Aulani Trip Reports PLEASE!!

Discussion in 'DVC-Mousecellaneous' started by addiedisney, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. addiedisney

    addiedisney Mouseketeer

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    I'm just dying to read some....

    The resort is open now right? If not when??

    Please, please, trip reports with lots of photos!
    :banana::banana::banana:
     
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  3. tidefan

    tidefan DIS Veteran

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    Aulani opened today. I have been a bit surprised at the lack of "Dis" activity relating to it. I'd like to see some live pictures myself.
     
  4. DVC Dude

    DVC Dude Disney World Rocks!

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    I am also surprised...this is huge news and not a single post all day
     
  5. quirty30

    quirty30 DIS Veteran

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    If I were in Hawaii right now, the last thing I'd be doing is anything with my computer!
     
  6. rparmfamily

    rparmfamily In paradise

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    We check in on Thursday. :)

    The opening has been all over the news here!
     
  7. emilymad

    emilymad DIS Veteran

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    We leave in less than 2 weeks. I can't wait to read the trip reports!
     
  8. moredisneyplease

    moredisneyplease Working towards more DVC!

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    bump! i want to read one too! popcorn::
     
  9. Leitadala

    Leitadala Mouseketeer

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    I can't wait to read Aulani trip reports either! I guess it's reasonable to wait for people to finish their trip before posting a report though, darn them having so much fun right now in the Hawaii sun while I'm at work stalking DIS! :rotfl:
     
  10. DenLo

    DenLo DIS Veteran

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    You think someone could have posted via their phone by now. I'm pretty sure people posted here on the Disboards that they were going opening day.
     
  11. deedisneydream97

    deedisneydream97 Mouseketeer

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  12. addiedisney

    addiedisney Mouseketeer

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    Maybe people are having SO MUCH FUN that they can't break away!!

    Really, just a little update of the day, :-)tinker:with photos) PLEASE....I really am glued to the computer!!
    :yay::yay:
     
  13. mkymsehi

    mkymsehi I'd rather be at Disneyland!

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    Aulani Resort Grand Opening first impressions. (August 29, 2011).
    by Jeff Da Runner[/URL] on Monday, August 29, 2011 at 10:19pm

    We arrived in the mid-afternoon to Aulani. We were greeted with "E Komo Mai Hale." (Welcome Home). Everything looked and smelled new.

    Today was the Grand Opening, and we were there just to visit and take it all in. Prior to this, we had visited the Disney Vacation Club model units, and had a perimeter tour while still under construction. Our first of two stays will be this upcoming month.

    After taking in the main hall, we walked around the viewing deck with overlooks the outdoor dining/bar area. Further away we could see the lazy river, and volcano mountain. We went back through the lobby, and passed the concierge and front desk areas, and the children's waiting room (TV, and a few fun activities).

    There are hidden Mickey's, and hidden menehune's all over the place!

    From there we found ourselves at the keiki pool playground. It was created with lots of imagination. My girls wanted to jump in, despite not having our swimsuits with us. Let me just say, the pools and hot tubs are EVERYWHERE you turn. Waterslides, river float, hot tubs, wading pools. And lets not forget the beach cove just a few yards away. I would guess there is an acre and a half or more of water activities. Tons of lounge chairs, and still lots of room left despite it being very crowded.

    According to one of the lifeguards, wristbands are issued at check in. And that's how they enforce hotel guests using the pools, vs. day visitors. Towels are available in several locations around the pool.

    Then there is a pay to enter saltwater snorkling pool. In one area you can look through the windows and see all the tropical fish, and an occassional swimmer go by. Pretty neat. WARNING: It's pricey either by the day, or length of stay price.

    There is also a sting ray attraction that is free. But it seems like they open and close it throughout the day, to give the rays a break. Naturalists are there to give talks about the rays. Kids will love this.

    There is bar to one side of the outdoor area, and guess what? Another pool!

    Near this bar they have an evening hula show. We caught the very end of the act after dinner, and it was pretty good. It's crowded, so get there early to find lawn seating.

    On the other side of the vast pool area, is another bar, and Ama Ama restaurant. We were to dine there so we continued touring knowing we'd come back that way.

    We ventured into the keiki's Auntie's Beach House. Think the Oceaner's Club aboard any Disney Cruse ship. Lots of free, fun activities for the kids. There are several rooms within the club, with lots of space for the kids to roam. You just sign them in, and leave them as long as they want to stay. You are issued a pager to get buzzed should they want to come out, or in the event of an emergency. Very cool.

    Now for you Adventurer's Club enthusiasts. There are artifacts from the Pleasure Island Adventurer's Club that completely decorate the movie room inside the Auntie's Beach House. So either you have to enroll your child to go see it, or take a complimentary tour.

    While walking around, we saw a LONG line for photos with Mickey, Minnie, and Stitch. It was around 6 pm outside, and I knew there was no way we were going to stand in line and still make it to dinner. My girls were fine with standing off to the side, watching everyone else battle for their turn. And of course, there's Photopass opportunities around the resort!

    Also for the family to explore, is an interactive scavenger hunt. You get a PDA device (not sure where), and you go hunting around for magical things. Very similar to Mission Kim Possible at EPCOT.

    Now, back to dinner. The ambiance was great, as we were seated just before sunset. The food was very tasty, but for the prices, my appetite wanted more food. I had a "French" Maui Onion soup, seafood stew, my wife had the market priced fish, and my keiki had the ravioli and steak off the kids menu. Throw in dessert and a cocktail, and of course the check goes up. I wasn't shocked by the sticker price, having seen the menu online in advance.

    There are two other restaurants, one a buffet, and one a quick service take out menu. I think all together there are three bars. There is a shave ice stand, and a small curios store near the volcano.

    Following dinner we took a final stroll near the beach cove, and there was Hawaiian music being played by a trio, and a really nice firepit (propane) to sit by.

    We hit the gift shop, and left with some pretty cool grand opening day, and DVC member merchandise. Because of the crowd, most Aulani items had signs that said, 2 items per guest. Pins and vinylmation were big sellers. I didn't see anyone leave the store without some package in hand. Pin trading takes place with any Cast Member working the cash register. They have pin books that you can look through. I already see a lot of the merchandise is already up for bid on eBay.

    The craziest thing I did see was the re-fillable soda mugs. $32.99 for the length of stay. Uh, seriously? Folks, stop by the COSTCO or market in Kapolei, and pick up your groceries there. It's 10 minutes down the road. Or, pay a little bit more than the market, and shop at the ABC store across the street in the Ko Olina shopping center.

    Self parking. Free for four hours if you spend $35 on food, drink, or souvenirs. Completely FREE to DVC club members. Just show your card to the valet desk. They scan your ticket, and you put it into the electronic machine at exit to lift the gate.

    Highlights, we me Imagineer Joe Rhode, and Vice President Djuan Rivers. Both took a few minutes to talk to us, and really made us feel welcomed. Both were engaging with my girls, and made the greeting very special. Photos with both of them.

    One minor disappointment was there are no DVC members discounts in the stores or on dining. We were told maybe in the future, but no discounts at this time.

    We didn't check out the Spa or the teens activity lounge. We left those for next time we are there to explore even further.I hope you enjoyed this review. If there is anything else I can answer for you, just ask.

    AlohaMick was with us, and several people asked to take photos with him. They all thought he was a riot. I explained how there are many traveling Mickey gnomes, and they were quite amused.

    Footnote:
    At this time there are no merchandise or dining discounts in any of the shops or restaurants. I asked several times, and kept getting the same answer "no."

    They do have discounts for the spa if you are DVC, Kamaaina (local resident), or any parks annual pass holder. Annual pass holders also get a discount on rooms, so be sure to ask, and don't forget to bring your AP with you to show at check in.

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  14. slum808

    slum808 Earning My Ears

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    Did I read your post right, is parking free for dvc members even if your not a guest? Great post BTW. We can't wait to go.
     
  15. beachbunny

    beachbunny DIS Veteran

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    Aloha! I'm posting from my room at Aulani using their free WiFi - way to go Disney! I arrived at lunch time on opening day and will be checking out tomorrow. I was greeted with an orchid lei and my husband received a kukui nut lei. We were given a tour of the lobby area before we checked-in. We had booked a standard room but were upgraded to a partial ocean view room at check-in.

    Highlights include the awesome cast members (everyone wishes you "Aloha"), the beautiful rooms, the fun pool area with two slides and a lazy river, and the plentiful entertainment. We posed with Goofy and will be doing the character breakfast at Makahiki tomorrow morning. The evening show on opening night was not to be missed - very Hawaiian and very Disney with hula, ukulele, musicians, singers, and Disney characters. Tonight there was no big show but they did show Finding Nemo on the lawn.

    Only a few areas need improvement. Service has been very slow at both sit-down restaurants and at the take-out place we had lunch at yesterday - hopefully that will improve with time. The Hawaiian theming is great, but I wish there was more Disney - I mean, there are a bunch of five star hotels in Hawaii that offer the same level of luxury and service - don't slam me, I'm just thinking out loud...

    We also ran into a couple of rude guests who just didn't think lines were for them. But I guess they're everywhere.

    I was surprised at all of the great merchandise. Aulani already has its own Dooney and Bourke bags, there was a limited edition opening day pin, and there are Mickey shaped macadamia nut shortbread cookies for sale. All very cool and all very pricey!

    I'll try to post pictures later!
     
  16. beachbunny

    beachbunny DIS Veteran

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    Yes, free parking for all DVC members. Otherwise, it is $35 per night (I think, I still haven't seen that charge yet).
     
  17. mkymsehi

    mkymsehi I'd rather be at Disneyland!

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    Yes. I self parked, and when I left, I showed my DVC member's card to the valet desk. The attendant swiped my ticket in a electronic reader. When I put it into the mechanical arm machine, up went the arm, and out I drove. I was there for about 6 1/2 hours. $35 saved!

    My wife parked in valet, and was told it was free with a receipt of $35 in merchandice, food/drink. The attendant said it was valid for 4 hours. But, she stayed longer than 4 hours and her parking was still free. She did tip a couple of bucks for the service.

    But to tell you the truth, with souvenirs and sit down dinner, we did some serious damage with our credit cards. And we weren't even staying overnight! Our first stay is in 2 1/2 weeks, and then a month later.

    We fortunately live 20 miles away in Honolulu, and can use our "leftover" points here, without traveling to the mainland to be "Welcomed Home."

    I'll file another report in a few weeks after our first real stay.
     
  18. addiedisney

    addiedisney Mouseketeer

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    Thank you so much for your trip reports!! They were exactly what I needed this morning to get me going! Again, a huge thanks!!
    :lovestruc
     
  19. Simba's Mom

    Simba's Mom <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha

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    I thonk it makes sense that they issue pool wrist bands when you check in. I guess that's because the only time I had pool wristband issues was a pain. Bo one checked for a wristband when I entered the SAB area. But when I went up for a towel, the CM refused me until I walked back and got my room key, which was at the lounge chair. I suppose I could have anticipated, but wristbands at checkin sound better. I wonder if they'll consider this at all DVC resorts?
     
  20. godalejunior

    godalejunior DIS Veteran

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    oh my word....Aulani D&B bags???!!!! Do post a picture...pretty please!!!
     
  21. twinklebug

    twinklebug Next Life: Imagineer

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    Thank you BeachBunny for your report and mkymsehi, for the report & pics... I'd really like to see the pic of Joe Rhodes if you don't mind sharing :goodvibes

    My personal goal: to make a trip to Aulani within 4 years!

    Oh good, the MeFirst family made it. I was so concerned for them after last time I saw them rushing up to the AKV front desk before me. It seems 'someone' had charged to their room for a full week of meals out and the front desk was trying to explain that room charges are not included in the cost of DVC. Mr. Mefirst was busy arguing that he'd drop his DVC membership due to be unfairly treated while Mrs. MeFirst was ramming her 6 year old's stroller into the heels of everyone within her radar.

    Seems they made amends with Disney. :wizard:
     

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