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Old 07-17-2012, 06:00 PM   #136
CarolynK
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I've lurked on your TRs long enough, time to say "hi"!! That video was incredible, especially since it was at night! Unlike the rest of my family, I'm a big chicken when it comes water. I can't see myself ever doing that - we swam with manatees in Mexico and I had to psych myself up for that!

We were at Aulani in December, though no island hopping for us. We also had "ocean view."

My daughter is going to be a senior in the fall; where is your daughter going to school?

Looking forward to reading your report!
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:56 PM   #137
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The Preamble

First things first. Who is going.

Me - AKA: The Guy with the Wallet. Single dad, Disney and DVC veteran. Older than dirt but still think I am a kid. Had some medical issues a year and a half ago and am still not quite 100 percent. Getting better day by day. That experience gave me a new appreciation of life and I am taking advantage of it.

DD - AKA: The Kid, Pooh, Pirate Princess, Crash and many more nicknames. Recently graduated from high school and will be heading to Seton Hall in the fall. Fellow lover of Disney and coasters. This is her graduation trip. She has worked hard to get her degree so the trip was the reward for all of her work. Plus, I wanted to do it (see above).

So how long were we away? After adding to the trip we were in Kona for six days, Aulani for seven, plus one day in Honolulu and Disneyland for five. Probably the longest vacation I will ever take.

If you noticed the first post on this thread, it read, “Well, just booked our flights for DD's Graduation Extravaganza for June/July. Not cheap with the stop over in LA but at least it is paid for.” If you look at when that post was made (1/12/12), you know how long was the planning phase. It all started when I heard Disney was building a stand alone resort in the Hawaiian Islands. This place called Aulani. Periodically saw pictures of the construction progress and what they had in store for the resort. I was still recovering from a long hospital stay but was feeling better and thought it might be a chance to celebrate Pooh’s high school graduation. Since we were flying over Disneyland on the way back we also had to stop there. Just to break up the flight you understand. Once the idea was planted in my mind, it grew until it became a reality.

Booked a 1 BR Ocean View at Aluani exactly 7 months ahead of time and same with a studio at the Grand California. From there it was plussing the trip. Since I started so long before the actual trip, I was able to spread out paying for things over time. By the time we were ready to go, everything was paid for except the car rentals, a hotel night stay before the flight to LA and DD’s spa treatment. Well, that and what we spent there. The last one was not an insignificant amount.

We both scuba dive so I contacted a Travel Agent who specializes in diving vacations to see what she could do. I mean if we are going all the way to Hawaii, it made no sense not to go underwater at least part of the time. She booked a winter trip with a UK friend of mine, myself and a few others to Roatan and knew I was in good hands.

An eel from the Roatan trip


She gave me our options and the best were either Maui or The Big Island. Since DD wanted to see the volcanos, The Big Island was the only choice. She got us five days at the Royal Kona Resort and three days of diving at Jack’s Dive Locker. Once that was decided, the flight was booked. At that point, I knew we were a go. Other additions included another day at the Royal Kona instead of staying at the Honolulu airport the day we arrived. Also added a helicopter tour of the volcanoes for our first full day there.

Other preparations included arranging the Pirate Princess’s Spa treatment, the Kualoa Ranch Experience and dining reservations at the Disneyland resort. Also tried to book a cabana at Aulani but despite numerous calls, they were all booked. It was suggested that I try when I get to the resort.

So that is the basics. Sounds like fun, right?

Lets get started.

Some things I am an uber-planner, some things I am not. Sure, I got the touring books including diving in Hawaii, Hawaii in general and the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. Read a lot of those (but did not memorize them) and looked at various sites, blogs, podcasts... Had an itinerary planned out and written down including various reservations and phone numbers. So I felt pretty prepared for the actual trip.

Packing is not one of those things I overly plan. Electronics are one thing (and snacks when I drive to WDW) but not unimportant things like clothes. Sure I make lists but put little effort (other than doing laundry) to actually pack the stuff. This time was going to be the exception. Hey, I am going to be gone for 20 days.

As we got a couple of days away from take off, I dragged down my suitcase, did the laundry, and started to lay everything out. Everything but the clothes was packed and sitting by the door. We were also taking our own dive gear so I checked the gear and those bags were ready to go. The last thing to do was pack the clothes the night before we left. Since it was a 6:30 am flight, we were getting up early anyway and I was already tired. Decided to set the alarm for 3:00, wake up then, take a shower and finish my bag in the morning.

The best laid plans. Fall into a deep sleep for a few hours with dreams of the trip dancing in my head. The next thing I know the phone rings. Not the alarm. Look at the phone and it says 4:00 and the call is from the shuttle service. I pop up and yell, “Holy Moly,” or something like that. Well, forget the shower. Let the dogs out. Scream for the kid to get up and run to the window. No car there yet. Then it was over to my bag and the clean clothes to start throwing stuff into the suitcase. What was in there? I’ll find out later.

In record time the suitcase was packed. DD, who was already up, came downstairs and brought the dogs inside. We start bringing the stuff outside just as the shuttle pulls up. The driver apologized that he was late. I was naturally indignant (OK, I was relieved). Front door was soon locked and we were off to the airport. On the way, I realized the first casualty left behind was my cell phone. Oh well, who needs a phone on vacation? Not me obviously.

So we were quickly whisked to the airport to begin the million mile trek to Hawaii.

Up next: The flight over and arrival in Kona. AKA: Are we there yet?

Last edited by cj9200; 07-17-2012 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:21 PM   #138
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Yay! A nuts title and a prologue! It's officially started! I would have liked to see the scrambling and stuff, I end up doing that EVERY trip!

Do you own at Aulani and VGC?
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:36 PM   #139
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Now why did I have to read about the alarm clock problem? I have nightmares regularly about this very thing happening.
Sounds like another fab trip report. Keep it coming!
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:49 PM   #140
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Love the intro. Sounds like a very stressful morning! I hope the missing cell wasn't a problem. I find I'm semi relieved when I'm on vacation places it doesn't work.

The manta video was amazing. I can't imagine how surreal it must have been.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:04 PM   #141
cj9200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolynK View Post
I've lurked on your TRs long enough, time to say "hi"!! That video was incredible, especially since it was at night! Unlike the rest of my family, I'm a big chicken when it comes water. I can't see myself ever doing that - we swam with manatees in Mexico and I had to psych myself up for that!

We were at Aulani in December, though no island hopping for us. We also had "ocean view."

My daughter is going to be a senior in the fall; where is your daughter going to school?

Looking forward to reading your report!
About time you got out of lurk mode. Just kidding. Welcome. The more the merrier.

You can snorkel to view the Mantas. The boat puts out a floatation hoop the snorkelers hold on to. They will even give you a vest if you want one. Mantas are as harmless as the manatees. They eat krill, plankton and other small organisms. No barbs on their tail. If you ever get the chance, psych yourself up for it.

My kid and my money are going to Seton Hall in NJ. Good luck with the college search for your DD.

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Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
Yay! A nuts title and a prologue! It's officially started! I would have liked to see the scrambling and stuff, I end up doing that EVERY trip!

Do you own at Aulani and VGC?
Oops. Edited the TR to read I reserved at 7 months, not 11. I only own at Boardwalk. Scrambling was not a pretty sight. Especially when I was busting DD's chops for a couple of days before the trip to get packed. The minute I stepped into the van on the way to the airport, she said, "You can never harp on me about getting ready for a trip again." Smart a$$ kid.

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Originally Posted by jekjones1558 View Post
Now why did I have to read about the alarm clock problem? I have nightmares regularly about this very thing happening.
Sounds like another fab trip report. Keep it coming!
Don't worry. The alarm was on my phone and I set it for 3:00. That was PM, not AM. I think only I could do that.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:41 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by cj9200 View Post
Then it was over to my bag and the clean clothes to start throwing stuff into the suitcase. What was in there? Ill find out later.
Let's see, what should I wear today? I've got a tuxedo shirt, what appear to be sweatpants and 3 left flip flops....


Can't wait to read more!
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:50 AM   #143
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Oh God....not the cell phone?! I think I would have been rocking in a corner! LOL
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:32 AM   #144
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Can't wait for the next installment!
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:38 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by cj9200 View Post
The alarm was on my phone and I set it for 3:00. That was PM, not AM. I think only I could do that.
Here I thought I had the sole claim to that crown

Did that a couple of trips ago and found myself bolting for the airport in Philadelphia...don't even want to disclose how fast I was propelling the car down the Northeast extension of the turnpike
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:50 PM   #146
cj9200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinkocto View Post
Love the intro. Sounds like a very stressful morning! I hope the missing cell wasn't a problem. I find I'm semi relieved when I'm on vacation places it doesn't work.

The manta video was amazing. I can't imagine how surreal it must have been.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mckryan View Post
Oh God....not the cell phone?! I think I would have been rocking in a corner! LOL
Did not care one bit. If anyone needed me, they were out of luck. The kid on the other hand would have committed Hara-Kari if she was without hers. She was even upset because I didn't have mine. "What do we do if we need to meet up with each other?" Like without a phone we would be unable to find each other and doomed to wander around Hawaii forever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreezinRafiki View Post
Let's see, what should I wear today? I've got a tuxedo shirt, what appear to be sweatpants and 3 left flip flops....

Can't wait to read more!
I did pack one black and one white sock and somehow my dad's white shoes found it's way in the bag. A really hot look as I walked around the pool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disneypubgal View Post
Can't wait for the next installment!
Coming in a few days. It will detail the flight over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bzzelady View Post
Here I thought I had the sole claim to that crown

Did that a couple of trips ago and found myself bolting for the airport in Philadelphia...don't even want to disclose how fast I was propelling the car down the Northeast extension of the turnpike
I won't tell anyone if you don't. Probably was something like the time we were late for an indoor skydiving thing we did on one of our trips. Broke the land speed record going down I-4.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:51 PM   #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cj9200 View Post

...

First things first. Who is going.

Me - AKA: The Guy with the Wallet. Single dad, Disney and DVC veteran. Older than dirt but still think I am a kid.

Ahh, yar still a kid. Age is all in the head and heart, not in the body.
...

Recently graduated from high school and will be heading to Seton Hall in the fall.

Seton Hall, beautiful campus, not so shabby in the area of academics either. Thanks for letting us (your fans ) watch her grow from a beautiful young teen to a beautiful young lady.

So how long were we away? After adding to the trip we were in Kona for six days, Aulani for seven, plus one day in Honolulu and Disneyland for five. Probably the longest vacation I will ever take.

Any time I go home it is a long vacation, not in spirit but in time. It is expensive to fly to the west coast so we tend to stay three weeks when possible. And it is hard to pack for that length of time. We only go once every 3-4 years. Next year we have been invited to visit during haying season. Ummmm, I wonder why. Might have something to do with my bother-in-law now being in his 70s and they need a few extra cheap hay hands.


... Since we were flying over Disneyland on the way back we also had to stop there. Just to break up the flight you understand.

Yea, right

Booked a 1 BR Ocean View at Aluani exactly 7 months ahead of time and same with a studio at the Grand California.

LUCKY! Although we tend to create our luck in life, i.e., booking at exactly 7 months ahead of time.

Are we there yet?
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:54 PM   #148
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I did pack one black and one white sock and somehow my dad's white shoes found it's way in the bag. A really hot look as I walked around the pool.
Now that would make a great picture.
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:38 PM   #149
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Loved your video! Absolutely amazing! Can't wait for the next installment. We are starting to think about Aluani for our 15th anniversary so I'm really excited to see your TR. I'm trying to sneak in a few days at DLR also but DH wants to spend the whole 2 weeks just in Hawaii.
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:03 PM   #150
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Well CJ, maybe you almost overslept, but at least you decided to leave on the right day!

I can't imagine how much fun a 20 day trip to Hawaii and Disneyland would be... Both for the pirate princess and her dad. I've been looking forward to this TR and as always, the underwater photography. You really make me want to try diving sometime.
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