Aulani 1wk Hotel stay

Discussion in 'DVC-Mousecellaneous' started by travlrmel, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. travlrmel

    travlrmel Earning My Ears

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    My wife (the Mel in Travlrmel) had to use a week of vacation before the end of the year or loose it. We talked about going to Hawaii, but all our DVC points are used up for upcoming trips. We saw a Aulani package on AA.com so we went for it. Thought it would be a good idea to at least check it out in case we wanted to add-on points to make it a home resort.

    Day1: We had an early flight so we thought it would be best to just stay up the night. The flight from Denver to Dallas was uneventful. The flight from Dallas to Honolulu felt like it would never end. It was a long flight to begin with (8.5hrs), but we were delayed in Dallas by an additional 2.5hrs because the plane was broken. The itinerary said that a meal was served, but we found out that only 1st class got a meal. They had sandwiches and salads for sale, but by the time the cart got to us, it was sold out.

    Rented a car, which was surprisingly cheap, and drove out to the property. We stopped at Wendy's and finally got dinner. One thing we noticed was that Wendy's there sells Chili and Rice, I love Chili and rice.

    When we got to the Ko Olina guard house, they had our name and directed us to the resort. We were greeted with a Lei, flower for my wife and kukui nut for me. I brought tabu to put on the chief's grave but never found it. It didn't give me any bad luck though. Since we stayed on the hotel side we were supposed to pay the ridiculous $35/day for parking even though we were DVC members. We managed to get it waived though.
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    Didn't see much of the resort since we arrived so late.

    We did find a few hidden Mickeys on the way to our room
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    *Travel tips learned on the first day
    Grab a sandwich for the long plane ride, regardless of what the ticket says
    Try to get the parking fee waived if possible
     
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  3. travlrmel

    travlrmel Earning My Ears

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    Day 2:

    Another early day, but it wasn't too bad since we were still on mainland time. We had a tour scheduled with Ocean Adventure for a snorkel trip. The trip is most likely the same one listed on the "Adventures by Disney Explorer Package" as the description is exactly the same as ours. We paid extra and tried Snuba, a cross between snorkel and scuba, no certification needed. The price we paid was about $40/person less than the Disney package. We bought from http://koolinaoceanadventures.com

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    After the snorkel trip, we had a couple hours before we headed next door to Paradise Cove for a Luau. We made an appointment with the DVC rep to tour the model. The hotel room differs from the DVC rooms. In the end, we went ahead and added on some points. Didn't get too many pics of the room, but they are well documented in spleen's TR http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2842173
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    We bought a Snorkel/luau package which dropped the price of the luau. It was at Paradise Cove which is just down the street from Aulani. We walked since it wasn't far. It was a bit touristy, but this being our first trip, a luau was definitely on the agenda. There is Deluxe upgrade but it didn't seem like it was worth the extra expense. It looked like the only difference was better seating for the show, better leis, and full food service instead of self-serve buffet.
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    *Travel tips from day 2
    If you are interested in an excursion, drill down to find out who is actually giving the tour. Cutting out the middle man will make it more affordable.
    Paradise Cove is close to the property, no need to drive.
    Don't bother with the deluxe package at the luau
     
  4. Nonsuch

    Nonsuch DIS Veteran

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    McDonalds has Portuguese Sausage Rice and Eggs :love:

    How do you manage that?
     
  5. travlrmel

    travlrmel Earning My Ears

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    I'll get to that, we got some on day 6. I actually preferred the Spam. We were there when they changed over from breakfast to lunch so we managed to get a Banana pie also.
     
  6. ACDSNY

    ACDSNY I love my job! I love my job! I love my job!

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    Beautiful pictures!
     
  7. travlrmel

    travlrmel Earning My Ears

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    Day 3:

    Nothing planned for this day, it was a slack day to relax. We went off property to get some breakfast. Found the Koa Pancake House not too far away. Got a local favorite, the Loco Moco. For those that don't know what it is, it is a hamburger patty over rice, with a fried egg and brown gravy on top. I loved it.
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    Spent some time in the lazy river and hot tubs, hung out at the pool area mostly. There was some construction going on in the pool area. I had a theory about what it was and it was confirmed by one of the lifeguards. There was a slight berm bordering the landscaping with rocks embedded in it. We were told that people would trip on them and get hurt daily. They were removing them and installing a decorative border. They should be finished in about 2 weeks. You have to make sure to bring your room key to a cabana to get a wrist band. The wrist band is how they can tell the guests from intruders. You have to get a new one every day, I saw folks with a whole arm full.
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    We also checked out the beach area but didn't go in. You can rent kayaks, paddleboards, etc. It was really nice and the water was very calm because it was a protected cove. We left our room key on the chaise lounge and couldn't get back in. Make sure you have it or you'll have to wait for somebody to exit the gate in order to get back in.
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    We had a late lunch, walked around the resort and took more pics.
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    Went to the gift shop and my wife got a mug. They reduced the price! I saw a pic where they were charging $32 for a mug! The price is now a somewhat reasonable (for Disney) $19
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    *Travel Tips from day 3
    Get your wrist band for the pool
    Have your room key on you if you go out to the beach area

    Update from Melody (the "mel" in travlrmel) -
    I got up early this morning at joined the yoga class. The daily "Iwa" provided a schedule of the activities. The schedule was also on the tv - on the local DVC channel. Yoga was held outside under the beautiful sky and breeze. The instructor was very good, and demonstrated various levels for the moves, so anyone could follow along, regardless of yoga skill level.
     
  8. travlrmel

    travlrmel Earning My Ears

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    Day 4:

    Another early day, we had a full day tour booked at the Kualoa Ranch. The full day adventure includes 4 excursions, we managed to squeeze in an extra one (for an additional fee). We chose the Jungle Adventure, Ancient Fishpond and Garden Tour, Movie Site Tour, Ocean Voyage, and the ATV Tour. A detailed description of each tour can be found here: http://www.kualoa.com/tours/ Several movies and TV shows were filmed at the ranch including Lost, Jurassic Park, and 50 First Dates to name a few. This is another tour in the Adventures by Disney Explorer Package. I'm sure that (or hope) the the Disney tour is different, but it is at the same place. We also learned that you don't have to do the full day or half day adventure. You can just show up and buy a tour ala carte. Don't know about the half day, but you get a buffet lunch with the full day. Both of us enjoyed the ATV tour the best.
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    Afterwards we went to the North shore, the pipeline was going on so it was a bit crowded when we got to that area. We went to Matsumoto's and got shave ice. I got coconut with ice cream and azuki beans. I had been craving one since we decided on going to Hawaii.
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    The plan was to go to the Hukilau cafe, but they were closed by the time we got there, they close at 3:00. I went to plan B which was Helena's close to the Bishop museum. A small hole in the wall, but the food was great. I got Kalua pork (again) to compare it to the pork from the luau. Both were good, but this was better.
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    *Travel tips from day 4
    The Adventure by Disney is at the same place, booking directly with Kualoa Ranch is less expensive.
    You don't have to buy a package at Kualoa Ranch, you can buy them ala carte.
    Plan at least an hour travel time from Aulani to Kualoa ranch. Traffic gets pretty heavy in the morning.
    Hukilau Cafe Closes at 3:00
    Eat your shave ice at Matsumoto's out front, the benches on the side have lots of flies.
     
  9. travlrmel

    travlrmel Earning My Ears

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    Day 5:

    We had a food tour scheduled, this morning, booked it with http://www.hawaiifoodtours.com It took us to a couple bakeries for treats, and Chinatown for some unusual eats. It didn't focus on Hawiian food, more so on food you don't normally see (nothing gross though). One of the stops was a Chinese noodle factory were the noodles were made by hand everyday. We both enjoyed the tour.
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    For dinner, we ate at the buffet at the resort, one of the few times we actually ate there. They had an "Asian Spiced Brisket" I asked the server if she knew what the spices were, she asked the chef for me. I plan on trying to reproduce it at home. <--that was wrong I had my days mixed up, we ate there the next evening. On this day, we just went for a quick meal. Even though we resigned ourselves to fast food, we still tried to keep it local. We ended up going to Zippy's, the one nearby has dine in as well as take out. They are known for their chili, I wanted it on my burger, but the waitress didn't make the connection and kept wanting to put it on the fires. We came to a compromise to just put it on the side.

    Update from Melody (the "mel" in travlrmel)
    Today was Thursday - and I was hoping to catch the yoga class in the morning. However, we had to leave for the food tour excursion. So, I needed an alternate (hey - I knew I was going to be eating all day long....) I woke up early, and went for a walk/jog along the water. The sun was not up yet when I started. There is a well paved path along the lagoons of Ko Olina. I headed east, and the marina was one mile away. By the time I got to the marina, the sun was started to come up - see photos below. Other interesting sights along the way - stray cats under palm trees, the beach comber machine that cleans the beaches before people use them, and the various chapels along Ko Olina (in case anyone is interested in getting married.)

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  10. spleen

    spleen Mouseketeer

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    Great TR so far! Love the pictures!! You must be a local in spirit - you're hitting all the food spots that I would go to if I was coming home after being away for a while and craving local-style foods! :thumbsup2 And I agree with you, I prefer the spam breakfast at McDonalds to the Portuguese sausage breakfast.
     
  11. travlrmel

    travlrmel Earning My Ears

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    Thanks! I'm glad that the pics are showing up. I have them hosted on my Facebook account so I wasn't sure if it would work. I'm Filipino, so I guess I have the same palate as the locals. I just loved all the local food that I had a chance to try. Much of it was similar to the food my mom made when I was growing up. Unfortunately, I think the food loved me too and decided to hang around.
     
  12. travlrmel

    travlrmel Earning My Ears

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    I'll pause my TR for now, Day 6 was where we parted ways. My wife had her "Spa day" and I drove around on my own. I'll have to get my wife to write a report on the spa since I wasn't there.
     
  13. amym2

    amym2 DIS Veteran

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    I'm enjoying your trip report! We stayed at the JW Marriott in Ko Olina a couple of years ago and discovered the Koa Pancake House also. Went there twice for breakfast- yummy and CHEAP! Also did Leonard's and Matsumoto's, enjoyed both. We're hoping to take the kids to Aulani in 2013, and will definitely have to remember to bring food on the plane. That must have been tough!
     
  14. Psychodisney

    Psychodisney DIS Veteran

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    Great trip report and tips! The pictures of the ranch are gorgeous!
     
  15. spleen

    spleen Mouseketeer

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    Hopefully Mel will be able to pick up from here and write about her spa day!
     
  16. ciao_gina

    ciao_gina DIS Veteran

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    Your photos are crystal clear. What type of camera did you use?
     
  17. arthur06

    arthur06 DDC #689

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    Wonderful photos....

    I love that "In the end, we went ahead and added on some points." buried in the middle of your TR. Talk about underplaying the add on.
     
  18. adminjedi

    adminjedi I use my powers for good

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    Nice TR. We are here at Aulani now as well. This is our "relax while hubby works on his computer" trip, so no excursions. We come back in April and plan to do more than soak up the sun!

    As I just had disc replacement surgery, I am unable to do the slides, but my husband said they are good!

    Enjoy the rest of your stay!:goodvibes
     
  19. oktracy

    oktracy Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for your excellent Trip Report. I am a sucker for food tours. The malasadas looked delicious. Where did you pick up the spam musubi? What was the condiment in the middle of the plate? I am thoroughly enjoying the read. Thanks for the pictures.
     
  20. OurDogCisco

    OurDogCisco DIS Veteran

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    Great trip report!!! I just booked a 3 nighter today for July before our week stay at our timeshare in Maui. Your tours tips are going to make it difficult to pick just one. I was planning on one day touring and one day hang out at the resort.

    Can't wait to read more!
     
  21. OurDogCisco

    OurDogCisco DIS Veteran

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    We also like Cinnamon's Restaurant in Kailua but they close early as they only serve breakfast and lunch they have these mango guava pancakes that are amazing... http://www.cinnamonsrestaurant.com/

    We should have a tip board for Oahu somewhere. I love your tips and definitely will use them.
     

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