Help with May 2019 Itinerary?

Discussion in 'Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa' started by wilbret, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. wilbret

    wilbret Mouseketeer

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    Headed to Aulani in May for our 15th anniversary. Wife went to Hawaii when she was in High School, but I've never been, so we are essentially both first timers! I tend to be the type that can't stand to be "cooped up," and like having a lot of things to do, so I'm tempted to make a list and make sure we do it all from Pearl Harbor to Dole to Volcanoes to finding that cursed Tiki from the Brady Bunch...

    That being said... the 7 days we are going to be there will equal or exceed the total number of days with just us we've had in almost 11 years since having kids. I'm tempted to focus on letting her sleep in and relaxing at the resort, with a few activities peppered in.

    If you had to pick the absolute top 3 things not to miss while there, what would they be?

    I won't bias the thread with what our preferences might be yet... I'd love to see your opinions.

    Thanks!
     
  2. frank808

    frank808 DVC Member

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    You can visit Pearl Harbor and National Cemetery of the Pacific on one day. Hike Diamond Head and visit Hanauma Bay. There are no active volcanoes on Oahu.
     
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  4. wilbret

    wilbret Mouseketeer

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    Thanks. Volcano was tongue in cheek with the Brady Bunch bit, too... :-)
     
  5. hilarys

    hilarys Hilary S

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    Kailua Beach, Kuoaloa Ranch, Drive along the north shore!
     
  6. bobbiwoz

    bobbiwoz I'm happy to dance with you!

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    We thoroughly enjoyed the Polynesian Cultural Center this September. From Aulani, we headed for Dole, then visited a north shore beach known for turtle sighting, and finally went to the Cultural Center. It was a fun day, we learned a lot about the culture of the area of the world we knew little about.

    Going the other way, we definitely would recommend Pearl Harbor and Cemetery of the Pacific.

    Hanauma Bay and the coastal sites from that shore are also not to be missed! Just one:

    F4829C74-1170-4F63-AFB6-0F1E081F27ED.jpeg
     
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  7. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    I would do a half day at Kualoa Ranch followed by Kailua Beach.

    I would spend a day visiting the North Shore. You can fit in Dole Plantation and Waimea Valley here, but neither are must-do's to me.

    I would spend an afternoon/evening in Waikiki shopping and checking out the atmosphere. Even though its commercialized, there were beautiful views and some unique things we don't have at home. And its a completely different vibe than everywhere else on the island. You could hike Diamond Head in the morning and then head to Waikiki, but I will warn that we were in athletic clothes and very sweaty and gross afterward, so we wouldn't have wanted to go for a nice lunch or dinner immediately after. I'll also warn that Diamond Head was slightly harder than we were anticipating as two able-bodied 30-somethings, so I would only recommend to those who enjoy hiking. Not something we'd repeat on a future trip.

    We enjoyed Pearl Harbor too and I would consider the Arizona a must-do for any American, but I'm not sure of the current status with its recent closures.
     
  8. Amw1064

    Amw1064 DIS Veteran

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    One of our favorite things to do is to walk over to Paradise Cove and see the sea turtles. We have gone 3 different trips and they have always been there. We always stayed away from Waikiki area but last trip we made a day of it. We did an outrigger canoe ride. It was so fun as well as a Catamaran ride. They were 2 of our favorite things. They are in the beginning of the video in my link. The last trip we did not do Dole Plantation/Pearl Harbor or a luau but we did on previous trips.
     
  9. wilbret

    wilbret Mouseketeer

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    Thanks!
     
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  10. Amw1064

    Amw1064 DIS Veteran

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    Yes, on the bolded. It is in my video as well. The other side of the island is beautiful.
     
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  11. wilbret

    wilbret Mouseketeer

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    WOW!
     
  12. wilbret

    wilbret Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for the tips. We might consider some hikes, but I don't know if this trip will feature that type of activity. I'm a cub scout leader and I get all the hikes I need! I think the Arizona is just temporarily closed, hopefully all will be well in May. ;-)
     
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  13. wilbret

    wilbret Mouseketeer

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    Excellent tips. I must admit that everywhere we go, we do go to the aquarium/sea turtle type place.
     
  14. wilbret

    wilbret Mouseketeer

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    a couple questions:

    Would you say the Luau at Aulani is worth it? I have read that others are better, but I'm leaning toward staying on site quite a bit.

    Rental car. Based on what I see here, it's pretty much recommended, right? (hit grocery store, get around, etc)
    Should we just pull the trigger and keep it the whole trip? I like to have a car typically, but this is a freaking expensive trip already. 8-)
     
  15. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    I didn't do a luau on Oahu so I can't compare, but wanted to mention Paradise Cove luau is walking distance of Aulani if you like the looks of that one better.

    Rental car is a must, IMO. If you are staying on rented DVC points, parking is free. Otherwise, it's $37 per day. You can do one day rentals on-site through Alamo but you'd need to book in advance because it can fill up. Personally, I would keep it the whole trip for flexibility. If you're sick of the dining options at Aulani and Ko Olina, its quick and easy to drive over to Kapolei with tons of other options.
     
  16. wilbret

    wilbret Mouseketeer

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    Thanks. We are staying using non-rented DVC points, aka, ours. lol. So is parking not free if we aren't using points from someone that "owns" at Aulani? Our home resort is AK. I'll call to verify, but thanks for the info.
     
  17. frank808

    frank808 DVC Member

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    As long as you are using DVC points self parking for 2 vehicles is included.
     
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  18. Riburn3

    Riburn3 Earning My Ears

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    Your vacation style/preferences are pretty similar to mine if you end goal is as much relaxation as possible.

    My 1st recommendation would be to visit Pearl Harbor. It's something that can be done fairly quickly, but well worth it. If getting out to Hawaii is something you don't see yourself doing often, make the effort to visit. It's a great experience and education.

    After that the only other things I absolutely have to do on every trip to Oahu is head to the north shore and enjoy a tropical drink on the outside patio of the Turtle Bay Resort while the sun sets. We also always stop in for a Masumoto's shaved ice in Hale'iwa (which we knock out on the way to Turtle Bay.

    There are plenty of other great things to do as others have recommended, but for me personally, nothing is better than unwinding near the beach at Aulani with an adult beverage in hand and soaking it all in. I didn't go to Hawaii for the first time until I was in my mid 20's, but nearly a dozen trips later, I'm convinced the Hawaiian islands make up the most beautiful geography on this planet.

    My last recommendation which others have emphasized, is rent a car. Even if you do not plan on leaving the resort too much, it is worth it for short trips to grab groceries, or even just being able to leave the resort for dinner elsewhere. I promise it's worth it.
     
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  19. jillt2ph

    jillt2ph DIS Veteran

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    I will also be there in May 2019. My third visit to Aulani, and both of the others were also in May.

    After my first visit I decided it was much more efficient to either begin or end the trip with a night or 2 in Waikiki rather than wasting time sitting in traffic. I underestimated the allure of just relaxing at the resort and was resentful of time spent away from there. With one qualification - weekends. The resort was noticeably more crowded in the weekend. Locals can get available rooms at a good rate and we saw them showing with wagons full of booze. So I used Saturday to go to Kualoa Ranch. Loved it!

    Back to the allure of relaxing at the resort... Budget in time to do some of the tours offered. And take the ukelele class in the Pua Hana room! When else can you do that? Splurge on the shaved ice with Mickey ears Order lunch from the poolside servers. I have never used the spa facilities, but they get good reviews.

    I am taking my 83 yo mother this time, so I have 3 nights at VGC (we are on East Coast), 5 at Aulani and 2 in Waikiki. Hoping she enjoys it!
     
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  20. wilbret

    wilbret Mouseketeer

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    Can you elaborate on the tours we should look into? Are then anything I need to be reserving now? Luaus, dinners, etc?
     
  21. wilbret

    wilbret Mouseketeer

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    I've asked for a high floor with a number ending in 52, 12 or 82. Hopefully those work.
    I am clueless on this resort, but I want to make sure it's special!
     

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