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Old 07-18-2012, 02:22 PM   #1
MotoWifey185
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Aulani Questions

Hey all! I am not a DVC member but this seems to be the place to go for Aulani questions/comments. The only place my df and I have ever traveled on our own is California. We are pro's at taking Cali trips! It's a 6 hour drive away so we've been so many times. We were originally going to go there yet again for our honeymoon until we decided that maybe we need to step out of our shell a little bit, especially for our honeymoon! So the Aulani planning begins!

We have yet to make reservations, but that's up to DF to get that all sorted out. It's my job to plan the trip and wedding, on top of work and school. So we'll see how that all goes since we're only 59 days out from the wedding, 60 from take off to Hawaii.

The plan is to stay at Aulani the whole stay, for 5 nights total, September 16 through 21, 2012. My questions (so far) are as follows:

Should I book excursions through Disney or through the actual companies themselves? We would like to do the nature hike, quad tour, surfing, and Pearl Harbor. Anything else you would recommend over these? If we book through the company, will we get transportation? We don't plan on renting a car.

How can we get to the hotel from the airport, and back? Call a taxi, or is there a shuttle?

How soon to book excursions? Is there anything else I should know about these? We are definitely adventurous and aren't going to spend all this money to stay in the hotel room contrary to popular belief!

Any tips, suggestions, or anything to help make this the best trip ever? I feel so out of my element planning a Hawaii trip like this! I just can't wait! I know this trip will be great thanks for any help in advance!
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:00 PM   #2
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Hi! You've come to the right place. Also check the DVC trip reports board. My trip report and others are on there and full of info. I also got some great info from Mousesavers.com.

To start, we rented a car for the length of stay. There is an Alamo desk at Aulani so if you only wanted to rent a car for certain days, this is possible. We covered quite a bit of the island and enjoyed the freedom a car gave us. Driving was easy. Some traffic around Honolulu but not bad. We brought our GPS from home which helped a lot! Since you like adventure, you might consider a car rental.

We booked all of our excursions on our own. I noticed that several places offered hotel pick up as well. Aulani is situated pretty remotely form Honolulu/Waikiki and other areas of the island. We did a great catamaran trip out of the Ko'Olina marina which you wouldn't need any transportation to. (Ocean Joy) We did a great hike to Maunawilli Falls but you need a car for that. We went to the north shore for surfing...no transportation available with the group we used. Our dolphin trip offered transportation.

Here's a link to my trip report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2943749

Last edited by Psychodisney; 07-18-2012 at 03:03 PM. Reason: Added link
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:02 PM   #3
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thank you - did not even think about the trip reports.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:59 PM   #4
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Did not book any excursions through the resort since we had a rental car.

I drove down to Pearl Harbor one morning hyper early (about 1/2 hour drive).

We drove down to Honolulu one day and wandered about shopping, playign at Waikiki beach, looking around Diamond Head.

One day we completely drove around the island stopping by fun places that we stumbled across.

Have your DF, or other family members check if they have a corporate discount rate on a rental car.

The Starlight Hui on the grounds is fun. The lazy river, pools, and water slides are great. I've heard awesome things about the spa. Swimming in the lagoon is great.

Have a wonderful wedding and a wonderful time at Aulani.
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:54 PM   #5
MotoWifey185
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiSoxKeith View Post
Did not book any excursions through the resort since we had a rental car.

I drove down to Pearl Harbor one morning hyper early (about 1/2 hour drive).

We drove down to Honolulu one day and wandered about shopping, playign at Waikiki beach, looking around Diamond Head.

One day we completely drove around the island stopping by fun places that we stumbled across.

Have your DF, or other family members check if they have a corporate discount rate on a rental car.

The Starlight Hui on the grounds is fun. The lazy river, pools, and water slides are great. I've heard awesome things about the spa. Swimming in the lagoon is great.

Have a wonderful wedding and a wonderful time at Aulani.
Thank you! Wow you could even drive around the whole Island? Sounds great, I think we may consider renting a car so we could have a little more freedom. Maybe even rent a car that DF would love to surprise him... convertable maybe? It is our honeymoon afterall, we'll only get one!

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Originally Posted by spiceycat View Post
thank you - did not even think about the trip reports.
Glad to see my thread has helped you as well! I can't wait to write a TR and tell everyone all about my experience and have it help them too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychodisney View Post
Hi! You've come to the right place. Also check the DVC trip reports board. My trip report and others are on there and full of info. I also got some great info from Mousesavers.com.

To start, we rented a car for the length of stay. There is an Alamo desk at Aulani so if you only wanted to rent a car for certain days, this is possible. We covered quite a bit of the island and enjoyed the freedom a car gave us. Driving was easy. Some traffic around Honolulu but not bad. We brought our GPS from home which helped a lot! Since you like adventure, you might consider a car rental. GOOD TO KNOW ABOUT THE ALAMO DESK

We booked all of our excursions on our own. I noticed that several places offered hotel pick up as well. Aulani is situated pretty remotely form Honolulu/Waikiki and other areas of the island. We did a great catamaran trip out of the Ko'Olina marina which you wouldn't need any transportation to. (Ocean Joy) We did a great hike to Maunawilli Falls but you need a car for that. We went to the north shore for surfing...no transportation available with the group we used. Our dolphin trip offered transportation.

Here's a link to my trip report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2943749
Great thank you so much for the info! I'll definitely check out your TR when I get a chance. I've started reading a few TR's (mostly one's that satisfy the search I put in) but I'll start reading some more. I've got a whole week off work coming up here pretty soon so I'll be able to get lots of planning/research in.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:06 PM   #6
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One thing to note about your car rental, if you're not staying on DVC points, parking is a crazy $35/day! For this reason, it might make sense to rent it by the day as you need it.

That being said, you might also want a car to go off site for restaurants. You have limited choices at Aulani. The Marriots also have a couple of restaurants within walking distance.
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Old 07-19-2012, 12:22 AM   #7
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Well, I will be the "mom voice" and suggest you pick two excursions and that is it. Five nights is not that many and will go by in a flash, trust me on this. After planning and executing a wedding, you will be TIRED. Why not spend some time at the lagoon or pool? You could rent the paddle boards and relax. Or, what about enjoying the spa? We were at Aulani last week for three nights. We didn't leave the property for any excursions at all and our time was over before we knew it. I would hate for you to get to Aulani and go, go, go and then look at each other on your last day and say "over so soon?" Enjoying some down time together as you begin your new lives together could be sooo wonderful!!! Just my opinion.

Big congrats!!!
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrie in AZ View Post
Well, I will be the "mom voice" and suggest you pick two excursions and that is it. Five nights is not that many and will go by in a flash, trust me on this. After planning and executing a wedding, you will be TIRED. Why not spend some time at the lagoon or pool? You could rent the paddle boards and relax. Or, what about enjoying the spa? We were at Aulani last week for three nights. We didn't leave the property for any excursions at all and our time was over before we knew it. I would hate for you to get to Aulani and go, go, go and then look at each other on your last day and say "over so soon?" Enjoying some down time together as you begin your new lives together could be sooo wonderful!!! Just my opinion.

Big congrats!!!
ITA WITH THIS

We were there 2 weeks ago for 6 nights and boy did it fly by!!
We left the prop for pearl harbor/waikiki/diamond head one day and then dole plantation/north shore another.
The resort has sooo much to offer and is so beautiful I think you will be thrilled just enjoying the resort and doing a few outings

We also rented a car from discounthawaiicarrental(dot com)
great rates
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:49 PM   #9
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Planning Aluani vacation for June 2013 with our children and grandchildren (will be 10 of us) to celebrate our 50th anniversary. Will have enough points for a Grand Villa for a week in an Ocean but wondering if Standard would be as good as we could stay for 9 days. Anyone have any opinions? Will be booking at 7 months so hoping Grand Villa will be available. Otherwise we would need to split up into multi units. We have stayed in Grand Villas at OKW, HH and VB and love having everyone under one roof.
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Old 07-20-2012, 04:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrie in AZ View Post
Well, I will be the "mom voice" and suggest you pick two excursions and that is it. Five nights is not that many and will go by in a flash, trust me on this. After planning and executing a wedding, you will be TIRED. Why not spend some time at the lagoon or pool? You could rent the paddle boards and relax. Or, what about enjoying the spa? We were at Aulani last week for three nights. We didn't leave the property for any excursions at all and our time was over before we knew it. I would hate for you to get to Aulani and go, go, go and then look at each other on your last day and say "over so soon?" Enjoying some down time together as you begin your new lives together could be sooo wonderful!!! Just my opinion.

Big congrats!!!
I totally agree. If you are only there 4 or 5 days and are planning full day excursions I would not spend the money for Aulani I would stay somewhere cheaper in Waikiki. The resort is incredible and you will want to plan for time just enjoying the resort, the pool and the fabulous beach.

Just throwing my 2 cents out there but I woudn't pay $500+ a night to not have much time at the resort.
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Old 07-20-2012, 04:54 PM   #11
Carrie in AZ
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Well, I had read that some ocean view villas didnt have such great views of the ocean, so we went into our trip braced for anything, knowing it could be great or that we could still have an obstructed view of the ocean. Well! We we had the most amazingggggg view from our villa in the Ewa tower last week and thoroughly enjoyed having that view even though we didnt sit out there for hours at a time. It was very nice to have. So, having said that, if I was celebrating my 50th, I would go big and book the ocean view. It's my understanding the GVs are the ones that are front and center most near the ocean, I've seen the pics posted here, and they look spectacular!!! That is what I would want for such a special occasion.

Good luck!!
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrie in AZ
Well, I had read that some ocean view villas didnt have such great views of the ocean, so we went into our trip braced for anything, knowing it could be great or that we could still have an obstructed view of the ocean. Well! We we had the most amazingggggg view from our villa in the Ewa tower last week and thoroughly enjoyed having that view even though we didnt sit out there for hours at a time. It was very nice to have. So, having said that, if I was celebrating my 50th, I would go big and book the ocean view. It's my understanding the GVs are the ones that are front and center most near the ocean, I've seen the pics posted here, and they look spectacular!!! That is what I would want for such a special occasion.

Good luck!!
Thanks for your advice. I was thinking the same thing: special occasion and traveling from the east coast (SC) we really should have an Ocean View.

Will be keeping my fingers crossed that we can get a GV.

What type of unit did you have?
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:43 AM   #13
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Just realized that you are talking about this September. There are no room types available for your entire stay. You could piece a reservation together, but you will have to change rooms. That isn't a big deal, but just thought that you should know ahead of time. There are some GV nights available in OV, but those are going to cost a pretty penny if you are renting points as they are 123 points per night.

We were there for 10 nights early this year and changed rooms 3 times(we booked 6 weeks out). For one of the changes, the room was ready right away, so that was easy. The other times we just had bell services hold our luggage and food. We just hung out at the pool and beach all day.
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:12 AM   #14
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I will talk to him about it and decide what we want to do. We at least wanted to do a few excursions but I'll figure out how much time they take up, and see if it's worth it. Planning this on top of wedding planning is a bit tricky!


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Originally Posted by boiseflyfisher View Post
Just realized that you are talking about this September. There are no room types available for your entire stay. You could piece a reservation together, but you will have to change rooms. That isn't a big deal, but just thought that you should know ahead of time. There are some GV nights available in OV, but those are going to cost a pretty penny if you are renting points as they are 123 points per night.

We were there for 10 nights early this year and changed rooms 3 times(we booked 6 weeks out). For one of the changes, the room was ready right away, so that was easy. The other times we just had bell services hold our luggage and food. We just hung out at the pool and beach all day.
I don't know if you're talking about the GVC side, but I check every day for availability on the standard guest side and there is still rooms available for our stay, standard view rooms and I get no notice of there not being any availability! Hmmm
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Old 07-22-2012, 02:18 PM   #15
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Hi....wifey and I are staying for 14 days in late September into October and we definitely need a rental car.....originally I booked a Jeep from Alamo through a local travel agent on the island for the entire trip and it was approximately $675....just yesterday we switched to a convertible from Alamo through Kayak for $385!!! Kinda wanted the Jeep, but couldn't pass up the great deal....check out Kayak......
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