Aulani TR - Sharks, Horses, a sub-scooter and Mickey!

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by saintstickets, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    I’m always up for something new so this will be my first attempt at a Pre-Trip Report. I have penned 3 TR’s previously with limited success so why not? If you have not read any of the prior TR’s, get ready for lots of pics, a bit of sarcastic humor, some helpful information and a propensity to attempt to wax eloquent without butchering the King’s English (South Mississippi Style). For those of you that have followed along previously, jump right in, the water’s fine, swim up to the pool bar for your favorite adult beverage and don’t hesitate to splash around!!

    A bit of background information usually begins most TR’s so here is mine. I have been a life-long lover of Disney since I was knee-high to a grasshopper (see…didn’t take long for that Southern Style to emerge). I grew up watching Mickey Mouse Club and Disney’s Sunday night movie. My dad even made me a coon-skin hat when the Davy Crockett films were in vogue. Anyone remember “Davy Crockett and the River Pirates” with Mike Fink? My first trip to a park was in 1967 to Disneyland followed by a High School Senior trip to WDW in 1973 and another trip in 1980. DW and I were married in 1982 and we visited WDW in 1985 leaving our 11 month old twin boys with grandparents to take our first trip without kids. There were several trips scattered throughout the next 2 decades and then we came across Disney Vacation Club (DVC). Uh oh! I was hooked and it was all over but the crying…or in this case, the cheering. Our 3 children were getting older and we weren’t far from being empty-nesters (DD is getting married tomorrow!). DW and I wanted to travel some and we both loved WDW so it seemed like a good fit for us. We purchased our first DVC contract in late 2009 and before we went on our first vacation using the points, we purchased another small contract. That addonitis is a very addictive malady! Since that time we have purchased 3 more small contracts as cash flow allowed. Using DVC points, we have stayed at OKW, AKV, BWV, BLT & VWL. I won’t bother going into the details about DVC but it has been great for us. If you are planning on visiting WDW at least once every other year and wish to stay in deluxe resorts, DVC could very well be cost-beneficial to you as it has been to us. That’s all I will say about DVC as there is a whole section here on the DISboards where you can learn all there is to know.

    As previously stated, DW and I were married in 1982. I wanted to plan a nice trip for us at our 25th anniversary but family passings and other life events prevented it from happening. Last year I started trying to come up with something for our 30th anniversary when I read that Disney was opening a new DVC resort in Hawaii. DW and I went to Kauai for our honeymoon so the plan began to form. Also at this time, DD and her boyfriend of 4 years became engaged. I had told our children for years that if they eloped, I would pay for their honeymoon. After seeing the stress big weddings cause, I figured this would be the answer. DD said she wanted to take us up on the offer and wanted to go to Hawaii for her honeymoon in 2012 (Did I mention DD is getting married tomorrow? :yay:). Hmmm…DD wants to go to Hawaii…DW and I could return to Hawaii for our 30th anniversary…DVC is opening a new resort in Hawaii? See where this is going? After calculating the cost of paying for two trips to Hawaii, I realized that we could purchase additional DVC points at about the same cost as the two hotel stays, use them for the two trips and still have the points to use for the next 30 years! A win, win, win!!!
     
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  3. natebenma

    natebenma DIS Veteran

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    Right place, right time!

    I'm in!

    Dee
     
  4. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    That brings us to where we are going in this TR – AULANI!!!

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    DW and I will be there from 9/03-9/09/12 to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Our actual anniversary date is 8/28 but we saved quite a bit on airfare and DVC points by waiting a week until Labor Day. We will have a Pool view Studio from 9/03-9/06 and then move to a Standard view 1 bedroom for the balance of the trip. Originally we had the Studio for the entire trip but we waitlisted a 1BR back in May and it came through last week! The 1 bedrooms have a full kitchen plus a washer/dryer and this way we can wash clothes at night before we leave so it won’t be facing us when we get back home. There were no 1 bedrooms available for the entire trip so this worked out just fine. We are really looking forward to this trip and I have planned a whole list of things after reading other TR’s here on the DISboards. What are those plans I heard someone ask? Why thank you for asking…
     
  5. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Plans, plans, and more plans....

    Monday 9/03/12 – Naturally, this is a travel day. We leave home about 7:00am to travel to the airport in Jackson, MS. Our flight to Dallas leaves at 10:10am and arrives at 11:40am. The flight from DFW to Honolulu leaves at 1:00pm and arrives at 4:15pm local time. It is an 8 hour 10 minute flight. We are flying American Airlines. We could have flown out of New Orleans for about $30 cheaper but the parking there is considerably more than in Jackson and the flight times were all about the same. We have a SUV rented from Dollar Car Rental there in Honolulu. Here’s my first bit of information. Not all car rental places are actually at the airport in Honolulu. Some are offsight and they have a shuttle bus taking you to their lot to pick up your rental. Aulani has their luau on Monday & Thursday nights. If we are not too tired from the trip, we might try to attend this night.

    Tuesday 9/04/12 – Visit the USS Arizona Memorial this a.m.

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    We have confirmed reservations that you can do online.

    In the afternoon, we will try a submarine scooter tour using a Groupon deal we found for ½ off the regular price

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    This little excursion sounds very interesting. You do not have to be scuba certified. They take you out to a tropical reef in Maunalua Bay to see the corals, fish and green sea turtles. You sit on a “scooter” and for lack of a better term, “putt putt” around the reef at your leisure for about 20 minutes. Once back on the dive boat, they then take you around the area including the filming grounds for Hawaii Five-O.

    Wednesday 9/05/12 – Kualoa Ranch tour. We have signed up for 3 different excursions. The first is a horseback ride to Mokoli’i Island and an 800-year old Hawaiian fishpond.

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    The second excursion is an ocean voyage tour aboard a catamaran to Kane’ohe Bay and Hokule’a Beach.

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    The final excursion of the day will be a jungle expedition on a 6-wheel Swiss Pinzgauer through the Hakipu’u Valley and other jungle trails.

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    That night, we have reservations to eat at Roy’s Ko Olina.

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    Thursday 9/06/12 – This is a rest day for the most part. We plan on staying at the resort and take in the pools, lazy river and beach. We are moving from our Studio to a 1 bedroom but that should not take much time. If we did not go to the Starlit Hui luau on Monday night, we will do it this night.

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    If we did make the luau Monday, we might try the one at Paradise Cove or we might just do nothing!

    Friday 9/07/12 – This will be an interesting day. Our morning activity is this

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    We are going on a shark tour and will be submerged in a cage for an up close and personal view of the sharks! I hope DW doesn’t get any ideas but she did ask how much life insurance I have now! Hmmmmm.

    The afternoon will be spend at Waimea Valley

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    It is a botanical garden with various tours and exhibits and a pond below Waimea Falls that you can swim in.

    Saturday 9/08/12 – The morning will be spent at the Aloha Stadium swap meet.

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    There are hundreds of vendors selling their wares and we have heard this is the best place to pick up souvenirs at a much cheaper price than the tourist sites.

    Then at 2:00pm, we have a couples massage scheduled at the Ohi Lehua Spa onsite at Aulani.

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    DVC owners get a free upgrade on the treatment. There is an outdoor hydrotherapy garden that you visit before your spa service that has herbal pools, rain showers, whirlpool and cold plunge pools. Bathing suits are required so I guess I won’t be able to “commando” for this! Sighhhh Oh well, there is also a Pulu Bar that is not for adult beverages. An attendant mixes up a custom blend body polish using your desired aromas, herbs and essential oils. We have scheduled the Hana Pohaku Lomilomi treatment which consists of a heated stone massage with hands-on pressure to relieve tension. I’ve never had a massage before so there will be lots of tension to relieve!

    That night we have ADRs at the signature restaurant at Aulani – Ama Ama.

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    We’ve read mixed reviews here on the DISboards regarding Ama Ama but we are still looking forward to it.

    Sunday 9/09/12 – Last day. :sad: Our flight does not leave Honolulu until 6:45pm so we plan on spending the day riding around, taking in the sites and trying different places to eat.

    Well that’s it for the pre-TR plans. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if nothing changes. If you’ve read my previous TR’s, our plans always change…even when we don’t have plans!
     
  6. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Woohoo Dee!! First in. You get the gold medal! Let me get back to you on the time and place I can send it to you but until then ... :thumbsup2
     
  7. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    14 days until we get on the airplane...is it too early to start packing? :sad2:
     
  8. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    It is NEVER too early to start packing.

    Good thing I decided to scroll down the entire list of TRs or I would have missed this all together.

    You plans sound wonderful and you certainly have some fun excursions and meals planned.

    Please promise that you will take lots and lots of pictures and, by all means, don't come back with any battle scars from tangling with sharks again. Got it?
     
  9. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Hiya MEK! Glad you found this TR. We sure are looking forward to this trip. The past week has been a lot to handle so the trip will be welcome. As for the shark, I can't make any promises...especially when DW keeps asking where we keep my life insurance policies! :scared1:
     
  10. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    Wow! You have some amazing sounding excursions in there, this is going to be so much fun to read!

    I :love: Roy's. YUM!

    I :worship: your math that meant more points was a better deal than 2 hotel reservations, that's fabulous!

    I am hoping Aulani is in the future for us, probably in the next 3 years if I get my way so can't wait to read all about it.
     
  11. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Thank you ma'am and welcome! It was a no-brainer to purchase more DVC points (and it would have been even with fuzzy-math!). DW and I are sooooo looking forward to this trip. In our plans, we tried to balance the commando in me with the laid-back-do-nothing-it's-vacation-for-goodness-sake in her! But since I am the planner, it MIGHT be a bit skewed more to the commando side! :lmao:
     
  12. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Less than 48hrs to go...the past two weeks have been a roller coaster ride for us. Our daughter was married on 8/18, a close relative passed away on 8/23, DW and I had our anniversary 8/28, hurricane Isaac hit 8/29 and made my yard a lake! I haven't been on here very much and for good reason as you can see. We definately need this vacation. I'll be back in about 10 days and start posting then.
     
  13. natebenma

    natebenma DIS Veteran

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    Have a FANTASTIC trip!!!

    :goodvibes

    Sounds like you could use a little R&R! or P&P (poi and pineapple)

    Aloha!
     
  14. DrChuck23

    DrChuck23 Earning My Ears DVC Gold

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    Hope you made it back safely! we are planning to go next summer with the kids (so probably no shark tank). can you let us know which of your excursions were kid friendly or not? I assume you rented a car to get around?
     
  15. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    Welcome back. :wave2: Now let's get this TR started! :cool1:
     
  16. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Thanks. I'll tell more about the shark experience later. Gotta have a tease! :lmao: Will do about the kid friendly stuff. Yes, to renting a car. Traffic is TERRIBLE!!

    Gotta get organized. I have over 1100 pictures to sort through and pages and pages of notes. You know how we "master planners" are! :rolleyes2
     
  17. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    You know your TR does say Sept 12 and its already Sept 24th. You don't have too many days left to start this bad boy. Just sayin. :rolleyes1
     
  18. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Yes...I know...beat me with a wet noodle (Since you are the noodle Queen anyway! :lmao:). Unfortunately real life has gotten in the way. I will be out of town AGAIN this weekend so maybe I can start next week. :confused3
     
  19. Grumpy's Wife

    Grumpy's Wife Dollar Tree gal here

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    Hi :wave: Joining in. I can't wait to hear all about this one.
     
  20. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    Hi Bill!! :goodvibes Can't wait to read all about it!!:banana:
     
  21. ToddyLu

    ToddyLu Welcome aboard explorers- I love Mr. Ray

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    :scared1: I wondered when you were going to give us devoted fans an Aulani TR. Luckily I found this pre TR from another posting....can't wait to hear all about the trip. I will be wearing my pin as I read. I love it!!
     

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