Do you think one is necessary?

Any recommendations in terms of research/trip planning? I love that this was a relaxed/no plans vacation for you. We are usually that way but knowing absolutely nothing about Hawaii I am feeling like I need to do some basic research.
__________________
Christine

2xcited2sleep is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2013, 04:46 PM   #12
lovetotraveltx
DIS Veteran
 
lovetotraveltx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,005

Great tr!! Is there a reasonably priced place to get coffee and breakfast/lunch food for the villa?
lovetotraveltx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2013, 09:46 PM   #13
abcangie87
Mouseketeer
 
abcangie87's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 460

Thanks for the info about Aunty's! I hadn't even processed the whole 'premium experiences' stuff. So...if you register for those premium experiences before you go, you STILL have ot go stand in line the morning of to get on the list for them too?

I keep hearing people refer to 'roy's' and I have NO IDEA what that is. enlighten me?

Thanks so much!
__________________
Angie

Counting down to our 4th Disney Cruise!
Dreaming about our cruise on the Fantasy in 2014!
[IMG][/IMG]
abcangie87 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2013, 02:16 AM   #14
WDW_Diane
Mouseketeer
 
WDW_Diane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 372

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovetotraveltx View Post
Great tr!! Is there a reasonably priced place to get coffee and breakfast/lunch food for the villa?
Target is close, so is a grocery store
__________________
Disney Love
WDW_Diane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2013, 02:16 AM   #15
WDW_Diane
Mouseketeer
 
WDW_Diane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 372

Quote:
Originally Posted by WDW_Diane View Post

Target is close, so is a grocery store
......you need a car to get to Target though
__________________
Disney Love
WDW_Diane is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:26 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.