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Old 08-18-2013, 07:23 AM   #646
2xcited2sleep
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Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
We have PLANE TICKETS!

Hurrah! Congrats. And a great deal too!!
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:12 AM   #647
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I just got an Alaska Visa card too for the companion fare. What a great deal.
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Old 08-18-2013, 12:43 PM   #648
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Originally Posted by 2xcited2sleep View Post
Hurrah! Congrats. And a great deal too!!
Well it was a cobbled together good deal, I also had some credits to apply which helped but I'm quite pleased with getting the flight I wanted at a price I can live with!

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I just got an Alaska Visa card too for the companion fare. What a great deal.
Yes it is, I think one of our group will be using one. And I know most of my parents miles came from their Alaska card, hopefully my other sister has some miles from hers as I know she has one too. I also love Yapta, I track the flights after purchase and they will notify you if it drops. As a result, from other trips I had $128 I could apply to this booking and then (of course) just this morning, another trip dropped so both Jeff and i have $11 credits to use for future travel.
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Old 08-18-2013, 01:11 PM   #649
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Yay for getting tickets! I was just on SW site last night trying to figure out how many points I needed for my ticket to Puerto Rico next year.

Jill in CO
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Old 08-18-2013, 01:27 PM   #651
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He does sort of track things...he actually asked me last night (after we watched 2 destination america Disney things he'd recorded lol) about the status of our BWV wait list add on. Unfortunately it is not where I'd like it to be.
I am sorry for that! I can imagine that it is pretty frustrating. How long have you been on the list?

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Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
We have PLANE TICKETS!

Our miles posted from our Denver trip so I was able to get us booked. Much to my very pleasant surprise, towards the front of the bus.

My parents had booked a few weeks ago and last week I thought I'd check to see how sold out, or not, the flight was as I was a bit worried the miles tickets might be gone which would definitely up our costs. When I looked, the only seats that had 4 in the same row didn't start until row 22, the flight appeared to be about half sold out and all the seats up front were at a higher price point or mileage level. Imagine my surprise when I went to book Friday am (in 4 separate transactions, bleh) and found seats as far up as row 9

The end result....we have our direct red eye on 12/28 arriving 12/29 on Alaska and then a one stop return on Southwest.

With using miles for 2 of the outbound tickets and some $$ of of a third in a cash and miles transaction (50K miles total used) I was able to get our tickets down to $311 per person and close to the times and flights I wanted. I'd rather be flying home direct but oh well, these aren't bad times.

Not bad for the Holidays! Thank heavens for miles, it saved about $850. Flying back on the 7th helps a ton too. If the rates go down I can get credit for all of our return flights and my outbound. But I'm not sure they will. Hopefully the rest of the gang will book soon. And for their sake I do hope the rates go down. My folks used miles for their entire trip but I'm not sure anyone else has them to use although at least my ex SIL has a companion fare ticket that will probably help her quite a bit and actually allow her to go (I hope!). Either way it should all be settled within the next 4 weeks.

I hope.

Getting flights makes is so much more...real... concrete..etc. I know In my mind all is subject to change until I get those flights secured. I do envy you your ability to do red eyes. Sometime I hate paying for that first night in the hotel when we arrive so late. However... my family just refuse the red eyes.
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Old 08-18-2013, 01:38 PM   #652
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Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
Well it was a cobbled together good deal, I also had some credits to apply which helped but I'm quite pleased with getting the flight I wanted at a price I can live with!



Yes it is, I think one of our group will be using one. And I know most of my parents miles came from their Alaska card, hopefully my other sister has some miles from hers as I know she has one too. I also love Yapta, I track the flights after purchase and they will notify you if it drops. As a result, from other trips I had $128 I could apply to this booking and then (of course) just this morning, another trip dropped so both Jeff and i have $11 credits to use for future travel.
Great that you got your tickets! It's a tough time of year to get any kind of a good price - we grabbed SW tickets for December as soon as the flights opened up, but it helped that we have a CP on DH's SW account until 12/31. On our return flight there's no CP, but we bought early enough that we feel we got a decent deal.

Buying flights is so stressful, but now that's done you can relax, right?

By the way, how do you guys deal with the red eye? I looked up the flight - you land at 6 am in MCO?! What do you do until check-in?
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Old 08-18-2013, 01:49 PM   #653
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I am sorry for that! I can imagine that it is pretty frustrating. How long have you been on the list?
Technically since 4/2 but it was at the 3/19 promo price. Which, with where resale is, is not that much of a difference. $115 pp, less 1K in credit plus 2 5 day park hoppers, which brought it down to about $98 and resale is going for $90 and up these days. Add in some of the fees the resale companies have and it's pretty darn close. Not to mention finding 100 point contracts or less is tough if not impossible for BWV via resale for my UY. Heck any small contract for my UY for that matter. The problem is that I need to book at DLR trip in September at the 7m window for April. I really thought we'd have the points by now but because we couldn't go on the list earlier (they can't sell in WA so I had to get on the list on my DC trip) I think we are probably out of luck on these until 12/1 at the new UY as my guess is what they have reacquired are stripped of 2012 points. So we've been evaluating options.

They are:

1. Do nothing and pay cash for the DLR trip or hope there are rooms avail whenever the points come in.

2. Buy a direct contract at one of the current webcast offers instead of the BWV waitlist

3. Buy a small contract at VGF that would cover the Cali trip but be more of an investment for rental or girls trips (Jeff is very anti GF...which is news to me and weird but whatever)

4. Keep looking for a small resale, again doesn't help the Cali situation.

My issue is I really can't stand the idea of paying cash for a room, or point rental, when it could go towards more points. Jeff's take is either option 1 or 2 and he's leaning towards 2, as am I. It's a little bit full circle, we really considered Aulani as our first DVC purchase but spent the money on our Alaska cruise instead. If we opt to move forward with something other than BWV waiting...it looks like it will be Aulani which for us, could be a very good thing at 11m. We've got a little over 3 weeks if we were going to do that promo price, and a little over a month before my 7m booking day so you never know, BWV could come through but it's sure not looking good. Much as I like the idea of our BWV points being the larger amount, there is something very tempting about Aulani. Personally I think the better investment is probably 50 at VGF and wait it out at BWV but Jeff is really leaning the other way and dead set against VGF. Probably as my option really means 50 more points in total than we'd discussed as the right number. LOL!

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Originally Posted by annmarieda View Post
Getting flights makes is so much more...real... concrete..etc. I know In my mind all is subject to change until I get those flights secured. I do envy you your ability to do red eyes. Sometime I hate paying for that first night in the hotel when we arrive so late. However... my family just refuse the red eyes.
We don't give the kids a choice. Then again, we warped them early and they totally get the time benefit so that may have helped. A trip never feels real until I have flights, like the whole thing could get cancelled at any time.
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Old 08-18-2013, 02:12 PM   #654
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Great that you got your tickets! It's a tough time of year to get any kind of a good price - we grabbed SW tickets for December as soon as the flights opened up, but it helped that we have a CP on DH's SW account until 12/31. On our return flight there's no CP, but we bought early enough that we feel we got a decent deal.

Buying flights is so stressful, but now that's done you can relax, right?
Well, once the rest of the group has their flights I will relax. LOL! It's a fine line on flights, buy too early and they are too much, too late and they are too much and that sweet spot of them going down...may or may not happen over the holidays!

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By the way, how do you guys deal with the red eye? I looked up the flight - you land at 6 am in MCO?! What do you do until check-in?
yep, 6:14 am

It will be our 4th red eye into Orlando so we've got a routine down. It will be 7-7:30 by the time we get to the resort. We will have suits and stuff in case we want pool time and the weather works for it but will leave those at bell services. We will check in and then go out for breakfast, a nice lazy sit down one this year at Captain's Grille. Of course in this instance I think we will have to head over to guest services first (or I will) to pick up my TIW card so I can use it at breakfast. Then we hit the parks and of course MK will be first (though we may walk through Epcot and take the Monorail if folks want depending on what time we finish breakfast). This year I actually have all the boys scheduled for haircuts at Harmony Barber Shop (traditional E's first day must do but we have done walk in and wait, the ressie option is new), we should be done with that by about 1:30. If we are doing the whole magic band PF+ thing, I'll book those for MK. We may have issues getting those though, some will be able to for sure but I may not be! I will likely not be able to show having a "valid" ticket until I head to guest services to claim my PAP voucher so all that stuff will take up a bit of time in the am too.

It's a little bit of a bummer as MK has early EMH hours that day, plus the holiday crowds but it is what it is. I'd much rather be able to have a short walk to breakfast after the red eye then try to get it over at MK, it just works best for everyone to start the trip out right. Haircuts later in the week would have worked better but it's a tradition and I'm ok with that now that we have a reservation for it!

If no text yet (and not expecting it to be early at that time of year) we will likely grab snacks or light CS somewhere and kind of play it by ear. In the past we've headed back to swim, hit a different park, etc. It's an early dinner night (5) at R&C for CP so there should be enough actually scheduled to keep us busy and not crashing. It's worked well in the past.

The real question will be my dad...they are at the Swan and he is a napper so he will likely try to power nap before dinner the minute their room is ready. I think everyone else will be too full of adrenaline to be too much of an issue. I don't think it will be a late night and actually hope not or I won't get all those boys up the next day. Ideally we are back and heading to bed right after the 10:30 Illuminations.
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Old 08-18-2013, 02:16 PM   #655
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Technically since 4/2 but it was at the 3/19 promo price. Which, with where resale is, is not that much of a difference. $115 pp, less 1K in credit plus 2 5 day park hoppers, which brought it down to about $98 and resale is going for $90 and up these days. Add in some of the fees the resale companies have and it's pretty darn close. Not to mention finding 100 point contracts or less is tough if not impossible for BWV via resale for my UY. Heck any small contract for my UY for that matter. The problem is that I need to book at DLR trip in September at the 7m window for April. I really thought we'd have the points by now but because we couldn't go on the list earlier (they can't sell in WA so I had to get on the list on my DC trip) I think we are probably out of luck on these until 12/1 at the new UY as my guess is what they have reacquired are stripped of 2012 points. So we've been evaluating options.

They are:

1. Do nothing and pay cash for the DLR trip or hope there are rooms avail whenever the points come in.

2. Buy a direct contract at one of the current webcast offers instead of the BWV waitlist

3. Buy a small contract at VGF that would cover the Cali trip but be more of an investment for rental or girls trips (Jeff is very anti GF...which is news to me and weird but whatever)

4. Keep looking for a small resale, again doesn't help the Cali situation.

My issue is I really can't stand the idea of paying cash for a room, or point rental, when it could go towards more points. Jeff's take is either option 1 or 2 and he's leaning towards 2, as am I. It's a little bit full circle, we really considered Aulani as our first DVC purchase but spent the money on our Alaska cruise instead. If we opt to move forward with something other than BWV waiting...it looks like it will be Aulani which for us, could be a very good thing at 11m. We've got a little over 3 weeks if we were going to do that promo price, and a little over a month before my 7m booking day so you never know, BWV could come through but it's sure not looking good. Much as I like the idea of our BWV points being the larger amount, there is something very tempting about Aulani. Personally I think the better investment is probably 50 at VGF and wait it out at BWV but Jeff is really leaning the other way and dead set against VGF. Probably as my option really means 50 more points in total than we'd discussed as the right number. LOL!

I can see that is a lot to consider. So... if I am understanding it correctly... you need points anywhere in order to book at GCV. I can understand not wanting to pay cash when you could put that toward buying.

That is so weird that BWV can't sell in WA. (is it just BWV?) Seems like that just complicates things all the more!

I will keep my fingers crossed the wait list moves in time for you.
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Old 08-18-2013, 03:13 PM   #656
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I can see that is a lot to consider. So... if I am understanding it correctly... you need points anywhere in order to book at GCV. I can understand not wanting to pay cash when you could put that toward buying.
Exactly. A cash ressie at GCV for the nights we want is about 2K! Less if points rented, maybe $1400 but still. The thing is originally the Cali trip was a maybe, a mom and me for Eric and I while Evan was in NYC with my folks over spring break. But thanks to HS...Evan will now be marching down main street over spring break. There is NO way I am missing that, and frankly no way I am not staying on property. I've done both and while yes, it's more doable at DLR for sure, it's not what I want. There could be a promo that comes out but even then it's still easily 1K...and I'd rather put it towards points we planned on adding anyway. Aulani, while more $, is also 20 years longer on the contract so it does have pro's and cons.

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That is so weird that BWV can't sell in WA. (is it just BWV?) Seems like that just complicates things all the more!

I will keep my fingers crossed the wait list moves in time for you.
Nope, not just BWV. Actually the only things that CAN sell direct from Disney into WA are VGC, SSR, BLT, AUL, AKV. Maybe OKW with the extension but I don't think so. When they added the THV and re-opened up SSR for sale is when they added WA to that one. None of the older resorts were ever licensed to sell here and they have no plans to do so as they are all sold out anyway. It's not just WA, it's an issue in several states.

It does complicate it though as honestly we were hoping to close in either Denver this month, or Cali next. Next opportunity wouldn't be until our NYE trip anyway so realistically if it doesn't come through by 9/13, it doesn't much matter until December anyway, though we could book with the points before closing. Chances of VGC availablity over spring break, much after the 7m date is pretty nil though. A day here and there but not the weekend I'm sure.

If we do it, we will likely pull the trigger on the 6th or so, before the promo ends on the 7th. We'd honestly then sit on the paperwork until the 16th on the off chance that either a new promo was better, or that the WL came through. Either way, I'd have points by the 19th which is the booking day.

On the positive side...if we did do Aulani we would get the 2012 points as they will bank them. If BWV doesn't come through will 12/1, no 2012 points which frankly is part of the pro of buying direct. I've been plotting points assuming the 2012 ones so...

Then again I was plotting assuming Aulani for Feb of 2015 and Jeff wants it to be April...which is more points so...it does make the "need" for the 2012 ones a bit higher. Also on the positive side, using points for both GCV and Aulani which have crazy cash rates, "pays" off the investment faster. LOL. Fuzzy DVC math.
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Old 08-18-2013, 03:53 PM   #657
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The only "red eye" ever did was to England and it screwed up my internal clock brutally
of course the 5 hour time difference didn't help
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:35 PM   #658
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The only "red eye" ever did was to England and it screwed up my internal clock brutally
of course the 5 hour time difference didn't help
True. I've had a few of those to Europe and really it works the same. You just have to stay up or it's a bit of a train wreck. Worst one was when I was in HS. Our band trip had us landing in London in the am and then they scheduled a BUS tour of the city afterwards. Being London, it was rainy, the bus fogged up...everyone crashed...and then of course couldn't go to sleep at night.

So we all "snuck" out to a pub...only to find all our chaperon's already there!

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Old 08-18-2013, 04:44 PM   #659
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Exactly. A cash ressie at GCV for the nights we want is about 2K! Less if points rented, maybe $1400 but still. The thing is originally the Cali trip was a maybe, a mom and me for Eric and I while Evan was in NYC with my folks over spring break. But thanks to HS...Evan will now be marching down main street over spring break. There is NO way I am missing that, and frankly no way I am not staying on property. I've done both and while yes, it's more doable at DLR for sure, it's not what I want. There could be a promo that comes out but even then it's still easily 1K...and I'd rather put it towards points we planned on adding anyway. Aulani, while more $, is also 20 years longer on the contract so it does have pro's and cons.
That is crazy! When I thought about how much we paid over the last few years...it helped me to realize that we really needed DVC. THEN booking for January... the amount our room would cost at rack (and yes, I know there are discounts) Rack rate for our room for our trip is about a quarter of what we paid for our contract.

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Nope, not just BWV. Actually the only things that CAN sell direct from Disney into WA are VGC, SSR, BLT, AUL, AKV. Maybe OKW with the extension but I don't think so. When they added the THV and re-opened up SSR for sale is when they added WA to that one. None of the older resorts were ever licensed to sell here and they have no plans to do so as they are all sold out anyway. It's not just WA, it's an issue in several states.
In all the times that I was in contact with a direct rep, they never mentioned anything about that to me. Seems like an important detail. He sends me info all the time.... so he knows we are in WA. But now... resale is fine at any resort,yes?

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It does complicate it though as honestly we were hoping to close in either Denver this month, or Cali next. Next opportunity wouldn't be until our NYE trip anyway so realistically if it doesn't come through by 9/13, it doesn't much matter until December anyway, though we could book with the points before closing. Chances of VGC availability over spring break, much after the 7m date is pretty nil though. A day here and there but not the weekend I'm sure.

If we do it, we will likely pull the trigger on the 6th or so, before the promo ends on the 7th. We'd honestly then sit on the paperwork until the 16th on the off chance that either a new promo was better, or that the WL came through. Either way, I'd have points by the 19th which is the booking day.

On the positive side...if we did do Aulani we would get the 2012 points as they will bank them. If BWV doesn't come through will 12/1, no 2012 points which frankly is part of the pro of buying direct. I've been plotting points assuming the 2012 ones so...

Then again I was plotting assuming Aulani for Feb of 2015 and Jeff wants it to be April...which is more points so...it does make the "need" for the 2012 ones a bit higher. Also on the positive side, using points for both GCV and Aulani which have crazy cash rates, "pays" off the investment faster. LOL. Fuzzy DVC math.
That is one thing that I regret in our purchase. We had looked at direct and were told we would be able to get the previous years points... and some resale contracts have banked points.. Our contract came with nothing...and while it wasn't stripped (since all of our 2013 points were going to hit the account) our UY is december. Oh the things I could have done had we had that full set of point (or even a fraction) at the very start.
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:44 PM   #660
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Surf Fail and Killer Tacos

Despite being several days into the trip our bodies still seemed to be on Pacific Time. We woke up at 7:30 am. With no real need to be up that darn early. Oh well. Only one thing to be done in that kind of situation.

Have coffee on the lanai of course!





Yeah, another crummy day in paradise

All was quiet in the river





And seemingly everywhere else!





We lazed, enjoyed the view, I think I DISed on my phone. We had an errand to run but couldn't arrive before 10am so had some time to kill. I decided to get a little work done. The restaurant phone started ringing about that time, it was amazing how it echoed through the valley. I had wifi issues and can’t recall if I got them resolved or not. We also decided to change our dinner reservations, though for the life of me I don't really remember why. I think it was just a time change at Roys for the next night and I ended up calling.
And then it was time for breakfast



Yeah, not very exciting huh. It did the trick. We did have live entertainment over breakfast though. Some lady on the slide (not sure if was the body slide or tube slide) screamed like a banshee! If we weren’t awake by then, we were now. We also decided to debate the merits of POG (pineapple orange guava juice) versus coke as a mixer. As in which was better or worse for you. Mind you, we were NOT having rum drinks at breakfast but I was drinking some POG and somehow that parked a sugar content debate. As you might imagine, both are pretty horrendous. POG comes in at 25g per 8oz but coke is at 44g! I can confirm this as we actually have POG in the fridge right now lol. Besides, it’s 180% of my daily vitamin C...that has to counteract all that sugar a bit right? Though yikes, if you look at what I ate, strawberries, a cinnamon roll and a glass of POG…I have a sugar high and the resulting crash just looking at it right now. At about 9:30 we headed down to pick up our towels for the day and then to the ‘Ōlelo Room for coffee. This was our second cup of coffee actually using our mugs. The mugs at Aulani are not cheap, $18.99 each. So now we were down to $9.50 cups of coffee each so far. Thankfully this cup was good. The previous day I think we’d timed it wrong somehow and the coffee had been out…Kona is a lighter bean that can’t take a dark roast and as a result if it's overheated on sterno in an urn or a burner...you can REALLY tell. It was not a good cup of coffee. Today it was. We headed out on our errand. Which was to find Jeff a rash guard. He wanted/needed one for snorkeling and had spaced on getting one at home before the trip. Pathetically, inexcusably if you ask me, they didn’t sell any mens ones at Aulani. Womens either for that matter. According to the staff at The Lava Shack, which is where they sell that type of stuff, they used to have it and it sold really well. But they hadn't been offered it in months and had no idea if it would be coming back or not. The staff had told us about a surf outlet that had good options and prices so we thought we'd hit that. Of course I’d not written down the name of the shop so one of the things I'd done online that am was look it up. Address in hand, we headed into Kapeoli.

After a couple of minor wrong turns we found it, parked and went in.
My googling had been an epic fail.

We were not at a surf outlet

We were at a surfBOARD outlet. LOL! It was actually pretty darn funny, other than wasting our time a bit.

Fortunately Kapeoli has lots of options and we knew where Target was so headed there. Next door to Target was a Sports Authority and Jeff thought that might be the better option. After a bit of digging...it was. We found him a nice white, simple, O'Neil version that was on clearance for $13. SCORE! A bio stop, another coffee for the road (hey, there was a Starbucks in the Target…which has bathrooms lol) and we were off.

At 11. Sigh. Not exactly an early start to the day.. which was mildly annoying being that we'd been up since 7:30am!

Where too? Why the Northshore of course. Do over! We just hoped it wouldn't be too windy, Jeff was very concerned about that. The drive itself was easy and uneventful.



Land for sale if anyone is interested



Pretty trees



Dole plantation



Pretty crowded





And no, we didn't stop. Zero interest to be honest. Both of us had been drug to pineapple farms as teens/young adults and that was enough for us.

We wondered if they use these as Christmas Trees



Heading into Haleiwa (11:28 so less than 30 minutes from Kapolei) it started to get crowded. We drove by Mackys Shrimp Truck and could not believe the crowds lined up. It was lunch time but WOW! Jeff doesn't care for Shrimp and I am ambivalent so that really had no appeal for either of us anyway, “famous” or not. Just as we got to the beach park and turned east BAM, traffic. It seriously almost came to a stop. And didn't move between Haliewa and Waimea. It’s like 5 miles, but I swear it took 30 minutes. Which was a bit of a problem as we both really needed a bio break. We hit Waimea Bay and decided a potty stop was needed. But the lot was full so we just took turns.

Doesn't look all that full does it?



What it also was, was what Jeff had feared. Windy. The tradewinds were quite present and as a result, while it was warm and very pleasant out, it wasn't "oh I need to run and jump in the ocean right now" hot, nor did it look all that fun to try and snorkel in (fair weather snorkelers I guess lol). We decided to drive across the street and see what was up at Waimea Valley. Pulling in, we parked and walked up. It started to drizzle. Though unplanned, we were there, had a DVC discount and since neither of us felt compelled to jump in the ocean, decided to head on in.

A little bit about the valley.

History:
One of last partially intact ahupua‘a on O`ahu, Waimea Valley consists of 1,875 acres and has been a sacred place for more than 700 years of Native Hawaiian history. Waimea, “The Valley of the Priests,” gained its title around 1090 when the ruler of O‘ahu awarded the land to the kähuna nui. Descendants of the high priests lived and cared for much of the Valley until
As part of a cooperative conservation land purchase, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs acquired the property in 2006. In 2008, Hi‘ipaka LLC was established to manage Waimea Valley and hold the deed.

Highlights:
Take a casual walk on a paved path through our World Class Botanical Gardens and Historical Sites 3/4 of a mile one way or 1 1/2 miles round trip from our Ticket Booth (where you pay Admission into the Valley) to our Waterfall area.

Activities
Several activities (with paid admission) are offered throughout the day in different locations in the Valley.

Ancient Hawaiian Archaeological Sites
Ancient Hawaiian Archaeological Sites: 78 sites of interest have been identified including religious sites and shrines, house sites, agricultural terraces and fishponds.

World Class Botanical Garden Collections
The 150-acre Botanical Collection contains more than 5,000 kinds of tropical and subtropical plants including native and endangered Hawaiian plants.

Wildlife
Several native and endangered birds including the ‘alae ‘ula are found in Waimea. All five species of o'opu, a native freshwater fish can be found in Kamananui Stream. Because Waimea Valley is home to so many endangered plants and animals, we do not allow any domestic animals to be brought in. This includes birds, cats and dogs, with the exception of service animals..

Cultural Activities
Visitors to the Valley are invited to participate in several free activities (with paid admission) including Hula Implement demonstrations, Hawaiian Games, and Crafts, Music & Story Telling with Kūpuna.

Waihī Waterfall
An attraction of great interest and enjoyment is the Valley’s 45-foot waterfall. Waihï is approximately 3/4 of a mile from the Ticket booth.

Retail, Food & Beverage Services
Ku‘ono Waiwai, the Valley’s retail store, showcases the work of North Shore artists and Hawaii crafters of locally made products. The Valley’s on-site concession services uses locally grown, made-in-Hawai‘i ingredients for local dining at its best.


Let's go for a walk in the gardens!

















Which way?



Continued in next post
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Last edited by eandesmom; 08-18-2013 at 04:55 PM.
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