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Old 08-24-2012, 05:51 PM   #1
SueTGGR
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Mini report back from Aulani in a 1 bd oceanview

I wasn't sure if I should do a full on Trip Report or just post here. I debated it long enough and will just post here. If anyone needs questions answered, let me know.
We went to Aulani as we are owners and HAD to go for my b-day, it was my big 5-0 afterall. We got there on Aug 5th and sadly left on the 13th. The reservation came easy for a 1 bd with an ocean view. We were a little nervous as I had seen a few with ocean view and was not understanding how that could be ocean view. After much research, I requested a high floor with a low number as with the floor plans I found on another board, that seemed my best bet. We did the online check in with no problems and to be safe I even called and verified they got my request. When we pulled up in our rental car, which I highly recommend but I know they have a rental desk and you could get one there, we let them know we were self parking but needed to check in first. Once they found out we were DVC and had done the online check in they immediately pulled out beautiful Lei's. We (my sis & I) got ones with Tuber Roses, my fav so much that I had them for my bouquet for my wedding and the boys (my hubby and 12 yr old son) got the Kukui Nut Lei's. They gave us the run down of the lobby and then said they were sorry our room wasn't ready yet but we got there around 2pm so I wasn't surprised. They said we could leave our car in the front while we explored and the bell service would hold our luggage. All 4 of us looked at each other and almost simultaneously asked if we ever had to leave! We did later move the car into self parking and out key card got us in and out and because we are DVC we did not pay for parking.

One thing I want to warn you about is the traffic in and around Honolulu and beyond. If you are driving through that area give yourself extra time. Think commuter traffic. Stop and go for a good stretch of H1, the main highway.

Other than that a lot has already been posted. Pool is great but gets a little crowded during the day but it really ebbs and flows as people stop and eat and move on to other things. We never had an issue with finding 4 chairs for us to sit together but we aren't ones who really sit for long. There is a nice spot and a smaller pool over between Aulani and the Marriott (still on Aulani property) over in the direction of the outside doors to the Spa that seemed like it was an adult area but nothing posted. This is where we spend the majority of our last day. It has a nice lounge/bar and you can get food there that isn't half bad and the bartender was great. The line for the tube slide was fine but one time we had to almost arm wrestle to get a tube as they only had so many out. Probably to prevent complaints about the line being too long, Disney is so smart! The Lazy River is not relaxing. Too many kids trying to race and splash and wrestle for you to just float along. I understand kids will be kids but I am being honest so others will not be surprised. A few couples would try and hold hands and float on down and I think the younger ones saw it as a challenge. They would dive down under and swim past. I saw quite a few collisions because of this. It is a shame as it would be a nice reprieve to just float and not worry but because it is so busy with people you really don't get a chance. That leads me to my next part....
The one thing I HIGHLY recommend is the Laniwai Spa! Give yourself time to relax and enjoy this space before and after your treatment, as you are allowed to do. They have taken away the day pass as people were unfortunately "camping out" there for the whole day and people who were paying for treatments were not able to enjoy the facilities. I did the Magical Nui and it was well worth it. I have NEVER done a spa treatment and they were spectacular. My sister did the same treatment and she is a spa/massage pro and she said the same thing...Amazing! Also, if you are curious they give tours twice a day so you can see the spa area. My sister and I spend about an hour in the reception area looking over their "menu" of services trying to decide on one treatment. We were able to get in on the day and time we wanted which was a couple of days after we were in there. Don't miss it! My husband was worried we had been kidnapped and we were by the Disney Laniwai staff and we were in heaven. We were even able to order lunch and eat in there but be careful as it is, I think, the same as room service but we couldn't resist as it was all for my birthday. Such sacrifices
Let me know if you have questions while it is still fresh in my mind.
Sue
I will work on posting a few pictures over the weekend.
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Thank you Aulani for the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!!!
Best Summer, yet! Magic in the Med and then Italy for 2 more weeks!
Quick road trips to DLR will have to be it for awhile as Italy broke us!
Grew up around Disneyland until I was silly enough to move away. Now make yearly (or more) trips from Nor Cal And now hoping to help others find their Paradise!
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:53 PM   #2
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What we did do while we were there

So we did not do any of the Disney excursions but went off on our own in the car the majority of the days even if it was just for 1/2 the day. We did the Dolphin swim & snorkel out of Ko Olina Marina one morning and it was AMAZING!!! We walked/hiked up to the top of Diamond Head, bring LOTS of water and get the shave ice after you are all through and start as early as possible. We need to go back in a couple years to snorkel in Hanauma Bay as we got there a little late in the day and it is a thing that I would start out early for. Plus we were there on a Saturday and it was a little crazy with all the people in the water. It was beautiful even from up top in the parking lot. We drove out to the windward side in search of Huli Huli Chicken for hubby. It is beautiful out there and so much to see and we didn't even make a dent. We reserved tickets ahead of time for Pearl Harbor. Not necessary but a help as the lines to buy tickets there are a little long and we bought 8am tickets, which was perfect as it seems to get crowded quickly. We took the ferry over to the memorial and we spend the $7.50 (I think) for our son to have the audio tour which kept him from saying he was "so bored!" like he will do. We could have bought tickets for the rest of the memorials but it was starting to get VERY warm and we moved on in our adventure. We also went and took a couple of tours at Kualoa Ranch, I know kind of touristy but it was cool for our son to see some of the sites for Jurassic Park and others. We also did the Secret Beach with Kualoa but there is a public beach around the point from their "secret beach" but it was nice to learn a little more of the history and culture. We also stopped @ a Macadamia Nut Farm, not much there but very tasty different flavored nuts and oils. I wasn't a big fan of the lotions or the guy trying to take care of people's aches and pains. Very much a tourist spot but yummy none the less. Back @ Aulani...we did the Aulani Starlit Hui beautiful and entertaining. We did the Menehune Adventure Trail one inside and one outside, fun and a great way to explore the resort. There is a nicely paved walkway that takes you all the way down to the Marina which was nice to stroll along. We also walked along the shoreline past the Marriott, which ends up being on the ocean side of Paradise Cove. Depending on if it is high or low tide will vary your staying dry or not. I believe it was low tide when we ventured out that way but if there was a storm or a very high tide it may not be passable. There was a cool little area along there that is kind of protected and quite a few fish. We would walk in the water a bit and then stand still and the fish were swimming all around in a matter of a minute. Another family told us they had been there the day before and there were a couple of younger turtles in there on one of the tabletop type rocks under the water that looked to be just resting. Sorry we missed that. There was also a Monk Seal up on the sand being protected (cones out with warning signs to be quiet and later a volunteer out there) because it was molting and this was just past the Marriott. Lots of very cool stuff especially for our son.
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Thank you Aulani for the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!!!
Best Summer, yet! Magic in the Med and then Italy for 2 more weeks!
Quick road trips to DLR will have to be it for awhile as Italy broke us!
Grew up around Disneyland until I was silly enough to move away. Now make yearly (or more) trips from Nor Cal And now hoping to help others find their Paradise!
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:58 PM   #3
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Food!!!!!

Food - I know we were in Hawaii but the Just Taco place almost across the street is great. The BBQ place was not good. Didn't try the deli inside the market there, either. Roy's Ko Olina @ the golf course almost a cross the street is not to be missed but budget as it is not cheap. We ate @ Longboard @ the Marriott Beach Club (the condo complex closest to the Ko Olina Marina) and it was nice but if you want to eat there around Sunset, good luck. We ended up going back another day for lunch. Very nice and staff is great. Not sure if they take reservations but our wait was going to be an hour or more for dinner. On the floor level of that same Marriott (I think all the other buildings around Aulani are all Marriott) was Chuck's Steakhouse. Good food and a salad bar comes with dinner. No complaints from our table. I have to highly recommend if you are in Waikiki or just wanting a great meal, the is Alan Wong's Pineapple Room inside the Macy's @ the Ala Moana Shopping center, yes, I said inside Macy's and it was amazing! Save room for the pineapple fritters with caramel sauce! The waiter said the secret was dehydrating the fresh pineapple and then wrapping them in batter and it is not soggy which is what I was afraid of. I think I got all the high points in food. We did eat in the Olelo Room, the kahula pork nachos are more than enough for a whole meal or to share for a whole meal depending on your appetite. My son and my sister both enjoyed the sliders. And we had great service twice at Off the Hook and the food was just fine. As you can see we didn't take much advantage of our kitchen. but we did hit CostCo to pick up snacks and water and found both Safeway and Target fairly easily but then I took my GPS.
OK, I think I am done. Sorry if I went on too long. Let me know if you have questions while it is still fresh in my mind.
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Thank you Aulani for the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!!!
Best Summer, yet! Magic in the Med and then Italy for 2 more weeks!
Quick road trips to DLR will have to be it for awhile as Italy broke us!
Grew up around Disneyland until I was silly enough to move away. Now make yearly (or more) trips from Nor Cal And now hoping to help others find their Paradise!
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:50 PM   #4
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wow - thank you so much for all the tips and details. We are going Nov 3-10 and can't wait. We will have a rental car and are interested in all of the things you mentioned. You are a blessing!! Thanks again ( and more tips if you have them please)
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:12 PM   #5
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Thanks so much!! We are going in December. It's especially helpful to hear about places to eat, and the lazy river.

As for Kualoa Ranch, would you recommend the tour with the secret beach? We are planning on the movie tour currently. My son is a huge Jurassic Park fan!
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Little Pixie View Post
Thanks so much!! We are going in December. It's especially helpful to hear about places to eat, and the lazy river.

As for Kualoa Ranch, would you recommend the tour with the secret beach? We are planning on the movie tour currently. My son is a huge Jurassic Park fan!
The secret beach was ok. If you just want to go to the beach around there come out of Kualoa Ranch and turn right toward H3. Drive just a bit and look for the big public beach on your left. That is just around the corner from their "secret beach". The differences you pay for with the ranch tour is that they take you on a flat bottom boat across the ancient fish pond to get there, you have pit toilets on a raft , on the beach they have Stand Up paddle boards and kayaks to take out for free (but you have to stay within the designated area), hammocks, ping pong tables and a couple of volleyball nets set up. Oh and they have a clear bottom boat they offer to take you out on but you really don't see much (or we didn't see much that day) but a couple of turtles swam close enough to pop their heads up and then disappear. That is just the one we did, though. It looked like they had another that took you out on a catamaran and possibly one that gave you lunch.
With the other tour, if your son is a Jurassic Park fan he will love it. Maybe even watch the movie before going. There are some beautiful views and if anyone is a "Lost" fan, it is not to be missed. I am not but there were some people that were and they were very happy. It also talks a bit about how the government took over their property after Pearl Harbor and you get to look at some of stuff left behind. That was cool, too.
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Thank you Aulani for the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!!!
Best Summer, yet! Magic in the Med and then Italy for 2 more weeks!
Quick road trips to DLR will have to be it for awhile as Italy broke us!
Grew up around Disneyland until I was silly enough to move away. Now make yearly (or more) trips from Nor Cal And now hoping to help others find their Paradise!
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:37 AM   #7
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Thanks so much for sharing! What a lovely way to spend your birthday
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Old 08-26-2012, 04:11 PM   #8
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thx so much...are planning our trip for next april and are interested in all the stuff you did as we a) seem to have similar ideas/tastes and similarly aged children ....very helpful
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:44 AM   #9
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These are from my iPad and all taken from our Lanai. It angled toward the ocean but we could see the sunrise each morning! This is from the Lanai off the bedroom
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Thank you Aulani for the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!!!
Best Summer, yet! Magic in the Med and then Italy for 2 more weeks!
Quick road trips to DLR will have to be it for awhile as Italy broke us!
Grew up around Disneyland until I was silly enough to move away. Now make yearly (or more) trips from Nor Cal And now hoping to help others find their Paradise!
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:46 AM   #10
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This is looking toward the ocean. I can't remember if it was off the Lanai off the bedroom or the living room.


And one more

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Thank you Aulani for the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!!!
Best Summer, yet! Magic in the Med and then Italy for 2 more weeks!
Quick road trips to DLR will have to be it for awhile as Italy broke us!
Grew up around Disneyland until I was silly enough to move away. Now make yearly (or more) trips from Nor Cal And now hoping to help others find their Paradise!
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:42 PM   #11
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Thanks for the info on the ocean view rooms, I just called and requested a upper floor and low number room! How did you find driving around the island? Would you recommend getting the GPS for driving or did you find it easy just using a map and signs? We our going the beginning of January, can hardly wait to start packing!!!!!
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:28 PM   #12
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I already own a GPS so we used that but a lot of times my sister (our back seat driver) would pull up a map on her smart phone or a paper map and help navigate. The island is pretty easy to navigate as you have H1, H2 and H3 as you major highways. If you are going to be pressed for time to get from one place to another quickly, good luck if you have to go any where near Honolulu as traffic seemed to be as bad as big cities get. But once you get past it all you cruise right along. Remember you are in Hawaii on Hawaii time and you will be fine.
Enjoy!
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Thank you Aulani for the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!!!
Best Summer, yet! Magic in the Med and then Italy for 2 more weeks!
Quick road trips to DLR will have to be it for awhile as Italy broke us!
Grew up around Disneyland until I was silly enough to move away. Now make yearly (or more) trips from Nor Cal And now hoping to help others find their Paradise!
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:45 PM   #13
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So I stumbled on a few more pictures but if you want to see more here is the link to my album on Photobucket: http://s471.photobucket.com/albums/r...August%202012/
Sunset from the lagoon at Aulani


What do we have here?


Kualoa Ranch Movie Tour
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Thank you Aulani for the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!!!
Best Summer, yet! Magic in the Med and then Italy for 2 more weeks!
Quick road trips to DLR will have to be it for awhile as Italy broke us!
Grew up around Disneyland until I was silly enough to move away. Now make yearly (or more) trips from Nor Cal And now hoping to help others find their Paradise!
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:09 PM   #14
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Thank you so much for this post. We are there for a week in April and I am scouring around for all the information I can find. Glad you guys had such a great time!
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:22 PM   #15
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The sunset is just beautiful!!!!!!!!!

cheryl
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