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Old 11-12-2011, 03:08 PM   #1
Raivyn
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Join Date: Oct 2008
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Aulani T-3 Days and Counting Pre-Trip Planning Report!

Today is Saturday...we leave for Aulani at 8:40am on Tuesday for a 7 day split stay at Aulani (4 days in a 1br standard view and 3 nights in a 1 br ocean viewroom). Originally was supposed to be whole family, but now only DH and myself, so kinda like a 2nd honeymoon (we honeymooned in Kona).

I thought I'd do a pre-trip planning report since Aulani is so new there aren't alot of trip reports/planning posts out there yet. I hope to use it a few years from now when DS is old enough to hang out at Auntie's Beach House, and I hope you find it helpful, too!

~Raivyn
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Old 11-12-2011, 03:31 PM   #2
Raivyn
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Go Oahu/Power Pass Card

DH and I like to be active and like exploring, but we also found Hawaii the perfect place to do absolutely nothing, and with young kids, that's quite a luxury nowadays!! We also, like alot of folks, don't want to spend $$$ more than we have to. So tried to develop an itinerary that met all those goals.

I read alot of posts about what to do while at Aulani/Oahu, and I asked several friends who have been to Oahu. Several activities kept coming up in these discussions.

One bit of advice a friend of mine gave me was to pick up the Honolulu/Oahu Power Pass. She used it in the past, and it allowed her to see several of the tourist sites at a discount. It is reasonably priced at approx. $110/adult for a 3 day pass, and you can get it emailed to you so shipping would not be an issue.

On Mousesavers, they advertising the Go Oahu Card. One reader stated that you can get the Go Oahu Card at a considerable discount through Costco. The price is approx $145/adult for a 3 day pass.

After considering our options (Power Pass, Go Oahu, or figure it out while we're there), we opted for the Go Oahu card for the following reasons:

-I firmly believe that Costco may not be the least expensive place, but genuinely offers value. (I have friends who worked with the founders and vouch for their product selection). Costco carrying this card tells me that they believe their members will get value from it at the Costco price.

-The Go Oahu card has "bonus" activities on the 3 day card. We chose the Kualoa Ranch Sunset Experience as our bonus activity, which costs $89 + tax retail, considerably more than the price difference between the Go Oahu card and the Power Pass. Germaine's Luau is another bonus activity option.

-The Go Oahu website is much easier to navigate, and the guidebook is quite helpful. In addition, there are reviews of the different activities on their website which are very informative.

Since we leave on Tuesday, I paid $12 express shipping to have the passes delivered before then. Shipping was very prompt - I ordered on Wednesday night and the passes arrived on Friday morning. I was very pleased to have these in hand.




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Old 11-12-2011, 03:35 PM   #3
Raivyn
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Old 11-12-2011, 03:39 PM   #4
Raivyn
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Aulani Itinerary

Of course, to get our money's worth out of the Go Oahu cards, 3 out of our 7 days are action packed. The activities we are going on are:

Makani Catamaran morning cruise/Hawaiian moped rentals
Waimea Valley/North Shore/Kualoa Ranch Ocean Voyager Tour and Sunset Experience
Diamond Head hike/Hanauma Bay snorkeling (not using Go Oahu cards)
2 resort/relax days
1 spa day
Wet & Wild/Dole Plantation
Manoa Falls hike

Whew!!
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Old 11-12-2011, 04:03 PM   #5
buckbart
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I am very excited to hear how the activities you selected were ... we've chosen to do many of the same when we go in March, except want to do the dolphin encounter as our freebie.

Looking forward to your trip report!
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:44 PM   #6
spleen
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Are you driving to Germaine's luau yourself or is bus transportation included? Just be aware that if you drive yourself, Germaine's is located in an "odd" location in an industrial location on Oahu. It's not far from Aulani but make sure that you check the map carefully before you head out there to make sure that you don't get confused while driving. The actual location itself is scenic but the drive there will not look too appealing.

Germaine's and Paradise Cove luau are both rated as one of the better luaus on Oahu so I think you'll have a great time!
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Old 11-14-2011, 01:42 AM   #7
Raivyn
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We are going to Kualoa Ranch for the Sunset Experience as our bonus activity, and are not going to do either Paradise Cove or Germaine's luau. We went to a luau when we honeymooned in Kona, and the Kualoa Ranch activity includes a dinner buffer with entertainment, so we're not planning on attending a luau.

I believe you can arrange for transporation with some of the activities on the Go Oahu card, but most of them originate in Waikiki and not in Aulani.

We are renting a car and plan to bring a GPS so hopefully we won't get too lost.
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Old 11-14-2011, 01:52 AM   #8
Raivyn
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T-2 Days and counting until Aulani!!

We are packed and just about ready to go!!

It was quite time consuming to pack because to save money, we are not checking any luggage and everything we'll need has to fit in two carryon pieces. I spent alot of time reading the info on www.onebag.com. EXCELLENT website with alot of great articles on how to pack lightly and what to bring/not bring.

DH and I packed two huge checked pieces of luggage on our first Disney Cruise/WDW a few years ago, and ended up having to check even more pieces when we returned because of the souveniers we purchased. Not so this time!!

It took all day to get everything sorted, decide what to bring, and pack it properly, but it was well worth the effort. We're bringing electronics (2 digital cameras, a laptop, and my Nook), my snorkel gear, several pairs of shoes, spices for cooking, two additional backpacks, hats, rain gear, plus all of our clothing, toiletries, and laundry items, and our carryons still have a ton of room for more.

I'm yawning, so time to call it a night...tomorrow I'll post a few photos...
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Old 11-14-2011, 02:05 AM   #9
spleen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raivyn View Post
We are going to Kualoa Ranch for the Sunset Experience as our bonus activity, and are not going to do either Paradise Cove or Germaine's luau. We went to a luau when we honeymooned in Kona, and the Kualoa Ranch activity includes a dinner buffer with entertainment, so we're not planning on attending a luau
Whoops, my bad - didn't read closely enough, sorry about that!

Good luck with the packing of the two carry ons! I admire your courage!
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