At Aulani Right Now!

Discussion in 'DVC Trip Reports' started by izzy, May 10, 2012.

  1. izzy

    izzy "It's not the heat -- it's the stupidity"

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    I checked into my pool view studio yesterday. They are extemely friendly here and the place is beautiful! I got here at 1:30, and my room was ready. I had asked for a higher lever floor, and I got the 2nd floor. I asked if they had anything higher, and she said because I'm staying so long (11 nights), that this presents a problem. Not sure why, but whatever. Anyway, the lady who checked me in then took me to my room. I'm in room 204 on the non-Ewa side. (Sorry, I can't remember the name of the side I'm on.)

    I was very unhappy with the location at first. My room overlooks the children's water play area, and the kids were screaming like banshees and the fountains were LOUD. Nothing is louder than the squeal of a 3 year old girl - LOL!! I tried making a phone call on my balcony and couldn't because of the noise. She said that they would move me today because of the noise. All I kept thinking about is the pool view room I had at AKV where the kids were screaming until midnight.

    Anyway, my worrying was for naught. They closed that particular pool area at 6 p.m. and I don't think it opened until around 8 this morning. I ended up staying in this room since it was quiet at night.

    I went for groceries today, and ended up at Target, Costco, and Safeway. I wasn't too impressed with Target's selections, but I noticed that they've cleared out a huge area and said that a grocery section is coming soon. I got a gallon of POG at Costco for $3.99 which I thought was a bargain! Also got a pineapple that ended up becoming an adventure later. Finally to Safeway for the things I couldn't find at Target. Be sure to get their Safeway card so that you can take advantage of things on sale. A few blocks from Safeway there is also a WalMart that apparently just opened a month or so ago. I didn't go to it, but I was told at the concierge desk that this is a regular WalMart, not a SuperWalMart with real groceries.

    Back to the pineapple. I asked the concierge yesterday if I would be able to get a sharp knife to cut it up since studios don't have real cutlery. She checked with housekeeping and they said that it would be no problem. So I call housekeeping today, and they said they didn't have any sharp knives, and then sent to me the private dining line. Private dining said that all they could give me was a butter knife. So, back to housekeeping again and they said they would check again. They finally came by with a flimsy steak knife, but the guy said that he would have to come back to pick it up in a few minutes. I asked him if a steak knife is all they have in the 1 and 2 BR units, and he said yes. I hacked away at the pineapple, and finally got it cut up, but it was a real mess. Two hours later, and the guy still hasn't come by to get the knife from me - LOL!!

    So, the moral of the story is - if you're in a studio and need a real knife for any reason, be prepared for a hassle. Either pack one in your checked luggage or just buy one at Target.

    Other than the knife issue, they have bent over backwards here to be accommodating. The level of service here is by far and away higher than anything I've experienced at WDW, and I can't say that I've ever had too many complaints there!

    Some of my plans include: snorkeling at Haunama Bay, going to the Big Island to see the volcanoes, going on dolphin and snorkeling catamaran excursion, and going to the Polynesian Culture Center. I also want to spend plenty of time at the resort and enjoy everything it has to offer. I have a spa treatment scheduled for next week, and I'll probably need it with everything I have planned!

    If anyone has questions, feel free to ask away!
     
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  3. wdrl

    wdrl DIS Veteran

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    Its nice to know that they turn off the water at the kids' play area in the early evening. We have a Pool View studio booked for September and we've wondered how loud the noise might be from the water features.

    By the way, if you get a chance, could you post a photo of the view from your room to the thread on Aulani's Villas and Views (click here). I would appreciate it!
     
  4. StormalongKay

    StormalongKay Mouseketeer

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    Enjoy your time at Aulani!

    We are scheduled there for the end of July. I will be interested to hear your impressions of Hanauma Bay.
     
  5. ennisb

    ennisb DIS Veteran

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    Down to 10 days and we will be winging our way. Sounds great so far
     
  6. ays114

    ays114 Earning My Ears

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    Have you noticed anything special for Mother's Day at Ama Ama or any special activities. We will be they for Father's Day and were just curious.
     
  7. padisneyfan

    padisneyfan DIS Veteran

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    My son and DIL are there now on their honeymoon. Arrived 5/7/12 for 10 days.
     
  8. Brancaneve

    Brancaneve DIS Veteran

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    I will be at Aulani in three weeks and am really looking forward to it. Do you know if there is a BBQ area anywhere on site?

    Your knife story was pretty hilarious! I kept imagining you in the little studio kitchen hacking away at the pineapple and juice squirting everywhere! I hope it was a yummy pineapple! :rotfl2:
     
  9. ChiSoxKeith

    ChiSoxKeith DIS Veteran

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    I don't recall seeing any BBQ areas around the resort grounds. But I could have missed it.
     
  10. donmil723

    donmil723 Stormalong Bay/Castaway Cay Beach Bum

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    We'll be there the first of June. Is the new quick service at the pool finished yet? Have they started serving the al a carte menu at Makihiki in addition to the buffet? I saw it on the Disney Parks blog a few weeks ago but the menu hasn't changed on Disney's website.

    Will look forward to your reviews on the Polynesian Cultural Center and the spa. Both of those are on our "to do" list too.
     
  11. izzy

    izzy "It's not the heat -- it's the stupidity"

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    Because I don't know how to do multi-quotes, I'll do my best to answer everyone's questions.

    wdrl: I'll do my best to get a picture. Being able to post it will probably be another thing as I'm technically challenged! :rotfl2: I do have a peek-a-boo view of the ocean from this room.

    StormalongKay: I really enjoyed Hanauma Bay. I left the resort this morning at 5:15 because I wanted to avoid the horrible traffic going towards Honolulu. I was somewhat successful, but I still had some stop and go traffic up to the airport. After that it was smooth sailing through Honolulu and Waikiki. I got to the Bay at 6:05 - it opens at 6. There was no one at the parking booth ($1 to park) nor at the admission booth ($7.50 per person, I think). I found out later that these aren't manned until 7. I had fun snorkeling and saw some really neat fish. Be sure to watch for jellyfish depending on what time of the month it is. Apparently the jellyfish come out in full force 8 - 10 days after a full moon.

    ays114: I've not heard about anything special for Mother's Day at Ama Ama, but I'll try to remember to ask tomorrow. I do think I heard something on the radio this morning about a special Mother's Day brunch at the JW Marriott, which is right next door, so maybe they'll also do something for Father's Day.

    Brancaneve: I haven't seen a BBQ area, but I'll look around some more. And your description of cutting up that pineapple was very accurate. Of course it was the juiciest pineapple I've ever tried to cut up, which only made it worse!

    donmil723: The new QS restaurant by the pool is not finished yet. According to my daily Iwa, the ala carte option is now available at the Makahiki Buffet.
     
  12. Joey7295

    Joey7295 DIS Veteran

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    I am at Aulani now as well. Checked into my ocean view studio on May 7th. Any idea on what the stage they set up on the beach is for. They closed off a large section of the beach for a private event. I wonder what it is.
     
  13. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Sunday (5/13) night's America's Funniest Video is from Aulani. Not sure if it is a live show or not.
     
  14. Silly Little Pixie

    Silly Little Pixie <font color=blue>My name is Inigo Montoya. You kil

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    Thanks for posting!

    We are planning to go in December, and I was wondering if the resort might be challenging for someone on a mobility scooter. We are bringing my inlaws as their 40th anniversary. My FIL would use a scooter and I am a little concerned about him feeling crowded on walkways, etc. Does the resort seems disabled- friendly? I will post a general thread about this as well, now that I'm thinking about it.

    Thanks!
     
  15. Joey7295

    Joey7295 DIS Veteran

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    It was Gavin Degraw and Lifehouse. We were able to watch the entire thing from just beyond the barriers which closed off that section of the beach. It was followed by fireworks which we watched from our balcony. It was so cool.
     
  16. izzy

    izzy "It's not the heat -- it's the stupidity"

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    That was pretty neat, wasn't it?! I kept wondering how much money that company spent putting that event together, not to mention all of their employees' airfare, hotel rooms, food, and those other events. One lady told me that not only were a lot of their employees staying at Aulani but that the company had also bought out all of the rooms at the JW Marriott next door and closed their restaurants to the public for the duration. One of this company's employees told me that their company takes all of their employees and their families on a vacation like this every year - wowza!

    OK, I checked on a few more of those questions. The CM I spoke with yesterday was unaware of any special events at Ama Ama for Mother's Day. As far as a grill area, he said that there is not one, now, but that they are talking of putting one in sometime in the future. He said a lot of guests have asked about it.

    Yesterday was a fabulous day! I took an early morning excursion out of the Ko Olina marina to snorkel with dolphins and whales. Someone on the DIS had mentioned that it was a Travelzoo special a few months ago, and I quickly grabbed one of the vouchers. This was one of my favorite excursions ever! Swimming with wild dolphins is an experience that I will never forget. After that I worked on my sunburn out on the beach and by the pool.

    Today I was a real slacker. I got up early and did laundry, and by 8 I was out snorkeling in the lagoon. It seemed to be better early in the morning, as the water wasn't quite as murky. If you swim straight out in the middle there are some large rocks and coral formations where a few colorful fish were swimming around. The rest of the day I hung out by the pool. Fortunately I found a chair under and umbrella, so hopefully I kept my burn from getting worse.

    Tomorrow will be busy as I'm taking a day excursion to the Big Island to see the volcanoes. Hope I'll be able to see some lava or something exciting - but not too exciting, if you know what I mean! :rotfl2:
     
  17. izzy

    izzy "It's not the heat -- it's the stupidity"

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    Yesterday was my excursion to the Big Island. I did end up booking through Aulani. I had read some negative comments on the tour company they use - Roberts - but I have to say I was pretty happy with my experience. I had to meet their rep at the airport by 8:15, and our flight left at 10. There were only two other ladies on the excursion with me, so it was almost like a private tour. We saw the black sand beaches, Rainbow Falls, a macadamia nut factory, and of course what I really went there for - the volcano! The weather was good until just before we got to Volcano NP, when it got kind of foggy and rainy. Not good for viewing the volcano, but our tour guide said that he would take us back in the evening, when we should be able to see the "glow" from the crater. We also saw lava fields and walked through a lava tube. We went back to the crater around 6:30, and the fog was actually worse. :worried: But, after about 5 minutes the fog started to lift, and sure enough, you could see a really big orange glow! We didn't get to actually see any lava going up in the air or even flowing anywhere, but it was still pretty neat. My understanding is if you want to see actual lava flowing that you need to take a helicopter tour.

    We got back the Hilo airport at 8:15 for our 9 p.m. flight. (We already had our boarding passes, so we only had to go through a short security line.) Simple flight back to Oahu, paid $15 for parking at the airport, and I was "home" by 10:30. It was a fairly long day, but I really enjoyed it.

    My plans are to just relax today. Nothing exciting on the schedule, although I may drive to a nearby town to find the Leonard's malasada stand so that I can try these malasadas that everyone keeps raving about.
     
  18. Neraj

    Neraj Mouseketeer

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    Sounds like you are having a great time! If you do head out to Leonard's it's in the Waikele shopping area. They have some great premium outlets there if you are interested in getting some shopping in. Leonard's is down by KMart while the outlets are across the street.

    Keep enjoying your time!
     
  19. izzy

    izzy "It's not the heat -- it's the stupidity"

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    I did find the malasada stand, and OMG are those things good! :lovestruc I got a plain one, and one each of the filled ones. So far the coconut custard filled one is my favorite.

    I ended up being a little busier today that I had planned. I got a bit of a late start and didn't get out of here until about 9:00 or so. My goal was to go to the Punchbowl Cemetary. I came to Oahu with my parents 25 years ago, and my dad and still say that one of the biggest fights we've ever had was trying to get to Punchbowl. We kept traveling in circles for over an hour before we finally gave up. So I was on a mission today. I got directions from Mapquest, and with the exception of one badly marked turn, I finally got to Punchbowl. It was so beautiful and peaceful there. I probably spent 1.5 hours just walking around soaking in the atmosphere. There are also some fabulous views of the island from there, too.

    After Punchbowl, I drove to the Ala Moana Center, but nothing caught my fancy. I had a horrible piece of pizza at Sbarro's (yeah, yeah, I know) at the VERY busy food court there. I made a quick stop for the malasadas, and then went to Costco for some things to take back to family, friends, and the office - Kona coffee and various macadamia nut products.

    If you want Kona coffee and have a Costco membership, I would highly recommend that you get your coffee there. I got a 1 lb bag for about $22. When I was at the airport yesterday, a 7 oz bag of Kona coffee was $32! Now I realize that you're going to pay more at the airport, but that's ridiculous!

    When I got back to th resort, I made a bracelet at the craft class, and then just relaxed in the room. I want to see the Starlit Hui tonight as I missed it last week.

    Tomorrow is going to be a pool and resort day. I need a day of relaxation after all of this running around!
     
  20. ejw

    ejw Mouseketeer

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    Hi Izzy, which tour company did you use and would you recommend them? this is an excursion I would also like to do.

    thanks, ellen
     
  21. ChiSoxKeith

    ChiSoxKeith DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for your trip report...

    Are the founding member tiles out on the Pouhakas (down by the beach) up yet?

    They weren't out yet when we were down there in September.
     

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