Visiting the Menahue-Our 1st trip to Aulani

Discussion in 'DVC Trip Reports' started by AJaquins, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. AJaquins

    AJaquins Mouseketeer

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    Hi everyone. We were very lucky to go visit Aulani September 11-18th and here is our trip report. Yup its a little late but we wanted to share our experience. So we are....

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    Me and my DH (LJbadfan) he introduced me to Disney and he and his parents took me to Disneyland the 1st time for my 30th birthday. And....

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    DH parents DFIL and DMIL the wonderful people that made this trip possible. They bought into DVC on our Disney Cruise in 2012 and this would be our 2nd their 1st vacation using points.

    DFIL decided that Hawaii would be a nice place to visit and we agreed so he made the reservations to go for my DH's birthday. We flew on Alaskan airlines from our town to Seattle and then to Honolulu. So here goes my 1st trip report.
     
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  3. AJaquins

    AJaquins Mouseketeer

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    We flew out at 6:05am of our little airport to Seattle for our connection to Honolulu. The day before we had to take our fur baby to the Kennel

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    This is Minnie our lovable pound puppy.

    I had to work the day before we left and I head to work before dawn at 5am so I was off at 2pm. My husband had the day off and he took Minnie to the kennel and then we went home to finish packing. We had to be up at 3:30am to be ready to go when my DFIL and DMIL came to pick us up. We usually are there and 1st in line when the airport opens at 4:30am.
    We flew out on September 11th and the ticket counter didn't open until 5am and security doesn't open until shortly after that. We always ask if there are any 1st class upgrades and usually we are told no. But that day there were 2 available so my DMIL and I told my DH and DFIL to take them that we would be fine in coach. So they snapped them up quick and we checked our bags under their name since they got free checked bags with their upgrades. Then we went and stood in line for security and went thru quickly and then we waited. We boarded on time and walked out to the tarmac to board our plane.

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    Here is a picture of our little puddle jumper after we landed in Seattle. Its only a 25 minute flight. Then we went up from the tarmac to the terminal to wait for our flight to Honolulu.

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    Apparently I enjoyed a Starbucks refresher while we waited.

    While we waited my DFIL went and asked if we could board with them when they boarded with 1st class and they said sure. So we got to board with 1st class which was nice. It really helped with getting comfortable. After we took off we were free to wander if needed so I took some pictures.

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    Me and DMIL.

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    DFIL and DH enjoying 1st class. While I was up there DFIL handed me his credit card and said feel free to order breakfast.

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    When you get closer to the Island Alaskan airlines gives out free Mai Tai's and they were pretty good.

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    We flew over Aulani on our way into Honolulu but I got caught with my camera out when I tried to take a picture....oops. We landed and headed to baggage claim, wow was it humid in the airport. Then we took the Alamo shuttle to the rental office and handed over our credit card, proof of insurance, and licenses. We rented from www.discounthawaiicarrentals.com and it included 2 drivers and a full size car. We ended up with a Lincoln town car for the week. We plugged in the GPS and took off for Aulani.
     
  4. WolffDVC2004

    WolffDVC2004 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for posting about your trip. We leave in three weeks, and I am trying to read as much as I can before hand.
     
  5. Crazy4Disney06

    Crazy4Disney06 DIS Veteran

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    Looking forward to your trip report. Taking my family to Aulani for the first time in August!
     
  6. MrsJames

    MrsJames Earning My Ears

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    Can't wait to hear more!! We leave 7 weeks from tomorrow :cool1:
     
  7. AJaquins

    AJaquins Mouseketeer

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    We made it thru the Honolulu traffic pretty easily and headed the 17 miles to Aulani. DH had fun trying to navigate the huge town car thru traffic, he drives a much more compact car at home. As we got closer to Aulani we saw this...

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    and then shortly after we were exiting the highway for Ko Olina. When you pull into the resort area there is a security checkpoint you have to stop at. They ask your name and where you are staying and then check their list and send you on your way. Then we got closer and saw this.....

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    as we pulled in they were doing some construction at the front of the property. We pulled around them and went up to the entrance

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    Ahh isn't it so pretty..and pulled up in the front and the valets came up to the door and said welcome home Jaquins family. They helped unload the car and then DH and I went to go park the car in the self park garage. DVC members staying on points get free parking there, when you 1st get there they tell you to get a ticket and toss it-they know when you finish registering that your vehicle is a DVC members. We managed to find a spot that we could fit the car in-we had to be careful because it was so long that it would stick out and block someone else. Then we walked up to the front entrance and got lei's and some of the welcome water.

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    We had done online check in so it was pretty painless. They sat down and told us about the resort and gave us our keys-our studio was already ready and it was only about 2pm. We wandered around a bit and took a couple of pictures

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    Then bell services took our luggage cart and us and headed to our room. We ended up with a island view on the 12th floor and we got a studio for the whole week. These are the pictures I got before we settled in. For some reason this is all I got.

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  8. AJaquins

    AJaquins Mouseketeer

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    After checking out the room DFIL asked us what we wanted to do for dinner. None of us really wanted to leave since we were tired from traveling all day and our bodies thought is was later than it was. So he asked us what there was to eat and we told him that Makahiki would probably suit all of us in one way or the other. So he called down to see if they had any openings and they had us come down at 5pm when they opened. So we went and explored some more.

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    Views from the 12th floor. We wandered down to the pool area, found the laundry-since we were in a studio (when you are staying on DVC points all you have to do is go to the registration desk and ask for tokens to use the laundry) We also took some other pictures and went into the shops and spoke to castmembers. Then we went and waited for the buffet to open.

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    We were seated a little after 5pm and there wasn't anyone else there yet. The chef came and took me thru the buffet due to my peanut allergy and you'll be happy to know I could eat anything I wanted they don't use peanuts much and don't fry with peanut oil. He was only concerned with the cookies because they could have come in contact with peanuts. He was really friendly and easy to chat with. Then we were free to roam and get our food. I thought I took more pictures but I only have one that would upload.

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    The fruit is absolutely delicious, I had multiple plates of this. My DMIL loved the crab legs they had out and the guys liked the coconut cake. The food was actually pretty good and tasty..but it was expensive. It cost us about $200 for the 4 of us. yikes. Denny's would be our place the rest of the trip. We finished up dinner and I was really wanting to go swimming but it was getting too late and we were tired so we went to bed early.
     
  9. BobDes

    BobDes Earning My Ears

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    Were going next Friday to Aulani and I am enjoying your pics and review so far. Can't wait to see the rest.

    I know the food is pricey. Unfortunately, we wont have a car, so we are kind of stuck to the local area for meals.
     
  10. carejo5

    carejo5 Earning My Ears

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    Recently back from a wonderful trip to aulani , so am loving this report. We went to the ABC store behind monkey pod across the street from the resort . We bought made to order salad $6.99 that were delicious . One night we had a salad and pizza from Pizza corner , also in that plaza . We brought it back to the resort ate at the pool area with some wine , wonderful! The ABC store had a good variety of salads and sandwiches . Reasonably priced and delicious .
     
  11. DenLo

    DenLo DIS Veteran

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    I too am enjoying your TR. We will be at Aulani this coming September. You are definitely raising the excitement level. I can't wait to see more photos. I really like that you have added unique photos of Aulani like the driveway view of the resort and even the sign out front.

    Do you remember your room number, if you post it wdrl can add your view photo to the Aulani Rooms and View thread. TIA!
     
  12. AJaquins

    AJaquins Mouseketeer

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    Thank you to everyone that's following along. I'm working on another one for you. :)
     
  13. AJaquins

    AJaquins Mouseketeer

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    For our 1st full day in Hawaii we though we would search for the elusive...Wal-Mart....yup Wal-Mart. I work at Wal-Mart and we get a 10% discount and from traveling to Alaska and California know that they usually have a souvenir section. That and my DFIL has an obsession with Wal-Mart and goes almost everyday when we're home. So before we left I put in our GPS several restaurants and stores that we might need to go to. So we took off for Wal-Mart and it took us away from Kapolei toward ummmm nothing. So we turned around and headed back towards the resort and to Denny's. Denny's is only a mile or so up the road at the next exit, along with Target, McDonald's and several other restaurants. We went and ate breakfast here....

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    We met some of the friendliest people here. From the waitress to the locals and there were several families that were also staying at Aulani there. They had the $2, $4, $6, $8 menu also as well as local items like spam, rice, pineapple, etc. So we asked how to get to Wal-Mart and they gave us great directions.

    So off we went on our adventure and headed into Wal-Mart. We found a huge selection of souvenirs, t-shirts, etc. We got water, macadamia nuts, cereal, soda, milk, cups, plates, and a few other necessities. The bottled water and soda were the same price as the mainland except the bottle deposit for us. Then we headed back to the resort.

    We pulled up and opened the trunk and the bell boys yelled groceries and they came running with tubs and a luggage cart. Asked if we had anything breakable and proceeded to completely unload the trunk for us and said they would meet us up at the room. That was completely unexpected and DH and I left his parents with them to head to the room while we took the car to the self-park garage.

    After we put groceries away we went and looked at the shops. (If you see something you want make sure you get it then because some things sell quickly and they sometimes don't get more.) My DH showed me the Aulani Dooney and Burke bags and he was feeling me out to see which one I liked because one appeared under the Christmas tree. :) He got it while we were there and snuck it up to the room.

    Then we went and explored some more. It was raining pretty hard so we stayed inside. We stopped by the DVC office and found out they were showing a one bedroom up on the 10th floor so we headed up there. Here are some of the pictures I took....

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    Then we got to take a quick peek into the 10th floor ocean view grand villa. Wow it was gorgeous and the only picture I could snag was of the view. The guide had to go give a break so we just got to peek.

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    After dinner at Denny's we went and spent some time at the pool. :cool1:

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    Then spent some time relaxing in the room and called it a night.
     
  14. AJaquins

    AJaquins Mouseketeer

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    So Friday the 13th we decided to go to Pearl Harbor. We were talking to one of the castmembers the day before and she asked when we were leaving for Pearl Harbor and we said about 5:30ish she said oh you better leave earlier than that. So we left at 4:30am because I booked us on the 1st boat out to the memorial. Ok lesson learned bad traffic into Honolulu in the dark and it was raining. Next time it'll be on Saturday or Sunday there was hardly any traffic those mornings.

    We reserved tickets about 4 or 5 months ahead of time just paying the $1.50 fee to the government. We were glad we did because we at least had guaranteed tickets. You have to pick them up at will call 1 hour before your sail time. They are free other than the booking fee and there is no admission to get into the museums and grounds of the memorial. This was a very somber place, very quiet, and very respectful. I'm involved with the VFW at home and it was nice to go and talk to them about my experience when we got back. Here are some of the pictures we took.

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    The anchor from the USS Arizona

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    The USS Bowfin

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    I have a few more but photo bucket is not cooperating right now. So I will post more tomorrow.
     
  15. AJaquins

    AJaquins Mouseketeer

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    Here are some more photos from our visit to Pearl Harbor.

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    This is a model of what the USS Arizona looks like now. After we were done with the museum we headed to the theatre for the movie and trip over to the memorial site.

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    The USS Missouri.

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    We spent another hour or so walking the pathway between story boards and taking pictures and looked at the submarine memorial as well as the torpedo display. Then we went to the gift shop and looked around. They also had Pearl Harbor survivors there autographing books and talking to people about their experience. It started to rain even harder so we decided to head back to the resort.
     
  16. AJaquins

    AJaquins Mouseketeer

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    So the previous day when we were looking the Daily Ewa we noticed that Aulani was offering a photography class by Disney photopass---for free. They were trying out a new "excursion" they could offer their guests and they were offering the class on Thursday and Friday night. Before we left for Hawaii I had almost booked a photography class for my DH for his birthday but decided not to. So we called to ask about it and the Thursday class was full but they had 4 openings for Friday night. We jumped on the chance and booked it. They were only taking 5 people per class. We all had our DSLR's with us. The class wasn't until 5pm so we spent some time around the resort with some characters we found hanging out.

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    We went up to the room for a little while to rest and get some air conditioning (we live in the more desert area of our state not used to so much humidity). Then we headed down to the room where they host their activities (can't remember the name right now) and met up Derwin from Disney Photopass. We ended up being the only ones who showed up so it was like a private class and we made it easy since we all had Nikons.

    He took us over to the conference center and did a power point presentation with us with the rule of 3rds, perspective, and ISO settings etc. Then we went out to the beach to practice and do some hands on.

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    This sunset wasn't as spectacular as the ones that we would see later on but it was still pretty. The class lasted over 2 hours even though it was only supposed to be 1 1/2 hours but we learned a lot from Derwin. The class ended with a survey on how it went and if we thought it was a good class and how much we thought would be a good price to charge. Derwin was an excellent teacher and we would run into him on the beach a few days later. After class we headed to Denny's for dinner and then went back to the resort and talked to a few castmemembers. My DFIL had been having a hard time sleeping every night so he was getting and taking walks and would go down and talk to the bell hops and valets as well as the registration desk ladies. He ended up with some good things to go see and eat and got to know them quite well. We got to visit with some of them when we returned and then headed up to the room to crash.
     
  17. Ljbadfan

    Ljbadfan disney fan

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    Here is a photo of my sunset from that class.

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  18. MissDaisyofTexas

    MissDaisyofTexas DIS Veteran

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    Beautiful pictures! I'm enjoying your trip report.
     
  19. AJaquins

    AJaquins Mouseketeer

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    We were starting to feel like we needed to stay and relax at the resort more at this point. But we didn't know when or if we would ever be able to come back so we had decided to go to Dole plantation this day. So we got up and went to breakfast at Denny's and then headed to the plantation. Before we left I had read reviews about the plantation and they had said to get there early before the tour buses hit and there was a limited amount of parking so we got there right before they opened. We went to the ticket booth and bought tickets for the Pineapple express and the garden audio tour. We headed to the Pineapple express 1st because we saw 2 tour buses pulling into the parking lot. Before we boarded they took a picture with us holding a pineapple and the train. Which you would get a chance to purchase after the ride.

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    Pineapple harvester

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    Baby pineapple

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    New pineapple plantings

    You also got to see banana tress, sugar cane, breadfruit, papaya, cocoa, tea, and several other plants while on the train. After the train tour we purchased our pictures and they came with magnets also. Then we went to go get our audio headsets. You can do the tour without it-mine died about halfway thru and the headphones kept cutting out-but on the other hand what you do hear you do learn some history and facts about plants. They also have a hibiscus variety garden.

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    Gum tree

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    After the garden tour we headed inside to get--Dole whips. Yum this was my 1st time to have one and now I know and understand the giant lines for them at Disneyland. This little guy was sitting on the snack bar.

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    I tried the dole whip float and it was very good. We then went into the gift shop mall area and DFIL ordered 6 pineapples to send home. I ended up with a few magnets and a pineapple knife (I love kitchen gadgets) and it works awesome.

    We went out to the car and decided to go to the North shore since I wasn't much farther. When we got there it was so pretty and a beautiful day but there was no where to park the huge beast we were driving, so I pulled over and the guys got out to take pictures and I got a few from the car.

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    On the drive back I was a little fascinated by the clouds and pine trees.

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    Then we had lunch at Denny's and headed back to the resort for some relaxation time and some Menahue hunting.
     
  20. AJaquins

    AJaquins Mouseketeer

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    Here are some random shots around the resort. There are lots of Menahue everywhere and in some of the most unexpected places, over the week we were there we managed to find a few. I also managed to snag a few more room pictures from my DMIL. So here goes.

    1st up the wonderful purse my DH got for me while we were there.
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    Now some more room photos. It was a DVC Island view studio w/conference center views.
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    And now a few of the Menahue.

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    And some Goofy in the pool.
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  21. AJaquins

    AJaquins Mouseketeer

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    That evening we spent some time at the beach taking pictures. DH and I walked past the Marriott on the path past where the path ends and down a hill between some trees and out to the beach. There were a couple of photographers there taking pictures of families and the Luau was starting up. We took pictures but mostly just enjoyed the waves and the sunset. These were all taken by DH.

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    We went for dinner afterwards and then to McDonald's for dessert. We had tried them earlier in the week and enjoyed them a few times while we were there.

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    A McDonald's fried Haupia pie (coconut). It was so delicious and so much better than the baked pies we get on the mainland. The apple was really good also. We headed back to the resort after that and relaxed in the room.
     

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