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Old 02-10-2012, 01:48 AM   #1
ciao_gina
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Aloha from Aulani

Hi everyone. We have been here a little over a day and I wanted to check in and update you while I remember the tips and details that might help

After a bad travel day (I won't bore you with the details) we arrived 3 hours after our original time just in time to sit in traffic in our rental car.

Once we arrived it was heavenly. The greeting is amazing with a wonderful lei of flowers that smell better than honeysuckle. I am sitting here at 9:30 at night wearing it with my luxurious Aulani robe! Anyway, the photos don't do the lobby justice. It has an open air feeling and is gorgeous. One staff member told us the resort is only about 60% full.

I love our 1 bedroom room. It is an ocean view and we are on the 6th floor but we also have a view of everything else-garden, pool, play area (which is loud) etc. The ocean is to the right and really nice if you are standing up but when sitting down and enjoying food or coffee you cant see it through the railing so I am not sure it is worth it unless you are lucky enough to get an ocean front room.

The kitchen is gorgeous and fully stocked other than plastic items which you may want to pack. They provide paper towels, some dish washing liquid and some detergent but not enough to get through a week.

My husband and son went down to the lazy river and slides for a bit while I unpacked. We went to dinner last night across the street at a Hawaiin barbecue place which I would not recommend. Just some deep fried bad quality seafood.

We went to Safeway for $200 worth of groceries (how did that happen with out Safeway card?) came back and passed out from exhaustion and jet lag.Slept in a really comfortable bed.

By the way-pack sweatshirts or sweaters for the restaurants and stores- I swear the AC is cranked everywhere and you look around and see people shivering in their tank tops and shorts.

My son got me up early because he was so excited to enjoy the resort and he walked me around telling me that 'this was paradise!' We walked on the beach even though it was quite cool and noticed that the other resorts have nothing on Aulani. It is so majestic and beautiful.

Came back to shower in the nice rain shower, make breakfast, and then grabbed some chairs down by the lazy river/slide entrances. Unfortunately it was still cool and rather windy but we enjoyed the day, all day just relaxing outside. Well my husband and I relaxed while my son went on the slides non-stop. Made lunch and sat on the balcony. The reef is small and was barely in use all day- I didn't try it because i heard the water is freezing and it didn't get really warm today. The interesting thing is that I keep forgetting that this is a Disney resort. It is really subtle. My son took his photo with Minnie at noon and Chip and Dale practically attacked us when we were walking back from the beach and hung out with us giving us lots of kisses and posing for tons of pictures. Other than that, I can see why this isn't a place to wear your lanyard full of pins or Mickey hat. In fact I didn't see one other DVC beach bag like mine.

By the way, the customer service is top notch- front desk help, life guards galore that are really friendly and helpful and just everyone. Another reminder that this is a Disney resort,

We sat in the hot tubs (beautiful) a couple of times which I wish were child free. One woman was teaching her twin daughters how to swim in the hot tub with us.

My son went to aunty's beach house for a couple of hours and enjoyed making a volcano then we shared a shaved ice.

We watched the sunset on the beach and then headed out for sushi which was fine but not great. The ko olani area has lots of stores and restaurants and strip malls but we have yet to find any food that really stands out.

So tomorrow is another day and includes the character breakfast and Starlit Hui show. I will post again. Let me know if you have any questions. Good night
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Last edited by ciao_gina; 02-10-2012 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:24 AM   #2
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Ahhh sounds like heaven on earth! Thanks for posting! I'm just starting to plan what we will do when we are there in 25 days! Not usually so unprepared. Not staying at Aulani, but we are DVC members, so we will be there to check it out for sure! Keep it coming please!
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:25 AM   #3
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Thank you for posting, I would love to hear more about your trip. Hope the best for you and your family.
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Old 02-10-2012, 03:13 PM   #4
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Thanks for posting!!! We will be going to Aulani in three weeks so I'm reading and taking notes.
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Old 02-10-2012, 03:39 PM   #5
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Sounds great!! Can't wait to get there! Can I ask you what time your plane landed that you were stuck in traffic? I still haven't booked our flight over from Kauai, trying to make it as painless as possible- thanks!
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by podsnel View Post
Sounds great!! Can't wait to get there! Can I ask you what time your plane landed that you were stuck in traffic? I still haven't booked our flight over from Kauai, trying to make it as painless as possible- thanks!
We landed about 3:30 but the 'drive' to the gate at Continental took a long time, about 15 minutes, then with baggage claim and the car we weren't on the highway until 4:30-typical traffic time.It took us over half an hour to get to Aulani.
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by podsnel View Post
Sounds great!! Can't wait to get there! Can I ask you what time your plane landed that you were stuck in traffic? I still haven't booked our flight over from Kauai, trying to make it as painless as possible- thanks!
Start time for schools and most businesses in Hawaii is 8a, and "pau hana" time (finish work) is 4:30. If you avoid having to drive from 6:30-8:30a, and 3-5:30p on weekdays you should be fine ....
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:21 PM   #8
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I can't wait to hear more
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:00 PM   #9
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Sounds wonderful! Enjoy the rest of your trip!
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Old 02-11-2012, 12:26 AM   #10
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Friday morning we went to the character breakfast which was really fun and a great joint Disney/Hawaii experience. We entered the restaurant our back where mickey was waiting for us to pose with him. I must say that the characters here are more 'animated' and funnier than at DLand or WDW. Probably because it is more laid back. We were seated outside but quickly changed our mind because of the wind. Inside we could hear Aunty singing and playing just as well and she walked around the restaurant speaking to the kids and inviting them up to dance and hold instruments. My son wasn't interested as he is 9 going on 10 and I think officially outgrowing those types of child-centered activities but he did enjoy the characters that came around the tables a few times. The food was pretty good. I was looking forward to the dim sum and other more ethnic choices which weren't as good as I am used to.

After breakfast we headed back to the pools, double decker hot tub, slides, and lazy river which kept my son and husband very busy and happy for a while. I made the mistake of going up to the room for a bit and missed Patrick Monahan from Train helping my son into his tube in the lazy river and hanging out with my husband in the hot tub. I am so jealous! I love Train and hope to see him and his wife and kids tomorrow.

Let's see.....we walked across the street and had dinner at Just Tacos which again was o.k. I can't wait for that good seafood meal that I know is coming sometime. By the way, Roy's is open now.

We shopped at the ABC store for t-shirts and gifts for everyone at home and headed back with the intention of watching the Starlit Hui show when my son got ill so we are listening it from our room while he is doing homework and are planning on seeing it on Monday.

We have to get up early for the Tom Barefoot whale watch trip on a catamaran-can't wait.

Aloha
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Old 02-11-2012, 12:58 AM   #11
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Thanks for checking in! Sounds like you're enjoying the resort. Sounds also like the food options have not thrilled you so far in the area. If you want, I could steer you to some other food choices if you let me know what sort of food that you're looking for - it probably will mean more driving since the better / more interesting food choices will tend to be in town. But if that's important to you ...
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Old 02-11-2012, 01:03 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by spleen View Post
Thanks for checking in! Sounds like you're enjoying the resort. Sounds also like the food options have not thrilled you so far in the area. If you want, I could steer you to some other food choices if you let me know what sort of food that you're looking for - it probably will mean more driving since the better / more interesting food choices will tend to be in town. But if that's important to you ...
Yes please do. We are going to the North Shore tomorrow and love seafood, all types of ethnic food, places where the locals hang out, but are not big meat eaters. We went to Jamison's years ago (where my husband proposed)and liked it but the reviews don't seem that great now.

Thanks
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:13 AM   #13
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Yes please do. We are going to the North Shore tomorrow and love seafood, all types of ethnic food, places where the locals hang out, but are not big meat eaters. We went to Jamison's years ago (where my husband proposed)and liked it but the reviews don't seem that great now.

Thanks
Most places that locals hang out involve large quantities of meat.

Haleiwa is sort of difficult. Your best choices for higher end in Haleiwa are going to be Jameson's or Haleiwa Joe's, neither of which is really all that fantastic. Otherwise, for a casual meal, Kua Aina in Haleiwa is always good (the mahi sandwich is surprisingly good for a burger place). Kono's is also pretty well known though I've never actually eaten here myself (only serves BF and lunch).

Going back towards town, the best place if you want seafood and like sushi and close(r) to Aulani would be Mitch's Sushi near the airport. You WILL need GPS to find this place - it's seriously in the middle of nowhere (airport industrial area). But they have the freshest seafood (they're actually seafood importers) and they can serve you up whatever seems the best for that day. This is traditional sushi, not fancy rolls, so if you're looking for a Mikuni-like experience (I know you're from Sac, lol), this won't be it. It is pricey but well worth it. Make sure to get the lobster sashimi.

Other places? Plate lunch places that are cheap and good - if you want seafood, you're going to need to hit the higher end plate lunch places. Your generic plate lunch will do chicken/beef pretty well but generally does a poor job with seafood (usually frozen and prepared badly). Kakaako Kitchen at Ward Centre (all the way in town and near Waikiki) would be my recommendation as a better plate lunch - ethnic and a local staple. I would recommend the furikake tempura catfish for a non-meat eater. Another option would be Diamond Head Market & Grill - portobello burger and the grilled ahi steak would be my recommendations for a non-meat eater. This is conveniently located at the base of Diamond Head so would be good as a lunch option after hiking Diamond Head in the morning. Parking tends to be tight but if you get stuck, you can usually find street parking on a side street somewhere.

For high end seafood, besides the classic recommendation of Roy's, I also have to strongly recommend Alan Wong's and Azure. Alan's main restaurant on South King Street is definitely a foodie destination (good enough for the President to eat there every trip back to Hawaii) and well worth trying to snag a reservation (can be a little difficult at the last minute). Azure in the Royal Hawaiian can be just as fancy as Alan Wong's in their preparations but I would draw your attention to their Pier 38 local seafood menu where they get whole fish from the Honolulu Fish Auction and prepare them in two ways - one simply roasted and finished with white wine, lemon, and herbs and the other by a rotating selection of island style preparations (which might mean Chinese style - steamed, finished with sesame oil, ginger, and soy sauce, or some other type of preparation).

Hope that gives you some ideas. If none of those appeal, let me know and I can try to come up with some other options.
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:58 AM   #14
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Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to read some more.
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:12 AM   #15
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Would love to hear your opinion of the whale watching tour! Did you book this on your own? Do you have any other excursions planned? Have fun!
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